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

Post by chris vine » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:55 am

invol wrote:I would also recommend reading the Audio Fact Sheet at the end of the manual. It explains what is, and is not, a neutral operation in terms of audio. Since Live (and most DAWs) run at 32 bit floating point, rendering to 16 bit will pretty much result in a loss of "quality."

I am sure this has been mentioned before, but following on from the Audio Fact Sheet recommendations, do you think that recommends that we should render out at 32 bit and then dither down (as it were) to 24 or 16 bit in another editing application?

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

Post by icedsushi » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:02 pm

I can't see a reason how that would make a difference whether you drop the bit depth & dither in one step or 2 steps.

I think if you do your mixing at a higher resolution (like having all your audio files in the project at 24 bit) and then stepping down to 16 bit as the very last step, the result is still going to sound a little better than if you mixed all 16 bit audio files. Then the actual summing will be done at the higher resolution.

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

Post by pepezabala » 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.

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

Post by chris vine » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:33 pm

sleightmind wrote: It's unfortunate I'll have to mash it into an MP3 (even 320kbps) to put it out in the world.

yep mp3 IS unfortunate for all of us in a way :mrgreen:

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

Post by chris vine » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:39 pm

A/B'd a 24 bit resample against a 32 bit render and they sounded the same to my ears.......

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

Post by golemus » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:28 am

sleightmind wrote:Hey all. So I've been making music in Ableton for a while now, and there's something that keeps bothering me. When I load a track up in Ableton and press play, it sounds great. The sounds are bright and loud and crisp. Then, I export it as a 16 bit wav at 44100 sample rate, and the resulting wav file sounds muffled, muddy, and generally crap. Is there any reason for this? I don't have any EQ or effects or anything in Windows Media Player. I can't find any reason why the track should sound better in Ableton than as a wav. Thanks for the help!

Deviance
Are your levels as high as they should be? If your levels are very low, then less amount of bits than 16 bits are actually used for dynamics. Lets say that peaks are at -12db, then your dynamics would be 14bits instead of 16bits (if I calculated correctly). Although I am not sure how many bits you have to drop from the dynamics in order to hear the difference clearly but lets say that your peaks are at -24db, then the signal would be 12bits and I assume that you would already hear a difference. In this case also if you look at the signal in wave editor it is going to be very small :)

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

Post by Mplay » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:45 am

Can you upload (part of) a track so we can have a listen? Now all I can think of is maybe lives warping is changing the sound a bit.
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Earwax69
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by Earwax69 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:36 am

As I know that anyway it will be uploaded in 16bit 44hz on itunes or bandcamp, I just try to forget about the more crystal sound of 24bit. 16bit is the way it is. If your not satisfy, reimport your 16bit wav and add some EQ or exiter (before dithering of course!)

If you listen you wavs inside another app, often the volume is lower.

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

Post by invol » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:12 am

chris vine wrote:
invol wrote:I would also recommend reading the Audio Fact Sheet at the end of the manual. It explains what is, and is not, a neutral operation in terms of audio. Since Live (and most DAWs) run at 32 bit floating point, rendering to 16 bit will pretty much result in a loss of "quality."

I am sure this has been mentioned before, but following on from the Audio Fact Sheet recommendations, do you think that recommends that we should render out at 32 bit and then dither down (as it were) to 24 or 16 bit in another editing application?
Live includes POW-r Dither, which is industry standard and very good, so no need for dithering in another app.

I am also a mastering engineer, so I deal with "exports" all of the time. Generally speaking, 32 bit is nice to send for mastering, so if there is any "clipping" all of the info is still there, and not lost as when clipped in a 24 bit file which has a max dynamic range of 144 dBFS. Same story when you are exporting stems and are going to reimport them into un unfinished project.

Sonically, 24 bit no dither and 32 bit no dither are only different in an audiophile capacity. Exporting to 16 bit needs dither, but you don't want to add it until totally done with the processing of the file.

There are many other threads on these topics floating around...

Cheers,
Brian
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Muzik 4 Machines
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by Muzik 4 Machines » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:25 am

Earwax69 wrote:As I know that anyway it will be uploaded in 16bit 44hz on itunes or bandcamp, I just try to forget about the more crystal sound of 24bit. 16bit is the way it is. If your not satisfy, reimport your 16bit wav and add some EQ or exiter (before dithering of course!)

