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Mutated/Destroyed Audio
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Good Morning All,

I have been having an audio problem for months and I finally feel confident in concluding that it is related to PowerDirector. I record instruments using Ableton software and then use the audio file (MP3) in PowerDirector, attaching it to a video file. I have been using PowerDirector 16, but downloaded the latest version last night, and found that the same issue occurs. Essentially, once the audio is added to the timeline, a high-pitched squeeling, buzz-like sound is added. It is best heard with headphones at higher volume, and it is just awful.

I have tried recording with low-gain and other troubleshooting, but the issue still occurs. I narrowed the problem down to PowerDirector because the issue does NOT exist until the file is in PowerDirctor. The original file sounds fine. And then, the issue still does not exist until it is added to the timeline. As soon as it touches the timeline, the noise is there. I have taken literally no action to alter the file in PowerDirector and the noise is created. The noise can be lessened with significant use of the noise reduction tool, but then the audio sounds dull and less crisp.

I have attached both an original file and an audio file that was added to PD and immediately produced without any alteration. Any help would be great because this has been really frusterating.

Thanks so much,

Andrew
 Filename
Original Audio File.mp3
[Disk]
 Description
Original Audio File
 Filesize
4276 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
19 time(s)
 Filename
PowerDirectorAudioFile.wav
[Disk]
 Description
The PowerDirector Produced Audio File
 Filesize
20521 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
17 time(s)
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tbridge [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Jun 13, 2011 09:19 Messages: 23 Offline
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Hi Andrew

Your two files sound pretty much the same here! (given the expected difference between WAV and mp3...). So, I expect this is a problem with the way you have set up PD?

Not much help, I know... Good luck!
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Quote Hi Andrew

Your two files sound pretty much the same here! (given the expected difference between WAV and mp3...). So, I expect this is a problem with the way you have set up PD?

Not much help, I know... Good luck!



Hello!


Thanks for the post. I am not sure what I can alter in PD. If you have any thoughts, please let me know. Also, if you listen with headphones at a high volume, the PD file is hard to listen to it is so bad.

Thanks!

-Andrew

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 15:38

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tbridge [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Jun 13, 2011 09:19 Messages: 23 Offline
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Quote

Also, if you listen with headphones at a high volume, the PD file is hard to listen to it is so bad.

-Andrew


Exactly how I am listening to them! (though not at high volume... after 50 years of professional Audio Mastering - at Abbey Road, Sony Music, Record Plant NYC etc. - I am trying to preserve my hearing!)

So to repeat, these two files sound pretty much the same here.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 15:39

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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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I have to agree with tbridge as I can't hear any noticeable difference. I thought it was because I must have listened to too much AC/DC at 120dB in my car when I was younger, but maybe the audio difference is actually more subtle than the glaring difference you're experiencing.

As a sanity (and hearing) check, I imported both clips into AudioDrirector and used the spectrum anaylzer-like Visual Repair tool, and lo and behold the high frequency noise is as clear as day. I then ran the original clip through PD on my end and got similar results with M4A, even worse distortion with WAV, but perfectly clean audio with WMA.

Here's what I saw:



Bottom line is PD does have a problem with your particular clip. You could try recording in WAV or M4A or use a free 3rd party app to convert your existing MP3s, or it may be easier to simply produce your MP3 in PD using WMA as your output before importing it and completing the rest of your project.

This issue should be reported to CL. Make sure you copy the URL of this discussion when you submit your support ticket so they'll see everything that's been discussed here.
 Filename
Produce.wma
[Disk]
 Description
Clean PD production
 Filesize
1726 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
13 time(s)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 14:06

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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Quote


Exactly how I am listening to them! (though not at high volume... after 50 years of professional Audio Mastering - at Abbey Road, Sony Music, Record Plant NYC etc. - I am trying to preserve my hearing!)

So to repeat, these two files sound pretty much the same here.


Thank you very much for checking, Tbridge. I appreciate your review and I don't want you to hurt your hearing by turning up the volume. But, at a high volume with headphones, the difference is very clear to me. The PD version I hear is simply unusable it is so distorted by the high-pitched, buzzing, squeeling noise.

