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Pro Tools export audio to Interleaved: pan law settings?!
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Pro Tools export audio to Interleaved: pan law settings?!

Good evening.

I've come across this strange PT issue, that I had not ever noticed before. Apparently, stereo-interleaved files differ from multi-mono in Pro Tools.

Here's what happened:

I recorded a duo in 96kHz (multi mono) for the first time, since track amount and mixing were said to be relatively small. I wanted to give the higher sample rate a try, in order to see what it does to the sound and if great quality improvement is audible. I did some early stage mixing and the musicians want more and more fx, plug-ins increase and CPU load gets heavy. My idea then was to export all tracks to 48kHz and mix a less demanding session on my computer.

But before I'd take all the effort, I decided to test on one song, first. What I did:

1. Bounce a 96kHz .WAV of the current multi mono 96kHz mix session

1. Export all files from this session (shift + cmd + k) to 48kHz interleaved

2. Create a new (interleaved) session in 48k and import the exported 48kHz files from the 96k session

3. Import the session data from the original 96k mix session into the newly created 48k session

4. Export the exact same mix (like 96k) from the new 48k session (created from 48kHz interleaved files where applicable = overheads, room, ambience)

After this process, I opened yet a new project in 48kHz interleaved and loaded the files:
- original 96k mix (sample rate converted "ultraprecise" to 48k @ imp ort)
- 48k mix from the session with the exported and downsampled 96k files

I arranged a blind-test and was able to tell the 96k mix from the 48k mix everytime. Yayyy under normal circumstances - this time I got a bit nervous, since I was planning to mix the whole 96k stuff in 48k –.–
I heard different in the highs, audible on cymbals and snare hits.

I remembered an engineer saying "multi mono sounds better than interleaved in Pro Tools"... - really? ..."yes really". Well yeah. So I repeated the whole process of exporting the single tracks (shift + cmd + k) from the 96k session to 48k files, this time to multi-mono. I then grabbed the session data from the 96k mix and ran another mix with the newly exported 48k multi-mono files and bounced to both an interleaved and a multi-mono downmix.

I now have four files (see picture attached):
1) 96k interleaved mix from the original 96k multi mono recording session, this one converted to 48k @ imp ort to the "comparison session"
2) 48k interleaved mix from the interleaved-export of all audio tracks out of the 96k session
3) 48k interleaved mix from the multi-mono-export of all audio tracks out of the 96k session
4) 48k multi mono mix from the multi-mono export of all audio tracks out of the 96k session

I opened my "comparison session" (48k) again and did a null test between
3) / 4)

The result was, that 2) and 3) as well as 2) and 4) did not null, the result sounded somewhat hissy and like cymbals and aliasing. But let's leave aside how it sounds. I wonder how interleaved and multi-mono differ and the one thing that comes to my mind is some panning law difference, I read about. But if that was the case, wouldn't the null test results be much more drastic? Also, I could never find export settings in PT about pan law or anything else related to interleaved vs. multi-mono. Maybe there were also some irregularities in plug-ins, but then again: why did 3) and 4) make a perfect null..?

If anyone followed this mess, I'd be glad for any advice. Right now I feel like: always export to multi-mono when using export to track (shift + cmd + k). But maybe I missed something and this is all voodoo..


PS: If anyone is interest I will upload the files for you to try yourselves.
Attached Thumbnails
Pro Tools export audio to Interleaved: pan law settings?!-null-test.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Nut

Can't comment specifically but I've heard that it's best to downsample externally with iZotope RX (Pyramix, etc.). Otherwise to stay at the same project sample rate (downsampling can have a big effect on the sound so best to use a top notch SRC).
But maybe someone else can help more.
Old 3 weeks ago
Gear Head

Very interesting.

I'm afraid I can't even begin to assist in any way, but if I were you, I'd copy and paste this topic into a thread on the DUC

There are clever heads over there that I'm shure will give you thoughts and input of high quality.
Old 3 weeks ago
Here for the gear

DUC is a good idea, and thanks you for reading through this long thread and taking interest.
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