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How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?
Old 1st May 2019
  #1
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(solved) How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?

Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a struggle as I've just finished mixing a project on reaper and now I need to render it in order to send it to mastering.

It is very my first proper mix so I'm wondering if any of the following could have had something to do with it?

-The song has been recorded in 16 bit 44.1khz with a little digital recorder.
I figured it would probably be better to do the mixing at the same bit rate so I did it this way. Same thing for rendering.

-The master engineer requested the track not to exceed -5db before sending
As I was hitting -2.4db I decided to turn down the output of the only plugin on the master bus ( voxengo tape bus) to -3db.

I was happy with the result until I attempted to render it.
I've been listening to the bounce on reaper and by A/Bing them the rendered version seems to be missing something, it is kind of flatter.. maybe quieter?

Is there a way to set up reaper to render the song to match my mix perfectly that I'm missing?

Have I done detrimental things on my way there?

Many thanks in advance!

S.

Last edited by sirabhorn; 3rd May 2019 at 12:05 AM.. Reason: problem solved
Old 1st May 2019
  #2
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loji's Avatar
Be sure you're rendering to 24-bit (not 16)

It should sound the same for your export ... Some plug-ins will change their internal resample-rate when doing a non-realtime render. (usually increasing the oversampling)

You can force Reaper to render 'in real time' and see if that makes a difference
Old 1st May 2019
  #3
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It might just be those Fletcher-Munson curves.

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/fletcher-munson-curve/
Old 1st May 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirabhorn View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm in a bit of a struggle as I've just finished mixing a project on reaper and now I need to render it in order to send it to mastering.

It is very my first proper mix so I'm wondering if any of the following could have had something to do with it?

-The song has been recorded in 16 bit 44.1khz with a little digital recorder.
I figured it would probably be better to do the mixing at the same bit rate so I did it this way. Same thing for rendering.

-The master engineer requested the track not to exceed -5db before sending
As I was hitting -2.4db I decided to turn down the output of the only plugin on the master bus ( voxengo tape bus) to -3db.

I was happy with the result until I attempted to render it.
I've been listening to the bounce on reaper and by A/Bing them the rendered version seems to be missing something, it is kind of flatter.. maybe quieter?

Is there a way to set up reaper to render the song to match my mix perfectly that I'm missing?

Have I done detrimental things on my way there?

Many thanks in advance!

S.
When you A/B them, are you also playing the rendered file back through your Reaper session? If so, any chance your master bus effect (voxengo tape) is being applied again on playback, such that you're comparing mix you like vs rendered mix you like through tape effect again, resulting in double tape effect?
Old 1st May 2019
  #5
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Thanks everyone for the answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loji View Post
Be sure you're rendering to 24-bit (not 16)

It should sound the same for your export ... Some plug-ins will change their internal resample-rate when doing a non-realtime render. (usually increasing the oversampling)

You can force Reaper to render 'in real time' and see if that makes a difference
Cheers, I'll try at 24bit. Any advantage in adjusting the sample rate as well? or am I ok to leave it at 44.1khz?
Old 2nd May 2019
  #6
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Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirabhorn View Post
The master engineer requested the track not to exceed -5db before sending
Find another mastering engineer and send the mix you like.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Changing it to 24bit won't make an audible difference, because the source is in 16bit.

You should try to record in 24bit.

Could you upload a pic of youre rendering screen inreaper? It wil be easyer to see what's going on.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #8
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monk u View Post
Changing it to 24bit won't make an audible difference, because the source is in 16bit.
Even though the source files might be 16 bit - you may be increasing the effective bit depth when mixing - like if you turn down a track 12dB in a 32bit float environment you've pretty much ended up with 18bit resolution?

If you're rendering to 16bit at (approx) -6dB you're really truncating to (approx) 15bit aren't you?

I don't know if this is audible - I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be for me. But why do it if you don't have to. Isn't this why 24bit with headroom is kind of the standard for delivering to mastering? to "guarantee" that there's no overs without truncating?
Old 2nd May 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
... But to the OP. I've rendered out of reaper loads and always (unsurprisingly) they sound just like the mix. As PhilDW is hinting, if you listen to a track 5dB quieter it's going to sound different.

In Reaper, don't put fx on your master bus - it's held to be more thread friendly (better use of cpu cores I gather??) to have a stereo bus / folder that you gather all your tracks under. You can leave the master fader at unity. This also gives you the option of bringing your finished render into the mix project (not into the mix bus). If you've turned down your mix bus down x dB - you can bump up the track with your rendered version up by x dB.

Then you can A/B. They'll be the same.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #10
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Thanks for the answers.

About the stereo bus it seems like my laptop (8ram) can't handle it.
Everytime I try to add one on this particular session the song becomes glitchy and laggy when played. Which I assume would be audible in the final render.
Tell me I'm wrong, but if I remove the plugin from my master fader, bounce the song and create a new project for the bounce , put the plugin on the track and render I should get the same result minus the lag/glitches?

