Old 08-31-2017, 07:38 PM   #1
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Default Audio volume problems..

I hate to post this because I don't know how to reproduce it, but it clearly has to be a bug.

While mixing a song, I've been inserting previous mixes for comparison. I'm mixing these songs at a -0.6dB maximum peak.

However, when I insert them into my project, they are peaking out at a +2.5dB or more. This has been going on for a couple of days and was driving me nuts, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure it out.

I was sure that the peaks were just as I set them, because I have a project with all my clients songs loaded for checking them out, and they all show correctly in that project.

Today while working on the mix, I loaded a new project and opened the Reaper project where I had all the mixes and just as I figured, they're playing correctly there.

Then when I went back to the problem project, now the inserted track was playing correctly, and it's been playing correctly ever since. I didn't do anything except come back to the project?

Just wanted to post in case anyone else has encountered this.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:02 AM   #2
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If I understand correctly ....

In the problem project, inserted tracks that were mixed down to -0.6dB play back at +2.5 dB (let's call that an increase of 3 dB ). But last time you loaded that problem projects those tracks were OK.

Pan laws?
Reaper loaded incorrectly (I've no idea that can happen)?

Perhaps you could open that problem project, play the inserted tracks and check the levels. Rinse and repeat several times. OK or too loud?

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Old 09-01-2017, 05:42 AM   #3
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If you have a -3.00 pan law I'd look there for a potential issue

(maybe the new project didn't have such pan law so everything in the center plays at +3db?)

g
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DarkStar View Post
If I understand correctly ....

In the problem project, inserted tracks that were mixed down to -0.6dB play back at +2.5 dB (let's call that an increase of 3 dB ). But last time you loaded that problem projects those tracks were OK.

Pan laws?
Reaper loaded incorrectly (I've no idea that can happen)?

Perhaps you could open that problem project, play the inserted tracks and check the levels. Rinse and repeat several times. OK or too loud?

--------------------------------
PS: For comparisons and to save fiddling about, you might like to try:
https://www.meldaproduction.com/MCompare
Thanks DS, what I was doing was finishing up on a mix. I had rendered a couple of mixes before so that I could check it out and send a copy to my client. I inserted one of the rendered mixes into the project I was working on, set up grouped mutes so I could bounce back and forth, and as you mention, it played about 3dB hotter than it should have. Actually I should say it indicated 3dB hotter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gianfini View Post
If you have a -3.00 pan law I'd look there for a potential issue

(maybe the new project didn't have such pan law so everything in the center plays at +3db?)
Thanks Gianfini, the pan is the first thing I checked and it was what I always use 0.0dB.

Okay guys, here's an update I just loaded the same project I was mixing that had the problem meter levels and guess what? Heh heh, it's hot again, only it's only a "+2.0dB today (2.5dB hotter).

So I added another project tab and loaded the mixed songs. I didn't play anything or do anything, I just loaded them in another project tab. I immediately went back, played the track, and it displayed the correct levels.

This is definitely a bug of some kind, but who knows. I'm going to try a few more things today and try narrow it down a little more, just because it would be good to know.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:01 AM   #5
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Weird.

So, on loading the problem project, the levels are high. Then on tabbing to another project and back again, the levels are OK

Suggestion: after tabbing back and noting that the levels are now OK, save the project to a slightly different name. Compare the two editions of the project files (I use Excel).
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:11 AM   #6
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Well this is strange. I closed and reopened Reaper and the track continued to play correctly. This is right after I the test I mentioned above.

So I closed Reaper and rebooted my computer using "Restart". Now it was playing 2dB too hot again.

So then I just added another project tab, but didn't load anything in it. The track was still playing hot. So I clicked the other project tab and tried to load the project with the mixed songs. Reaper did a hard crash, that hasn't happened like that before. I wonder if it was because I had 3 different meters loaded as FX on the problem track. Incidentally, those meters indicate the same as Reaper, a +2.0dB.

At any rate, I opened Reaper again right after the crash without rebooting, and the track played correctly.

So then I rebooted, opened the project, and as expected, the track was playing hot again. This time I simply closed/reopened Reaper, loaded the project, and the track was still playing hot, so closing and reopening Reaper doesn't do it.

So I simply opened another project tab and loaded the mixed songs. I didn't do anything else, just opened the mixed songs, and bingo, the problem track played correctly again. One thing I noticed when I opened the mixed songs project, there was a clicking sound in the monitors that doesn't happen normally.

