Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
jestermgee
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by jestermgee » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:06 am

The quotes there are from 2011 guys. Wouldn't get too invested in fighting this one.

Dane John
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by Dane John » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:34 am

There are a million different variables when mixing in general, both internally and externally, however like with all gear heads, one is tempted to get the best out of there equipment.

https://www.meterplugs.com/blog/2017/02 ... etter.html

^Here is an article about 64 bit floating point, in which you can make your own subjective opinion. From my understanding, 64 bit floating point basically means that there is less "room for error" in the 1's & 0's in binary code that is running through a DAW. When utilizing plugins, there more you use the more the number of errors add up, relative to the floating point setting.

As it is now, Ableton has a Hybrid approach towards 64bit summing according to the manual.

Check - 32.2.4 Summing at Single Mix Points

https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/audio-fact-sheet/

jestermgee
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by jestermgee » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:51 pm

Dane John wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:34 am
There are a million different variables when mixing in general, both internally and externally, however like with all gear heads, one is tempted to get the best out of there equipment.

https://www.meterplugs.com/blog/2017/02 ... etter.html

^Here is an article about 64 bit floating point, in which you can make your own subjective opinion. From my understanding, 64 bit floating point basically means that there is less "room for error" in the 1's & 0's in binary code that is running through a DAW. When utilizing plugins, there more you use the more the number of errors add up, relative to the floating point setting.

As it is now, Ableton has a Hybrid approach towards 64bit summing according to the manual.

Check - 32.2.4 Summing at Single Mix Points

https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/audio-fact-sheet/
Great advice... would have been even better back in 2011 when this thread stopped.

Dane John
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by Dane John » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:41 pm

I wouldn't agree that closing this chapter is based on "stopped in 2011" this is an on going topic, and I think will always be.

Live currently has a 64 bit summing engine, but not quite if you take a look at the manual in the aforementioned post, which means there is still room for improvement regarding the sound engine.

orin
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by orin » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:09 am

This doesn't have to always be a problem. It is currently a problem because Ableton Live doesn't manage all audio engine state deterministically. If it did, then we could get reliable exports that sound exactly as expected, every time.

Note, I am *not* talking about sound quality issues here. Mistakes, bit depths, and sample rates aside, there is a real problem with the Live software, and I hope it will get fixed. In my experience, Logic was better and FL Studio was worse, but right now I'm seeing clear differences in LFO phases between renders and playback in Live. It is frustrating because I just finished my first track, and I can't get it out using Export Audio... I can Resample an audio track, and get the luck of the draw... but I can't get a reliable export that sounds like in-Live playback. Imagine if Photoshop couldn't export an image matching what you see, and the only way to get a matching PNG render is to screenshot and crop... not good!

I know the cause, and there's nothing I can do about it but try to explain the problem to Ableton engineers here, then hope they fix it. They may already be aware, but this problem has apparently persisted for many years, so... Here it is in a nutshell:

Sound is generated by a big, complicated set of algorithms (plugins, instruments, etc.) starting from an initial memory state. This memory state evolves over time (as it must) but as long as the initial conditions and algorithms are identical, the outputs will be identical. But this isn't the case. Instead, the memory state is allowed to evolve in *real* time, and time in the arrangement only *partially* drives changes to state. The drifting bits are unmanaged and therefore inconsistent.

And I know it's complicated by VST plugins, but their state can and should be fully managed by the host. If all audio engine state at time T were the same regardless of when playback started at or before T, then we'd have consistency -- but instead, things are allowed to vary. Hence the confusion and complaints about differences, hence the suggested practice of resampling. But this is a disappointing workaround, not a solution. The solution is to have arrangement time drive engine state 100%. Anything less leaves output up to chance.

I really hope some engineers understand what I'm talking about here, and will make the fix for Live 10.1! I'd be happy to help (free of charge) if Ableton wants to set me up with an NDA and source code. I've solved this kind of problem in systems before; it's hard but not impossible.

IbanezManuel
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by IbanezManuel » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:21 am

Scylipt wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:31 am
SOLVED (maybe)

This is also happened to me and I found a solution.