Cheers,

-Andrew

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 15:40

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tbridge [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Jun 13, 2011 09:19 Messages: 23 Offline
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Quote

I don't want you to hurt your hearing by turning up the volume

-Andrew


Haha, thank you! Optodata has delved deeper and has unearthed a problem, so your ears are obviously not telling lies!

I usually Import 24-bit WAV files into PD, and have had no problem with them, nor with the occasional mp3s (though I create those at 320k bitrate, maybe worth trying that?)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 15:41

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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Quote I have to agree with tbridge as I can't hear any noticeable difference. I thought it was because I must have listened to too much AC/DC at 120dB in my car when I was younger, but maybe the audio difference is actually more subtle than the glaring difference you're experiencing.

As a sanity (and hearing) check, I imported both clips into AudioDrirector and used the spectrum anaylzer-like Visual Repair tool, and lo and behold the high frequency noise is as clear as day. I then ran the original clip through PD on my end and got similar results with M4A, even worse distortion with WAV, but perfectly clean audio with WMA.

Here's what I saw:



Bottom line is PD does have a problem with your particular clip. You could try recording in WAV or M4A or use a free 3rd party app to convert your existing MP3s, or it may be easier to simply produce your MP3 in PD using WMA as your output before importing it and completing the rest of your project.

This issue should be reported to CL. Make sure you copy the URL of this discussion when you submit your support ticket so they'll see everything that's been discussed here.



Wow, Optodata. First off, thank you so much for doing all this work! I am happy that you and Tbridge were not able to detect much with your ears. But, I apparently have K-9 ears and so I would really like to fix "MY" problem.

I have tried a few things. First, I was able to export 24 and 32 bit WAV files from Ableton. Exact same problem in PD. Second, I converted a WAV file to WMA file. Same problem in PD. The original WMA file and produced file are attached. I may/probably misunderstood your advice about using a WMA file. Feel free to elaborate if what I did was wrong.

Perhaps there is something in the Ableton files that is not completely compatible with PD? Perhaps I should just use noise reduction and shut up? Any other thoughts? I really like both Ableton for recording/mixing audio and PD for video production.

Again, thank you so much for doing this analysis!! Amazing!

-Andrew
 Filename
WMA test.wav
[Disk]
 Description
WMA File used in PD to create this file.
 Filesize
20521 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
10 time(s)
 Filename
Test WMA.wma
[Disk]
 Description
Original WMA File
 Filesize
1844 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
12 time(s)
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Quote


Haha, thank you! Optodata has delved deeper and has unearthed a problem, so your ears are obviously not telling lies!

I usually Import 24-bit WAV files into PD, and have had no problem with them, nor with the occasional mp3s (though I create those at 320k bitrate, maybe worth trying that?)


Thanks again Tbridge for taking the time to share your review/experience and have a great day!

-Andrew
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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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Quote I have tried a few things. First, I was able to export 24 and 32 bit WAV files from Ableton. Exact same problem in PD. Second, I converted a WAV file to WMA file. Same problem in PD. The original WMA file and produced file are attached. I may/probably misunderstood your advice about using a WMA file. Feel free to elaborate if what I did was wrong.

I'm thinking there is something going on with Ableton but I'm not quite sure what it is. Take a look at what AD shows with your new WAV and produced WMA clips as compared to the original MP3 (top) and PD-produced WAV (bottom) clips:



You may want to use the attached image to see the details clearer. What I see is that the Ableton WAV file contains the same distortion as the PD-produced version, but without the rich harmonics of the original MP3.

Have you downloaded the PD-produced WMA clip I attached in my last post and listened to it?

I've also compared the two WMA versions, and while you chose the same (highest quality) output profile, your system is still using the V8 WM codec while I'm using V9.2. The encoding date is also completely wrong on your system, but I'm not sure what that means.



