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realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby iceman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:05 am

hi guys, so what works best for you guys im talking in 16bit 44.1khz over the years ive found exporting to lie particularly with levels i.e. how you hear the mix playing back before you export/real-time mix down but since i started using presonus studio one v2 for about a year now ive not had these problems as much, i got into a discussion with some guys, one is the owner of a large successful studio and one is/was a producer who seemed to think that because i was exporting my final mixes rather than doing it in real time i was losing out on quality in a big way and suggested i do a null test between the two, i hadn't actually ever done this before and was surprised by the results the resulting null test gave me a file where indeed i could hear something but it was so quiet i could only hear it if i put the volume of the channel and master up full and put a limiter on the track and really slammed it, would this really make a difference? listening back to the two over headphones that i use regularly i cant hear a difference. which leads me to the question if exporting like that is frowned upon why has it now been included in pro tools?
And finally! im considering doing a null test by recording from my home pc which is virtually identical spec to my studio pc via a digital optical out from one interface to the other. so from what i can work out there seems to be three main ways to export/mixdown/bounce to a stereo 44.1khz 16bit .wav file im basically just wondering what is the 'best' way of doing this

looking forward to your opinions and advice

regards.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:31 am

This is probably one of those urban legends that had a grain of truth back in the old days of Protools. Older versions of Protools took shortcuts with processing in order to speed up performance and this was compounded by certain plug-ins working differently depending on how they were being used.

This shouldn't be an issue with modern systems but it is always worth checking as bugs can easily creep in.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby iceman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:22 pm

thanks James, i just wanted to clear this up with some more opinions as basically i got flamed for exporting in non real time and after doing the null test like i say what was left was so quiet i could only barely hear it after turning everything up on the mixer full and limiting it to within an inch of its life it was kinda a whispy airy sound that only really was properly audible on drum hits
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby ken long » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:30 pm

iceman wrote:thanks James, i just wanted to clear this up with some more opinions as basically i got flamed for exporting in non real time and after doing the null test like i say what was left was so quiet i could only barely hear it after turning everything up on the mixer full and limiting it to within an inch of its life it was kinda a whispy airy sound that only really was properly audible on drum hits

Did you dither? Might be the dither difference.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby Mixedup » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:35 pm

Reasons to bounce in real time:

1. It's quicker - because you should be checking your stereo bounce every time you create one, so why not do it now?

2. You're using outboard.

Reasons to bounce offline:

1. It's quicker... except that you still have to check it.
2. Some systems can process things off-line that they can't handle in real time.
3. Some plugins can render at greater precision/higher quality during an offline bounce.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby iceman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:13 pm

yeh i do dither! i do also use outboard sometimes the reason im looking into it more now is because i have spent quite a lot of money hiring in some pro mic's etc its soundign great and i want to be able to make sure the finished stereo 44.1khz wav is as good!!


anyone have any opinions about recording from one pc playing the tracks back and recording to another pc as a stereo file ?
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby Wease » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:58 pm

If your really that concerned, then why not do both....it's not going to add that much time to a single track mix down....

Then you can hear any difference, and keep the file you like.


Sos have that ad running at the beginning of their videos.....the sonnex codec thing??.....wasn't it their sos award winner this year.......it's £40, and might actually improve your bounce downs.....I don't know, but I am not always happy with my bounce downs.....they never quite sound as good as the actual daw live mixes......I wonder if anyone here has any thoughts on the sonnox product
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby James Perrett » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:04 am

Mixedup wrote:Reasons to bounce in real time:

1. It's quicker - because you should be checking your stereo bounce every time you create one, so why not do it now?


Except that you should be checking the resultant file so listening while you are bouncing serves little purpose.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby MarkOne » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:58 am

I found in Logic (Version 9 at least, dunno about X) arpeggiators only work in a real time bounce, not offline.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby mellowsouls » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:39 pm

Wierd, I was going to ask the same question. I thought it was my imagination at first, but I can hear a difference between the two. Export seems to lose 'space'. A friend of mine came to the same conclusion.
I think realtime wins over export... but I don't understand this dither business, so perhaps it's just operator error. I'll go read some stuff.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby Mixedup » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:06 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Mixedup wrote:Reasons to bounce in real time:

1. It's quicker - because you should be checking your stereo bounce every time you create one, so why not do it now?


Except that you should be checking the resultant file so listening while you are bouncing serves little purpose.


Except that you may be aware of a problem sooner when listening to a real time bounce. Also, some effects with non-sync'd modulation sound different every time, so worth listening to. And, of course, it depends what you're bouncing to and how you're monitoring.

Just playing devil's advocate... I usually do an offline bounce unless using outboard. And even then, I usually print the tracks with the outboard first (better for archive/recall) and then bounce the mix offline.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby oggyb » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:28 pm

I've never been aware of a difference in the quality of an offline bounce compared to a real-time bounce in Cubase.

I agree that, regardless of what comes out the speakers during a real-time bounce, you should be checking the generated wav itself.
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Re: realtime mixdown vs export to .wav

Postby MarkOne » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:07 am

Should be easy to prove one way or another...

Do both and then import both mix downs into a new project and do the flip phase and sum trick and see if it nulls or not
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