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wycks
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Exporting issues

Apr 15, 2012 11:55 AM

For what seems like forever now, I have been trying to export my mixdowns and get the same kind of clairity I used to get before some of my computer's/sound device setting or settings (I assume) were accidentally changed without me realizing it.  What I hear through my speakers or  headphones sounds great, but the clairty of my exported mixdowns is awful, especially on CDs.  I am well aware that there is a loss of quality when something is burned to a CD, but CDs of tracks I recorded a while ago sound significantly better than what I've been getting for the past couple months.

 

So I've been trying everything and only have a few options/ideas left, but I'm not sure what exactly these issues are.

 

What is the best/highest quality .wav codec to use for exporting mixdowns and what settings for that codec should I use?

 

In the sound->recording tab, I see 'RealTek High Definition Audio Stereo Mix.'  What exactly is that, and should it be enabled or disabled when exporting mixdowns?

 

Say I'm exporting a mixdown through 'Speakers RealTek High Definition Audio' or ''RealTek Digital Output Realtek High Definition Audio' (or have my 'master' set to either of those).  Which one should I use when exporting?  Should I export through the 'Speakers' or 'Digital Output' or would the sound quality be better if I assign one of those to the master track?

 

Related to the above question, should I have the enhancements in Sounds-->Speakers Properties-->Enhancements enabled or disabled? does it make a difference?

 

I've done some googling, and (i'm not sure if it applies to my problems) someone suggested rolling back my drivers... how exactly do i do that?

 

Thats all I can think of now when it comes to my ideas to get the sound quality of my exported mixdowns back.

 

Any help with these questions (or suggestions for possible fixes I haven't thought of) would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 15, 2012 2:47 PM   in reply to wycks

    There should absolutely be no loss in quality when a properly mixed audio file is burnt to an audio CD. When you do a mixdown, provided it is saved as a .wav file at normal sample rates and bit depth, it should be exactly as you here it playing in Audition. It is purely done in the digital domain and doesn't go anywhere near any of your soundcard drivers. Certainly at all times all the enhancements should be turned off so that you are hearing exactly what Audition is playing. If you don't then what you hear may be significantly different to what actually ends up in your file or on CD.

     
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    Apr 16, 2012 8:43 AM   in reply to wycks

    Just a thought, have you accidentally changed settings so you're mixing down to a lower than standard sample rate or, even worse, MP3 rather than wave?

     
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    Apr 16, 2012 2:42 PM   in reply to wycks

    If you are burning to CD mostly then stick to the CD standard .wav Windows PCM format at 44.1K sample rate. You can use 44.1K 24 bit for recording from your mic and work with Audition's default 32 bit 44.1K Windows PCM for saving your files whilst you are working on them. Finally when you are happy with your mixing and editing you can save out the CD master as 16 bit 44.1K Windows PCM .wav which will burn straight to CD. Use anything else and it will have to be converted as the CD is burnt which may very well give rise to a loss of quality.

     

    How is your Yeti Pro mic connected to your PC? If it is via a USB connection then the signal doesn't go through your onboard RealTek sound card. You are probably only using it via the High Definition Audio Speakers (with all enhancements turned off) for hearing what you are mixing.

     
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    Apr 16, 2012 7:41 PM   in reply to wycks

    Okay, let's go over a few things here.

     

    First off, assuming your Yeti microphone is the USB version, your Realtek built in sound card is completely bypassed when you're recording.  A USB mic converts the analogue signal to digital within the mic and feeds it straight into your computer via USB.  The Realtek, another converter, is not needed for a USB mic.

     

    Second, when you mix down within Audition, this also doesn't use your Realtek interface.  The mixdown is actually a very complicated math exercise on your computer files.  No actual "sound" is created by Audition until you play it back.

     

    Where the Realtek does apparently get involved though is for your monitoring.  When you listen to a file or judge a mix, the Realtek is converted the digital files to analogue for use in your speakers or headphones.  For this reason, it's important that no "enhancements" are turned on at any stage, otherwise you'll be judging an artifiically coloured version of your work.  If the enhancements, for whatever reason, are "on" while mixing and "off" while checking your mix, this will make them sound very different.  Vice Versa could have a similar effect.

     

    Also, as somebody else said, since you're aiming to end up on on CD, it's worth setting everything at 16 bit/44.1 sampling throughout all your work.  16/44.1/Stereo is the only standard for CDs and it'll save a bunch of conversions to simply work that way throughout.  Every conversion is a compromise and, while they should only have the most suble, hard-to-hear differences, why tempt fate.

     

    So...this could just be about how you're listening, not anything to do with the actual recording.

     
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:37 PM   in reply to wycks

    The Yeti Pro audio output is undoubtably better than the onboard Realtek. Presumably you are using headphones for monitoring then? Your mixes will sound vastly different on them compared to listening to your burnt CDs over loudspeakers. So how are you listening to the Cds, what type of system?

     
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    Apr 17, 2012 4:15 PM   in reply to wycks

    Which version of Audition are you using? 

    Are you using the headphone output of the Yeti to mix and monitor?  What headphones are you using?

     
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    Apr 17, 2012 4:13 PM   in reply to wycks

    There's clearly something fishy here. Contrary to what most audiophile zealots would have you believe, CD is pretty much a "transparent" format. You can't hear the minuscule quality loss that occurs when downmixing to uncompressed 44/16/stereo -- and if you're already working in that format, there's no quality loss to begin with.

     

    So, just to understand you, everything sounds fine in Audition? Does it still sound fine when you save the file and re-open it? Does it sound fine when you play back the burned CD on your computer? Under what circumstances do you notice the quality loss?

     

    Is there any way you can provide us with a five-second sample, so that we can determine what sounds weird?

     
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    Apr 17, 2012 7:46 PM   in reply to Teetow1

    Unless I've missed something here, I'm starting to wonder if, rather than an export issue, this is the classic "my mixes sound different on different systems" connundrum.

     

    An experiment for the OP:  Play back your session in Audition and listen on your standard headphones or whatever.  Then mixdown to a new file and listen to THIS one, again via the same routing.  Finally, burn it to CD and play that CD back on your computer again through the same headphones.  Providing you've recorded and mixed all at 16bit/44.1, all three should be identical.  If they're not, then the issue of when you start to hear the difference will give some valuable clues.

     

    However, there's no doubt that a mix you listened to on headphones via a good D to A from your computer will sound very different played on a typical in car system.  Professional studios spend thousands on the most accurate monioritor speakers they can get and still have to "learn" how mixes need to sound on thos monitors to also sound good on a wide range of different playback gear out in the real world. Add in the issue of mixing on headphones (the lack of "air" between the sound source and your ear makes everything sound very different) and it's no surprise you're having issues.

     
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