Note that if you use the Reply to this topic link at the very bottom of the page (instead of clicking on the Reply button), you won't copy all of the previous post's content which can help keep the discussion readable when there are long posts like this one
[Thumb - 4 clip view.png]
 Filename
4 clip view.png
[Disk]
 Description
full size image
 Filesize
4974 Kbytes
 Downloaded:
2 time(s)
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Hi Optodata!

I will have to trust your interpretations of that visuals you provided, as I am not quite sure how to read/interpret the data/pics. tongue-out At this point, I am all ears as far as what changes you think I should make to my Ableton/PD software, formats, etc.

I listened to that WMA file and it sounded great! How did you do that? :) If I can do what you did, problem solved? Since you used my Ableton file, I assume that whatever is wrong with the file can be corrected?

Again, thank you so much for your help!!

-Andrew

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 22. 2021 02:48

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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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As I mentioned in my earlier post, this looks like an issue that should be reported to Cyberlink since your computer and mine both show problems after producing the original MP3 file.

As for a workaround, I think you may want to try installing the free K-Lite codec pack as that should update the WindowsMedia codecs on your system. PLEASE make a system image (backup) before installing that so you'll be able to restore your system to its current state if anything goes wrong.

One the K-Lite pack is installed, you may want to reboot just to be sure everything is registered. Next, open PD and see if you can produce your original MP3 clip as WMA with the highest quality option and have it sound clean:

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at Feb 21. 2021 18:17

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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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Hey Optodata,

You made my day! I did what you said and I was able to get clean audio and video copies. Interesting thing is I can still hear the buzzing on the timeline. But, if the final product is great, who cares!

Seriously...thank you!!! If this is your job, let me know who I need to tell that you did a fantastic job! If it's not your job, I simply cannot thank you enough for taking valuable time out of your day to help me.

Take care,

-Andrew
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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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Andrew, I'm really glad I could help you out! I don't get paid for any of this but I'm happy to lend my time and experience to people here on the forum. It's my way of paying it forward 👍

You had a challenging issue and clearly spent a lot of time before posting to narrow down what you were seeing. Fortunately that work paid off and we found a way to get you out of troubleshooting mode and back into the editing chair.

If you want, I can report the issue to CL to see if they can figure out what's causing the issue. If they can fix it and release a patch, you'll be able to use the Ableton clips directly on the timeline and nobody else will get stuck with this particular mutated/destroyed audio situation.
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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It sounds like you know how to report the situation, Opto, so please feel free to to so. Again, thank you so much for helping me out. My mind is a little blown that you used so much of your free time to help me. Karma is certainly on your side today. :)

Have a great week!

-Andrew
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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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Thanks, you too!

I've reported the issue on ticket # CS002306387 and I'll post back with any updates.
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optodata
Senior Contributor Private Message Location: California, USA Joined: Sep 16, 2011 16:04 Messages: 6534 Offline
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Tech support responded with this:

With reference to your query, after pilot checking, we are able to reproduce similar condition in our lab on testing platforms using the MP3 audio file you shared.

However, per our current investigation, we found that the source MP3 audio file is encoded in 44100 Hz sample rate originally, and the WAV audio profile you selected to produce the project is 48000 Hz (1536 kbps), which the audio production would require additional sample rate conversion.

At technical wise, the additional sample rate conversion might cause extra micro distortion (more or less) in the produced audio even though you selected uncompressed lossless WAV format to produce the audio part.

As workaround, you may consider selecting consistent sample 44100 Hz (1411 kbps) profile to produce the project (that contains the MP3 audio file only) into WAV audio format, and then check if the corresponding sample rate profile can ease/decrease additional distortion in the waveform after the audio format is converted. It could be a possible solution.

Uke Town USA, is this something you'd be willing to try or is the existing process working ok?
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Uke Town USA [Avatar]
Newbie Private Message Joined: Feb 21, 2021 11:36 Messages: 9 Offline
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That's really interesting, Opto. I have been playing around with another DAW (Cakewalk by Bandlab) and have been having better luck with the audio. But, if the issue arises again, I will make sure to check the sample rates to see if that makes a difference.

Thank you so much for adding their reply to chat and thanks again for your help, Opto!!

-Andrew
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