Muddy elements on Mixdown

Hi folks, so never had this problem since using Cubase since the 90s. All of a sudden my Vocals (which run through about 3/4 busses) are coming out muddier than they sound in cubase. Every other bit of the mix sounds fine. Any ideas? I’ve checked all mixdown settings/sample rates etc. The mix does run through VEPro as a Premaster. I’ve checked with all plugins disabled on the vocal chains and the same thing is happening.

Please help im tryingt to submit something by the end of the day.

Quick note, it’s fine when do real time export but sounds muddy/dull generally ish on a normal mixdown.

Just wanted to let you know that you’re not losing your mind…

I’ve seen evidence of this kind of behavior myself, and have experienced the difference between real time and not real time rendering.

I’ve been planning on sitting down and doing a bunch of tests to try to sort out what’s happening. I have my suspicions - but I don’t want to create a bunch of unnecessary noise on the forum by trotting out half-baked theories.

My one thing to ask you to try is to:

  • Remove (not disable) all the plug ins on the vocal track
  • Send the output of the vocal track straight to the output channel (no submixes/groups)
  • Don’t use any send effects

Now, do the render both ways. Does the vocal still get muddy on the normal mixdown?

Here’s a quick comparison. Its as if the normal mixdown is ignoring my vocal chain effects/eq etc. If you A/B from 30 second mark for the first verse it’s really noticable.

Normal Export

Real Time Export

Well the difference is quite obvious so there’s clearly a problem somewhere.

What plugins are in your vocal chain?

Some plugins can have a different setting for real time versus offline bounce but you’d never expect them to be anywhere near this different.

Are you using anything out of the ordinary such as UAD plugins, or external hardware?

Could it be anything to do with the VEPro setup? Might be worth removing that from the equation and seeing if the two bounces sound still sound different.

Hello mate, Just checked another project and the same things happening when i didn’t even notice it!! Not just the vocal busses then. Maybe this has been going on for a while. I rarely use Real Time Export but perhaps i better start to.

Notice it hear again this time no vocals but on the snare with both VEPPro Enabled/Disabled and completely removed so its not that. Will have to check a new project and see what thats like in a minute. Dreading it’s an issue with my template as will need to rebuild.

Plugin wise all the plugins that have offline oversampling options available are set to best quality when mixed down.

Realtime VEP Disabled

Normal Export VEP Disabled


Not happening in a new project :frowning:

What’s your latency setting?
Can you increase it and test again?

That could be a clue! :slight_smile:

Yes, I can hear the difference in that snare although it’s a lot more subtle than the previous vocals.

Which one of these bounces do you consider to be ‘correct’? The real time or the offline bounce?

Do these two tracks have particular plugins in common that might be causing this? e.g. I know there was an issue with Steinberg VST Amp Rack where it would not always export correctly although I think it’s been fixed in the last update.

The Real Time mixdown is the correct sound i hear in the daw. Yes both are from the same mixing template i use for eveything (I never start new projects - i back up and then rename and reuse whatever the genre!)

I don’t think this has been going on that long as i would have noticed such dramatic changes like the vocals example previously in other mixdowns. Quite easy to miss that snare example though, especially if you’re not listening to the mixdown in the same room.

Im starting to suspect ASIO Guard now as it does cause alot of weird issues in my set up. :slight_smile: I will check my plugins again though.

Hi registered,

Latency is set at medium in my Saffire Interface. Buffer at 2048 for mixing. Inside Cubase Audio Guard on set to High.

Personally I would try and avoid ‘reusing’ a project file many times over. Can’t give you a specific reason why other than I just think that it’s just asking for trouble. Much better to have one freshly made template to start from each time (or multiple templates for different genres etc).

Yes, could be worth disabling ASIO guard. Even if the project won’t play properly without glitching etc, you should still be able to do an offline bounce.

Just had a strange issue in the studio and probably unrelated but it made me think of this thread…

I did an export from a session and a couple of drum tracks were not sounding right or were possibly missing altogether. Checked and double checked and re-exported multiple times but no change. Only managed to solve the problem by reducing the size of the ASIO buffer. Then all was fixed. Strange!

EDIT: Actually I traced this problem: iZotope Ozone Dynamics was not following the automation that I had programmed for some reason.