I recorded my master to an audio track and it sounded the same as the master, as expected. I then found the recorded Wav file and and played it in VLC player from my desktop. It sounded the same as if Id rendered the whole song, telling me the problem lay outside of Ableton.

I came to thinking what the differences were in playing the Wav file in Ableton and in in VLC.

I thought it may be down to the audio driver used at the time. I have Ableton using AISO4ALL v2 and once out of Ableton the Realtek driver is used.

After looking deeper into this I found that indeed it was from an external program, in my case it was APO equalizer for windows.

Simply turned it off and the quality was the same as in Abletom , no muddyness, perfect.

Hope that helps

Bro thanks a lot for this info!!! This was the issue that i was having. I owe you a beer. Greetings and thanks again

Ironlion
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by Ironlion » Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:23 pm

pepezabala wrote:
Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:09 pm
before ditching the summing engine of a Live please check two things:

what are you using to play the rendered file? itunes or whatever you use to playback might have an equalizer set that muffles your sound.

do you have normalization on when rendering? could be that your master peaks over 0 db and thus the rendered, normalized file has a much lower volume than your live session.
God, thank you man. The normalize button on the render menu has been killing me for years and I had no idea!!!!!!
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properLofi
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by properLofi » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:12 am

I’m astounded by the mis-information in this post. I know it’s dated but there needs to be some clarity about bit depth, sample rate, non-synced effects and analogue modelling.

Live’s render is identical to real-time playback/record. This has been demonstrated many times using phase inversion between the two to achieve a summed zero output. The reason tracks may sound different is due to the random fluctuations of analogue modelling effects. These will sound different every time you press play anyway so there’s no reason to choose real-time over render. The same is true of modulation effects that are not sync locked to play-back.

With regards to bit depth and audio quality the 64 bit system means that Ableton will not clip internally while calculating processing. If your master is running in the red you will essentially be hearing a hard limited version of your mix that will be turned down on export if you select the normalise option. Hence renders sounding quieter. Bit depth is a measurement of dynamic range, lowering from 24 to 16 bits will never make your track duller or muddier, it will just reduce the dynamic range of your track and raise the noise floor.

The only setting inside Ableton that could theoretically change the frequency response of your track is the sample rate. Lowering below 44.1Khz will definitely start to have a clear and audible difference. I would say that the majority of people would struggle to hear a shift from 96 or 48 to 44.1 as their monitoring situation simply won’t be of good enough quality to really hear it happening.

This is all born out by the OP saying he had a Windows system eq applied to his media player. It’s always the obvious thing not the expensive and well designed DAW that is at fault.

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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by [jur] » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:10 pm

properLofi wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:12 am
I’m astounded by the mis-information in this post. I know it’s dated but there needs to be some clarity about bit depth, sample rate, non-synced effects and analogue modelling.

Live’s render is identical to real-time playback/record. This has been demonstrated many times using phase inversion between the two to achieve a summed zero output. The reason tracks may sound different is due to the random fluctuations of analogue modelling effects. These will sound different every time you press play anyway so there’s no reason to choose real-time over render. The same is true of modulation effects that are not sync locked to play-back.

With regards to bit depth and audio quality the 64 bit system means that Ableton will not clip internally while calculating processing. If your master is running in the red you will essentially be hearing a hard limited version of your mix that will be turned down on export if you select the normalise option. Hence renders sounding quieter. Bit depth is a measurement of dynamic range, lowering from 24 to 16 bits will never make your track duller or muddier, it will just reduce the dynamic range of your track and raise the noise floor.

The only setting inside Ableton that could theoretically change the frequency response of your track is the sample rate. Lowering below 44.1Khz will definitely start to have a clear and audible difference. I would say that the majority of people would struggle to hear a shift from 96 or 48 to 44.1 as their monitoring situation simply won’t be of good enough quality to really hear it happening.

This is all born out by the OP saying he had a Windows system eq applied to his media player. It’s always the obvious thing not the expensive and well designed DAW that is at fault.
Thanks for clarifying this one more time :wink:
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