Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.
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Old 21-03-2015, 05:11 AM   #1
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Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

I often render tracks even when I'm not finished with them to see how they sound so far. I've noticed that every time I render the track, it sounds slightly different. Like the velocity in some of the chords or notes change in whatever synth or plugin I use. This is really frustrating because whenever I really like the way my track sounds and I'm not finished with it yet, I have to keep rendering it over and over again until all the sounds "hit" the exact way I want them to.

Is there something I'm over looking here? Is there a way to stop this from happening?

Also I forgot to mention that I'm working with Ableton Live 8.0.1

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Old 21-03-2015, 05:17 AM   #2
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Dither?
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Old 21-03-2015, 05:25 AM   #3
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

I'm not sure what Dither is.

Right now my settings for Dither are none.
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Old 21-03-2015, 07:18 AM   #4
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalacticBass View Post
I often render tracks even when I'm not finished with them to see how they sound so far. I've noticed that every time I render the track, it sounds slightly different. Like the velocity in some of the chords or notes change in whatever synth or plugin I use. This is really frustrating because whenever I really like the way my track sounds and I'm not finished with it yet, I have to keep rendering it over and over again until all the sounds "hit" the exact way I want them to.
I'm not sure, but this could be a matter of delay compensation... no idea about the velocity though. If you're having troubles with rendering you could load an audio track, put the input at resampling and hit record. That should solve the problem.
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Old 21-03-2015, 07:39 AM   #5
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by fontlame View Post
I'm not sure, but this could be a matter of delay compensation... no idea about the velocity though. If you're having troubles with rendering you could load an audio track, put the input at resampling and hit record. That should solve the problem.
Hmmm yeah that is a good idea to get around it. It's just frustrating because that will probably slow the process down.

Another example is that sometimes when I render my track, I'll see that the volume went over 0db during the rendering process. But then I'll render it again and it's fine.
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Old 21-03-2015, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by GalacticBass View Post
Hmmm yeah that is a good idea to get around it. It's just frustrating because that will probably slow the process down.

Another example is that sometimes when I render my track, I'll see that the volume went over 0db during the rendering process. But then I'll render it again and it's fine.
nope, recording that way is actually much faster. What you're talking about here is normalization i think.
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Old 21-03-2015, 01:22 PM   #7
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Purchase your plugins?
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Old 21-03-2015, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by fontlame View Post
If you're having troubles with rendering you could load an audio track, put the input at resampling and hit record. That should solve the problem.
Or you could just freeze and flatten and skip over having to sit there and listen to everything you bump down.
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Old 21-03-2015, 03:41 PM   #9
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Yeah before I render i usually record the mix to a stereo file because I've noticed minute differences in the sound if I don't. Not every time but enough times to where I'm tired of taking the chance so now bouncing the entire mix down first is just something I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
Or you could just freeze and flatten and skip over having to sit there and listen to everything you bump down.
Problem with that is if you're not at a stage where you're ready to commit you have to save a duplicate copy of the project or go back and undo everything and by that time you probably could have just let the track play through. Freezing and flattenibg a song with say 25 tracks could take just as long as bouncing also.

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Old 21-03-2015, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Is there some option either in the export/render/whatever settings for high-quality mode? If so uncheck it. Or perhaps in some of your plugins options themselves? If you're writing in 'draft mode' or something similarly named, there may be some default option to render in higher quality which you should also turn off.

If it keeps happening you might want to get a wav recorder vst to sit in your master channel, just play through it and record what you hear.

TBH though it sounds like you're getting listening fatigue and you should give your ears more regular breaks.

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Old 21-03-2015, 05:18 PM   #11
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
Or you could just freeze and flatten and skip over having to sit there and listen to everything you bump down.
Dude, mute your soundcard, get out of the room and make yourself a tea
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Old 22-03-2015, 09:18 PM   #12
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

In Logic, I just use realtime bouncing because of this reason, especially while bouncing out percussive instruments.
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Old 23-03-2015, 09:17 AM   #13
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
Or you could just freeze and flatten and skip over having to sit there and listen to everything you bump down.
it's ok to freeze/flatten few layers, I do this with those who have Max4Live devices just because they totally fuck up the whole project if you leave them and re-launch a project file after a while (this happened to my latest one where I BSOD'd and now Live doesn't find Max 6 folder anymore). They work way better on Mac OS than Windows.
I would bounce tracks separately, especially those who have the most processing and shit tons of effects to see if it's their fault. Maybe some process is being randomized in real time, like, for example, random panning controlled by lfo, it will always sound different.

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Old 12-04-2015, 11:46 PM   #14
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Im gonna say you have dither on or maybe your sample rate is down lower.
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Old 17-04-2015, 09:04 PM   #15
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Go into your "recording" settings in ableton's preferences. Make sure that the bit depth of recorded tracks is set to what you ultimately want to have your pre-master (rendered track) at when rendered.

24-16 blahhh..

then as noted above record your main channel into a new channel. that recorded file will now be of the quality you set in ableton's prefferences and it will be of the file type you set as well, wav or whatever.

