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Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

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Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:12 am

What is out-of-sync? I'm recording a 5.1 piece of music.
I mean the timing between left and center is off by as much as 5ms. Most of the time, I have not been able to notice. But on a couple of sound-tracks I can.

So I've tested different methods of use:

A 6-Channel recording, recorded 3 different ways:
1) recorded 24-bit 6-channels 44,100 samples without using the audio-interface. (This is the maximum ability of the Zoom-R16).
2) Hooking up a laptop, and using it as a Audio-Interface. (if any have seen my former-post, I abandoned the long-cable to my gaming computer...) So with the laptop, I tried 88,200Sample Rate. This yielded poorer quality. And the sync between tracks seemed even larger.
3) Then I tried 48,000hz with the Audio-Interface... This is comparable quality to #1. I'm not sure which is better #1 or #3.

Then I tried laying the final version out... and seeing that 'Center' channel and actually sliding the center over just a hair (5ms, where I could physically see it off. It actually improved. But of course the Rear-Left and Rear-Right also suffer in similar ways... And I'm just guessing. This produced a #4

The Driver-Latency settings are for when you hear you playing. I don't care about that. I actually might want to increase the Latency setting right? Because I just care about 'Recording' intervals. The Laptop is a 8-Core Alienware... so before you ask how good it is. Its pretty high-end. Should be able to handle the pounding.

Is there a setting that I should be looking at?
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:19 am

I'd be looking at settings in your AV receiver - is it trying to do something clever like steer the source towards different speakers by using the Haas effect?

One thing - you do know that there's a much easier way to do what you want to do without using the AV receiver and audio interface. It is perfectly possible to route the surround sound audio from whatever program you are playing it in and send it direct to a recording program.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:13 am

James Perrett wrote:One thing - you do know that there's a much easier way to do what you want to do without using the AV receiver and audio interface. It is perfectly possible to route the surround sound audio from whatever program you are playing it in and send it direct to a recording program.
Not this again :boring: This is nothing to do with the question. I've searched all methods. Is there really another way?... to get multi-channel audio from streaming sources other than the box I built? That wires directly into the Zoom-R16.
There is some newer dubious-ly illegal ways to download audio, that will likely have lower quality. DVDFab, just recently started offering a download service that is now supposed to be 5.1channels.

However, my box is much more versatile and allows me do what I want with the audio.
So the other 'Easier-ways' you are referring to are likely just 2-Channel Stereo. I am a Multi-Channel Audio enthusiast, and I keep all my music in 5.1 or better.

The question was just to do with the Device (Zoom-R16) and its ability to sync between channels. Or when it is used as a Audio-Interface, and the settings in Cubase.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:25 am

Reaper in WASAPI shared loopback mode will record a multichannel file exactly as it is played by whatever playback software you are using. I've just checked it with a stream from the Fraunhofer website - the only limitation is that your audio interface must be able to handle all the channels as it records what is being sent to the audio interface.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:46 am

James Perrett wrote:Reaper in WASAPI shared loopback mode will record a multichannel file exactly as it is played by whatever playback software you are using. I've just checked it with a stream from the Fraunhofer website - the only limitation is that your audio interface must be able to handle all the channels as it records what is being sent to the audio interface.
Again off-topic.... AS we went down this path for a couple of posts on an earlier thread until they realized i knew what I am doing.

oK... But the source... then has to be from the computer?
if there is a multi-channel source available on the computer, then what do I care?... Than cool, i already can get it, or already have it. i dont need some WASPI thingamagy, or my BOX for that. Even a blu-ray is accessible. This box is for getting audio from Streaming-sources, predominently. A streaming-source does not 'stream' to windows-10 in Multi-channels... they only stream to Windows-10 in Stereo.
IF you can find a Streaming Source that Streams to windows 10 in 5.1 channels or more ... let me know.

Edit: So it is reported that Netflix, with the Netflix-Win10-app you can stream in 5.1. Although people have trouble with it, and you might have to bitstream. if it is Bitstream, than its nearly impossible to decode, so its not really 5.1, until it gets to the receiver. I don't stream Netflix anyway. Nor, do I bitstream audio. Believe it or not, I still have a Netflix-Bluray plan. I do subscribe to Disney-PLus, Amazon...

down to business at hand... I can post a picture of two different recordings of the same channel, but its getting late. The same channel data matches at the beginning. but a minute and a half later... they are off by a few millisseconds... this is what i mean by 'Sync'.... And if I can see that with my eyes, than it must mean that stuff is getting off betweeen all the channels.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:06 pm

Here is a test image of just clicks... recorded by the Zoom-R16. I tried both 24bit and 16bit rates, both producing similar results...

