Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown files

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SoundKlang
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Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown files

Postby SoundKlang » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:18

Hello,

under the following circumstances...

Pyramix 8.1
mixdown at 176/32 WAV
Media Management/Sample Rate Conversion to 44/16 WAV

... the 176/32 file from the mixdown and the 44/16 file from the HeptaSRC play back with roughly the same perceived loudness, but with about 5 to 6.5 dB less perceived loudness than the Main Out of the Pyramix mixer. File playback was tested with 0dB gain in various player applications with same results. The Pyramix mixer out uses a 176.4, 24bits ASIO device and is dithered accordingly. For every playback situation including Pyramix mixer the same output channel of the audio hardware was used at the same level settings. The built-in mixer of the Windows OS does not affect the playback level in this setup.

The mixer of the audio hardware shows, the Pyramix mixer (at 176/32) delivers about 5 dB higher peaklevel than playing back the files (either at 44/16 or at 176/32) - as if the Pyramix mixer adds about 5 to 6.5 dB more gain when playing back, as compared to mixdown. BUT - the level meters of another audio application show that both files have the same peaklevel below -0.1dBFS. The level meter of the Pyramix mixer shows the same -0.1 dBFS peaklevel.

I can not find an explanation for this. What am I missing here?

(At first I wondered whether the reason could be in the playback via RME audio card. I posted a slightly different description at the RME forum - if interested, see http://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=21833).

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fl
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby fl » Sun Mar 08, 2015 16:18

Just a wild guess...

In Pyramix, in the mixer, in the main output bus strip, have you connected its output channels directly to your ASIO device? At the same time, is the Pyramix Monitor controller enabled so that the output of the mixer's main mix bus is also routed to your ASIO device? If you're doing both, you'll hear a higher playback level because both versions of the same signal are being added together. Either disconnect the direct outputs of the mixer's bus (my preference), or disable and don't use the Monitor control.
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SoundKlang
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby SoundKlang » Mon Mar 09, 2015 15:09

Thank you for answering so soon.

I checked your suggestions, but they are not what causes the difference in this case. I found a very simple way to reproduce the behaviour:

I created a new 176/32 project with two stereo-tracks and placed a 176/32 WAV file on the first track. All mixer strips were set to 0 dB. Then I made a Wave, 32bps, Non-Realtime, No-Redithering Mixdown (should be the same audioformat as the original file) and placed the file from the Mixdown on the second track and phase inverted it. The result was a perfect cancellation. If I play back these two files in a player application with 0dB, both have the same loudness, but playing back either of them through the Pyramix project, they have much more loudness.

If you can find the time, would you mind to check, if you get the same result with your Pyramix Installation? Thanks in advance.

Is it possible, a reason for the different playback levels is, as far as I know, that 32bit WAV is an integer format while the internal Pyramix resolution is 32bit float? Asked another way: Is it possible that Pyramix introduces the level difference when playing back (as opposed to Mixdown, recording etc.) WAV files in a project?

(I wouldn't know why it should make a difference, but to be complete - the original WAV file was recorded in another 176.4 kHz Pyramix project directly as 32bps WAV.)

SoundKlang
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby SoundKlang » Wed Mar 11, 2015 21:37

Anybody?

(I don't want to urge, but I wonder whether I should integrate a workaround in my workflow for this issue. Which would not be a problem, but maybe it is as simple as for example a configuration setting that I am not aware of?)

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Graemme
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby Graemme » Thu Mar 12, 2015 07:57

Don't over-think this...

You do indeed have something set incorrectly...you're unlikely to be the only person reporting such an issue. Check 'FL's suggestion again and see if there is some kind of 'double-bussing' going on in your mixer/monitor system because that's exactly what it sounds like. A variation on this problem is when a submix is setup incorrectly...

gb
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby Thomas Grubb » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:26

Hi,

I'm not sure if this is the same thing, but I once had files recorded at 96k with another well-know DAWS that I edited in Pyramix. Levels all seemed fine until I did a sample-rate conversion to 44k when they dropped 6dB I think. If I dragged the 96k files into a 44k project they played back at the wrong speed rather than doing the real-time conversion.

