V10.0.10, Importing 224kbit MP3 file, makes audio clicks on the output


I have an MP3 file, which playes back fint in the old Windows 10 media player. Also inporting it into Cubase (WAV conversion), it plays back fine without any output clicks.

But when I import it into Spectralayers, I hear lots of output clicks (clipping I think)
The v10 output slider is set to 0 db. When I lower the out volume to -1 db, the out clipping stops.

Does v10 have some kind of problem, handling output distortion/clipping, of what it close to clip?

Can you upload that mp3 file somewhere or send it to me (contact [at] divideframe [dot] com) ?

Hi Robin,
I’ve shared a dropbox folder with your mail. You should be able to download the mp3 file from there.

Thanks, I can indeed confirm that I see peaks above 0dB with your mp3, which is unexpected. I’ll investigate.

Thanks Robin.

So after investigation it turns out it’s normal that decoding mp3 files can occasionally go above 0dB, due to the destructive nature of the format and decoding process itself.
However what can be improved is the way those above 0dB peaks are handled during playback so it doesn’t click like that. Should be improved in patch 2.

@SLL PS: did you hear those clicks in ARA mode or standalone mode ? Windows or macOS ? Audio API: WASAPI or ASIO ?

I can say it has been that way since at least version 9. I’m using the standalone software on Winows 11 22H2, with AISO device (RME ADI-2 DAC FS + RME ASIO driver).
… Just tested, when I switch to WASAPI (playback still through my RME device), I can crank up the volume (by layer or by output) all I want - no crackling playback (not sure if WASAPI maybe has some integrated limiter to prevent excessive audio levels). So maybe it is an ASIO specific issue…

Thanks for those details, I wasn’t able to repro the cracks here but yeah I would assume CoreAudio/WASAPI have an in-built limiter, while ASIO (depending on the drivers/hardware) may not have such limiter (I’m sending the values above 0dB as-is). So a simple fix would be to pre-limit the values to 0dB before sending to the audio device.

Maybe you can ask other programmers from Steinberg, how they handle such levels within their program. Besides SpectraLayers I mainly work with WaveLab, and I never noticed any crackling playback when levels were exceeding the 0dBFS mark by a few dB (and WaveLab currently supports only ASIO on Windows).
But strangely, I kinda find this clicking/crackling useful up to a certain point, as it is a directly audible feedback to whether or not the audio is clipping.

Hey Guys,
I’m using the latest ASIO driver from RME, and by that also the ASIO driver in Spectralayers.
I’m on the Windows 10 build 22H2, and route the audio out to the RME SpDif outputs, when I playback from Win mediaplayer.

Not sure if the RME stuff is more forgiven, when it comes to overload and distortion. I’ve tried to raise the RME mixer volume so that everything falshes red, and I still doesn’t hear any clicks in the audio path.