Issues with distortion after applying gain to a track

Hey all,

Pretty new here but I just had to find some answers. Been working on an album for some time but recently I’ve been having issues with editing.

Any time I edit a vocal track by adding a bit of gain to a specific section or maybe even the whole track, after I save and close the file - once I open it up again the track is completely distorted and overloaded in the sections where the gain was applied.

This issue sometimes went away in the past after randomly happening but this time it hasn’t stopped for around a month and I genuinely cannot proceed to edit the album whatsoever. It has made making music very unmotivating and I genuinely just want to find a solution for it before I drop the music project as a whole since it’s become an active problem in the whole process.

I use Cubase5.2 and edit wav tracks only. I use minimal functions of the program because I don’t do the mixing part. Scarlett 2i2 interface.

You might be clipping the track when you add gain. Your peak level meter will tell you whether you are or not.

Yeah, I know exactly what youre referring to and I know how to manage levels so it doesnt clip ever. The issue is, while Im adding gain, there is no problem if i play it back. Its only after saving the file and opening the file again that the parts i added gain to are suddenly insanely distorted. Its as if the gain triggers some error after i start up the file again after saving, closing and reopening the file.

That is indeed odd. Is the distortion just audible, or does it also show up as clipping on your meters? If so, where in the audio chain? That will help narrow down where the problem originates.

You’re running a pretty old version of Cubase. Have you always had this issue? If not, I would guess the culprit is a buggy plugin, a conflicting application or something with your OS.
Can you reproduce the issue from a blank project with no 3rd party plugins?
When was the last time you did a format and re-install of everything? Not something one would look forward to, but if all else fails…

It shows up clipping on the meters after the file is reopened. The track looks normal after applying the gain but after the save and exit - the track itself is completely panned below the axis instead of looking like regular frequencies. It’s as if the track is modified in some strange way when I save and close or when the project is reopened, completely altering the frequencies for some reason.

the issue only started occurring recently. It had happened maybe once or twice before in the past few months but I think I just ended up finding a fix on the spot after retrying a bunch. This time thats not the case though and the issue wont go away. Everytime i make the slightest edit of a track with some gain, it completely messes up after closing the program. The plugin issue doesnt seem to add up considering the tracks i modify are completely raw except for the editing i apply to them. It also ONLY seems to happen when i apply gain, regardless of how small the amount of gain is. Once i close and reopen the file, the audio of said track will be completely distorted and overloaded where the edit was made. Im thinking maybe its an issue with the track im using considering i had to reconstruct it in audacity due to some mishandling of some files by a foreign party and the last times this happened it was a similar situation but its still pretty strange considering its a normal exported wav file regardless of edits in audacity.

Last i formatted was a long time ago but I honestly want to avoid that considering everything is perfectly set up with specifics due to the complexity of the project.

Sorry, I’m stumped on this one. My best guess would be some sort of software corruption/system misconfiguration that crept in, but I don’t think I have any more at this point :frowning:

I think this sounds like a pretty good lead and should be easy to confirm or rule out.
Since you’re saying the issue is consistent on imported audio, could you try and render the audio tracks to create new audio files and see if the problem persists? Another thing I would test, if you haven’t already, is to create a new blank project, record some audio and see if you can apply gain changes on that.

This actually led to a lot. I noticed that this only happens with the specific track I am currently trying to edit. I repeat, this track was reconstructed in audacity from separate audio files from an audacity project due to some issues. Could it be that this track itself is corrupted in some way? Also, is there a way around this, like maybe i can convert the track into another type or maybe re-export the wav file from audacity and hope for an uncorrupted version to come out? Might try these methods regardless, but it does seem weird to only be happening to this single reconstructed file when I’ve used other reconstructed files in the past without this issue. The last time this issue occurred though - it was with a reconstructed wav file also so, there’s the common factor at least.

Thank you for helping me rule things out! I’ll try to find a work around.

Ok! I was able to find the source of the issue. Apparently audacity on my desktop has some issue which is exporting wav files with corruption while the audacity on my laptop, where I am also using cubase does not have this issue. Desktop audacity is a newer version than the laptop but I dont see how that should be an issue. Crazy stuff but I FINALLY know how to avoid this. Through testing different tracks and exporting them in different formats from different setups literally led to the source!

Thank you for helping me rule everything out!

Solved :slight_smile: