sub quality exported wav mp3 aif formats in cubase

Hi all,

This is a question rather than a statement. Im a composer and collaborate with co writers on a daily basis. Im not sure if this is something im doing, something my collaboraters are/arent hearing, or just a cubase specific issue:

I write at 48khz/24bit as well as export in 48khz/24bit (excluding mp3). Typically i work mostly with midi but at times render midi to audio tracks with same audio format. Im getting feeding back about the audio quality. Other writers(this includes mixing/mastering engineers) are saying that the quality of the audio that they are receiving is subpar with what they get when they render, or export with theirs daws(these other daws include: ableton, logic, protools). As if the audio isnt as “clear” as its supposed to be. Not sure how else to describe it. I personally cant hear the difference. Its has been pointed out to me that when they send me an audio file to collaborate on and I send it back after sequencing, rendering and exporting in cubase the audio file is of lessor quality than when they first sent it to me. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this something I may be doing wrong, or a particular setting im not aware of, or rendering/exporting process I should consider(ie. realtime rendering)? thanks for you help!!

Wave export is fine, there is no problem with it.

All fine here too!
I very frequently receive the opposite feedback… i.e. how GOOD it sounds once i’ve finished with it here.
I work mainly at 44.1/32, but for some jazz and acoustic stuff i’ll use 48/32, again with no issues.

Yea I assumed it would be fine for other cubase users. Sounds fine to me as well. One collaborator suggested that it had something to do with the way cubase crunches the data when it exports. Perhaps I’ll try at 32 bit or real time exporting. I even thought that maybe it had something to do with the way i was sending the files via internet. Im no IT expert so…

But then again, it could possibly be something with my settings. I have no idea. Kind of frustrating when everyone else is telling you somethings up with the quality but it sounds fine to you. If you have any ideas at all on what i might be able to do differently please let me know. :slight_smile:

well explain just what and how your doing things at the moment, whoever said its the way Cubase crunches the data on export does not know DAWs very well.

… just a thought…
Couldn’t possibly be some kind of low level noise from something in your machine?
I built a machine for a mate a couple of years back and as it was purely for studio use we used a cheapish fanless graphics card… i noticed things were coming back from his place sounding a bit odd and on closer listening noticed very low level noise, which after a bit of investigation turned out to be the graphics card… something to consider maybe?

Thanks for the response.

Its pretty straight forward: Whether its an audio sample, or midi, when I export I export in 48khz/24bit wav and work in the same format. I dont typically do aiff, but I know that makes no difference. Often i have more than 30 tracks being exported as a complete composition all comprising of string based sounds: synths, drums, layers, textures, fx etc. I often use mp3, but the complaint is the same regardless of the format, that being: cubase audio exports(wav,aiff mp3) are not as “clear” as other daw wav, aiff, mp3 exports. I cant really think of any other settings that im using that have to do with the quality of the exports.

In my sessions, there may be quite a bit of rendering ( fx rendered to separate tracks, sample edits, etc) but if its a vst I try to only work in midi. I thought it could maybe be something with the vst plugins, but this issue applies to imported samples as well. I may try a test by listening to a single sample as it is, then importing it to cubase, then exporting it back out as a wav, and see if there is any noticeable change as others hear it. Not sure what else i could try. Thanks!!

How are you transferring the file via the Internet?

Also if you are using a lot of offline processing and other processes that write files to disk the project bit depth is important, for the safest bet set it to 32FP.

No separate machine im using.

Although, i do use the internal, built in audio card on my imac g5. I’ve been told that the built in audio cards of the imacs are just as good as any audio(apogee m-audio etc) in terms of processing. Again, i couldnt say this had anything to do with exporting from sessions, but im no expert. Thanks!!

The sound card is irrelevant unless you actually run audio through them.

Project bitdepth setting is relevant.

How are you sharing these files over the Internet?

Yes I am transferring files via internet. In fact everything I do is transferred online. We use dropbox to send files back and forth across the US. And, that is also how I receive all of my samples for collaborative efforts.

I also, do something called stemming( rendering groups of tracks: drums, strings, perc, horns, etc.) those wav stems are then zipped and sent away for collaborations. But that may be besides the fact as the complaints are regarding full songs/samples as well.

Im looking into changes to 32Fp right now. Hadnt thought of that, thanks.

Personally I keep it 32FP in the box and export to 24bit for others. you can choose to dither but I don’t like dithering with shaped noise for files that will be further mixed and dithered.

Copied from the cubase Manual:
“Recording with effects (Cubase only)
Normally you record the audio signals “dry” and add ef- fects non-destructively during playback as described in the chapter “Audio effects” on page 187. However, Cu- base also allows you to add effects (and/or EQ) directly while recording. This is done by adding insert effects and/ or making EQ settings for the input channel in the Mixer.
This will make the effects become part of the audio file it- self – you cannot change the effect settings after record- ing. or- mat – recording in the same format means the audio qual- ity will be kept absolutely pristine. The reason is that the effect processing in the input channel (as well as any level or EQ settings you make there) is done in 32 Bit Float format. If you record at 16 or 24 Bit, the audio will be converted to this lower resolution when it is written to file – with possible signal degradation as a result.”

I use a ton of FX when i record so… That could possibly be the problem!!

What is it you are recording?

I though it was all in the box?

If you are using the sound cards inputs then that is likely to be a strong candidate to the problem.

It’s also probably not a good Idea to have either the input faders of unity and/or put FX on the input busses.

I am recording heavily layered compositions for tv and film. Epic type stuff.

Yes It is all inbox… im not sure if i have input faders of unity.

When you say put fx on the input busses do you also mean, not to use insert fx, but rather to make busses and us fx on those?

No, the bit of the manual you referenced concerns actual audio recording from the outside world via a sound card. It does not concern you and the way you are producing sounds. My previous post was based on that, so is irrelevant also.

Ah i see :frowning:

Thought it was that simple. Thanks for the suggestions though !!

The thing is, Cubases output quality is second to none. I would start to look at the mix, FX, monitoring and the way things are organised by yourself internally. Cubase can produce world class results in the right hands.

It’s not the export engine or cubases internal mix and summing, so that does not leave much else I’m afraid.

Unless it’s like matjones suggested?

yes, im looking at the mixing as well. Although the issue applies to unmixed imported dry samples too. So that may not be it.

But im still looking. Hopefully its just not one of those things relative to the listener. That would be annoying. Could possibly be a internet(dropbox) deal, since im not hearing it, but they are. Hard to say… Thanks again!!

Just to add, I’ve never had a problem with Drop box, but I do not Zip audio, not that that should make any difference!