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Digital distortion

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Digital distortion

Postby justfine99 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:16 pm

Hi friends!

First time on SOS forum and I have a rather odd scenario and no idea what’s causing my issue, but hopefully someone can shed some light and point me in the right direction!

In a nutshell:
*recording to DAW (cubase 10 pro)
*Interface = Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56
*recording @ 24bit / 48kHz

Export to either:
*wav 44.1kHz/16bit (dither has been applied)
or
*wav 48kHz/24bit (no dither, not required as export file = same as recording attributes)
or
*mp3 @320kbps (highest quality)

My issue is that all of the above exports, when imported and played back in Audacity has these terrible digital artifacts (RingModulation). There’s no audible issues on any other platform (iTunes, Windows medial player, car stereo [CD or USB Drive mp3] except for Audacity.

Now I know that you thinking, “who the hell cares about Audacity”, but other pro tracks do not have these RingModulation artifacts, they all sound as what they do on all the previously mentioned platforms.

What’s causing my tracks to sound like this during playback in Audacity? Is it because I should be recording at a higher sample rate, bit depth etc?

Hope someone can help me out!
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:39 pm

Totally unfamiliar with Audacity, but if it happens only on that software it's gotta be some configuration specific to it.

Assuming your gain structure is right (meaning you don't get remotely near 0dBFS for your mix), either you have some effect on by default or perhaps it's simply the ASIO buffer as configured in audacity that is too short (or maybe you aren't using ASIO at all)?

Stuff like that.
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby justfine99 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:24 am

Hi all

Apologies, it's within Wavosaur, got mixed up between the two :crazy:

Once again I know Wavosaur is some crappy free DAW, but it just bothers me that my recordings have this issue. Also not a level issue, so nothing to do with "clipping" even playing back a track with no mastering has the same effect so I can only think it's during the export phase, BUT as mentioned even when exporting as .wav 48kHz/24bit I still get the same issue :headbang:
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:38 am

Ring Mod type noises are usually an indication of a sample rate and/or clocking problem, so it would be worth checking the program preferences to make sure it's using the right sample rate and the right drivers for your sound card.
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby justfine99 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:41 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Ring Mod type noises are usually an indication of a sample rate and/or clocking problem, so it would be worth checking the program preferences to make sure it's using the right sample rate and the right drivers for your sound card.

Thanks for the advice and you are indeed correct! I went out on a limb and converted to 44.1/16bit and bam, no more issue. Even the "pro" tracks were playing back at 16bit which I wasn't taking notice of.

For some reason the program only "likes" 44.1kHz / 16bit, although it fully supports the other playback formats. I even changed the properties of the laptops' soundcard to playback in accordance with the track, but still had these horrible ring mod artifacts.

Anyway, thanks for all the help, at least now I know there's no quality issue with my recordings!
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby ef37a » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:56 pm

Glad you have been fixed friend..If I may?
"Once again I know Wavosaur is some crappy free DAW, " If you are putting Audacity in that bracket I don't think you should. The DAW is an editor first and foremost and I understand a rather good one and has 'hidden depths' that can be exploited by people far cleverer than I.

The fact that it is free counts against it perhaps but it remains a very useful tool for forum people because just about anyone who has spent 5 minutes with computer audio finds it and knows something about it.

One drawback is that Audacity cannot use ASIO drivers.

Dave.
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:44 am

+1 Dave has made a valid point. If you are remotely serious about recording music you will, sooner or later, gravitate towards a fully featured DAW, Audacity is one of the more 'user/wallet friendly' DAWs and can get the job done but there are probably better if you have the time to learn them. Cakewalk, for one, is free and offers the full on professional DAW experience but, TBF, I have little experience of either Cakewalk or Audacity, my DAW of choice is Reaper, a licence costs only $60 and it works well for me and is extremely flexible/configerable. Just remember that whatever you end up using it's the music that matters and the DAW is only a tool to help you record the moment.
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby jimjazzdad » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:07 pm

I agree with Dave and Sam and I am a satisfied Reaper user as well. But Audacity is an extremely useful tool that is an important part of my workflow. As a 2-track recorder it excels. I produce a two hour community radio programme every week and I wouldn't think of using anything but Audacity for speed and ease of editing. I also use Audacity as a 2-track 'master recorder' when I go OTB from a mixed-down Reaper master track through various analogue gear and back to digital (here the lack of Audacity ASIO is an advantage, as it is possible to run both DAWs simultaneously on the same PC). And for rendering to CD redbook or other PCM formats, tests indicate that Audacity is 'cleaner' than Reaper...this is great tool for comparing the render output of various DAWs: https://src.infinitewave.ca/

P.S. I have no expereince with Wavosaur so no comment on OP's issue but he seems to have solved it...just wanted to put in a good word for Audacity.
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Re: Digital distortion

Postby justfine99 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:44 pm

Thanks guys, as per my original post, I use Cubase 10 pro for recording. The whole reason behind my post was that it was confusing the hell out of me as to why my tracks were sounding so bad in a Wavosaur after being exported from Cubase 10 pro and using Focusrite interfaces while tracking :lolno:

Wavosaur is just some editor I have on my work laptop that I use from time to time to shorten a track for a sample etc. So this is only used if I need to edit a track while at work and not in my studio. Also I have never used Audacity, as mentioned I got confused between the two :)
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