Another issue I have is with the volume drop once bounced. I can clearly hear a -3/-4 db drop in the new made track.. no I know seem to be able to find the reason so far.

I've just attached a screenshot of my parameters.
Attached Thumbnails
How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?-screenshot-3-.png  
Old 2nd May 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
in that preference image, your resample interpolation for a full speed offline render is probably different than your playback resample mode is set to in project settings.

I think your project playback resample mode settings, determines what you actually are hearing in realtime as you work.
it's often (64pt Sinc) for playback in order to preserve CPU performance.

whereas the render mode is set to (384pt Sinc) in that example and set to do this in offline mode. but you can't tell what any differences might occur between 384 & 64 because you would have to render in realtime to hear any. then that would be like changing the playback to (384pt Sinc) and would start to stress the CPU.

so I'd also try a render in realtime at (64pt Sinc) and closely check those against each other, in

1: the project running in realtime.
2: one rendered file against another.

this also is a good reason why having an audio track acting as the master, rather than using plugins in the master track, is useful. because you can check the renders against the project running in real time, without having to turn on and off the master buss plugs.

if you are seeing a -3dB difference, it might be to do with a pan law re imposing itself in some way.
I usually have my projects with a 0dB pan law and over ride on a per channel basis.
this feasibly might slow down some work flows because if you load in a lot of channels and
you want to set them all to over ride the project pan law, you'd want to be able to change
all those channels to over ride the pan law in one go. but if I select two tracks in reaper
and then right click one of the pans, then set the dialogue to over ride the pan law then
only the track you right click selected the pan law on, will over ride the pan law.

I think the pan law in project settings, is basically the same as a track pan law terminology.
it's just that in project settings, it's an initial setting global state.

I just tried including a pan law over ride on a channel and then saved it as a template.
the over ride came back up when I inserted the template. so that's another potential workflow bottle neck depending
on how you go about things, and the time hits you incur by having to change states of things, which interrupts workflow.

Last edited by Muser; 2nd May 2019 at 05:06 PM..
Old 2nd May 2019
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirabhorn View Post
Thanks for the answers.
Everytime I try to add one on this particular session the song becomes glitchy and laggy when played. Which I assume would be audible in the final render.
This might seem unconnected but if you're running 64bit Reaper but some of your VSTs are 32bit then the slightest stress on the system can induce glitches, at least is does on my system. If you're unsure then see if your VSTs are nested in your FX panel or floating in a standalone window, nested - good, standalone - bad.

On a separate point, even though there are glitches during playback they are unlikely to show up in rendered files as Reaper will just slow down the render process for the system to catch up, which it can't do in real time - in my experience.

Possibly totally irrelevant.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #13
Maybe I missed it, or it's just "understood" but I assume you rendered to a lossless codec?
Old 2nd May 2019
  #14
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again thanks everyone for the input.

I am using reaper x64 and I do use one 32 bit plugin (ferric TDS for compression, and its floating in a standalone window). It is on like 3/4 busses, so that must be that for the lag.
I'll try to get a similar effect with another pluggin.

About the -3 db, I checked the pan law on my session and it appears to be on 0, but what you describe ressembles very much what I am experiencing here.. Could I be missing the related box to tick, somewhere in the options?

Also when I tried to render the song online realtime, I believe it was just too much for my pc. As soon as the drums/bass came in it became extremely buggy. I'll try again this evening after removing the aforementioned plugin.


Quote:
Originally Posted by db9091 View Post
Maybe I missed it, or it's just "understood" but I assume you rendered to a lossless codec?
Sorry, I don't think I know what you are referring as lossless codec. Do you mind telling me more about this?

I am using the preference on the picture on my previous, but that's about the only non default setting I am using.

EDIT: I just added a few pics of the settings in that session.
Attached Thumbnails
How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?-screenshot-7-.png   How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?-screenshot-8-.png   How can I render on reaper and not lose audio quality?-screenshot-9-.png  

Last edited by sirabhorn; 2nd May 2019 at 10:28 PM.. Reason: add content/ correction
Old 2nd May 2019
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
I'd look at the project master track of the project you rendered out, and right click the pan knob to see if it's set to over ride the project pan law. also maybe check some of the other pans in other tracks. if there are no pan law differences there and the project was also set to 0dB, then the difference is more likely due to some other factor. maybe it's something to do with track metering levels.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
If your computer is crappy, you need to buy more memory or freeze tracks while you're working on your mix. Be frugal with the amount of FX you're using. Instead of 24 tracks, try 8 bus of grouped folders and have the FX applied to those instead of each track. Rendering the mix shouldn't be a problem because you're not monitoring it live.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #17
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I found the culprit, I am guilty of forgetting a -5db volume automation on the master fader... I laughed. I hid the track looking for the cause of that volume drop, while it was right under my nose.

I also checked the pan law and the master fader was using a depricated setting, I put it back to standard and now the sound is the same on both the project and the rendered track.

