"Flatten real time processing" NOT WORKING

After a quick search the issue seems to be present with all DAW that use these algorithms, so it’s not necessarily Steinberg’s fault.

Animated image

Comparing Elastique Time and Pitch (vs Standard Drums and Mix)
elastique algorithm

The Elastique algorithm from Zplane had received numerous updates and improvements over time. The latest version seems to be 3.3.7 as of September 2021. On the documentation from page 2 to 5 is explained how it works. V3 praises the improved accuracy of the algorithm and introduces multiple new features: a SOLOIST algorithm (not present in Cubase, we still have the old “Standard - Solo” for VariAudio…), the infiniStretch and Hold features, and finally a synchronized mode that should keep the transients in sync. It is this latter that is catching my attention.

Even though Elastique Time seems to handle the “sync” better, I do not believe that this is that kind of sync that the documentation is talking about. The Time preset is only optimized to stay as close to the original transient as possible, and according to my findings, 95% of what Time does compared to Pitch is applying a negative delay to compensate for the latency. Indeed when aligning the two waveforms they are more than 95% identical (no audible difference with drums at least), the main difference is the delay. Note that they also receive the same “timing issues” simultaneously.
In both cases the transients are clearly not in total sync with the original and this does not reflect what the documentation is presenting with the synchronized mode (this feature is independent to the presets Time, Pitch, etc). To me, please also tell me your thoughts, it looks like it is working in un-synchronized mode.

However, all of these features can be enabled (or disabled) in the SDK, so it is the job of the DAW manufacturers to configure the algorithm to their liking. Unfortunately we do not even know which version of the algorithm Cubase is using, so the only thing we can do is guessing.

Little digression about the Standard algorithm

The Standard Drums (and all Standard presets) is sub par compared to Elastique and MPEX. In my GIF example I used a single snare hit repeated on each beat; the manual says:

Standard – Drums
For percussive sounds. This mode does not change the timing of your audio. If you use it with certain tuned percussion instruments, you may experience audible artifacts. In this case, try Mix mode as an alternative.

Not only it does not work as expected as there is a decent initial delay, and we can clearly see a pattern as I scroll through the beats, it keeps moving to the right and resets every 4 beats which is very concerning, but the audio quality is absolutely awful. I don’t know what they call by “tuned percussion” but I took a basic unpitched snare, not a marimba. The result sounds like if it was coming out of a broken speaker. Of course Mix sounds better but look at the timing issue?! Although Mix still sounds like a 16 kbps mp3, full of artifacts, full of phasing… absolutely unusable, you wouldn’t even put audio like this in a kid’s toy. The Standard algorithms really need to be removed as they are now obsolete, and Standard Solo replaced by the newest and better Elastique Soloist. Only Steinberg can take this decision but they first need to read people’s opinion to understand why it is necessary. Everything can be improved here.

Cheers

2 Likes

Hi, thanks for your time and research.

I am aware that it is a third-party algorithm, and I wrote about this last year on this thread.

2 Likes