Simple project that makes popping noises - related to plug-in load balancing

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bvideo
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2017/08/06 21:52:47 (permalink)
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Simple project that makes popping noises - related to plug-in load balancing

A project with strange pops.

Start with one stereo audio track, two clips, couple of measures long, separated by a gap of a couple of measures. The clips have short fades at their ends.

The track has the platinum EQ and PC4K S-type chan comp enabled. Settings are default, except the prochannel EQ has 'HP' enabled (40), so the curve points down on the left.

Send this track to a bus with BREVERB 2 in the prochannel, with preset A Cappella Vox. Master bus has concrete limiter. The concrete limiter makes the clicks easier to hear. The Breverb may be an integral part of how the clicks are created, but read on for some contradictory factors.

Project settings: "64-bit Double Precision Engine" disabled. "Always Stream Audio Through FX" enabled.

During playback, the pops are audible ...
1) after the first clip finishes playing and enters the silent measures.
2) after the last clip plays (and the song stops) and also
3) when playback is stopped at any time that audio is not completely silent.
Cases 2 and 3 don't happen when "[] Always Stream Audio Through FX" is unchecked.

With so little in processing elements, I don't think this is related to CPU load, but I have raised the ASIO buffer to 512 anyway. Simultaneous running of LatencyMon shows no problems.

The symptom is not present in Producer X2 or X3. Happens for me on 23.7 and 23.6 (edit: introduced in 22.9).

A weird thing about all this is the clicks/pops can be seen in the track metering. It's easiest to see it when setting the Edit > Preferences > Customization Audio Meter : Rise/Fall time > Peak Fall to 10 ms instead of 1000. Even weirder is that the track meter pulses are eliminated along with the clicks when the bus Breverb is disabled. How could a bus reverb contaminate the track meter?

Deleting the breverb from the bus prochannel and putting the Sonitus delay, Perfectspace, or Blureverb in the bus FX bin causes the same kind of pops.

All of the above is using the 32-bit render engine setting. With 64-bit rendering, these pops don't happen.

After further investigation, I find:
A) No clicks when HP is turned off in the track EQ, or when track EQ, track PC4K, or bus Breverb is disabled. Or when EQ HP Freq is set to above 200 Hz
B) bouncing that single track (source = tracks) to a new track with fast bounce creates a track with a single clip that clicks like the original track. (setting the levels, prochannel, & output bus the same and soloing just the new track of course).
C) with fast bounce disabled, bouncing the original single track to a new track creates a track with a single clip that has visible clicks in the section that should be silent.
D) Like C), but with the original track's output bus to Master instead of the reverb bus. No visible clicks.
***Note: in those bounces, I left Bus FX enabled, but of course Bus FX are not rendered to the new track for source=tracks.
E) Like C), but with Bus FX disabled. No visible clicks.

Hard to be sure, but seemingly the HP option of the prochannel EQ does something to cause these clicks, and the Breverb prochannel, Sonitus FX delay, or similar bus FX is a co-factor. I believe the other prochannel effects in the chain are magnifying the effect.

The difference between B) & C) (fast bounce enabled vs disabled) makes me think there is something wrong with real-time rendering in the 32-bit render engine (not in 64-bits).

These clues indicate some kind of cross-talk with the bus FX into the track:
* the visibility of clicks in the track meter
* the presence of clicks in the source=tracks real-time bounce of C)
 
I previously submitted this along with a demo project to the problem reporter web form, but that whole web interface is gone, so I don't know what will happen to that problem report. Also, I posted this on the Sonar forum. No one picked up on reproducing this. Where is brundlefly?
post edited by bvideo - 2017/08/08 22:13:37

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19 Replies Related Threads

    msorrels
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/06 23:08:45 (permalink)
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    They no longer look at anything submitted through the problem reporter.  You must open a support ticket to get them to look at anything.   Open the support ticket referencing the problem report, then they will look at it.
     

    -Matt
     
    #2
    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 03:29:50 (permalink)
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    Thanks for the response, Matt. I've gone ahead and opened a case by email.
     
    -- Bill B

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    azslow3
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 09:59:21 (permalink)
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    I have not tried hard, but is a short test I could nor reproduce. Can it be sample rate/bit depth dependent?

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    #4
    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 15:58:16 (permalink)
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    Thank you for trying, Alexey. Although the project is "simple", the exact nature may not be so easy to describe. I should post a cwb later. Also, global settings affect the outcome, and could make it hard for others to reproduce.
     
