Export Realtime or not

Hello everyone,

I’m doing a batch export.
The project has over 50 channel tracks.
Is there a difference in quality if I export in realtime or not? In studio set up the option 32 or 64 bit is on 64.

Also I’m running c12 on pc win 10 with a decent processor 5900x.
Any advice would be great!

There should not be any difference between regular and real-time exports. So normally you’ll stick to regular and not real-time. Unless you have outboard gear or any other specific reason to do real-time.

However, you can always export a small section each way and then do a null test and of course a listen test. Just to satisfy your curiosity.

Hi Phil,

I don’t use outboard gear. Can you please explain how realtime would be useful in a scenario where I’d be using outboard gear ?
Just for the purpose of learning something new. Lol.

Also when running a few plug ins I always had the impression that realtime can be better.

Well with outboard gear you obviously can’t physically do a normal Offline render. You need to actually play the signal through the outboard equipment. So the only option in that scenario is real-time.

Offline works in such a way that the render is done using the power of your machine for example. So if you have a decent processor etc. You should find offline faster and more reliable. The machine can take its time when it gets to a particularly complex part of the render and then go full on in simpler parts. (I’m explaining this in as simple fashion as I can without being too technical).

But as mentioned, If you feel you have better results using one method or the other. Try a blind listen test. And a null test. (You can look up how to do the null test.)

Tldr. Unless you have outboard gear, use Offline Export.

Oh, and until I get around to making my own video, here is a pretty good explanation of how a null test works and how to do it in Cubase. (Click the arrow to see the YT link).


I don’t think a blind listen test needs any explanation but just in case:

  • Get both files.
  • Cover your eyes
  • Hit play

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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I 've done a null test a couple of years ago and they did cancel each other, so no real life quality difference.

Not always the case in reality. But nevertheless I think the question has been answered.


Yep, question has been answered (well). Just one tangential thought: There are plugins that are non-deterministic, i.e. they use random number generators in their processing (which, technically, would be deterministic if they’re PRNGs re-salted with the same init value for every run, but that’s splitting technical hairs).

But in practice you’ll get (slightly) different renders every time you run an export (real-time or not) with those sorts of plugins, so it’s something to look out for.

What do you mean?

This is part of understanding how a null test works for sure.

Point being that, even taking into account randomness of some plugins and instruments, there have been reports of failed null tests when comparing real-time and offline exports.

Many of this will never be seen, because it would require you to null test every single mix, not just once in a blue moon. But there have been cases.