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Cubase 6.5 export audio mixdown peak volume errors?
Old 16th January 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Cubase 6.5 export audio mixdown peak volume errors?

Oddest thing really and no obvious explanation ...

Multitrack project ready for stereo export which on first pass renders a file with peak volumes of -0.37 (L) and -0.64 (R)

As I tend to work to -0.20, I raise the master in Cubase by 0.17 and re-export. What I get is +0.10 and -0.44! The master was at -3.96 and I changed it to -3.79 for the .17 change.

I have been using CB 6.5 for a few years and have encountered this once or twice before. I closed the software and restarted, loaded the project and got it to -0.20 and -0.81. Then I restarted it again and first pass was -0.40 and -0.50, second pass was back to -0.20 and -0.81 without changing anything.

The only conclusion is that there is a bug in 6.5.5 that has never been reported.

Anyone ever had a similar experience?

p.s. Yeah, I know I could just chuck it in Wavelab and tweak the levels but that's not the point. Thanks.
Old 17th January 2019
  #2
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Only things I can think of as causing different levels on subsequent exports are:

1) plugins that aren't running in absolute sync with the "tempo" of the project. For example a chorus or autopanner or something that won't yield the same level at exactly the same place twice.

2) slight inconsistencies in automation playback.

But regardless of that, nobody in the entire universe is going to hear a difference less than 0.5dB. Ok, fine; an engineer in a great room with great speakers will hear a difference maybe, but no normal person will. So, I have to say I find it completely baffling why you'd adjust levels by below even 0.2dB. Really, nobody will ever perceive that difference.... ever....
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
Only things I can think of as causing different levels on subsequent exports are:

1) plugins that aren't running in absolute sync with the "tempo" of the project. For example a chorus or autopanner or something that won't yield the same level at exactly the same place twice.

2) slight inconsistencies in automation playback.

But regardless of that, nobody in the entire universe is going to hear a difference less than 0.5dB. Ok, fine; an engineer in a great room with great speakers will hear a difference maybe, but no normal person will. So, I have to say I find it completely baffling why you'd adjust levels by below even 0.2dB. Really, nobody will ever perceive that difference.... ever....
1. There are no plug ins at all running - just 14 stems.

2. Not sure what that means but rendering from within the export page.

3. I have severe OCD and, like I said, it's not supposed to occur which is why I am so vexed about it. I like things to work the way they should and with digital, it ain't supposed to "add" or "subtract" level at random.

Thanks for your reply though amigo.
Old 17th January 2019
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
The second point relates to just plain old automation. Level automation for example. If you have that and if it's not 100% consistent I suppose there could be differences.

The only thing I can think of to maybe find a solution is to start a new, clean project with trashed preferences. Then import tracks and/or audio files into that project and try there.
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
The second point relates to just plain old automation. Level automation for example. If you have that and if it's not 100% consistent I suppose there could be differences.

The only thing I can think of to maybe find a solution is to start a new, clean project with trashed preferences. Then import tracks and/or audio files into that project and try there.
Oh I see, no I don't have any of that running.

As I said above, it's done it a couple of times in the past but, because it's been sporadic, I have not noted what and when. I do think that it has only happened when there have been more then 12 stems but I could be wrong about that!

I just hoped that someone may have come across it before but I know that it's unlikely. I did export the project 6 times in a row earlier and the first one was -0.40 and -0.50 and then the next 5 were all the same, (-0.20 and -0.81), which, of course is what should happen. Just odd that Cubase is adding 0.20 left and subtracting 0.31 right ...

I remember a previous occasion where I had gone back to a project from a while back, (year or more), to adjust something in the mix and that one was inconsistent when stereo exported. Maybe it's my PC telling me that it's getting old and tired!

To that end, I tend to run the program as simply as possible; even committing processing to the stems rather than using plug ins, so I can save cpu power.
Old 17th January 2019
  #6
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
I would then experiment with larger buffers when exporting.

Another thing to consider is that with some software there isn't a complete reset of meters between playbacks. So if you have "lingering" levels they'll sometimes get 'counted'. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's worth trying to reset all metering you're using before measuring the various exports/files. Perhaps it's a non-issue, but I figured I'd just throw it out there...
Old 17th January 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Oh, and this is exporting to "full res" .wav files or something, yes?
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
I would then experiment with larger buffers when exporting.

Another thing to consider is that with some software there isn't a complete reset of meters between playbacks. So if you have "lingering" levels they'll sometimes get 'counted'. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's worth trying to reset all metering you're using before measuring the various exports/files. Perhaps it's a non-issue, but I figured I'd just throw it out there...
Again, I have no metering running. The "fault" lies with the master level not adjusting the track by the amount that it has been changed... i.e. Turning it up by 0.10 and getting substantially more.
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
Oh, and this is exporting to "full res" .wav files or something, yes?
Yes - 32 bit floating point.
Old 17th January 2019
  #10
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
How do you measure levels?

Also, try exporting to 24-bit fixed point, maximum buffer size, see if the same happens.
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
How do you measure levels?

Also, try exporting to 24-bit fixed point, maximum buffer size, see if the same happens.
Drop it into Wavelab and run analysis. (Key "Y") which opens up peak and rms etc.

Where are the buffer sizes adjusted from?
Old 17th January 2019
  #12
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Buffer sizes are related to the ASIO playback engine / audio interface. Not in front of a Nuendo setup right now so I can't tell you the exact location. Device setup probably. Check the manual.

For measuring I'd say the same about any software that does measurements, not just meters. Make sure you reset before measuring again - if the option exists.
Old 17th January 2019 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➑️
Buffer sizes are related to the ASIO playback engine / audio interface. Not in front of a Nuendo setup right now so I can't tell you the exact location. Device setup probably. Check the manual.

For measuring I'd say the same about any software that does measurements, not just meters. Make sure you reset before measuring again - if the option exists.
Ah, the ASIO. I know of it but never touched it since I built the system several years ago. I remember fiddling to maximise, (or is that minimise), the latency figures but since that day I have never had cause to touch it - in fact I thought that it only applied to when you are recording audio so sounds like I have the wrong end of the stick there.

I guess programs as complex as Cubase have their gremlins.

I'll have another "fiddle" tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestions.
Old 17th January 2019
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Well, after mucho head scratching and experimenting I solved the problem ...

It is a bug or so it seems. Two of my stems had "micro edits"; where I take material from one section and paste it at another to solve a problem, i.e. click, glitch etc.

Because the tempo shifted every beat, I had set the stems to "Set Definition from Tempo" so that copied material would align correctly in its new position. After the pastes, I zoomed in and moved the start and end points to a place where the two wave forms were the same, to avoid clicks etc - a "micro edit"

It seems that Cubase 6.5.5 will not allow you to bounce a stem that contains these edits, where the original track is still there underneath the edited section. I had to cut the track(s) outside of the edits, delete the underlying section and then carefully drag the cut ends until they seamlessly matched where they had been before, effectively removing the "underlayer". I was now allowed to bounce the stems and consolidate the edits.

When I exported the new track, it consistently gave me the same peaks and rms over and over so the problem had disappeared. I don't often do micro edits so that's another reason that I had only come across this phenomenon a time or two before.

I'll know in the future!

Thanks,

Greg
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