Next listen to it via ableton, sound good? cool.. Then right click on the clip, choose (sorry not at my studio computer) I think, "view in browser" and boom there is your rendered file in pristine whatever the fuck you recorded it at.
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Old 18-04-2015, 03:53 AM   #16
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalacticBass View Post
I often render tracks even when I'm not finished with them to see how they sound so far. I've noticed that every time I render the track, it sounds slightly different. Like the velocity in some of the chords or notes change in whatever synth or plugin I use. This is really frustrating because whenever I really like the way my track sounds and I'm not finished with it yet, I have to keep rendering it over and over again until all the sounds "hit" the exact way I want them to.

Is there something I'm over looking here? Is there a way to stop this from happening?

Also I forgot to mention that I'm working with Ableton Live 8.0.1
Many VST plugins and VSTi's are free-rolling in nature. Their cycles of effects and modulations don't restart at the exact same phase or polarity or timing each time the project plays. Only a few VST plugins give the user control over this, such as Image-Line's Toxic Biohazard.

A potential solution is to sample the parts that you like and replay them with a sampler VSTi.

I know it's not ideal, but that's the reality of complex waveforms.

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Old 18-04-2015, 08:59 AM   #17
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

It's not really clear what your problem is. When you say a plugin sounds different, do you mean ALL plugins or just some plugins? Also, what is the peak output on your master? And when you say it sounds different, do you mean that if you bounce and then immediately play it back in the studio it sounds different? Beyond that, what are your bounce settings? 32/24/16-bit? AIFF/WAV, 96/48/44k? And what do you mean by velocity? Do you mean amplitude or are you saying that it sounds like the MIDI note ons are triggering at a lower velocity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFJ View Post
Yeah before I render i usually record the mix to a stereo file because I've noticed minute differences in the sound if I don't. Not every time but enough times to where I'm tired of taking the chance so now bouncing the entire mix down first is just something I do.
This is probably the best idea. If you mix down to a stereo track, you don't even need to bounce. You can just open that audio in an editor and convert it. Also, this method then makes it easy to A|B between the mix down and the session. Simply assign the mute button of all groups outputting to the master to one key on the keyboard and the stereo track mute button to another key.

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Problem with that is if you're not at a stage where you're ready to commit you have to save a duplicate copy of the project or go back and undo everything and by that time you probably could have just let the track play through. Freezing and flattenibg a song with say 25 tracks could take just as long as bouncing also.
That's why you save as something like [track name] - FLATTENED. It's not really that hard to keep track of multiple files. Especially when you consider that you can sort them by creation and modified date.

While non-destructive editing is great, I still think it pays to print. Like with what the OP's saying about notes sounding different, this could be down to the signal chain, particularly where any randomisation is taking place. For example, whether an LFO is locked to MIDI timecode or is running in realtime. In the case of the latter, the point at time which you hit the render button is going to result in a very different result for whatever parameters the LFO is modulating.

I find this is particularly true of effects along the lines of livecut. Whenever I've used that, I'm typically printing the output as I go. Similarly, when I'm jamming with things like tape emulation, I'll print the output and the automation to ensure there's no variation.

With soft-synths, another thing that can throw inconsistent results are settings like Native Instruments' "Analog", "Digital" and "Key Sync" settings. The analog setting determines how in phase the oscillator cycles are. So say you have three oscillators each with three voices (unison) it determines how in phase each cycle is respectively. What you'll hear if you listen to a sequence with Analog set to all off is a continuously consistent reproduction of the sequence. What you'll hear with the Analog set to all on will be much different. The timbre of each note will be slightly different.

Key Sync is similar but it more determines the phase of oscillators to note on messages. With key sync off, each oscillator is more or less going at its own pace. So if you have a three note polyphony and you trigger a fourth note, if key sync is off, the oscillator phase will continue in phase with the first note (which would be switched off when the note is triggered) and with key sync on, the oscillator will restart at the beginning of its phase.

There are lots of parameters like these that introduce randomisation. That's a good thing though, and it's why I say printing is a good idea. Randomisation and inconsistency is kind of the appeal of working with analog equipment. And it's kind of a golden rule that you print as much as you can. When a project is nearing completion, you should be printing as much as possible.

And by the time any project of mine gets to the point of seriously mixing it down, I won't even start that process until everything is printed. Yeah, flattening or bouncing everything is time consuming. But that's why you start the process right before bed time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocelaught View Post
Im gonna say you have dither on or maybe your sample rate is down lower.
Dither's not really going to solve the problem though.
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Old 18-04-2015, 01:18 PM   #18
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

If this wasn't addressed yet, consider playing it back through a different program / on a different device. iTunes makes my shit sound weird all the time, for example.
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Old 18-04-2015, 02:52 PM   #19
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
If this wasn't addressed yet, consider playing it back through a different program / on a different device. iTunes makes my shit sound weird all the time, for example.
i never use itunes but i once heard about its sound enhancer, could be it.
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Old 18-04-2015, 11:28 PM   #20
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Re: Problem with tracks not sounding exactly the same when I render them.

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Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
If this wasn't addressed yet, consider playing it back through a different program / on a different device. iTunes makes my shit sound weird all the time, for example.
Oh nonsense. A codec is a codec. It's going to sound the same using any program on the same operating system unless it's a third party codec like FLAC. But even then, there's a pretty slim chance that you're using an obscure codec.

If you have the equaliser and other effects off, playback will sound the same. If it doesn't it's either an obscure program running its own obscure program, or it's psychological on your part.

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