VST's dull I'm system :( any help would be great :)

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by jmd87, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi,

    first of all I hope i have put this in the right place! Sorry If i haven't

    Basically we have a problem with our system It appears that we are loosing treble. We have an 16core Intel system with 48gb of RAM running on windows 7 with all updates. The interface we are using is an RME Raydat and RME AIO in the same system that go out to a Set of Adams AX7's and for headphones we have Beyer D770 Pros. The software we use is Cubase 7.5 and Audition for minor edits to stuff.

    Basically we have loads of VST instruments installed (Kontakt (and loads of instruments related to that), Halion 5, real guitar etc etc but whats happened is say I load Kontakt 5's Studio drummer in a empty cubase project and route that straight out to the speakers or headphones it sounds nothing like the demo they give online. It sounds dull, lacking in character and the sounds aren't very up front etc. We have to boost the treble through the roof but it still doesn't sound right. We also get this when we try the same with Halion or anything else. We have to boost the treble to some extent.

    We also have coming into the system via ADAT via a Soundcraft desk Vocals, Guitars and 15 JV1080's. The JV1080's come in and require just a tiny bit of treble (due to the age probably!) but sound great and really upfront. The mic comes in and needs a load of treble again and the guitar is a similar thing but not so crucial at the moment.

    Now I am just the person that assembled the system and in charge of day to day maintenance (as you can see from above doing a great job at the moment haha smile.gif ) The Producer and engineer knows exactly what they are doing (worked for EMI for a long time producing) and convinced there is something wrong. So what he did was got some recordings he transferred on an Alesis HD24 from 70's 80'sfed connected them directly to the Raydat card into cubase and played each individual instrument back. Everything sounded great and really up front and in your face and considering that was done so many years ago u'd think it wouldn't compare.

    We are now at a bit of a loss of what to try :( So doe's anyone have an ideas please?

    Sorry this is so long I just wanted to try and give as much detail as i could.

    Many Thanks
    Joe
     
  2. Josh Conley

    Josh Conley Active Member

    you got a bad cable
     
  3. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply :)

    That's what we thought but have tried replacing all cables with either new or old just to be sure and its still the same

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Am I getting this right ? You're vst has less treble than it's suppose to ?

    I assume you started a project from scratch in cubase. No effect anywhere...
    Did you try to render it to audio and export it to listen on an other system ?
    did you think to deactivate any effect in kontakt
    Is the problem only occuring with vsti. What if you load a commercial recording in cubase ?

    Man, you need to eliminate stuff. Play a cd with windows media player
    Could be converters, audio format mismatch.. I'll wait for your answers
     
  5. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi Pcrecord!

    Thanks alot for the reply :)

    Am I getting this right ? You're vst has less treble than it's suppose to ?
    - Yes thats right also audio Inputs like guitars and mics seem dull and just lifeless

    I assume you started a project from scratch in Cubase. No effect anywhere...
    - Yes it was still the same. I even loaded kontakt and other VSTi's standalone and they were still the same

    Did you try to render it to audio and export it to listen on an other system ?
    - I will try this hadn't thought of that to be honest

    did you think to deactivate any effect in kontakt
    - yep all effects deactivated :)
    Is the problem only occuring with vsti. What if you load a commercial recording in cubase ?
    - Here is the strange thing. It is dull on VSTi's and dull on inputs like Guitar and Vocals but as said above when we plugged in a Alesis HD24 into the system and listened back to stuff record in 70's and 80's it sounded really good, clear and upfront/full of life. I have tried commercial songs in the computer and id say they don't sound great (Tried Flac, Wavs, MP3s etc of all sorts of music from old to new)

    Thanks alot for the help :)

    Joe
     
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    When you connected the HD deck to your system, did you do so through your primary audio I/O? Or did you interface it in a different way?
     
  7. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi DonnyThompson,

    Thanks for the reply!

    It is plugged exactly the same way as our mixing desk was via the raydat. I'll also just write the route of the how everything gets in and out.

    It goes:
    - Soundcraft 328xd (for external instruments) to raydat in computer

    - raydat goes out to the AIO card in same computer

    - goes out of the computer to a Mackie big knob which goes to the Adams and also a direct headphone out from the AIO card.

