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Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime

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David King
Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Mar 29, 2016 at 6:50:58 am

I'm using a rather old system - an Avid Xpress DV ver 4.8 on a Windows XP platform (about to upgrade in the near future).

Everything is working fine except on my most recent project when I try to export to Quicktime H.264, the audio level of the voice overs drops to almost inaudible.

I have eight sound tracks going, the V/O is one. It is the ONLY track which seems to be affected when exporting to Quicktime. All other dialogue, sound effects and music tracks are fine.

When we check the V/O audio levels on the Avid, they're right up in the yellow and can be heard clearly so should export okay. We've pumped up the V/O sound in several places just to try it out, but it seems to make no difference on export.

Does anybody have any idea what might be causing this weird problem?
All sound tracks including the V/O are WAV. 48kHz, 16-bit.


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Mar 29, 2016 at 2:09:20 pm

just spitballin here.

go to audio project settings and turn off the "always convert to 48k" option.

Does your track 1 still play properly when you play back the timeline?

I'm wondering if Avid is doing a live conversion to 48 k for that track, and that conversion isn't working correctly on output to quicktime.

Another option would be to simply output a wave file of your program. Does it play properly? If so, your quick fix would be to bring it back in and use it for your final output.

(I suppose you could just mixdown your audio to new tracks as well)

Glenn


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David King
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Mar 29, 2016 at 10:57:53 pm

Yes, it plays fine on the Timeline. Hear everything perfectly.

My Avid Xpress DV's audio projects window gives me the option of "Always convert sample rate on import" (in my case, to 48kHz) but it appears export is automatically set from whatever is on the timeline.

You think mixing down the audio tracks BEFORE output could work? Happy to try. Maybe mix down all the music and sound effects tracks but keep the voice tracks open? I've been keeping all video and audio tracks open in case I needed to change something before final output.

Curiously, I've had a couple of people say they could hear everything on the Quicktime file fine...but the guy I sent it to via We Transfer says some of the voices are way too low when we can't actually pump them up much more. Could it be that We Transfer is eroding the quality at his end?

I have a hearing impairment by the way, and rely on other people to tell me when the levels are right. In this case, I seem to be getting different opinions from different people.


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Mar 30, 2016 at 6:49:23 pm

is your voice track center panned or only on left or right?

It is possible your client only has 1 functioning speaker, and the speaker he is hearing doesn't have full voice on it.

I understand you are hard of hearing, so if you were to call up your vu meters, does the voice look equal on both channels on output. (if you solo the voice)

Glenn


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David King
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Mar 30, 2016 at 10:22:46 pm

Oh, yes, I have the VU meters going all the time. It's how I know where my sound levels are. Also have the Audio Tool. I can hear sound but not as accurately as most people.

Both speakers are going and we definitely have two channels...but here's the anomaly: the guy who recorded the voice overs gave me a mono track which had two channels embedded inside it. So although the voice overs are on a single track on the timeline, I see two channels going on both the VU meter and Audio Tool and have checked that those channels are actually coming out over both speakers.

We are beginning to think that the frequency of some voices is too low and was recorded at too low a level and that we might need to re-engineer these voices to a higher frequency and level.

Most of the voices are okay just two of them are causing the problems. Got them pumped up to +15 and +20dB but people with normal hearing can't 'hear' them properly even though they're hitting the yellow at times on the VU. The quality drops off exponentially on these two voices for some reason. Everything else on the sound track comes across fine.

AND the two voices seem okay OUTSIDE the Avid (i.e. when listening to the original WAV files on the desktop).

We wonder if the quality of the voices inside the Avid has something to do with the way they were output from the recording system?

I can't actually control the sound levels on import as I'm importing WAV. files which came from a USB drive to my desktop and all I can do is click on Import and the system uploads the file. I can only adjust volume on the Avid timeline or frequency with the EQ Tool.

Also have Gain on the AudioSuite tool but am afraid this will cause distortion.

We can't figure out WHERE the problem actually is. An import problem with the Avid, a problem with Quicktime output, or a problem with the recording.


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Ross Spears
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Apr 1, 2016 at 11:32:07 am

I was having a similar problem a few years ago. I am also using MC 4. My test narration track was not exporting at the proper level, although it looked and played correctly in AVID. We solved the problem when we began exporting the sound at 44.1 khz; size - 8, 2 channels. Also uncompressed. Hope this helps.

Never Give Up


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Job ter Burg
Re: Problem with sound level after exporting to Quicktime
on Apr 3, 2016 at 9:19:40 am

Discard one of the two channels you received. These tracks are probably cancelling each other out (phase inversion or phase shift).


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