Offline Export - is it safe these days?


I am not using Offline Export for important final mixdowns since about 2001 - on an important project with heavy use of automation in Nuendo 1 a lot of automation was misinterpreted which caused a lot of trouble back these days.

Everyone was recommending NOT using offline export for important mixdowns - back those days one usually looped back a digital out to an in for rerecording… since then I am using the plugin TapeIt (which is still 32bit unfortunately) on the Master Bus - others are just rerecording the main out to a new track, fortunately Cubendo can do this in the box since a while (was not possible in early days)

The build in Realtime export for some reasons often does not work for me, it is interrupting for no reason (“hard disk too slow” messages etc - all of my systems are SSD and performing great) - I was never able to work this out…

So in a recent project I tried to use Offline Export because the project is so heavy loaded that the CPU maxes out nicely and I fear dropouts when just using some kind of “re-record” export. In my understanding offline export will do it even when you have to use 110% CPU (some plugins are even able to use higher oversampling when using offline exp)

So far it worked nicely. The project is a big one, about 300-400 tracks, 1 hour duration, truckloads of complex automation on at least 100+ automation lanes, eq, bypass, volume, pan, plugin parameters… almost everything one can automate…

It is almost impossible to just check out if anything is fine just by “listening” to the export.

I did a phase cancelation test comparing a re-recorded version with the offline version - but it is hard to tell because I used a lot of modulation fx as well as sample librarys (random content) as well as all the organs and rhodes are of course not canceling because of the random factor caused by the rotors etc… so - nothing cancels here so it is really hard to tell… at least I can not hear / see (I rendered the phase cancelation in WL) any dropouts or strange issues in heavy automated parts…

I had issues in offline export some years ago: I often use offline export for printing early pre-versions during the recording, maybe for the singer to practice or the band to check out or something - I had gaps in the vocals, some short elements were just missing… I am usually using those variaudio / time warp tools a lot on vocals… which most likely was the culprit (a bounced version exported fine) Stuff like that is usually not realized by me because such kind of pre-exports you never check carefully, you just export and put the mp3 into dropbox… but the client realized of course…

I know that there will now be folks who will tell “no issues here” - while they are working on a 20 track song and never used automation… :slight_smile:)

So lets ask: Is it safe to use offline export these days in a heavy use scenario?



I’m using offline export only. No problem.

same, i never bounce in reel time or print to an audio track/stems track.

I just had this problem again.
In realtime export audio mixdown, it crashed (DNF) with a slow drive error.
The same mixdown was successful in non realtime, but analysis revealed small, easily overlooked dropouts!!!
The solution was to go back and render the variaudio work before mixdown.
This was a relatively small project, about 6 tracks plus drums, attempted on multiple ssd drives.
I’m suspecting either:

  1. Failures when copying variaudio elements to other locations in the song, or
  2. Variaudio originally from an older version of Cubase does not play nicely in my current update.

Study your exports carefully, I’ve sent out plenty of files lately, trusting my offline exports.
Now I know that they could have problems which are only revealed by pre -rendering variaudio tracks and doing a null test with the revised mixdown!!!

You could try to bounce every track, so the variaudio gets baked into the audio so to speak.
That should take some stress of the cpu and drive.
Try that and report back please.