Cubase 12 Import Audio Reference Track

Hi There,
Trying to import a reference track in Cubase 12 for mastering, but the signal of the reference track looks like its being compressed

(I tried downloading High Quality tracks from both HD tracks and ProStudio Masters - Tried quite a few Wavs and AIFF Formats just to make sure it wasn’t the track)

Ive trouble shooted and searched google - looks like the audio is getting clipped when it should be a perfect sample
see image below -
just imported audio track - I upgraded from 8.5/PC to 12/MacStudio which is my current set up- and just can’t seem to import a healthy track - and I know these are in tip-top shape.


If the sound is OK then you have just the waveform Zoomed In.

Hey Martin, Thanks for the reply!
So I was wondering that - but when I pull the DB down its looking compressed - and If I use this to reference the track - is that right to do - in older cubase versions it looked more like a healthy track?

here is an image where I pulled down the DB so you can see the tops and bottoms of the wav
Screen Shot 2022-11-13 at 8.53.19 AM

It is either a zoom issue (check your waveform zoom level, it is on the right side of the arrangement window just above the scroll bar, also horizontal zoom level can make it look more compressed than it actually is, try zooming in horzontally) or it is just the fact that this piece of music ist just heavily compressed and brickwall limited to the max, which is not unusual if it is a released track.
If you select the audio event and use “Audio->Statistics”, you can check the RMS or integrated Loudness level of the whole track.

Can you please post a screenshot of the statistics for this audio event?
menu Audio → Statistics


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This is super trippy -
I opened back up the project and now the wav looks healthy - and I hadn’t done anything new lol - and all last night I was in research mania to try to figure this one out - voila - open her up today and she is reading fine - both wav and aiff.
The onnnnly thing I had done was switch rosetta off to move to Intel - but then back to rosetta - I anticipate some goofiness while this new tech is underway…so maybe it was just moody? LOL
Thanks for your comments here <3

just for fun - here is the stats screen shot:

True Peak is +2dB and more. This might not be a good reference file. But of course, it is your call. Glad to hear things sorted themselves out.

BTW - if you have created that file yourself or if you know the person that created it I would rather use a bit resolution of 32float.

Yeah, that is quite loud. “compressed to f***” :rofl:
I agree, might not be the best reference material, especially if you’re tempted to reach that kind of loudness…

Hey Johnny - what’s the ideal? Ive been working in Cubase a long time but so much learning to still absorb.
Here is another similar track stat - of course right after I wrote this it did it again. I have no idea why its flip flopping. The zoom is all the way out on the setting -

Ah - got it- so wild - that it is so loud - it’s Jason Mraz lol. he’s mostly chill… the one I posted above is a Taylor Swift song -

It def sounds like I need to find some other tracks - and these are coming from 2 top two sites HD Tracks and ProStudio Masters - so I wasn’t thinking I would run into this from reliable HD track sources. hmmmmm

That has nothing to do with where you got the tracks from. They are just - especially the Taylor Swift one - produced, mixed and mastered very loud. You can use them, but I would very much advise you to bring them down in level if you intend to compare it to your own stuff, else it’ll confuse you more than it will help imho…

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Thanks much for the advice!

For your own tracks you should never ever exceed Peak and/or TruePeak, ie. never above 0.0dB. There are plenty of people who’d advise even against going beyond -1.0dB.

Also - if you master yourself you can go to -1.0dB TruePeak. If you give a song to a sound engineer for mastering it is better to allow for even more headroom. The engineer should be able to tell you what they need.

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@BrookeLynn I corrected the above. There was a typo (-10dB instead of -1.0dB).