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Member Since: Apr 19, 2012

I am going insane. I am hearing distortion when listening at a low volume. I swear I don't hear it in pro tools, only in my bounced file when listening on my computer through cheap speakers. But still, they don't distort other music. Here is a link to the mp3 I'm talking about.I thought the distortion on the guitar was muddying things up so I took it out, but still have the same issue. I have a whole 14 track album with this same problem. Please help.


Also, the soundcloud waveform looks way more compressed than the wave form from my mix.

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Mix engineer and music lover!
Since: Mar 07, 2012

Apr 19, 2012 03:44 pm

So I have struggled to find an answer for this problem. I have been mixing for the better part of a decade and I don't think I have come across this issue.

I could take a crack at mixing this for you and see if I come up with a different result. No charge, just to see what happens.


Since: Dec 04, 2007

Apr 19, 2012 06:09 pm

Just a quick reply, but like most sites that do online-streaming of music, soundcloud encodes uploaded files into their own mp3 format.

When you download, you get the original uploaded file, but the ones they use for the streaming are usually lesser quality so that people with slower connections can listen without too much problem.

(So I try to upload wavs to soundcloud for the most part, but sometimes I'll throw up a 320kbps mp3....but it still gets re-encoded for streaming purposes which isn't so great for mp3 format) Anyway that's probably the reason the graphic on soundcloud looks more compressed...because it actually IS more compressed.

Also, which set of guitars is distorting? I gave the link a quick listen, and I'm hearing it a little bit of distortion in spots on the wah's lead guitar, but that's about it. Didn't seem horribly obvious, but it was there.

Only thing I can think of causing the distortion in one place, and not another, is if the quality was effected during the mixdown/render of the file. (jitter? timing errors? bad compression algorithm? Something wonky in the render settings?) Maybe some setting got mucked up or something. But, I'm not a pro-tools user. So no idea what setting it might be.

Since: Apr 19, 2012

Apr 19, 2012 06:43 pm

I just felt the whole track in general was distorting at times. I lowered the volume, but feel I lost a lot of punch. Thanks for taking a listen. I've heard these so many times that maybe I just needed a fresh set of ears. I'm thinking about adding samples under the kick and snare to give the drums more punch. They sound somewhat lifeless to me.

Since: Apr 19, 2012

Apr 19, 2012 06:44 pm

thanks for the offer, but I have no idea how to send you anything except the mixed down track, each instrument is around a 40 mb file. Appreciate the offer.

Since: Jan 30, 2011

Apr 19, 2012 08:45 pm

I also wouldn't mind doing a free mix for you. Perhaps you can upload them to a dropbox folder or something and post the link here. If you're comfortable with that, that is.

I do absolutely hear the distortion and a general muddiness. It's interesting that you say it doesn't do it in the daw tho, because from my experience what I hear in the daw is what I hear on the .wav file...

My thoughts are maybe try lowering the gain on the individual channels and not the master fader. Usually as far as digital recording there is almost infinite headroom due to something about 32 bit float or something blah blah blah I'm no expert. But I did see a video once where the guy was using pro tools and he said you need proper gain staging or else everything gets distorted. I wouldn't know, I use cubase.

But yeah, when you mix you don't want the peaks to come near the 0db mark. I try to keep mine down around halfway. Just turn up the volume on your soundcard/monitors if you want it louder. That way when it comes time to master you have all the dynamics there and youre free to chop peaks for volume if you want. So there, thats my 2 cents.

Hope you find a solution!

Since: Nov 19, 2008

Feb 02, 2013 03:45 am

I am not too experienced with mixing but I have had a similar issue where there was no clipping during tracking and inside the DAW I was mixing in but there was distortion after mixdown. The way I solved it was that I lowered the db on all tracks respectively and then increased the loudness of the mix through a maximizer and that cleaned up all the distortion I was having. I don't know if this is the right way to do it but I thought that you might give it a try.

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Feb 02, 2013 06:05 pm

sounds like you are overdriving your mastet buss....ease down all channels and that should help

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