Sonar Recording Question

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by NoSavvy, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    Recording vocals into Sonar 4 project with several tracks already on it:

    During record everything sounds great, but when recording is complete, the recorded vocal is at a different speed than the rest of the tracks (slightly faster). Starts at the same mark as the other tracks, but by the end of the song is noticeably ahead of the beat.

    Anyone else experience this? Is it a CPU problem (my computer not smart enough)? Would playing fewer of the other tracks during record eliminate this? Looking for a solution that just gets it into sonar right the first time (without having to nudge, etc.) if possible.
  2. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    Home Page:
    Do the sample rates match?
  3. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    Don't they have to match? I don't know how to check sample rates on individual tracks (if sonar even allows that), but here are my audio options settings:

    Playback Timing master: Sound Blaster Live 24-bit 1/2
    Record timing master: Sound Blaster Live 24-bit
    Driver bit depth: 16
    Default settings for new projects
    Sampling Rate: 44100
    File Bit depth: 16
    Buffers in Playback queue: 2
    Buffer size: 10.0 msec
    Effective latency at 44kHz/sterio: 30.0 msec
  4. orbit

    orbit Guest

    im kind of a noob too, but that sounds like latency issues. if you are overdubbing them but monitoring playback with your sblive you probably will have issues with things being off time <shrug>
  5. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    OK, latency issues? So how do I listen to tracks while I'm recording (so I can match the vocal to the song) without this 'off time' problem?

    Sorry if all this is too kindergarten for everybody, but I'm not a gearhead (just an artist), and all this is new to me. Seems like there are a dozen settings that have to be just so to get anything right, and no way to figure out what they are (you have to already know). I throw myself at the mercy of your superior knowledge...
  6. orbit

    orbit Guest

    well if you are using your sblive you cannot overcome the latency issue (as far as i know)... i use the M-Audio Delta 1010 which gives me about a 6ms latency (very close to zero latency).

    On the other hand, I DO know some people that use a preamp into their sound blaster card to achieve results better than i am able to (and it pisses me off) but it just shows that I'm a noob as far as i am concerned....

    I do apologize because i probably am raising more questions than i am answering; however, hopefully you're being stimulated to research and learn more about your situation.

    P.S. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable comes along and makes sense of what i am on the cusp of explaining <shrug>
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    OK, a few questions:
    Is the pitch of the vocal changed as well as the length? Is it just the vocal track or do the instrument tracks have the same problem, but less marked? What happens if you put down another track after the vocals? Do your musicians work to a click for the original tracks? How many tracks have you laid down before the vocals, counting all tracks recorded at the same time as 1 (e.g. if all drum mics and bass guitar were put down first in one take, that would be 1)?
  8. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    Thanks all for your help thus far. To answer your questions, Boswell:

    The pitch of the vocal is unchanged. I can't quantify it, but if the recorded vocal is faster than the tracks I was listening to during recording, the vocals must be shorter in length (yes?). The other tracks are actually midi recordings using the NI soundfonts (only live tracks are my voice and the bouzouki I play). All were recorded to sonar's metronome (not a click track, but same premise?). Four tracks were down before the vocals.

    An additional note: I have since converted all the midi tracks to audio (so I can eq them to pieces), and have discovered the audio recorded from midi was also noticeably faster... I'm going to attempt another vocal track and see if it records the same speed as the audio tracks (would be nice, since that would mean problem solved).

    Sonar allows you to set the sample rate used on the project (which I assume then means for all processes), but I'm beginning to have doubts. Either playback and record are set in different places, or audio and midi tracks play a different speeds, or some component along the chain handles playback and record differently? Latency could cause tracks to be out of step, but shouldn't cause an actual tempo change, yeah?
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Well, it looks as though you have identified the problem - the midi synthesiser. I guess there is a rounding effect in the calculation of the note durations, so that each note is fractionally longer or shorter than it should be.

    Are you able to try recording the converted output of the midi synthesiser during the laying down of the vocals? Maybe that's what you were suggesting, but I wasn't clear on this.

    PS This is not a latency issue.
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    What do you have set in "Options>Project>Clock>Source"...(I think that's right...I don't have that computer up right now).. for the clock?

    When working strictly with MIDI, and even while you record your first audio track, having it set to "Internal" is fine.

    Once you put any kind of audio on there, it should be set to "Audio". If it's still set to "Internal", that could make things go a little weird. The audio is then trying to follow the internal clock, instead of the MIDI following the audio. MIDI follows audio better, because it's just run from timing cues to tell it when to play and won't change pitches, etc. Audio can speed up, slow down, etc when run from "Internal".

    I don't know if this is a cause, because a lot of times you should probably even hear things hiccup, and possibly even freeze the thing. Just something to check.

