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Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

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Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:47 pm

I've been making some fine tuning tweaks to bass and drum timing and drum tuning this morning, and to avoid disappearing down last night's dead end again, I loaded in my last bounce as a reference.
Now obviously you would expect small tweaks to kick, toms and bass to make a bit of a difference to the overall mix as various compressors kick in etc. But the bounced (24bit) version definitely felt a bit flat and a bit lacking in punch.
Before I got too carried away with my genius (at doing what James Perrett told me!) I did another bounce of the active project and loaded that in as a reference.

This is where it gets interesting.

Comparing the bounce of the project against the active project I can reliably tell the difference between the two with my eyes closed. We are talking a very subtle difference, but you can hear it around the drum transients and the general sense of space around the instruments. It's almost as if there's another compressor sitting on the bounced tracks just taking a fraction off the top.
If I increase the volume of the bounced track by 0.1dB the difference is smaller and, depending on how busy that part of the track is, I can't tell 100% of the time anymore but I don't think it's as simple as a gain change.
Switching from the bounce to the active mix you can hear the bass bloom and the attack of the drums.

So what am I actually hearing here? And how do I get what I'm hearing in the active mix to come out on the bounce?

Vexingly, I obviously can't share any sound examples!

Just to pre-empt a couple of questions before they come in:
- There are no plugins on the master bus.
- Master bus fader is at zero.
- There are no plugins on the bounce track.
- Bounce track fader is at zero.
- Everything was recorded at 44.1 / 24 and the export is the same.

[EDIT - doh! Pertinent detail: I'm on Reaper 6.28]
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:04 pm

Probably you´ve already done so, but every time I have a reference track loaded on the project I disable the master track send at the track´s routing window, and I create a "hardware output" to my main stereo par. That avoids any internal routing issue from that track within Reaper.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:05 pm

I haven't done that, but I will do so now and report back.
Thank you!
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:15 pm

And that appears to have done the trick!
Weirdy McWeird.
Thank you very much sir, I shall add that to the new ways of working mental list.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:25 pm

Glad it worked!. Don´t know what was wrong initially, though... maybe the track being part of a folder, or something like that... but disabling the master send is the way to go.
Always a pleasure to help. :thumbup:
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby Peevy » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:57 pm

You can also check by doing a null test Drew. Import the track back into your Reaper session making sure its lined up with the project (snap it to a measure before you export). Then flip the polarity on the imported bounced track and you should have silence.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:09 pm

That's exactly what he gets when he plays the track to other people. :D
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby ken long » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:13 pm

Wonks wrote:That's exactly what he gets when he plays the track to other people. :D

Savage :)
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby MOF » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:32 pm

I bounce a full res’ file into the folder where the song projects are and play it back with ‘Preview’ (on my iMac), this is also useful if I don’t work on that track for some time and get an idea for new parts later, but as it’s just got a ‘date created’ title it would be a real chore loading all the songs into Logic to find it.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:42 pm

manwilde wrote:Glad it worked!. Don´t know what was wrong initially, though... maybe the track being part of a folder, or something like that... but disabling the master send is the way to go.
Always a pleasure to help. :thumbup:
Nope, no folders, groups, etc. But key thing is knowing that what comes out of the bounce is the same as I'm hearing on the active mix.
Thanks again. :thumbup:

Peevy wrote:You can also check by doing a null test Drew. Import the track back into your Reaper session making sure its lined up with the project (snap it to a measure before you export). Then flip the polarity on the imported bounced track and you should have silence.
I am embarassed to admit that I didn't consider this. :oops:
I am curious though so I'm going to try with both output options and will report back.


ken long wrote:
Wonks wrote:That's exactly what he gets when he plays the track to other people. :D

Savage :)
Accurate though, and probably for the best.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:56 pm

Nope, I take it back, changing the routing hasn't fixed the issue.

It's not as bad, but doing the null test shows the signals are still very different and not really nulling out at all.

Could this be due to something like Console N being active and what I'm hearing is the difference between two incidences of 8 channels of the analog emulation being active?
It is a BIG difference.

I'm now back to not being sure I can trust my bounces. :(
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:00 pm

Can you remove Console N and retry the null test?

Is the master fader at 0?

Are you using any dithering?
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:03 pm

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention is that I always mute the reference track and then click on the solo button to swiftly go back and forth the reference and the current mix whithout stopping playback.
You probably know this already, but I find it more convenient than playing the reference from the media explorer, so I thought it was worth mentioning, just in case.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:06 pm

In which track is the ConsoleN set? Can you freeze it?.
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Re: Why doesn't my bounce sound like my active mix?

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:07 pm

And is the bounce mp3 or Wav?
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