    Sample rate 44.1/24. Import bit depth 24. Render bit depth 32. Your question gives me ideas about different settings to try.

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 17:03:02 (permalink)
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    Your question gave me ideas about different settings to try. So I tried import depths of 16 and 32 and render depth of 24. (Re-imported the clips to get them to those different bit depths.) Same symptoms.
     

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    Leadfoot
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 17:10:02 (permalink)
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    Have you tried creating a new project, and importing the audio? I've had it happen once or twice in the past where the project just got corrupted somehow, and the only fix was to import everything into a new project.

    -edited for spelling
    #7
    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 23:43:06 (permalink)
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    Thanks for your idea, Leadfoot. I've heard that about corrupted projects and starting over. I have started over from a couple starting points: deleting all tracks and buses from a template and from the "empty" template. Once I get the track and buses set up the same way, pop city.

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/07 23:51:59 (permalink)
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    It's simple, but the behavior depends on just the right settings. So here's a demo project.
    Download cwb here. (Google drive seemingly recognizes it as an audio file; don't play it.)

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 00:01:36 (permalink)
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    For special questions about settings, here is my aud.ini.

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 03:15:46 (permalink)
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    NOT CRAZY (me).
     
    By rollbacks, I found this noise started happening in the 2016.9 update (22.9), September 2016. The particular feature that stood out was "plug-in load balancing".
     
    So I disabled plug-in load balancing (Edit > Preferences > Audio - Playback and Recording, just below the "Use Multiprocessing Engine") and no more pops. As a separate test, with plug-in load balancing enabled, I set my ASIO buffer to 128. No pops. By default, plug-in load balancing only works for buffer sizes 256 and above.
     
    Pops for this particular project are associated with the plug-in load balancing feature.

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    msorrels
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 10:59:17 (permalink)
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    Your test file reproduces this on my computer.  Which is really good, because it's not exactly clear what the problem is.  But in fiddling with it, I'm pretty sure the problem is the ProChannel EQ and (mainly) the PC4K S-type channel comp.  If you send the track to an aux track before sending it to the reverb and record it, you can see the tail end isn't clean.  That is what is causing the reverb to make the pops and clicks.  And that is the source of the meter contamination.  There is "sound" on the source track due to the ProChannel PC4k S-Type and the EQ.  Though I'll admit the meter movement seems a bit extreme considering what the waveform looks like at that point.
     
    So I don't think there is any meter contamination.  But the PC4K S-Type channel compressor appears to have a problem.  The bus reverb just kind of brings it out.  The problem starts on the track itself though.
     
    I'm not exactly sure what the values are in that tail, but I suspect they aren't valid numbers (NaNs).  Which explains why it's very tricky to get it to happen/not happen.  Here's a screen shot of the tail on the recorded aux before the reverb bus opened in the Loop Construction window.  See the little white line at the end away from the waveform.  That shouldn't be there.  It's the source of the clicking.  It also doesn't seem to survive exporting/saving either.   I can't see it in RX.
     
    This whole problem may just be a bug in the PC4k S-Type plugin. 
     


    -Matt
     
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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 16:57:58 (permalink)
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    Thanks for having a deeper look, Matt. Do you find the same behavior on the aux track when the reverb is turned off?

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    msorrels
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 17:24:48 (permalink)
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    You can't hear it when you turn off the reverb but it's still there (since you can see it in the aux track recording).  Depending on what you do to it/how you route it, the invalid floating point numbers get filtered away, which can make narrowing it down harder, it gets masked a bit.  It is why other reverbs continue to show the bad clicks, the problem is the track/source, not the reverb.  I don't think it has anything to do with Breverb or the bus at all.  Though I'll admit trying to figure out the source of NaNs is kind of difficult for an end-user.  My gut tells me this is most likely yet another problem the PC4k Prochannel plugins.

    -Matt
     
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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 17:31:15 (permalink)
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    That's definitely an interesting application of an aux track.
     
    My other findings suggested 64 bit render engine doesn't cause it and turning off plug-in load balancing also makes it go away. Does the aux track confirm that? (I will get back to my DAW later.)

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/08 17:35:59 (permalink)
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    I had suspected the involvement of the bus because bouncing the track (source=tracks, non-fast bounce) got different results depending on whether "bus FX" was checked or not and also whether the reverb was enabled or not.