Looking at the files in Renovator, they looked fine up to 24kHZ, then the spectral waveform was turned on its head and was a mirror image from 24-48khz. Something hadn't been set properly during recording I guess (and apparently the 96k version of a certain Kate Bush album does the same thing!)

Perhaps you could check in EasyNOVA if your files are doing the same thing?

Cheers,
Tom
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SoundKlang
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby SoundKlang » Fri Mar 13, 2015 14:26

Thank you for your answers. Of course I did that before, but re-checked the signal-flow and found an unexpected cause:

One playback application has a gain control. Here 100% is not 0 dB but turns down the Windows internal mixer's Wave playback to 1/2. Of course I checked the Windows internal mixer's settings, too, but this playback application affects the setting in a way that the UI of the Windows internal mixer does not reflect any change made by that playback application. So the setting in the Windows internal mixer looked like 1/1 (which looked consistent with the 100% setting of the above mentioned gain control) but in reality was 1/2. That affected the playback level of other regular playback applications, too, but not the ASIO playback of Pyramix.

Next question: Which playback application, preferably ASIO, would you suggest for professional work? Should be able to play back any WAV, AIF and MP3 format and deliver best quality with compressed audio formats. Ideally enabling/disabling implicit sample rate conversion should be an option, and not any further processing (EQ, bass boost or the like).

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fl
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby fl » Fri Mar 13, 2015 16:01

SoundKlang wrote:One playback application has a gain control.


Which one?

SoundKlang wrote:Next question: Which playback application, preferably ASIO, would you suggest for professional work? Should be able to play back any WAV, AIF and MP3 format and deliver best quality with compressed audio formats. Ideally enabling/disabling implicit sample rate conversion should be an option, and not any further processing (EQ, bass boost or the like).


I dunno - how about Pyramix? If you don't want to boot that up, have a look at foobar2000, which is a good basic player, compatible with most sound file formats, and has a range of useful plug-in components which can perform a wide variety of functions - or none at all.

http://www.foobar2000.org/
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SoundKlang
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby SoundKlang » Fri Mar 13, 2015 21:25

Which one?


Some VLC media player version from last year or the year before.

I am looking for a reliable player application which has no features, just pure playback - lika a cd player or so. Then there is no way to have the wrong plugin activated, or parameters set wrongly or not having done necessary (?) online research about how to use it best. Probably I am too lazy, but I want a media player just to play back media without having to think about what it could be doing behind the scenes.

Pyramix does not work for that for me, when I want to compare the mix and loudness of an arrangement to one or several other titles. To do this, I would need to add at least one strip for the playback file to the arrangement, set that to solo, mute the solo-safe busses and disable the plugins in the main mix bus (used for simulating the mastering stage), then un-solo, mute that strip, un-mute the solo-safe busses, reactivate the plugins in the main mix bus and play the arrangement. For my taste, that takes too much time.

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fl
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby fl » Fri Mar 13, 2015 22:15

SoundKlang wrote:I am looking for a reliable player application which has no features, just pure playback


Then just install foobar and don't get any of the add-ons.
Frank Lockwood, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Graemme
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Re: Different playback levels - Pyramix mixer vs. mixdown fi

Postby Graemme » Mon Mar 16, 2015 07:24

JRiver MediaCenter is what I use. Bit-accurate, plays everything, level control can be bypassed, Treats audio impeccably (like PMX), Does a tonne of things you thought you didn't need, etc.

Don't think much of Foobar (or VLC) for professional purposes.
Graemme Brown
Zen Mastering
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Gabriola Island, BC
Canada V0R 1X5
+1.604.874.9096

"A Horus, A Horus; My Kingdom for a Horus!"