I am really glad I came here anyway as your comments made me aware of many things I had not paid attention to before. Also Muser your signature has been very helpful to work things out in a relaxed way.

thanks everyone for your contribution!
Old 3rd May 2019
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
cool. so maybe older projects which might use deprecated pan law settings could be something worth keeping an eye out for. not sure what the effect of the deprecated law might produce, but may be best to check that when doing so with older projects at least. it may not have been the cause in this case, but still worth taking into account.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #19
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Heartfelt's Avatar
Also, saw you rendered with Better setting. There are "better" render settings - HQ and extreme HQ
Old 3rd May 2019
  #20
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirabhorn View Post

-The master engineer requested the track not to exceed -5db before sending
As I was hitting -2.4db
He shouldn't care what the level is. He just wants to squash it to oblivion and pump his chest. He doesn't want you to do it.

But seriously it should matter what the level is as long as the mix you give him has the spatial you are happy with. His job is to get your mix to sound good across multiple devices and to perhaps make very minor eq and peak amplitude adjustments in the process.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #21
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Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
He shouldn't care what the level is...
Some mastering guys apparently request the headroom to make sure that less than conscientious mixers don't miss errants.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #22
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it's been sent now but I'll remember that for the next time. I've mainly read that automating down -5 db the master track volume wouldn't change the audio quality.
the one thing I'm wondering about is the reason why it would have to be down on my session? couldn't an MI get the exact same result by turning it down to taste himself?
Old 3rd May 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirabhorn View Post
couldn't an MI get the exact same result by turning it down to taste himself?
Yes. Of course. Providing you haven't gone over 0dB anywhere. (including inter-sample peaks? Perhaps? Can't see it myself.).

Last edited by JonnieK; 3rd May 2019 at 10:54 AM.. Reason: ...
Old 3rd May 2019
  #24
Quote:
I'm in a bit of a struggle as I've just finished mixing a project on reaper and now I need to render it in order to send it to mastering.

It is very my first proper mix so I'm wondering if any of the following could have had something to do with it?

-The song has been recorded in 16 bit 44.1khz with a little digital recorder.
If i was your mastering engineer, I would tell you to export it at the same exact bit and sample rate it was recorded at (16/44.1) and let me up-convert the bit depth to 32bit floating point.

So ask your mastering engineer, that is what he is there for.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
If i was your mastering engineer, I would tell you to export it at the same exact bit and sample rate it was recorded at (16/44.1) and let me up-convert the bit depth to 32bit floating point.
yes, that's what I did in the end and he confirmed it was perfectly fine.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #26
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loji's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
If i was your mastering engineer, I would tell you to export it at the same exact bit and sample rate it was recorded at (16/44.1) and let me up-convert the bit depth to 32bit floating point.

So ask your mastering engineer, that is what he is there for.
??

that's just zero-padding a 16-bit word, into a 25-bit container, with a floating mantissa to scale.

When in effect his raw audio was recorded at 16-bit ... but has now been processed .. resulting (in the case of reaper) a 64-bit double precision sum. truncating that to 16-bit isn't optimizing the precision of the file transfer to his ME.


all that said, a 24-bit .wav is fine if there's no heavy clipping. (and there shouldn't be at this stage )
Old 3rd May 2019
  #27
Quote:
??that's just zero-padding a 16-bit word, into a 25-bit container, with a floating mantissa to scale.
all that said, a 24-bit .wav is fine if there's no heavy clipping. (and there shouldn't be at this stage )
I guess you have no clue to what floating point is. That's ok, we all cant know everything.

FYI: 32bit floating comes from 24bit fixed. Just so you, next time when you try and correct something thats correct and doesn't need correction
Old 4th May 2019
  #28
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Pollo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
I guess you have no clue to what floating point is. That's ok, we all cant know everything.

FYI: 32bit floating comes from 24bit fixed. Just so you, next time when you try and correct something thats correct and doesn't need correction
I think his comments were right on the mark. And I do know what floating point is. And I don't think you do.

When the original files were mixed and therefore processed in Reaper, they were converted to 64 bit float because that is how the Reaper engine works. If any plugins were used or even volume levels changed then it doesn't make any sense to render it as a 16 bit file. Just as it doesn't make any sense for the mastering engineer to request -5 dB of headroom. If she thinks that will prevent you from overcompressing your mix then why doesn't she just say that?
Old 6th May 2019
  #29
Quote:
it doesn't make any sense to render it as a 16 bit file.
OMG, tha'ts what im saying. I never said to render in 16bit. Does anyone know how to read English??
Old 6th May 2019
  #30
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
...I would tell you to export it at the same exact bit and sample rate it was recorded at (16/44.1)...
It certainly does sound like you were suggesting a 16 bit export. I don't have a strong opinion either way on how this project should be handled, but I think people are reading English just fine. Maybe your 16 bit comment didn't come out the way you intended.
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