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Old 08-24-2019, 04:04 PM   #1
sb89
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Default SOS! Underwater/whistling sounds in monitoring/playback, only in Reaper

I recently decided I'm ready to take audio seriously, so I went back into Reaper after being away since like v4.77. I was having some minor problems before which I now come to find are all-encompassing. I've already sunk a ton of hours into learning all that Reaper can do, so I would really rather be able to pay for a license for Reaper (affordable) than have to buy a new computer or switch to a more expensive DAW (either will put me into debt). Can anyone help?
  • Getting a whistling sound on monitor and playback -- sounds like if you were to listen to a 56kbps mp3 underwater while some jerk plays a kooky flute solo
  • This unresolved post reads like a similar issue (although I fixed my lag/stutter with latency settings)
  • At some point in the past it was only happening while monitoring signal from USB audio interfaces, while VSTis & recorded files sounded fine
  • Now I have the same problem with all sound within Reaper: monitoring, playback, VSTis, imported samples, imported commercial songs, in any file format
  • Only happens in Reaper
  • Happens regardless of active plugins and audio device hardware/driver chosen -- I've bypassed my onboard soundcard entirely and it still happens
  • Not affecting render -- source items play back fine in other programs, even the ones recorded in Reaper
  • As I increased gain on the original signal I could hear additional, higher whistle tones
  • Neither whistle nor underwater effect appear on spectrum analysis
  • Running Win7 32-bit with 4GB RAM (did I mention I'm broke?)
I recorded my hardware synth to demonstrate:

Exhibit 1: rendered synth / as heard outside of Reaper (this is the "normal" original signal captured in Reaper through my ZOOM R16 in interface mode)
Exhibit 2: recorded synth / as heard within Reaper (this is the "weird" signal captured on my ZOOM R16's SD card through the line out on my laptop's soundcard)
Exhibit 3: spectrum analysis comparison of the two files within Reaper (within Reaper I hear the sound of Ex.2 when playing Ex.1, despite the signal showing as normal at the analyzer)

What I've tried so far (with no success)...
  • Audio devices (all latest drivers, maxed out block sizes): ASIO4ALL, ZOOM's ASIO driver, Windows drivers
  • Interfaces: ZOOM R16 (latest firmware), Alesis IO2, laptop's onboard sound card
  • USB: 2 different cables, 4 different ports, powered hub
  • Power: run laptop on battery unplugged from A/C
  • OS (Win7): disabled onboard mic, changed default recording & playback devices to every device listed, set all recording & playback levels to 5%, set matching audio quality settings between Windows/Reaper/device, maximized power settings, every latency-related tip I could find (like: run Latency Monitor, changed memory paging file size, DMA enabled, overhauled system registry, run Ghostbuster frequently)
  • DAWs: problem only exists in Reaper -- not in Audacity, Winamp, WMP, browsers & every other program with media playback
  • Reaper: used source locations on different HDDs, changed playback & render resample modes to match, updated to latest version, rolled back to 5.0, rolled back to 4.77 (last version I had previously used with some success)
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:34 PM   #2
domzy
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anything in your monitor FX?
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:37 PM   #3
Xenakios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sb89 View Post
Exhibit 2: recorded synth / as heard within Reaper (this is the "weird" signal captured on my ZOOM R16's SD card through the line out on my laptop's soundcard)
Just to rule this out quickly : have you accidentally left a monitoring effect chain set up in Reaper? If there's some effects there, everything that plays in Reaper will go through that effect chain, in every project you have. But those effects are not included in offline renders!

But if that is not the case : Laptop line outs are not known for their great quality. The signal may be going through all kinds of laptop manufacturer bullshit, even if you try using something like ASIO4ALL in Windows. The hardware may also just be plain broken. Can you try using some other hardware to play and record the signal playing from Reaper with some other equipment? I understand this can be tricky if you are out of money, but maybe you have a friend who could give you access to a separate audio interface to try it out. Play back the signal from Reaper through the ASIO driver into your Zoom device and record that's output with the other device. If the signal still sounds that degraded, then this is a bit more interesting and would possibly point to some other Reaper related problem besides the monitoring fx.
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:49 PM   #4
sb89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domzy View Post
anything in your monitor FX?
Shit! That's what I get for wanting to be a power user too soon then dropping it for a few years. Now I remember one of the last things I did before I took a break from audio was play with the monitor FX.

Well in case anyone is LOOKING for an underwater whistling effect, check out Schwa's TinMan plugin.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:25 PM   #5
Xenakios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sb89 View Post
Well in case anyone is LOOKING for an underwater whistling effect, check out Schwa's TinMan plugin.
I would have actually been surprised if even a laptop line output would have sounded *that* degraded! (Everything is of course possible, that's why my long speculation in my previous reply...)
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:05 PM   #6
mschnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sb89 View Post
switch to a more expensive DAW
More expensive DAWs will not be better but just different than Reaper.

The only thing more expensive DAWs might offer in obviously higher count and versatility than Reaper is virtual instruments. If you need those, with Reaper you will need to get them additionally from other sources.
-Michael
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