Distortion when using EWQLSO VST plugin even though soundlevel is below 0 Db

Hi

I have problems with distortion when using EWQLSO (East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra).

All soundlevels are held below 0 Db when mixing and mastering and no distortion can be heard when I use my headphones (Sennheiser MM 450-X) - only a slight distortion for high notes when I play the violin and when using my headphones with bluetooth and MME/DirectX, but not with ASIO.

But when mixing and mastering and listening to the music in my speakers I hear distortion with low frequencies (Contrabasses I guess, difficult to say) and sometimes the violin.

If soundlevels peaks around -0.2 Db and no distortion is heard in my headphones when wired and using ASIO why do I hear distiortion when listened to in my speakers?

As a sidenote - the output levels from EWQLSO (as audiotrack 1) is well below 0 Db namely around -6 Db. I use Limiter to increase sound level with Gain 6.1 Db which result in master track peaking around -0.2 Db.

 

Also when I export the .als file to .wav file on disk will I hear the distortion.

Thanks

2 followers

ableton_user_dk 1 year ago | 0 comments

5 answers

  • michael.j.mclaughlin20
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    2 votes

    I suppose the best way to find out is to actually render it and listen through other speakers. Are all of the Instruments housed in the same plugin? or are they all different plugins being fed midi information from different tracks?

    It might also just be a hardware issue, since Ableton does not actually cause digital distortion, but rather the voltage that comes out of Ableton is limited by the amount that your hardware can handle. Possibly check the gain structure of your sound card and speakers.

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • ableton_user_dk
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    2 votes

    Hi Michael

    Thanks for answering.

    To answer your question, yes all instruments origin from one VST plugin (1 instance) and this plugin is being fed midi information from different tracks.

    As to the possible hardware issue, how do  I go about checking the gain structure of my sound card and speakers? Are there any means to completely bypass hardware issues? Would buying an external soundcard of some sort solve these issues?

    For rendering and wired playback I use ASIO as recommended by Ableton.

     

    Thanks

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • ableton_user_dk
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    2 votes

    I have an additional question - How come that samples from EWQLSO and rendered in Ableton can cause distortion. The gain structure of my sound card as Michael mentions how can this cause distortion? I mean it is all digital 0's and 1's and no analogue signal so how can the soundcard have any influence on the rendered music file?

    Could it be something with the samples - I have heard a lot of good music composed with ewqlso gold - not any signs of distortion when played in speakers, so I wonder what could be the difference?

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • michael.j.mclaughlin20
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    256 votes received
    1 vote

    The sound card is actually the piece that does the digital to analog rendering. It converts the 1s and 0s to actual voltage differences. Understanding that any sound is made up of only 2 components (frequency and amplitude) can help you understand where things can go wrong. 2 examples include the following:

    If the 1s and 0s you send to your sound card tell the sound card to send your speakers an amplitude that is too hot for the outputs of your soundcard to handle, then it will begin to distort because the voltage coming out of your soundcard is basically trying to pass too much energy at once. This happens all the time when cheap DJs try to pump the jam way to hard.

    Another way that your system can distort is if it actually has a natural resonance at the frequencies you are using or if it is slightly loose. For instance, i was using a pair of really nice headphones and they began to buzz and distort whenever I would use an F# in some octave around 760 Hz. I was able to return it (thankfully)

    My point is that there are any number of ways that your system can act up.

    In addition, make sure your CPU meter in the top right corner is not excessively high. I have seen digital distortion (clipping, crackles, and such) even at about 60%. If that is the case, make your buffer size bigger in your audio preferences.

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • ableton_user_dk
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    3 answers
    5 votes received
    1 vote

    Hi Michael

    Again thanks for taking your time to help clear things out :)

    The point you are making is it not only related to direct playback from ableton to speakers? In that case I think what you describe is correct but do you still think it is the case when you export/render the .als file to e.g. a .wav file?

    Thanks

    1 year ago | 0 comments

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