Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Hans Zimmer is also a multi millionaire and has all the toys in the world.

Plus he has got the best people to mix for him. :slight_smile:

With that said, yes you are right, Cubase doesn’t change the quality of the export versus what is heard on the playback,

I thought that was the case to the extend that I thought the exported file was different from the playback to what was played back on another session which I was using to master.

I just exported a track on the actual session I used to create it, I rooted it on another stereo out and compared, there was no difference.

You are right, monitoring and the playback system plays a huge role.

The room also, if your listening in an environment where you hear a lot of reflections of the audio from the monitors you make decisions based on the reflections not the actual monitors.

I think a good set of headphones and some binaural software on the control room helps get an accurate sense of whats happening.

I’m a still active engineer/producer and composer. In a “real studio” you run into the same problems if your monitors and room are not " tuned" using white noise and 32-64 band equalizer, PLUS a “consumer” set…aka cheapest speakers we could fine. Times have change…I too run into this same issue using near field monitors…but NOT self powered. i produced and engineered two Grammys and did a very important mix using Cubase 13[ today. I played it back, and I was shocked…like comatose shocked. I’ve been using DAW since the DOS days. Always used Cubase, but NOT too many VST or audio files. I prefer midi and used soundbanks… They just sound “bigger”.

But with AI, I’m getting a lot of AI stems to remix projects.

So I’m screwed with audio files that sound like they are in a tunnel.

Before Cubase 13, I would export my mix to a completely different computer with .wav recording software. I would use an extra “passive” output of my amplifier to send the mix over to the other computer .

Here’s what I found out. When I use the "export "command in Cubase…I have no idea what happens, but it certainly is different than what I just mixed. I’m using an extreme gaming computer that can handle up to 64 audio tracks cleanly…but I think export function takes away “headroom” and maybe computer still not large enough to handle it…

But…when I do "live " mixing directly another to a separate computer with recording software on it…the mixes are identical…even better sometimes. Any good audio recording software works. ( Not NCH or Audacity). I use OEM factory Realtek soundcard too. I’ve have and used many others, but as time goes on I see no need to spend the money except for the ego and special needs.

I’ve also use a 32 band equalizer in the chain before sound gets to my speakers for accurate “sound replication”.

Generally, speakers are made to “sound good”. Engineers want (A) Accurate representation of what they are hearing from those speakers, because your hearing will determine what you do with your mix. (B.) Always have a decent set of near field monitors…Yamaha NSM10 non powered were the bomb…once you added one ply toilet paper over the tweeter. Near field…if you make a triangle and you sit at the point…like 3 feet apart speakers…and you sit 3 fit from the middle of the line from speaker to speaker. Put speakers at ear level, its about as accurate as you can get, as it , in most cases, deletes the bad acoustics of your room.

Then get a car speaker and mount it in a box…run your mix through that…as that’s as bad as its gonna get.

Some posts indicate mixing with headphones. NO…no way. you might use them as a reference , but everything sounds better in a mix…you want accuracy.

Don’t use limiters at all…especially input ,output.

You can learn to use “subtracting eq” in most cases to level something out, or do part over, or automate the level.

Mastering uses limiting…which is really squashing everything against the wall. Your music has no space to “breath”. Plus the streaming services use much of it , to get the songs to sound “even” volume between artists . I can hear the pumping of it on songs I mixed 40 years ago and songs I mixed yesterday.

Radios and You Tube are the worst offenders.

Try sending your mix to another computer, even a laptop while you are mixing live. I do use the automation to “ride” some levels. But less is more.

Hopes this helps. It reminded me I had an old laptop I can use now.

Hi, it seems that there are many different causes to this problem, you bounce a mix in Cubase and it sounds so different played back on your mac or pc. I just had the same problem, but luckily I found the reason (Mac/UAD cards) I have a couple of UAD Apollos in a chain, and in order to use all channels with Ableton live, I had to create an Aggregate Device in the “Audio Midi” setup on my mac. Somehow I had input and output allocated to the PCI UAD, that created the problem. I switched them both (input and output) to the Aggregate device. That solved it for me 100% … Cubase and Wavelab exports sound now 100% like played on finder. Maybe thats helpful for someone. Cheers!
Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 16.26.45
Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 16.27.01
Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 16.27.12