Choppy Volume Automation - Why?

Hey everyone! I have a powerful Mac and an Antelope Orion 32 Converter as well as separate SD Drives which stream my audio projects and sample libraries - which leads me to wonder why my volume automation is not consistent?

I often draw in detailed volume automation that may attenuate a track to silence and then back to audible and upon playback sometimes the sound is clean, i.e. from audible to silence and back again, seamless and smooth - and sometimes that EXACT same automation will cause an audible click - almost what sounds like the audio or automation cannot react fast enough so the front of the sound gets cut off when going back to audible.

I have done bounce tests on these parts and sometimes the bounces are clean and seamless and sometimes clicks - I really don’t get it!? I don’t believe this to be a zero cross issue as it does not occur every time.

I removed plugins from these tracks as I thought maybe latency but it still happens - I also tried turning delay strain compensation on and off and still the issue persists.

I admit my automation lines are steep - see attached pic pls - but even so, it does not happen every time.

This happens regardless of buffer size! Can anyone offer advice or a solution!!??

Would be very grateful!!


As I can see, you are using Cubase 9. Cubase 12 brings an improvement of sample-accurate Volume automation. This probably explains, why it didn’t work in Cubase 9 as expected.

Oh man…bummer - I appreciate your reply! Is there a workaround for this? Any tips? Ugh…driving me kinda crazy!


Sorry, there is no workaround. I would wait for Cubase 12 Trial release. Then I would test it in Cubase 12. If it will work as expected in Cubase 12 then you know the reason. And then I would consider an upgrade.

In older Cubase versions, the automation just wasn’t sample accurate, so it might differ a bit (few samples), which might cause these kind of artefacts.


Thanks for your reply - yeah, this may be solved in Cubase 12 - not quite ready to upgrade but eventually I will!

One workaround is to not use volume automation for cleaning up a take. Instead, consider using other approaches such as cutting up the take into smaller events and use clip based fade in/out where necessary and the mute tool to silence any sections/clips without removing them from the time line.
Automating the Channel Mute might be another option.


Thanks for your reply - yeah, I ended up cutting and fading in and out - which with drum takes when folder sync is not working is extremely time consuming - I really love Cubase, been using it for almost 20 years, but some aspects of workflow and bugginess are suuuuper frustrating - and I feel like the need to keep updating to the newest version for simply wanting sample accurate editing is nuts…

Will try your mute suggestion tho - might work. Have you tried that?

For cleaning up a take, I do that on a clip level with cuts, clip level and clip fades.
I use volume automation for balancing levels during mixing.
I can’t remember ever automating the mute button.

All of the different workflow options are interesting - and also illustrate how ambitious Cubase is to please so many different work flows. And obviously, that creates a much more challenging programming workload for the development team.

And of course, most of us Cubase users are convinced that our own workflow is the one that makes the most sense, and we are often hard pressed to understand why anybody would want to do things differently. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

To illustrate, here’s my workflow - and of course I don’t understand why anybody would do it differently :wink:

For strictly cleaning up a track (e.g. eliminate low level noises (like self noise from condenser mics, guitar amp distortion (tube or transistor) during non-played sections, I often use a noise gate, which has controls for how fast it drops the volume down to zero. For long sections, I (also) cut out the empty areas.

And when muting a played section I tend to cut the desired section into an event and mute the event in the track using the “mute event” X tool, so it’s really obvious in the track overview (and saves the vertical space for displaying automation lanes). And when I don’t want to see those muted events, but want to keep them, I sometimes make a new track version where I delete the such muted events.

So many options!

I think it’s in general “best practice” to mute clips rather than drop level.

First of all it’s easy enough to create fades/crossfades to get clean ins/outs.

Secondly as you’ve found out you avoid problems with level jumping instantaneously from -infinity to some other value.

Third it makes it easier to adjust levels broadly speaking, meaning that successive gain changes of the whole track won’t suddenly raise what used to be -infinity to some value where you actually hear sound.

Lastly, and in my opinion pretty significantly, it gives you an immediate visual representation of what is playing and what isn’t. I’m actually in post and not music (for artists) but whenever I sit down with a timeline that I didn’t set up I really don’t want to have to extend automation lanes or look at meters to see what is and what isn’t playing. It’s so much faster to see that something is greyed out and therefore isn’t what I’m looking at on the timeline. Even better when you zoom out and want to find different sections of a song or TV show. If you know that there’s a section where all your guitars (tripled, quadroupled etc) are muted you can see that right away and navigate to that section if the events are muted…