So for my last test, I rebooted my computer, opened the problem project in Reaper and again, the track is playing hot. This time I added a project tab and loaded a different small project that didn't have the same song in it. It still played hot, both before and after playing the small project. Also it didn't make a clicking sound.

So I loaded the mixed songs again and also got the clicking sound again. Like before, the problem track played correctly.

I did make one more test, I created and saved a project with same test mix that's on the problem track. When I loaded that in the other project tab, it didn't make the clicking sound, nor did it fix the problem. For some reason, it's only the mixed songs project that seems to fix this. The only thing about it is that all the songs were recorded at 16bit so I could put them on a CD.

If by chance Justin sees this, maybe it will give him some ideas of what the problem is. I might add, I seem to recollect this happening before when using reference mixes, but I'm not totally sure.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DarkStar View Post
Weird.

So, on loading the problem project, the levels are high. Then on tabbing to another project and back again, the levels are OK

Suggestion: after tabbing back and noting that the levels are now OK, save the project to a slightly different name. Compare the two editions of the project files (I use Excel).
Hi DS, ha, you snuck in here while I was typing. Check out all the tests I made and let me know what you think.

Regarding saving under a different name, I'll give that a shot, although, I've never checked out project files as text before.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:50 AM   #8
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^^^
It does take some dedication

Could those mixed tracks be corrupted? Or read inconsistently from disk? That might explain the differing results (and the clicking?).

Can you play them in anything-else? Perhaps you can rebuild them or even just copy them to another disk and load them from there? Or Batch Convert them to 24-bit and try those versions?

Otherwise: it could just be a GITM ("Ghost in the Machine")
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tod View Post
hard crash [...]
One thing I noticed when I opened the mixed songs project, there was a clicking sound in the monitors that doesn't happen normally.
Sample rate mismatch between the default, the project in the second tab and the media file?

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Old 09-01-2017, 11:22 AM   #10
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^^^
It does take some dedication

Could those mixed tracks be corrupted? Or read inconsistently from disk? That might explain the differing results (and the clicking?).

Can you play them in anything-else? Perhaps you can rebuild them or even just copy them to another disk and load them from there? Or Batch Convert them to 24-bit and try those versions?
Heh heh, I loaded one in a spreadsheet as you suggested. I'm not sure how many columns there are, they are 5 or 6 inches wide and spread way out. There are close to 2000 rows. At any rate,
I wouldn't have a clue how to search it.

Yeah, they all play fine in both Sound Forge and Adobe Audition, both show a -0.5dB.

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Originally Posted by cfillion View Post
Sample rate mismatch between the default, the project in the second tab and the media file?
Thanks cfillion, but no, the sample rates are exactly the same 44.1K.

I've got a zipped project file I'm going to post that has all the tracks, but the only audio file is the reference mix. I'll post that soon.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:37 AM   #11
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Okay, heres the project file for anyone who wants to test it. I took out all the audio tracks and just left the reference mix. I also took out most VSTs and instances of Kontakt. I might have missed a VST or so, but just load without them. The zipped file is about 47M.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8s...ew?usp=sharing
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:53 AM   #12
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Hi Tod,

That track (track 1) is being routed to both the master and the "Ref track". Would the double routing not cause about a 2-3 dB potential increase? Never mind, it isn't directly routed to both - it just confused me that both faders changed the level as I wasn't paying attention.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:00 PM   #13
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I think the file is just a little too close to the ceiling, Orban shows ISPs at +2.4 dB which is pretty much identical to what I'm seeing in Reaper...



From my experience Reaper tends to be less forgiving and potentially more real-world accurate than other apps metering wise. Others feel the opposite but the orban output seems to agree with Reaper. I thought everyone said that this only matters with MP3 but you can see the output above and it's a WAV. I had basically the same when I loaded the file in a new/separate project.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:03 PM   #14
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Hi Tod,

That track (track 1) is being routed to both the master and the "Ref track". Would the double routing not cause about a 2-3 dB potential increase? Never mind, it isn't directly routed to both - it just confused me that both faders changed the level as I wasn't paying attention.
Thanks Karbo, are you getting the added dB values. If you check out the reference track in in other wav editors, it should just be -0.5dB.

Even loading it into another instance of Reaper shows -0.6dB. For some reason Reaper has always indicated a 0.1db lower then it actually is.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:07 PM   #15
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I think the file is just a little too close to the ceiling, Orban shows ISPs at +2.4 dB which is pretty much identical to what I'm seeing in Reaper...

