Audio Mixdown volume

When exporting an audio mixdown of a simple audio event, the file’s volume ends up different from when I play the event in Cubase.

It also depends on the export format, in 32 bit WAV the file is louder than event in Cubase, in MP3 and 24 bit WAV it’s softer. Why is that, is there a way to predict an exact volume for the final file?


Cubase 5.1.1?
Very old version.
Update now, youve paid for it!!!

oops typo, it’s 5.5.1.

The simplest answer would be, “It depends on the settings of the playback software”. Theoretically if your master faders were set to 0dB and your playback software is set to maximum (0dB) with no DSP or eq the sound should be the same.

In practice and interestingly we notice a definite downgrade in quality going from Windows Media Player to Cubase. WMP sounds muffled.
S :sunglasses:

Thanks, my mistake, I had forgotten a -3dB in the mixing console of my sound card (Echo Mia PCI), now the sound impression and the max level decibel number next to the fader is exactly the same whether I am playing directly in Cubase, or playing the audio mixdown in mp3, wav 24 or wav 32 through Winamp, Windows Media Player or GOM Player; or importing back that audio mixdown file into Cubase and playing it in Cubase. The exception is that Winamp plays wav 32 much louder but this is obviously a Winamp quirk.

It was just a sanity check that playing through any regular Windows program (they all send their sound to Cubase) or directly inside Cubase gives the exact same result. Interestingly there is a 0.2 dB difference in max level between the WAV (24 or 32, same result) and the 320 kbps MP3 due to mp3 compression. It is inaudible but the max fader level notices.

So if in Cubase

BenjaminCS> : if your master faders were set to 0dB

make sure
that the player you use to listen to the exported audio doesn’t use any kind of
“enhancement” settings e.g. if it’s Windows Media Player: Quiet mode, Equaliser
SRS WOW FX, Auto Volume Levelling are off.

:sunglasses: So how do you send the outputs of your Windows program to cubase? :question: S.

manakesna: everything works fine now, thanks.

In Windows’ control panel, I set Windows’ default audio output to the audio interface’s S/PDIF OUT plug, and then I plugged a small S/PDIF cable from S/PDIF OUT to S/PDIF IN. In Cubase I created an audio track which receives from S/PDIF IN and outputs to the regular jack OUT plug (connected to headphones/headphone amp/monitors etc), so if the track has “monitor” turned on, all Windows sounds pass through Cubase (so you can record it or apply any VST in real time etc).

But since Cubase already uses the audio card as an ASIO card, for this to work the card’s driver should be able to handle Windows audio and ASIO at the same time. Almost all cards can do this, even cheap ones, for example my Echo Mia presents 4 “virtual outputs”, each of which can be used either by a Windows Audio app or an ASIO app, so because I set virtual output #2 as Windows’s default sound output, output #2 doesn’t appear in Cubase since it’s already used. In Cubase I send the sound to virtual output #1. Then in the Echo Mia’s mixing console, I direct virtual output #1 to the regular jack OUT plug (headphones etc) and virtual output #2 to the S/PDIF OUT plug.


Clever :sunglasses: