Minor pops/anomolies in mixdowns - driving me crazy!


I am having a bit of an issue with mixing down projects at the moment, in that they never seem to mix down perfectly.https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=226&t=110969&p=607917#p607917

By that, i mean that there is always at least one very minor/slight anomaly (like a pop) sound. This is very subtle and you wouldn’t notice on a casual listen but if you really listen with headphones you can hear it.

I am sure it is not a performance issue as i can playback the projects with no issues whatsoever and in my latest project the vst performance bar barely goes above 20% at the most and the real time bar doesn’t go above a few percent!

These “anomalies” do not sound like performance/buffer related spikes or anything like that and they are never very loud. They can appear at any time and at different points on a different mix down (ie they are not repeatable). Often they will be on a section that has very little going on as well.

I have tried so many things (all sleep/power saving settings off for USB/CPU/DRIVES etc, bought the AC adapter for my USB audio interface so that never loses power etc) and i just can’t think of any more.

It only seems to be when mixing down (realtime or not) and sometimes there might only be one of these “pops” in a whole 4 minute track but I just never seem to be able to get a perfect mix down!

Can anyone give me any tips or things to try to eliminate this? Has anyone else experienced similar?

I am using Cubase 8.5.2, Windows 10, a 5820k at 4.3ghz and 32gb ram with a UAC-2 audio interface , ALL SSD’s ( no hard disks connected), no wifi (internet connected via ethernet), for reference. My projects are usually all VST’s - Play, Vienna and Kontakt libraries.


Could you provide some details of your Export Audio Mixdown settings, please? File format, real-time or offline export?

I normally use either 320kbps MP3 or WAV but it does it on either format. Also, it does with a normal or real-time export.

Could you share a piece, where you can hear it, please?

Try a project without Play and see if you get the same thing.

Here are a couple of excerpts (put into one track) from two separate versions/mix downs -

First “click” is at 7 seconds - in the left speaker/headphone primarily

Second sort of “pop” is at 23-24 seconds in the right speaker/headphone primarily as the cello drops from Eb to D.


the first is pretty obvious. The second is more subtle and you could think it was just the sample but I have gone back and listened to it in Cubase and it does not have that noise. It is only there on this specific mix down.

This is not really an option. Almost all my libraries are Play libraries so if it is a Play issue I may as well give up anyway.

But it would be good to know. We can spend hours on investigating here on Cubase side, but if it’s on Play side, what can we do?

Why do you both think it is Play ? Is it a known issue?

Play seems to have more than it’s fair share of reports online in various forums of all types of issues including a fair few about pops/clicks.

Of course this does not necessarily mean this will be the cause of your specific issue, but I’d say it makes it a good place to start testing.

Thank you for this. Interestingly I have managed to sort of pinpoint things, at least the click during the first part of the audio clip I uploaded.

Basically that click/pop will happen everytime I do an offline bounce, in exactly the same area and seems to be to do with the Hollywood woodwind flute sample. I mixed it down with just the flute, without effects, without reverb etc etc and every time, there is a pop/click in exactly the same place.

However, this NEVER happens when playing it back in Cubase - it will play perfectly every time. This pop/click is only on mix down and always at the same point.

It cannot be performance related as it is literally just one instrument playing slowly!

What could possibly be the reason for this?

Ok so I have been doing a lot more investigating. I have tried literally everything - buffer sizes, asio guard on or off, even having no driver for the mixdown. Nothing stops this pop/click,

One thing that DOES at least change where it is, is adjusting the left and right locators (ie making the track longer or shorter). However the click(s) will not appear in sync with how you moved it (for example if you move the left locator one second in, the clicks and pops are not necessarily 1 second sooner like you would think). However changing the track length/ locators does change where the clicks/pops appear.

What on earth is causing this?!

Am I right in thinking that if you have Vienna libraries you also have VE Pro?

Running Play inside of VEPro is a workaround I have seen mentioned.