    - cubase and audition obviously connect to the cards etc. Also the raydat cards is the wordclocl master for the system

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Once we know if the render audio is ok or not on an other sound system, we'll start to pinpoint the problem ;)
    If anything you play from the computer isn't sounding good, it might be the DA converter or a setting in the audio driver or in windows audio settings.
    Any rendering or dithering before sending to the DA ?
     
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You are trying to diagnose a problem without breaking things down to basics. I suspect you have something like an an ADAT double-path with a time delay of less than a millisecond between the paths, and this is causing amplitude nulls in the upper audio range. Using the HD24 to feed in natively via ADAT only uses one of the paths and hence no nulling.

    As a method example, start by taking the whole computer, Raydat and AIO boards out of the loop by connecting the Adam monitors directly to the analog outputs of the Soundcraft 328xd. Now listen to how the console's microphone and line inputs sound going directly out to the speakers (not in the same room, obviously). Add the Big Knob into the speaker lines. Proceed from there by adding a computer loop via the ADAT inputs and outputs. Build back up to a bigger system but leave out all VSTis and plug-ins until you have found the problem.
     
  10. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hey,

    Thanks for all your replies :)

    @pcrecord
    I have created a empty cubase project just load kontakt 5 with studio drummer into it and exported it and tried it on a few different speakers (everything from laptop to good speakers) it sounds better than the cubase computer but when comparing it to studio drummers examples on there website they still sound a bit better when in theory ours should sound a lot better as its not an MP3 format!

    I'm not sure about rendering or dithering. It goes straight from the AIO analog outs to the Mackie big knob to the speakers (I have tried bypassing the big knob and still sounded the same )

    @Boswell

    Hi Boswell,

    The soundcraft is only used for inputs into the computer. Nothing goes back to it. The audio that comes out of the PC comes out via the AIO card via analog into the big knob (I have tried removing big knob and still sounds the same)

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Vsti are not magical, usually they are mixed but not mastered. Going to mastering, the sound can change a lot. I don't know about studio drummer production and website samples tho.
    Other thing, the recording of the midi track can change the sound as well. I usually record my midi tracks on an roland electronic drum that allows me to have good natural dynamics. It changes the sound considerably.

    If you export the files and it sound better on other system, you already have a part of the answer, your system have a problem ; possibly in the DA converter area or the way Cubase compute the output of audio. Investigate about dithering options in cubase...
     
  12. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply Pcrecord! Yeh we tried the midi thing with a set of drum pads and also patterns that came inside studio drummer and it was the same unfortunately. We ran a test generator through the system and it looks like the PC maybe losing about 10db of treble up in the 10 -15khz region. That is the area we always have to boost to make it sound rightish. Surely this shouldn't be the case?

    I will look into dithering like you have said and get back to you with either the answer or requesting you help and advice :)

    I would like to say that i really appreciate this help from all that have helped so far :)

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  13. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi,

    I have looked in Cubase and found that the Dither is a plugin that needs to be attached to master bus out. Currently this is not enabled and never has been. If I enabled this would it effect the sound coming out of the system (not audio mixdowns as we don't use audio mixdowns)

    Also as it stands at the moment everything is recorded in 24bit at 48k and then mixed down to those same settings in audition. if that helps at all?

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  14. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I guess, the next step is to try with another audio interface. If you can borrow one or rent one. Just test the output with a commercial CD with windows media player first, then with cubase...
     
  15. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi Pcrecord

    Thanks for the reply!

    I have 2 RME raydat cards and an RME AIO card. So i took your advice and tried each raydat card on its own (these are all adat) and then the AIO card on its own (Analog outs) They all show the same loss. I tried a cheap EMU card that showed the same and also a Focusrite external unit and also showed the same.

    Do think there could be something in windows that could need adjusting?

    Many thanks
    Joe
     
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I think you are getting somewhere now. If all the I/O cards you tried (both analog and ADAT) gave similar results, you have to look at how you tried them and see if the problem could be in how you are setting up the system and the tests.