Image
As you can see, this is about 45 seconds into the justclicks... recording.

How did I create this?
I created this, by taking a recording of a mouse-click, then duplicating the mono-track to all-six channels/tracks.

So the image on the left is the original 6-tracks duplicated. The image on the right, is the recorded version at around 45seconds. Note: Of course the sub-channel is low-passed so, nothing much comes out, from a mouse-click.

What is apparent though is that you can see how even the 'Right'-or 2nd channel is slightly moved over, after 45seconds. But really quite moved over on the Rear-Right-Channel, highlighted in red.

Is my AV-Receiver late? more than likely, since its the order of items being recorded, I'm going to blame the R16.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:23 pm

Your 'how did I create this' section doesn't really tell me how you created it... What's the actual signal path, please?

If I recall correctly, you're recording the analogue outputs from your AV decoder /amp, but how are you getting the signals into the amp in the first place?

Are you sure any speaker time-alignment facilities in the amp have been zero'd/bypassed?

I think you're suggesting that the sync error between channels is varying over time as well? So the is it entirely random or can you see any kind of pattern?

What is providing the clock for the R16?

Is the R16 running on the latest firmware?

Have you tried inputting a transient signal directly (ie, not via your amp contrivance) to all of the R16's analogue inputs simultaneously and checked the sync of that?

If it is a R16 problem you'll obviously need to contact Zoom about it.... but it's hard to see how an error of this nature and magnitude could elude their designers and QC.

I suspect a more likely reason is something to do with either the amp, or the way you're loading the recorded data into the computer. But without scrupulously rigorous testing of one element at a time it will be impossible to know for sure.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:14 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If I recall correctly, you're recording the analogue outputs from your AV decoder /amp, but how are you getting the signals into the amp in the first place?
Since you know that I'm using my box from the AV-receiver. This seems self-explanatory. I'm playing the 'original-file' now exported to FLAC-format with Foobar2000 (a multi-channel audio player). The AV-Receiver is connected to many sources, not just Streaming ones, including my computer.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Are you sure any speaker time-alignment facilities in the amp have been zero'd/bypassed?
Of course... I turn off room-correction and equalizer and my speaker's bi-wireing.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I think you're suggesting that the sync error between channels is varying over time as well? So the is it entirely random or can you see any kind of pattern?
Actually, in studying the results of this test. There is good news. It appears to not be cumulative. The distance values appears to be the same at 45seconds as it does at the 2:30mark for the rear-right channel. Which means, I can make a measurement, and possibly build a script.

So I tested just moving the channels over in the gradual pattern that emerged in a 'Soundtrack', that I could really hear the clashing. Yes I can make it improve. Less like dithering.

Not all recordings can I hear the issue, because this is a very subtle millisecond difference between the channels. But especially in this one... Back to the future (end-credit-recording)

Is it possible that there is random differences? I'll keep testing. But It would be cool to take a measurement and adjust, before any cutting and outputting to final.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:What is providing the clock for the R16?
Is the R16 running on the latest firmware?
Clock? Don't know.... Firmware? I know I updated when I got it. But its been a while.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Have you tried inputting a transient signal directly (ie, not via your amp contrivance) to all of the R16's analogue inputs simultaneously and checked the sync of that?
Do you mean somehow come up with 3 or more identical signals for an extended period of time. Where would I get the source though... if not from my box.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I suspect a more likely reason is something to do with either the amp, or the way you're loading the recorded data into the computer. But without scrupulously rigorous testing of one element at a time it will be impossible to know for sure.
If I'm making a recording from the device... then I just load the individual .wav files for each channel. Each input is recorded separately. With identical file-sizes and similar names... mono0, mono1, mono2....

If I'm recording as a Audio-Interface... Then similarly I retrieve individual channel files in the Documents directory under cubase, after the recording is complete. Each file is again identical size, but this time I've named the files inside of Cubase (left, right, center... and so on)

Edit: I have a test... How bout I wire flip the Rear-Channels with the fronts on the back of the R16? I say that the Rears will end up first in the recording.... But I will not be able to do this until tonight.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:20 pm

You win...
The 'Left-Channel' still shows up first no matter where it is connected, then the right, and so on.
The good news is, it seems to be repairable in post, because it is a measurable change for each channel. Then I can write a ffmpeg script.

In the case of the mouse-click sound effect. Since it was duplicated, it acts as a mirror effect. As it takes more time to get to the next mirrored channel.

Here's a funny thing it reminds me of:
https://comb.io/E5Pguk Here even in 1989, Homer believes that John Williams is dead and exclaims "Could that bassoon have come in any more late?"... And it applies because I'm mostly recording soundtracks.