From my experience Reaper tends to be less forgiving and potentially more real-world accurate than other apps metering wise. Others feel the opposite but the orban output seems to agree with Reaper. I thought everyone said that this only matters with MP3 but you can see the output above and it's a WAV. I had basically the same when I loaded the file in a new/separate project.
Yeah, you might have missed the post where I mentioned checking the levels with other meters and they agreed with Reaper.

But just load the audio file in an empty instance of Reaper, you should get a -0.6dB. Or maybe a -0.5dB if your Reaper is reading more correctly than mine.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tod View Post
Thanks Karbo, are you getting the added dB values. If you check out the reference track in in other wav editors, it should just be -0.5dB.

Even loading it into another instance of Reaper shows -0.6dB. For some reason Reaper has always indicated a 0.1db lower then it actually is.
Well if it is ISP related, maybe it shows up somewhat random based on their nature? It did appear slightly random to me, and it was never -0.5 across the board.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:09 PM   #17
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Yeah, you might have missed the post where I mentioned checking the levels with other meters and they agreed with Reaper.
I did.

Quote:

But just load the audio file in an empty instance of Reaper, you should get a -0.6dB. Or maybe a -0.5dB if your Reaper is reading more correctly than mine.
When it wasn't acting up, it was peaking around 0.0 here (probably higher as I didn't watch every second of the playback). That behavior alone makes me think it is similar to ISP calculations. Could be wrong but nothing else makes sense. I went so far as to delete every track from your project as well as creating a new project, same overall behavior, peaks at 0 or above.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:15 PM   #18
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Well if it is ISP related, maybe it shows up somewhat random based on their nature? It did appear slightly random to me, and it was never -0.5 across the board.
Okay, I'm getting pretty consistent readings in anything but the project file, however, there did appear to be some randomness in the higher peaks of the reference track. I noticed it hit +2.0dB at a certain position but when I replayed a little closer to the spot, I got +1.7dB.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:30 PM   #19
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Heh heh, this is getting stranger and stranger. I loaded the audio file in an empty instance of Reaper and it went above 0dB. It didn't do that earlier.

That is in Reaper v5.50rc19/x64. But when I load it in Reaper v5.25/x64, it plays correctly. I'm going to install v5.40 and see what happens.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:57 PM   #20
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I checked all the way back to v5.25/x64 and even 5.25 is showing overs now.

Okay, I'm going to make another mix and see what happens.

If I can't gleam anything from that, then I'm not going to waste anymore time on it. Heh heh, it'll have be up to Justin, if indeed he sees this post.

I guess I'll keep the mixed songs project file close at hand to take care of this.

The bad part is that it puts Reaper at question for mixing.
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:00 PM   #21
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Heh heh, it'll have be up to Justin, if indeed he sees this post.



The bad part is that it puts Reaper at question for mixing.
I think I'm confused, if Orban et al show it is too loud, what does it matter? Sounds like you should just reduce the volume a tad and not worry about being so close to 0.0. You'll never be 100% sure (when that close) during mixing so that's not a reaper issue IMHO. The actual render dialog peaks are what I go by tbh and adjust the master accordingly purely because of the risk of ISPs.
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:43 PM   #22
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I think I'm confused, if Orban et al show it is too loud, what does it matter? Sounds like you should just reduce the volume a tad and not worry about being so close to 0.0. You'll never be 100% sure (when that close) during mixing so that's not a reaper issue IMHO. The actual render dialog peaks are what I go by tbh and adjust the master accordingly purely because of the risk of ISPs.
Hey my friend, thanks for sticking with me. I'm not sure what to think, based on all my tests, I wouldn't know what it could be, other then a Reaper issue. If a mix is made at -0.5 max peak and that mix plays appropriately on other wave editors, and even in Reaper when it's working right, then I have to believe that Reaper mixed it properly.

But then when I play it back in Reaper and it's playing 2.5dB above the mixed level, something is wrong.

I know what you mean by just turn it down a little, and I do that with other reference material, but when I'm checking against my own mixes, they need to be precise and especially not erratic, otherwise I don't really know what I'm hearing as far as the relationship between the current mix and the previous mix. The levels are very important.

As far as trying to mix close to 0.0dB, that's really not what I'm trying to do, I just want a save the mix at a safe margin form 0.0dB, and from what I understand, -0.5dB is a good level. I'm definitely not trying to make it loud, heh heh, that's the furthest from my mind.