    Can you tell us the signal routing through the equipment for the analog board tests and for the ADAT I/O tests? Which Focusrite product was it that you tried? How did you configure the DAW for these tests?
     
  17. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi Boswell!

    Thanks for the reply :)

    Well see I'm not 100% sure what could be setup wrong lol. I installed the cards the latest drivers and firmware and then just routed in using there own supplied mixconsoles.

    I built the computer and am very knowledgable with building and coding etc so am not afraid to try things if you suggest things. What things should I look for in setting up the system? Im running Windows 7 64bit.

    What things could go wrong with the test. We have tried Hardware tone Generators, Tone Generators in cubase and even Apps Tone Generators for phones and they all go to a frequency analyser which again ive tried a few Hardware ones (cheap and expensive) and also Apps for phones again. The all show a 10db loss after 10k. It is also showing after some research I did lastnight what appears to be Harmonic distortion. It shows say 5k peak on the analyser and then to the right of it a little frequency peak on most frequency's if that helps at all?

    I shall try my best :)

    AIO Board - Analog/Digital

    I have tried Going into the AIO via Analog and out via analog and also in via adat and out via analog. This just goes straight into the PC into there "Mix Console" and then straight back out again.

    Raydat Board - Digital

    Straight into the Raydat Via Adat and Out Via Adat. again Straight into PC into the Mix console and backout.

    It is a focusrite Saffire 6 not most expensive thing but still good :)

    Is that what you were after or have i miss understood?

    I have been on the RME forums and they are saying there is no way the Raydat can effect frequency loss. Do you think this could be them just being unhelpfull or is this true?

    many thanks
    Joe
     
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    well, something is wizzly, that's for certain.

    I agree with PC and Bos, you really need to strip this down to the most basic I/O schematic. Try the primary audio I/O on another computer running W7 or 8.

    If you aren't having the same trouble on another computer, then there is something happening on the PC you are currently using.

    If the problems persist on another PC, then you've got it narrowed down to your primary Audio I/O device.

    There are other things you could try:

    Have you disabled the audio drivers that came resident with the PC? (Realtek, Soundblaster, etc)

    Have you tried uninstalling and then reinstalling the drivers/progs for:

    The primary audio I/O
    The VSTi's?
    The sampler for the VSTi's? (Kontakt, etc)

    Have you tried loading a regular commercial CD into the drive and playing it with Media Player?

    After all of this, if you are still having problems, have you tried contacting the manufacturer of the primary audio I/O?
     
  19. jmd87

    jmd87 Active Member

    Hi DonnyThompson,

    Its driving me crazy! If this helps I have just been told that its almost like its phasing. One minute the sounds and mixes can sound great. Next Day or even next few hours they sound rubbish.

    It is pretty basic now Im going straight into the card with the tone generator and straight back out to a frequency analyser. Not using Cubase or anything.

    I have another Raydat card in another system (nothing to do with the main system in anyway almost a sub studio) I just took the card out of the problematic system and put it in the 2nd system and it does sound clearer and shows a better Frequency response but still a loss above 10k.

    - No i havent tried disabled in onboard audio. I shall try remove it as we Never use it.
    - I have tried uninstalling all and reinstalling and ever installing it all on a New SSD drive

    Yes tried a CD and its sounds ok still a bit dull but that could because of the age of the recording etc. I've tried it in Media Player, VLC and Itunes just incase

    I have and am talking to RME at the moment. But they say "There is no way technically the Raydat could have an influence on a signal's frequency response. "

    Cheers
    Joe
     
  20. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Yes I think it is possible that something is going on with windows. Some audio card (realtech and others) install an effect deck with the drivers. If this effect software detect your other audio interfaces and apply it-self to signal, you need to uninstall or deactivate it. also try to deactivate any running software other than

    Other theory; (a long shot I must say) did you check if you could have a phase problem? along the signal path if a wire is inverted, your monitors may cancel some frequencies.. or you might have a faulty wire (if you did not investigate that already)

    In the hardwares, only the sound card can affect the sound (unless having latency problems) so it's either that, a software or some wiring or electric problem.
     

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