Playback quality is not the same as monitoring quality

sevenfoxes

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Cubase user here, and one thing I’ve noticed when recording my guitar (plugged straight into the M4) is that the playback quality is always slightly less than what i hear through my monitors when I’m recording. It’s a tad muffled and just not nearly as detailed.

Is this normal? Or is there something wacky going on?

Thanks!
 

LostTheTone

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Yeah, it's likely a clipping/headspace issue.

I get almost the opposite effect with my hardware monitoring - I get distortion in my headphones that isn't there on the recorded version. The reason it happens is because the interface is set to have plenty of headroom, but the headphones are [something to do with ohms] and I can't quite put the same uncompressed signal into them and get decent volume. I start to get hard clipping around 500 to 1000hz before I get to a good level, but recordings or commercial tracks I can push much louder without distortion - It's all down to fast, high peaking transients in a live signal which are ironed out in production.

The solution was to throw more compression into the monitoring chain which isn't there for recording/PA.

For you, if you just turn down the interface gain, you should solve the problem, at least if this is your problem. The fact that you are getting muffling rather than hard clipping probably means you don't need to come down too much, just enough so that a couple of specific frequencies have a bit more space.

If that doesn't solve it, try backing off the volume knob on the guitar, or try another guitar. Just eliminate them as possibilities, just in case.

The final thing to do if you can't find anything else that's obviously wrong is to try another interface, or try using a DI box between the guitar and the interface - Obviously borrow them if you can.

If you can't easily do either of them, go complain at customer services.
 

Winspear

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Have you got some kind of interface monitoring enabled?
You want to hear absolutely nothing from your guitar unless the guitar track is armed and unmuted. If you are hearing it at other times that's direct monitoring and clean DI is being layered ontop of your amped track to your ears whilst recording.
 

sevenfoxes

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Have you got some kind of interface monitoring enabled?
You want to hear absolutely nothing from your guitar unless the guitar track is armed and unmuted. If you are hearing it at other times that's direct monitoring and clean DI is being layered ontop of your amped track to your ears whilst recording.
Ah! I wonder if this is what’s happening, because i definitely am recording while monitoring. I’ll have to look into that.

I also know for a fact that clipping isn’t what the issue is.
 


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