I'm going to make another mix and see what it does, but I don't expect it to be any different.
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:49 PM   #23
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To me, and regardless of what the rest of the world says LOL. -0.5 is too close for me (during the mixing stage) if I want to avoid potential overs during waveform reconstruction. Others will also say that these peaks probably don't matter and inaudible.

Quote:
If a mix is made at -0.5 max peak and that mix plays appropriately on other wave editors, and even in Reaper when it's working right, then I have to believe that Reaper mixed it properly.
I'll have to plead ignorance here on ISPs vs WAV vs MP3 vs whatever but I trust orban and the render dialog more and ignore most everything else. That may be a mistake but it has been the most accurate and consistent for me if memory serves.
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:55 PM   #24
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Heh heh, just to put a little icing on the cake, while I was posting my last post, I'd left the v5.25/x64 version open. This had the file loaded and was showing all the overs too.

Then when I got done posting, I just played the track before closing it and it played perfectly.

Something's screwy and I don't know if it's my computer or not.

Intel i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00GHz, 16GB ram.

Humm, I just thought of something I need to check.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:16 PM   #25
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Sample rate mismatch between the default, the project in the second tab and the media file?
that is what i suspect as well...
(the sample rate box should be checked in project settings)
the "click" sound mentioned seems to also point to sample rate change.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:22 PM   #26
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To me, and regardless of what the rest of the world says LOL. -0.5 is too close for me (during the mixing stage) if I want to avoid potential overs during waveform reconstruction. Others will also say that these peaks probably don't matter and inaudible.
Maybe, I'm basing the -0.5dB thingy on many of the posts made here on Reaper forum. I used to mix everything at -1.0dB and I have no problem going back to that. However, that won't change the situation with whats happening with Reaper, the random way it seems to be playing back along with the 2.5dB above the mix level.

Quote:
I'll have to plead ignorance here on ISPs vs WAV vs MP3 vs whatever but I trust orban and the render dialog more and ignore most everything else. That may be a mistake but it has been the most accurate and consistent for me if memory serves.
Yeah, I love Orban, and I thank you so much for turning me on to it. But I honestly never plugged this song into it because I wasn't concerned about it being loud or needing to hit a certain LUFS level.

Incidentally, I'm going to email you to tell you why I'm still working on this song.

I also need to check something, I might know what my problem is, not sure though.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:25 PM   #27
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that is what i suspect as well...
(the sample rate box should be checked in project settings)
the "click" sound mentioned seems to also point to sample rate change.
Hi bezusheist, you might, that's what I'm going to check right now. I've already checked it and set it right, but I'm not sure what else it could be.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:58 PM   #28
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Well I think that's what it is, my interface...

I'll have to work with it a little more to be sure, but my interface keeps changing to 48K. I've got the Komplete Audio 6 and I've had problems with this from the get go, however I thought I'd gotten it fixed, but maybe not.

My manual for Audio 6 says the default is 44.1K but that doesn't seem to be the case, because it keeps changing to 48K.

I changed it back to 44.1K and that definitely fixed it and yeah, I'm embarrassed again.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:58 PM   #29
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That would be it, I run 48k standard and didn't even notice your file was 44.1k. Have you set it to 44.1k in default project settings (including the checkbox)? That's usually the most important place.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:25 PM   #30
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That would be it, I run 48k standard and didn't even notice your file was 44.1k. Have you set it to 44.1k in default project settings (including the checkbox)? That's usually the most important place.
Yes, I always set up my projects right away. I do use 48K when I'm working with a decent soundtrack for a video, although for the simple little tutorials I still use 44.1, 24-bit. That seems to work okay for voice.

Incidentally, check your email.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:35 PM   #31
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Yes, I always set up my projects right away. I do use 48K when I'm working with a decent soundtrack for a video, although for the simple little tutorials I still use 44.1, 24-bit. That seems to work okay for voice.

Incidentally, check your email.
I noticed that your project had 44k selected but the checkbox beside the sample rate wasn't checked so wanted to mention.

Will check email.
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:24 AM   #32
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Well I think that's what it is, my interface...
I was going to suggest that but that would not explain the meters in Reaper and the plug-ins showing different levels.

Did you try the Batch Convert, to make them "compatible" with your project / interface.

---------------------
General question 1: how much can an intersample peak exceed the peak level? I reckon that it could be a lot.