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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/09 05:43:12 (permalink)
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    Hi Matt,
       I tried getting an aux track into the picture. I routed the offending track to an aux track and sent the aux track to the reverb track. With the aux track echo-enabled, the pops are still there. (I'm assuming this is the same routing you used).
     
      But I am unable to record actual spikes onto the aux track. In fact, just having record-enable set on the aux track makes the pops go away while playing through the end of the first clip. When I stop playback or recording, though, pops come back. Of course the spikes can't be captured that way.
     
      As far as those little flat spots recorded onto the aux track, those are very small floating point numbers (as seen by Sound Forge). When setting the render depth as 24 bits, they are just very small integers, nearly 0. I believe the display just shows them at the next pixel away from 0, by convention. Zooming doesn't raise them. Sound Forge is the same way. Where do they come from? Disabling the PC4K S-Type chan comp, flat spots are still there. Disabling the Prochannel EQ or the HP button in the EQ, they are gone.
     
      Replacing the PC4K S-Type with several different prochannel compressors and other effects made the pops go away. Except pops are still there with the PC4k Expander Gate and the PC4K S-type bus compressor. So there's another clue.
     
     Thanks again for your thoughtful and inspiring experiments.
     
       Bill B.

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    msorrels
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/10 11:21:32 (permalink)
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    The more I look at this the less sense it makes.  Even if you assume the sound you hear during the silent parts is just the breverb, if you duplicate the audio clip in the track and feed that into reverb it doesn't do the crazy popping.  On the orginal track is you press stop you also hear the crazy reverb popping.  But on a copy it doesn't happen.  Almost like the reverb bus is somehow feeding a "copy" of itself back to Track 1.  Since it doesn't do that to a duplicate you don't get the crazy effect.
     
    Normally I'd say there is no way a reverb on a bus should be able to "put" signal back into the source track.  But in this case it's not just the console meter.  I added a copy of the Youlean Loundness Meter to the track's FX bin and you can see the reverb back up into the track itself.
     

     
    I also think I was wrong on the aux track recording.  When I added the track you couldn't hear the noise, but soloing the aux track and playing it back did make the noise.  But that's because the original track is still playing when the aux track is soloed.  I thought when SONAR did that it would show the "S" on the original track as well, but it doesn't seem to.  I still think there shouldn't have been anything on the recording after the waveform, but it wasn't what is making the reverb pop/click/echo.
     
    For the life of me I can't figure out how the reverb bus is getting a copy/feed of it's signal back onto Track 1.  And I couldn't recreate it in a new project using a similar layout. 
     
    If I add a copy of Melda's MOscillator onto the reverb bus, its signal shows up in the Youlean Loudness Meter also.  Anything added to the reverb bus "echos" back on the original track.  And I made a new reverb bus (just in case there was some crazy routing) and it did the echo too.
     
    Maybe there is some sort of project setting I just don't know about?  Some crazy SONAR feature I've never used?  I find something new almost every day so it's possible.  I do think the sound has to be on Track 1, but more and more it looks like Track 1 is what is on the track plus a copy/echo of the bus.  Though I can't see how exactly that's happening.
     

    -Matt
     
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    bvideo
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/10 15:30:57 (permalink)
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    At this point I think we have given Cakewalk enough to think about, and we have gone as far as we can. The crosstalk with the reverb bus is nuts and makes no sense. I think there are some complications with dividing up the work for plug-in load balancing, and something odd about the pc4k family. The reverb and eq are just chance participants (other reverbs do it too).
     
    This project is just a simplified example of some kind of special case bug. Originally, this popping happened in a bigger project. I first thought it was Melodyne, since it seemed associated with the ends of some Melodyne clips. It took a process of elimination and then constructing the simple situation from scratch.
     
    Thanks for helping, Matt.
     
     
    Bill B

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    msorrels
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    Re: Simple project that makes popping noises 2017/08/10 15:57:04 (permalink)
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    The fact it reproduces for me is a good thing.  Too many times these kinds of problems never show up on anyone else's machine.  No matter what the real problem is, I think only Cakewalk can solve it or explain it.  I do think there are of workarounds but it's annoying to think this kind of problem may be happening on lots of projects and you might not ever notice until it's too late.  Hopefully Cakewalk will look it this.

    -Matt
     
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