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ableton users - export quality degraded?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Addict
 

ableton users - export quality degraded?

i've noticed on my exports, the master wav file of my song wont sound exactly like it was sounding in the session.

whats steps are you guys taking to make sure the quality of your masters arent degraded on export?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Addict
 

come on guys, tell me about those degraded songs of yours...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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I just recently started writing a lot in Ableton and noticed that some tracks seem to export just fine, others are drastically different to what I hear on playback. My work-around is to do an real-time bounce. Create an audio track, select Master as the audio in and record the mix as it plays back. At least this way you know that what you hear is what you get. Make sure you use the resulting recorded file as is and not accidentally render it through the Master FX chain again. I just "show in finder" the resulting audio file and copy it to my bounces folder.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
I just recently started writing a lot in Ableton and noticed that some tracks seem to export just fine, others are drastically different to what I hear on playback. My work-around is to do an real-time bounce. Create an audio track, select Master as the audio in and record the mix as it plays back. At least this way you know that what you hear is what you get. Make sure you use the resulting recorded file as is and not accidentally render it through the Master FX chain again. I just "show in finder" the resulting audio file and copy it to my bounces folder.
nice. i was wondering about this...


so what program are you using to master, and how are you mastering, or is that "real time bounce" your actual master?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken View Post
i've noticed on my exports, the master wav file of my song wont sound exactly like it was sounding in the session.

whats steps are you guys taking to make sure the quality of your masters arent degraded on export?
Are you exporting at the same sample rate and bit depth?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
Are you exporting at the same sample rate and bit depth?
yea
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Addict
Are you sure? Because Live works internally at 32-bit depth, so 24-bit and 16-bit are never "the same bit depth". Only 32-bit is the same as the sound playing in Live. Normalize has to be off too, for obvious reasons.

Also, Live doesn't clip internally at 0 dBFS (due to being all 32-bit), but the 24-bit and 16-bit export formats do Clip (at 0 dBFS).

(What people hear when cranking audio over 0 dBFS is the DAC converter clipping, outside Live itself)

Resampling, Freeze and Flatten save 32-bit files.

I suspect that's why people get different results, they have tracks or master over 0 dBFS, export in 24-bit or 16-bit format (which will clip at 0 dBFS), then resort to Resampling (which is 32-bit and doesn't clip at 0 dBFS) thinking export has a problem. They could just export 32-bit instead.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
Are you sure? Because Live works internally at 32-bit depth, so 24-bit and 16-bit are never "the same bit depth". Only 32-bit is the same as the sound playing in Live. Normalize has to be off too, for obvious reasons.

Also, Live doesn't clip internally at 0 dBFS (due to being all 32-bit), but the 24-bit and 16-bit export formats do Clip (at 0 dBFS).

(What people hear when cranking audio over 0 dBFS is the DAC converter clipping, outside Live itself)

Resampling, Freeze and Flatten save 32-bit files.

I suspect that's why people get different results, they have tracks or master over 0 dBFS, export in 24-bit or 16-bit format (which will clip at 0 dBFS), then resort to Resampling (which is 32-bit and doesn't clip at 0 dBFS) thinking export has a problem. They could just export 32-bit instead.
thanks for this.

so when you export at 32-bit, how are you handling mp3 conversion duties for uploading to spotify and other platforms?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
Are you sure? Because Live works internally at 32-bit depth, so 24-bit and 16-bit are never "the same bit depth". Only 32-bit is the same as the sound playing in Live. Normalize has to be off too, for obvious reasons.

Also, Live doesn't clip internally at 0 dBFS (due to being all 32-bit), but the 24-bit and 16-bit export formats do Clip (at 0 dBFS).

(What people hear when cranking audio over 0 dBFS is the DAC converter clipping, outside Live itself)

Resampling, Freeze and Flatten save 32-bit files.

I suspect that's why people get different results, they have tracks or master over 0 dBFS, export in 24-bit or 16-bit format (which will clip at 0 dBFS), then resort to Resampling (which is 32-bit and doesn't clip at 0 dBFS) thinking export has a problem. They could just export 32-bit instead.
While this certainly can be the cause of many people's issues with offline vs realtime, my problem had nothing to do with headroom. I had automation reading completely differently on offline bounces than with real-time recording. Just on the stock filter as well...sure I'm using a bunch of 3rd party plugs but the one I was actually having completely different bouncing results with was some automation on the Auto Filter plugin. It sounded one distinct way when offline bouncing, and another distinct way when real-time recording.

