Replacing files in the Audio folder causes blast of noise in project

I was wondering if someone could confirm this bug for me.

I’m an old Cubase user and part of my workflow for years was to bounce out stems into a mix project for final tweaks/assembly. If there was a change I needed to implement in a stem, I’d reopen the project I bounced the stems out of, make the change, then replace the stem audio file in the Cubase mix project’s ‘Audio’ directory. As long as I hadn’t done any processing to the audio within the mix project, Cubase would then ‘see’ this new file and I could continue mixing.

I’ve noticed in Nuendo 11 if I try something similar not only does it not work but it also causes a blast of noise when playing back the replaced stem in the mix project. Here’s how you recreate it:

  • Import a bounced audio file into an N11 ‘Mix’ project and place it on a track. I’m using 32-bit float files. Close that N11 project.
    -Open the project you bounced it from, and re-bounce the file, replacing the original bounce in the Audio directory of the ‘Mix’ project. Close that project.
  • Reopen the ‘Mix’ project and play back the file you just replaced. You should get a blast of noise on playback.

That sounds like a dangerous, awkward practice/workflow.
I don’t think this is recommended in any way by Steinberg, in fact, they developed a healthy way of doing it. You export the new stems and import them into your mix project as you normally would, open the pool, locate them one by one and drag & drop each one of them on one if the older version events in your project window while holding as you drop. It will instantly popup a dialog box asking if you want to replace only the one you dropped on or all edits of that media, I always choose All. Do it with all your stems files and you’ll be good to go with no problem at all.
Once you finish this, you can move the older versions into the project trash and clean it to get rid of the older duplicates.
Hope this helps.

All the best,

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Thanks Sagi, appreciate the reply.

It’s great to see there’s an alternate way of doing this. You wrote “while holding as you drop”. Did you mean to include a keyboard modifier here?

I’m not sure why you’d say my method was awkward though, particularly if I’ve made no edits to the audio files and Nuendo is essentially functioning as a simple multitrack playback system, and the drag and drop method - while great for spot replacements - would seem time-consuming if you want to replace a bunch of files en masse.

Replacing the referenced audio files has worked for me since Cubase VST, and still does work in other DAWs, so it does feel as if something has changed. I’m happy to adapt my workflow if Nuendo sees audio files differently now, but I still think that a blast of loud noise from a replaced file could be classed as a bug.

It might be that the unique audio file identifier messes up Nuendo…

I used to see this in other DAWs… with the same results.

The “best practice” is as Sagi suggests. This way Nuendo see the new file properly.

Sago forgot a word in that sentence

It should say while holding SHIFT as you drop.

Important note, this only works while dropping from the pool or Mediabay, so you need to locate the files using either of those methods.

Oddly the forum system just dropped my SHIFT modifier, maybe it didn’t like that I put it in parentheses marks.
Either way, yes, as @ErikGuldager kindly helped, it should work by dragging from the pool while holding the SHIFT modifier.

Don’t get me wrong, your practice should work as well, and it may be very well a bug that produces the loud noise.
You’re right to think that it should work, I’m only saying that it can’t be something Steinberg would recommend doing or support in any way. the fact that it works doesn’t make it a welcome workflow, in fact I can think of several reasons why it may create a conflict when you load the project after doing so. All relevant cached files will mismatch without even knowing, and all relevant peak files will mismatch and can cause problems. there’s also the files metadata mismatch in the project’s npr file, and I can only assume there are more issues that I’m not thinking of right now but may get in the way.
So, although your way of doing things works, it is most definitely a Hack, far from being straightforward from the software point of view, you’re just ‘hacking’ it and expect it to not notice, and when it does notice, you’re saying it could be a bug. yes, you may be right but when you take “shortcuts” don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the bushes from time to time. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I hope you detect the above humor and not taking it as criticism;)

I’ve seen this noise issues when swapping files with the same name before etc. I haven’t tried it in a while and use the HOLD Shift to replace a file. However there were some creative usages of being able to replace groups of files with the same name if making a quick QC fix or something.

No offence taken. :slight_smile: I totally get that there are a lot of complex things happening with the audio files in that folder, a lot more than the old days when Cubase was simply looking for a file at a name and location and would play back whatever was there (it used to update the peak files and cache if it detected it as a different file from memory, but I could be remembering it wrong). To be clear, the fact that it doesn’t work is not a bug to me. The fact that if a file in the Audio files directory is changed Nuendo outputs a (really loud) blast of white noise is what I’d consider, at the very least, not ideal behaviour.

But thanks for that shift modifier - it’s something I didn’t realise I could do and is going to come in very handy. Just out of interest, how does replacing files in this way deal with offline processing/time stretching/ARA extensions? Is it able to retain/recreate those?

Hi @MarkRM , offline processing, time-stretching, and other processes, are all creating new file(s) and place them in the project’s Edits subfolder, those files will never change/update when you use the SHIFT+Drag method, but, correct me if I’m wrong, they will also never change/update when you replace the files in the project’s Audio subfolder.

Regardless, I just had a few minutes to spare, so I checked the issue you described and tried it with a few of my projects without any luck (or should I say with luck), bottom line, I can’t reproduce this issue here on my Win10 N11 production system.

Thanks @Sagi for checking that out. It’s happened with multiple projects for me now (both using 32-bit float bounces), but if it’s not happening for you then maybe it is unexpected behaviour. Just out of interest, is it working for you as it used to for me (replacing the file in the Audio folder updates the file being played back in Nuendo)?

No, you’re right. Just wondering how ‘smart’ this system is and how it deals with manipulated/processed audio, particularly stuff that’s been timestretched in Musical mode.

Thanks again!

As I said before, I’m not doing this in my workflow, I just checked to see if there is really a bug there and to let you know, so I can’t say that it works as before for certain.

I’m not sure I would use the word smart to measure this fraction, because it can also be smart not to force time stretch if the user chooses to replace the media, perhaps he would like a different time stretch while you’re forcing him to the one that fitted the old media. Either way, it’s not happening by itself, but maybe there’s a way to apply those processes back that I just don’t know of.

Well, yeah, I guess if I was going to use a file replacement workflow like this I would be doing so to replace just the reference source file and would like the option to retain some of what’s been done to that source file (if I’ve activated musical mode and it’s following a new tempo, for example). If someone wants a different timestretch they can change it. Otherwise I’d probably just pull it in as a new event if I wanted to start with a clean slate. Maybe this isn’t possible though.

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I think following the tempo in musical mode is an online action, so theoretically it should update automatically when you replace the files as I mentioned above.
Anyhow, you can check yourself very easily to be sure;)