    The only other thing I can think of is that the sample rate set on the card doesn't match what is set in Sonar, but then it's pitch might probably also change...if you had one set at 44.1 and one at 48. You said you've checked all that.

    That's all I got.

  11. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    OK, gents. Tried rerecording the vocal with only audio tracks for playback (and Clock source is set to audio, thanks Kapt.Krunch). Same problem.

    I went back to the sample rate question. Still can't find anything in Sound Blaster that allows me to adjust sample rate, then (as I was about to start breaking things) I found this gem on wikipedia's sound blaster entry:

    "Unfortunately, digital processing brought some limitations. The DSP had an internal fixed sample rate of 48 kHz, meaning that any recording done at lower sample rates (such as 44.1 kHz or 32 kHz) was first upsampled to 48 kHz and then downsampled again on output. In a production environment with a Sound Blaster Live!, it was generally recommended to use 48 kHz sampling to maintain sound integrity. This resampling created IM distortion within the audio, which can be heard if carefully listened for. Most problematic was that most audio is sampled at 44.1 kHz ("CD quality"), a frequency which is especially difficult to convert to 48 kHz."

    So that's it? I've got to scrap the project and start over with Sonar set to 48 kHz, then try and convert the mix to 44.1 kHz on export? Why fix SBL at 48? Video only? Anyone recommend a sound card that doesn't suck for cd quality audio recording?
  12. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Well, truthfully, the SoundBlasters are really not for quality music production. I have one, but I just use it for MIDI Soundfonts to give me more sounds. I record through a Delta 1010 on another computer.

    As far as Intermodulation Distortion (IM), I doubt that would make things speed up or slow down. It just means it's changing the characteristics of the recorded sound by adding or subtracting certain frequencies together through the conversion process. That can lead to "beating", or possibly phasing or certain frequencies jumping out or disappearing by creating or cancelling harmonics of itself.

    The SoundBlaster should automatically detect and use whatever sample rate and bit depth you choose in Sonar for that project. You've already got the Playback and Timing Masters set to the SB, and the 44.1/16 set.

    I assume under Drivers, both In and Out are set to SB.

    The next stuff, you may want to do one thing at a time, and try it. If you change a bunch at once, you may not know what caused it.

    In Advanced, if you have Enabled Read and Write Caching checked, try unchecking them. You can always set them back. Also, under Playback and Recording, whatever you have "Always Use MME..." set to, try the opposite.

    After you have a track recorded, in the Track View, turn the input to "None". You don't need the input routed to that anymore.
    Make sure the Output is routed to SB.

    If you have any Effects enabled, turn them off for now. Disable all your Aux sends for now. The idea is to simplify to try.

    You may want to check that you have the latest drivers for that SB card. If not, try that.

    It's gotta be something relatively simple. Usually stuff like that is right under our noses, but it's so obvious we may overlook it.

  13. NoSavvy

    NoSavvy Guest

    Thanks Kapt.Krunch for the additional advice. I haven't got time to mess with this anymore this week.

    In the meantime, I found this from wecolby at Computer Hardware Forum, who apparently experienced the same problem:

    "48 kHz sampling rate is a must since the SBLive does this by nature. 44.1 or 22.5 causes the SBLive to resample which apparently throws off sync between audio tracks. This is probably the key cause for disparity between audio tracks even with Creative drivers."

    I'll try your suggestions and possibly rerecording it all at 48 kHz when I get the chance and let you know how it goes...
  14. When I'm in Sonar, and my amount of buffers is above 4, or if it is an uneven number, say 5, I get timing/synchronization problems. Try adjusting this, along with making the buffer's faster. Works on mine, but computer's are tricky, and it could be anything. Good Luck!
  15. z120129

    z120129 Guest

    I have also had this problem, regardless of my sound card/driver. I use a SB card also, (X-Fi), and 2 firepods to record. due to the ease of fixing it (especially with sonar's new AudioSnap feature), i have not really experimented to fix it. Something you may want to do (if it is supported by your card) is to change the audio driver mode (Options-->Audio...-->Advanced-->Playback and Recording) to something else (preferebly ASIO if supported by your Live!). Changing the metronome tempo while messing with the song (during mixing) also has caused some mis-alignments; careful with that. Have you changed the tempo after you recorded the vocals?

    may be a bit out of your way, but you could try to uninstall/reinstall sonar. that has fixed other various problems. it doesnt take that long, and it is worth a shot.

    good luck, and let us know if you find out what it was!
  16. Sonar 8.5 Problem

    I have a problem with Sonar. If I'm recording guitars, bass, vocals or etc.... Sonar records the drums, the metronom, and everything what there is. And if I play back the guitar record, I can hear there everything else.... If there's nothing else, just the guitar, I can hear the metrnomom while I'm playing back.... What can I do?
    sorry for bad english:p

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