Can a Template file from a previous session corrupt recording?

Cubase 13 Pro latest update, Windows 10, 32 gig of ram, blah blah blah. Project is 96k 64bit float

Last weekend I recorded a band that had been in the studio previously last year. Same setup and I used all the same mics and preamps as per my notes from the previous session. Things sounded great in the control room while monitoring the recording. But when the band came in to listen the tracks were super distorted, garbled and a bit sped up. (i.e. it sounded as if I had recorded @44.1 but was playing back @48, this was not the case)I tried everything. I exported the individual files , set up a new blank session, imported the files and same result. I opened the original file I used for the template and it was fine.
After they left I set up all the drum mics, the bass di and mic and guitar mic. I recorded each individual mic one at a time until all the tracks were full and no distortion. I am baffled as I have used this method of creating a new recording countless times. I’ve since done individual tracks on other projects with no problems.
So now I have to set up a new session at no cost to them and start over.
Any ideas on what could have caused this.

Nothing obvious comes to mind, but this seems like it might be key.

You know the old saying, if it quacks like a duck it probably is a duck or maybe a sample of a duck quacking.

Is there any other point in your studio’s signal flow where the audio might go through a sample rate conversion? Can the settings on your Audio Interface be remotely changed, perhaps by a MIDI Controller? Any weird plug-ins?

Nope. Even so that doesn’t explain the extreme distortion. The meters on my 2 Bus and Lynx Aurora 16 were fine, nothing in the red. The .wav files of the various instruments are fine, nowhere near clipping…

When you look at the recorded files, and their stats, what does that tell you? If that audio is distorted it implies the distortion happened prior to or at the time of recording. If the audio looks clean it is something happening in the signal chain during playback.

If you import one of the distorted Tracks into a new empty Project using File>Import Tracks From Project… what happens?