Thank you...
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Sat May 01, 2021 11:58 am

When I was looking at the speaker seconds or micro-seconds:
.000408 right
.000907 center
.002109 rear-left
.002517 rear-right

It dawned on me that this was speaker-distance. There was a bigger step between the fronts and the rear's. I was like DUH!

So No apparently everything was not being turned off.
So when making a normal recording I need to use 'DIRECT' mode. I didn't think about also using the 'Quick-remote' function for that. For some reason I was thinking that turning off room-correction was enough.

There are cases where I use other modes though. Where these measurements will come in handy. if I'm using the receivers DTX-Neo or ProLogic type functions to convert music from 2CH to Multichannel.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Sat May 01, 2021 2:53 pm

I couldn't edit the above post. But it is wrong.
I tested the 'Mouse-Clicks' in DIRECT-mode.

It is the same. Still relatively the same Micro-seconds between Left & Rear-Right.
So back to padding no matter what.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby Wonks » Sat May 01, 2021 4:54 pm

Is there a setting on your A/V unit to set the speaker distances? If so, what happens if you set all the distances to zero (or whatever its minimum setting is)? The unit's software may still be adding delays even in 'direct' mode, which may only bypass any EQ or sound effect settings.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Sat May 01, 2021 6:10 pm

Wonks wrote:Is there a setting on your A/V unit to set the speaker distances? If so, what happens if you set all the distances to zero (or whatever its minimum setting is)? The unit's software may still be adding delays even in 'direct' mode, which may only bypass any EQ or sound effect settings.
I could do that... that would be more work than the padding. Meaning it would be too much work to set the distances back and forth. (non-record-mode vs record mode)
However, 'DIRECT-Mode' is supposed to skip speaker-distances. (is it skipping?, or is some other function?)

However, this padding method is already proven successful. So it doesn't matter. The work around is better.

Here is the mouse-clicks perfectly aligned, and it is that way at all points in 2.5mins
Image

I was considering... Just considering, if there was any marketable, Patentable application to the box I built that attaches between the R16 and the Receiver. However its complications such as this, that make it more difficult for anyone to consider. Of course you can patent almost anything. But Market.....
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 01, 2021 7:54 pm

robertkjr3d wrote:However, 'DIRECT-Mode' is supposed to skip speaker-distances.

I doubt it! The speaker distance compensation is there to correct time-of-flight differences from the speakers in their physical room placements. Once set up, why would anyone want to 'skip' those corrections? That wouldn't make any practical sense as an option.

I suspect the 'direct' mode will actually be about bypassing A-D-A conversion for analogue inputs, or bypassing the multichannel volume control, or something like that.

I was considering... Just considering, if there was any marketable, Patentable application to the box I built that attaches between the R16 and the Receiver.

No. It's not doing anything new or innovative. It's just a bunch of DI boxes feeding a recorder. The everyday stuff of sound stages and recording studios around the world.
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Re: Zoom R16 Multi-Track Recording out-of-sync by just enough to be disturbing...

Postby robertkjr3d » Sun May 02, 2021 12:57 pm

I really don't know how much the DI-Boxes are doing. I tested without them, and the sound seems relatively the same.

Remember, we brought them in, to act as high-quality 'ground-loop-isolators'. Yes that was your idea 'Hugh'. To balance the long-cable USB run to my computer. But I've abandoned that. It always produced lower-quality. I ended up installing Cubase-software on a high-end laptop, and I bring that out and attach via USB.

I still have the DI-Boxes connected, really because the outgoing wires... hehe, are not long enough to get to my R16 from my box, where everything sits.

Also recall that I could not find anything that the box was able to accomplish. That's why I built it. There are many extractors that do not work out there in the market, that come out of China. That never decode Dolby-Digital-Plus and always have issues with HDCP.

What you don't know that I rebuilt the box with just 2-Switches (two huge 6-pole switches). One switch for positive wires, one for the negative wires. All with 10 gauge wires.
But if it ever was going to be marketable...
It would have to be just one (Record Mode / Speaker Mode)

Yes, someone could find a way to wire it themselves from the receiver to the recorder. But the innovation comes in here: 1) they wouldn't have to (ahh thats why you buy things, instead of making them) I built it because it doesn't exist. 2) the switching allows them to have both normal listening mode and recording. (if not for switching, they would have to wire everything back, or have 2 receivers, or a completely dedicated streaming studio for recording.)

Speaking of a studio for recording... It has that application too. You can plug a microphone in, and add your vocal, while through the box, it is playing from the receiver. And like normal for this type of thing, you sing to the music that you hear from the headphones. Then you can edit the added vocal-channel by it self. We have done this.
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