Mixdown export is way too quiet

Hugo Taro

New Member
I’m new to recording, Luna, life in general…

I’m doing a very simple mix. Two vocal tracks and an acoustic guitar. Sounds great while playing back, but when I do a mixdown the resulting file plays back very quiet. I can crank it and it’s still below normal listening volume. I get the sense I’m either missing something really obvious or I’ve done something terribly wrong, but I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

Any advise or suggestions are greatly appreciated,
 

chrisso

Venerated Member
As above, hard to know.
I base my level decisions on the channel meter and also the waveform image. I like my waveforms to be about 3/4 of the way to the top of the audio image. I like my channel vu to be hitting the orange on average.
Of course it all needs rebalancing to produce an effective mix.
When I do an actual final mix I often have something like the Fabfilter Pro L (limiter) on the master out, just touching the downward red LED (compression) at the loudest spikes.
 

AlexR

Established Member
I’m new to recording, Luna, life in general…

I’m doing a very simple mix. Two vocal tracks and an acoustic guitar. Sounds great while playing back, but when I do a mixdown the resulting file plays back very quiet. I can crank it and it’s still below normal listening volume. I get the sense I’m either missing something really obvious or I’ve done something terribly wrong, but I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

Any advise or suggestions are greatly appreciated,
No volume change should happen between playback and mix down

maybe one of your stereo bus plugins in misbehaving?
 

UniversalAudio

Official UA Representative
I’m new to recording, Luna, life in general…

I’m doing a very simple mix. Two vocal tracks and an acoustic guitar. Sounds great while playing back, but when I do a mixdown the resulting file plays back very quiet. I can crank it and it’s still below normal listening volume. I get the sense I’m either missing something really obvious or I’ve done something terribly wrong, but I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

Any advise or suggestions are greatly appreciated,
you're not using the Main out as a volume control are you?
 

Hugo Taro

New Member
OK, thank you everyone for the replies. I had tried several different mixdown settings, so I don't think that's the source of this problem. I went back and took out all of the plug-ins, re-set every fader at 0 and bounced that for reference which was even quieter. I think that rules out any misbehaving plug-ins. I think I just made a poor recording and was indeed using the main out as volume control to try to compensate. I thought I did the tracking ok, but apparently not? Anyway... gonna throw the whole thing in the trash and start over from tracking and pay closer attention to that and if I'm still getting stuck I will be back.

Thanks again for the help, much appreciate you taking the time to help me try to sort this out.
 

UniversalAudio

Official UA Representative
OK, thank you everyone for the replies. I had tried several different mixdown settings, so I don't think that's the source of this problem. I went back and took out all of the plug-ins, re-set every fader at 0 and bounced that for reference which was even quieter. I think that rules out any misbehaving plug-ins. I think I just made a poor recording and was indeed using the main out as volume control to try to compensate. I thought I did the tracking ok, but apparently not? Anyway... gonna throw the whole thing in the trash and start over from tracking and pay closer attention to that and if I'm still getting stuck I will be back.

Thanks again for the help, much appreciate you taking the time to help me try to sort this out.
Feel free to share the session, I'm sure you'll get LOTS of good help after we can see it.
 

Hugo Taro

New Member
OK, I'm still stumped. I re-tracked a guitar and vocal and I think I got good levels on them I haven't added any plug-ins or extensions. Playback level is fine. Mixdown still exports out a very quiet mp3, wav, whatever I try. WTF am I not getting? This is making me feel very dumb as this seems like the most basic of basics and I'm clearly missing something. 🤬

I tried to attach the session, but I get an error that my file is too large (69.4MB). I've attached the bounced mp3 so you can see what I mean at least. Are there screenshots I could grab instead that would help?
 

Attachments

UniversalAudio

Official UA Representative
OK, I'm still stumped. I re-tracked a guitar and vocal and I think I got good levels on them I haven't added any plug-ins or extensions. Playback level is fine. Mixdown still exports out a very quiet mp3, wav, whatever I try. WTF am I not getting? This is making me feel very dumb as this seems like the most basic of basics and I'm clearly missing something. 🤬

I tried to attach the session, but I get an error that my file is too large (69.4MB). I've attached the bounced mp3 so you can see what I mean at least. Are there screenshots I could grab instead that would help?
Use Dropbox or WeTransfer.

We can't tell anything from the mp3
 

Matt Hepworth

Master of the UADiverse
Forum Admin
Moderator
I suspect you're missing the Mastering stage.

Mastering is what takes a mix's volume up to commercial levels (among other things).
 

Hugo Taro

New Member
OMG, I figured out what I was missing and it was way dumber than I could have possibly imagined, and boy was I right that it was as basic as it gets. I'm incredibly embarrassed to admit this, but I will fess up to it in case anyone else is as dense as I am but afraid to ask the stupid question. It was the volume on my Mac turned way down. Never even occurred to me.

Again, thanks for your attention and any suggestions and hopefully you find some amusement in my folly and I haven't wasted too much of your time. I've wasted A LOT of mine.

Adding "check computer volume for playback" to my checklist.
 

chrisso

Venerated Member
That's why I also always use visual cues. The vu meters on the DAW channel, the VU on the master out, then look at the final waveform.
Thanks for letting us know the resolved issue.
 
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