If you listen you wavs inside another app, often the volume is lower.
do NOT do that, re render the track with correct EQ and stuff, dont start with a dark file and add highs that might not even be there(just my 2 cents)

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

Post by chris vine » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:06 pm

invol wrote:
chris vine wrote:
invol wrote:I would also recommend reading the Audio Fact Sheet at the end of the manual. It explains what is, and is not, a neutral operation in terms of audio. Since Live (and most DAWs) run at 32 bit floating point, rendering to 16 bit will pretty much result in a loss of "quality."

I am sure this has been mentioned before, but following on from the Audio Fact Sheet recommendations, do you think that recommends that we should render out at 32 bit and then dither down (as it were) to 24 or 16 bit in another editing application?
Live includes POW-r Dither, which is industry standard and very good, so no need for dithering in another app.

I am also a mastering engineer, so I deal with "exports" all of the time. Generally speaking, 32 bit is nice to send for mastering, so if there is any "clipping" all of the info is still there, and not lost as when clipped in a 24 bit file which has a max dynamic range of 144 dBFS. Same story when you are exporting stems and are going to reimport them into un unfinished project.

Sonically, 24 bit no dither and 32 bit no dither are only different in an audiophile capacity. Exporting to 16 bit needs dither, but you don't want to add it until totally done with the processing of the file.

There are many other threads on these topics floating around...

Cheers,
Brian
Thanks for that. Actually, I tend to use 44.1 24bit for most things and only dither down to 16 bit for CDs. However as someone else has pointed out, itunes, bandcamp, soundcloud (?) - well, anyway most of those sites probably drop everything to 16 bit as a matter of course. OK so Live has an industry standard dithering function - but I assume you'd still do your mastering in another application? best, CV

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

Post by Scylipt » 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

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

Post by Fanu » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:51 pm

I don't know about PC machines, but if any Mac user EVER faces this, I suggest previewing the exported file with space bar…you'll get the file without any possible EQs.

Almost every single case like this always ends up being user error having to do with EQing on Windows.
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jlgrimes
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Re: Why do my tracks sound better inside Ableton than exported?

Post by jlgrimes » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:44 pm

cacti wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:20 pm
Some say that LIVEs summing enginge is not that great. Or you could argue that no DAWs summing engines are as good as if yo u had an analog summing box. If you are really interested check out some external summing boxes.
All DAW summing engines are more or less pretty similar to each other. DAW summing is technically just as good (or better) than analog summing in terms of head room but the deal is analog summing can have nonlinearities that some people will like better. Digital won't have the nonlinearities (if proper gain staging is practiced. If not digital will probably tend to sound pretty bad as it isn't its design to be operated in those conditions).


Summing is pretty much just basic math, something computers do pretty easily.


But that said many things (volume, pan laws, stock plug-in quality, GUI/ergonomics, even look of DAW) can play a part in the user experience of mixing.



Theoretically an exported song should sound no different in a mix but in practice, differences can come into play most should be within users control:

1. Sample Rate, Bit depth, export file type
Your exported audio should be exported in the same sample rate as your project. Ideally a 24 bit or 32 bit floating point file should produce no perceivable difference in quality as long as project isn't clipping (watch out for intersample clipping as well), and file format is either uncompressed or lossless. If using 16 bit or mp3, there are more things to watch for (dithering, levels). That said if good practices are followed, even these formats can be pretty hard to discern from original project. This is one area where mastering helps (or learning more about self mastering).

2. Playback medium of exported file
Your media player or website could be doing many things to your audio file such as changing playback level, compressing audio to a lower format, or even applying additional effects such as eq and dynamic range compression. It pays to see what your media player or even Operating System might be affecting audio.

3. Volume differences
Many times this could be one of the biggest and most obvious places to look. Your media player could have a very different playback level than Ableton.

4. Bugs in Plugins
Sometimes bugs do creep in which might cause an exported file to sound different than playback. It usually involves disabling/re enabling plugins to see if there is a difference. Alternatively you can try realtime exports such as Ableton's resampling feature or even recording output into Analog line ins if your interface have them if you suspect this issue. This would be an area most out of your control, but the suggestions give should help (as well as sending bug report to Ableton and plugin manufacterer if possible).

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

Post by Fanu » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:09 pm

cacti wrote:
Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:20 pm
Some say that LIVEs summing enginge is not that great.
And the same people rarely anything to back that claim up.
If you – or those "some" – do, I'll be glad to listen.
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