On your prompting I only just noticed that my session was at 44.1 and I was bouncing at 48k...I should try offline bounce at 44.1 and see if this is the cause. Usually I'm more precise than this but I'm working on a rough-and-ready mixtape, deliberately moving through the process as quickly as possible
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken View Post
so when you export at 32-bit, how are you handling mp3 conversion duties for uploading to spotify and other platforms?
Don't know about Spotify (don't use it), but other platforms allow uploading a WAV file.

Note that the real cause of the problem is having tracks/master over 0 dBFS, not the export format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
the one I was actually having completely different bouncing results with was some automation on the Auto Filter plugin. It sounded one distinct way when offline bouncing, and another distinct way when real-time recording.
That's really weird and shouldn't be happening. Can't really think of anything that would cause that. Well, there is one thing I can recall, "Reduced latency when monitoring" with plugins with latency, that could cause the whole Set to sound different in different circumstances.

I'm assuming you know about stuff that add randomness in Auto Filter, like its LFO being free-running when set to Hz.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken View Post
yea
Are you applying dither? It might be something to look at if your final exported file is actually at a different bit rate to your project in the daw.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
That's really weird and shouldn't be happening. Can't really think of anything that would cause that. Well, there is one thing I can recall, "Reduced latency when monitoring" with plugins with latency, that could cause the whole Set to sound different in different circumstances.

I'm assuming you know about stuff that add randomness in Auto Filter, like its LFO being free-running when set to Hz.
I definitely didn't have reduced latency while monitoring enabled. Also wasn't a freerunning LFO thing. I was tuning the filter to resonate at specific notes at different moments in the track. Offline bounce would render completely random notes.

Now I'm starting to wonder if I was using a different filter, if it wasn't the stock Ableton one? However, another plugin I'm beta testing has completely tanked the session and I'm unable to open it to verify now I checked an earlier version of the session without the crashy plug; in that one I'm using Auto Filter...so it's probably that...I'd just like to be able to say for certain, I hadn't started the specific note tuning in that earlier session yet.

The important thing is I was absolutely experiencing different results offline/real-time, I would love to get to the bottom of this. Hopefully the bug with the other plug-in gets cleared up and I can answer definitively...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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tedannemann's Avatar
 

What settings are shown in your "Rendering Options"? Is Mono off, Normalize active or the Return and Master Effects off?

Anyway, Spotify accepts Wave and FLAC, as other platforms as well they usually do their own conversion into the different formats they later provide.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedannemann View Post
What settings are shown in your "Rendering Options"? Is Mono off, Normalize active or the Return and Master Effects off?
This is the important thing...i'm not talking about some extra distortion or a level change or anything...I keep a tight reign on my master channel and the tonality of the track is exactly as I expect it to be offline/online.

Once this bug is fixed I can render out some examples (of course, when I try to do this it'll work perfectly and I'll just be the crazy person rambling in the corner I SWEAR IT HAPPENED I SWEAR.)
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
This is the important thing...i'm not talking about some extra distortion or a level change or anything...I keep a tight reign on my master channel and the tonality of the track is exactly as I expect it to be offline/online.

Once this bug is fixed I can render out some examples (of course, when I try to do this it'll work perfectly and I'll just be the crazy person rambling in the corner I SWEAR IT HAPPENED I SWEAR.)
Why don't you, in a copy of the last set, re-import an exported file (lossless and without bit conversion or downsampling) to its own track and switch the polarity of that, route all tracks, including returns to a buss, that is the single track that routes to the master —*you also need to move anything on the master to that buss —*to find out if you're not getting a null (silence)?

Of course anything that isn't exactly the same every time you play it back, some analog emulating synths or effects for instance might prevent that null, but it should at least be informative. You can make tests with invariable sources and learn about Live and your audio sources. Nulling, if properly used, teaches you what is real.

Last edited by Mikael B; 1 week ago at 11:03 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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One reason why one might get different sound from playing back and exporting is the interplay of some instruments that might have different qualities set for Real-time vs off-line (rendering) operation. In itself this means the sources may sound somewhat different. Rendered instruments should typically be improved in this case.

If you are working in a higher sample rate than your target, this is equally true and some plug-ins may sound strikingly different when run oversampled. Typically these do sound better though, though there might be exceptions.

Just exporting a sampled piano (original source 44.1 kHz/16-bits) with an 88.2 kHz project sample rate, then downsampled to 44.1 won't null with the original clip in playback, even though an export with the project sample rate at 44.1 will.

One method to avoid surprises like the ones above is to make everything audio when preparing for mixdown. In its own set typically.
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