General question 2: Is a "True Peak" level measuring the intersample peaks?
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My top 40 FRs, as voted by you (updated for August 2016)

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Old 09-02-2017, 11:35 AM   #33
Tod
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I was going to suggest that but that would not explain the meters in Reaper and the plug-ins showing different levels.
Hi DS, I think you missed where I mentioned that the FX meters showed the same as reaper.

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Did you try the Batch Convert, to make them "compatible" with your project / interface.
I'm sorry DS, I'm not understanding what you're asking here?

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General question 1: how much can an intersample peak exceed the peak level? I reckon that it could be a lot.

General question 2: Is a "True Peak2 level measuring the intersample peaks?
Yeah, I'm not sure how far above the intersample peaks can go, I imagine they are frequency related. Wouldn't lower freqs intersamples have the ability to be higher then the higher frequencies?

At any rate, I thought -0.5dB was in the safe zone, what do you think?

I don't think there's going to be much difference beetween -0.5dB and -0.8dB, in regards to how you hear it, maybe I should be using -0.8dB?

Heh heh, I don't know, however, I do know that I would like to be consistent with all my mixes.

Thanks DS, you are always true blue and such a great help.
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Old 09-02-2017, 11:42 AM   #34
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I reckon that it could be a lot.
Like 3dB or more but I forget the number. bezusheist knows IIRC.
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Old 09-02-2017, 11:59 AM   #35
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Like 3dB or more but I forget the number. bezusheist knows IIRC.
well...nobody really knows...they can all just make an educated guess and come up with different answers.
but the highest ISP i've seen (using a test/source file with a 0 dBFS sample peak value) on a TP meter has been about +8 or +9 dBTP...but that is just a test file.
i don't know what the "reality" is (music).
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:11 PM   #36
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well...nobody really knows...they can all just make an educated guess and come up with different answers.
but the highest ISP i've seen (using a test/source file with a 0 dBFS sample peak value) on a TP meter has been about +8 or +9 dBTP...but that is just a test file.
i don't know what the "reality" is (music).
Well I think if it were a +8 or +9, or even +3, we'd be in trouble wouldn't we?

I don't remember what I was mastering at back in the early 90s, but it was considerably less than I am now. Even a -3.0dB could be plausible for what I was doing then, I'm not sure.

There really is no precise standard is there? There are certainly a lot of articles about it.

So what do you guys think is a reasonable mastering level?

I think I'll do a test by rendering the same song with different outputs, -0.5dB, -0.8dB, and -1.0dB.

That should give a little perspective on the situation, shouldn't it?

I mean what the difference is as you A/B the various cuts.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:44 PM   #37
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Okay, I did it and decided it don't make that much difference.

I can definitely hear the difference between -0.5dB and -1.0dB, but it's really quite insignificant. I have not problem mastering at -1.0dB.

So what do you all think?
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:47 PM   #38
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The way I've done it as of late is reduce the master volume until the render doesn't have overs. IOW put it where I think it should be, and if it peaks during/after render, pull it down about that much an re-render.
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:38 PM   #39
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The way I've done it as of late is reduce the master volume until the render doesn't have overs. IOW put it where I think it should be, and if it peaks during/after render, pull it down about that much an re-render.
Thanks Karbo, it that primarily with your band.

At any rate, that's exactly what I did to get the different mix levels, because I already had the mix I wanted.

So maybe you mentioned it but I missed it, what level do you like to use on your final mixes? By that I mean the final mastered mix, the one you're going to put out for the world as well as any CDs you might make?
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:17 PM   #40
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Thanks Karbo, it that primarily with your band.

At any rate, that's exactly what I did to get the different mix levels, because I already had the mix I wanted.

So maybe you mentioned it but I missed it, what level do you like to use on your final mixes? By that I mean the final mastered mix, the one you're going to put out for the world as well as any CDs you might make?
I'd get the DR I want obviously, then move that up to -0.5 or -1.0 and render. Then if orban is happy for true peak, I'm happy. If orban shows a small true peak, like +0.2 or something, I'd be tempted to leave it because IIRC it is still a bit of guess and people have been exporting CDs without measuring true peak for decades now. So mostly, the happy medium I feel comfortable with for that project.

After that, I'm not sure it would do any good for me to be concerned with how it gets calculated beyond that. Of course all of this hinges on my not hearing anything wrong, but if I don't, I try to not worry. I'm not claiming expertise, just trying to keep the ball rolling LOL.
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