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Sound gets "bitcrushed" when playing samples chromatically

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  • Sound gets "bitcrushed" when playing samples chromatically

    I got my Blackbox a few days ago and have been enjoying it very much! It's a really cool little box! But I have had some trouble when playing samples chromatically (in sample mode, only one sample loaded to the pad). On some notes the samples sound like they are put through a sample rate reduction effect. This is very evident on some samples, but on other samples it's not (as) noticeable.

    In this thread totalvoyage wrote about a similar experience. He/she seemed to think it was a hardware related problem and returned the box. I hope it is software related and can be fixed with an update.

    I should say I'm on OS 1.3.0. I have the compressor turned of. I have tried lowering the output level. I have tried different cables. I even upgraded to a much faster SD card, but the degradation of the sound is the same.

    I have attached a recording of me playing one of the factory samples from the keys on the Blackbox to give an example of the "effect". The sample is called PIC_Cm_Piano_Linger and is found in the Loopmasters folder in the One Shots subfolder. First I play a C4 then a Bb3. C4 is the original pitch so no problem there, but on Bb3 the effect is pretty evident.

    Can anyone else confirm similar behavior? Or is it in fact a problem with the hardware?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Converting the samples to 48kHz (the audio engine's sample rate) solves a lot of these aliasing type issues

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply!

      The factory samples are already 48kHz, 24bit as far as I know. I’ve tried different sample rates and bit depth with my own samples but the problem is there no matter if I use 48kHz or 44,1kHz (with various combinations of bit depth).

      Comment


      • #4
        I should add that the effect is only really obvious on some samples. If I would guess it is most noticeable on samples with a lot of low midrange frequencies. And all samples sound fine when played at their original pitch. The artifacts are only heard on some notes other than the original pitch.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes i literally came home now and was testing BB in a friends studio to check another opinion .
          I can confirm that we tried all the above tests , sampling directly in to BB from Jupiter 4 , we loaded only samples 48kHz, 24bit , compared it with an Akai 2000xl and we all conclude that BB sound more or less metallic and aliasing on every sample but the aliasing is really huge on samples with a lot low end that creates a ''tale of metallic hum release very unpleased and noticeable in a mix '' also BB degraded the sound more than the Akai 2000xl . Very disappointed to be sincere , this was the dream sampler came true as a concept but the sound quality though !

          Comment


          • #6
            I can confirm that this one example does have some artifacts in my tests as well. I appreciate you citing a specific example as this is difficult to track down any other way. Your hardware is perfectly OK. It is especially strange that there is a less than ideal spot 1-2 notes below the root but other parts of the range including +/- 2 octaves are fine.

            I have made a note to look at it at the next opportunity. Please know that this part of the code hasn't changed in a long time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks totalvoyage and @Aaron for confirming this! I'm glad it's not hardware related and I'm confident you will find a solution for this soon.

              I did some more testing yesterday. The degradation is there no matter what mode you are in. And you can hear the effect if you pitch the sample up or down with the pitch setting in the sub-menu of the sample (not only if you pitch it up or down with note data). I used another sample this time, a sample called "All_98_E_Elec_Bass_2_" in the Loopmasters folder (sub-folder "Bass" in the folder "One Shots"). The degradation is very noticeable on this sample as well.

              As you say Aaron it seems original pitch and perfect octaves play fine with no degradation, but smaller pitch shift close to the original pitch (or an octave there of) will have the most issues. To me the sound of the degradation mostly resembles the effect of sample rate reduction.

              I've read that the most common way to pitch a WAV file is to down/re-sample the file and still play it at the original sample rate. I might have gotten this wrong, I'm no programmer and know little about these things. But could it be that there is some sort of "miscalculation" of the down/re-sampling of the WAVs that make them sound like they are going through serious sample rate reduction? And could this "miscalculation" be frequency dependent somehow?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                I can confirm that this one example does have some artifacts in my tests as well. I appreciate you citing a specific example as this is difficult to track down any other way. Your hardware is perfectly OK. It is especially strange that there is a less than ideal spot 1-2 notes below the root but other parts of the range including +/- 2 octaves are fine.

                I have made a note to look at it at the next opportunity. Please know that this part of the code hasn't changed in a long time.
                Hello Aaron I will take the opportunity to talk you here about the issues i have experienced with 2 BB units I received from Thomann !
                The units I received had a noticeable strong metallic tone in every sound and don't stay true to the source sample that I loaded inside ( i am not refering to samples pitched but just pressing play te preview them they sound different ) , the aliesing become huge with most low end samples ( I am trying to upload for you a sample demo but I m receiving a message that says I m not allowed to upload files with extension Wav , so let me know please if you want some critical samples that shows that they sound bad only on BB so may be can help found solutions ) !

                Because I really love the unit as hardware , clever concept and work flow but the sound quality let me down , i have some questions though :

                Am I just unlucky and might have received 2 units from a defective bunch ?
                Is metallic tone a general " want thing " so all the units sounds like this?
                Is this just a bug and 1010music can implement a HiFi quality sample playback that can stay true to the original tone of the source ?

                sorry for my bad English
                waiting for a response wish you a happy day

                Comment


                • Dan
                  Dan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you compress your .wav files into a .zip, you can upload them here

              • #9
                Here it is a critic one , but there are others also , the 606 HH etc
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • Modularmind
                  Modularmind commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Can't hear the degradation on this sample when playing it back on my computer through my headphones.... did you upload the right wav?

                • totalvoyage
                  totalvoyage commented
                  Editing a comment
                  this is the good original sample ,I uploaded it here so you can load it on your unit and see if your unit can riproduce it without degradation ( mine couldn't ) , than share your results if you are having the same issue .
                  I have already upload a comparison in 1.3 update post .

              • #10
                We will have a solution for this issue shortly. Stay tuned.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                  We will have a solution for this issue shortly. Stay tuned.
                  Thank you for keeping us up to date.
                  I was just about to buy a BB when I saw this topic, and knowing that you’re attentive makes a big difference.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    totalvoyage I saw that the sample you uploaded was 16bit. I loaded up the sample to my BB both as 16bit and 24bit and played it at the original pitch... at 16bit the degradation is there even at the original pitch. It's actually less pronounced when you pitch the sample up or down a few semitones. At 24bit I could no longer hear the artifacts at the original pitch (but as soon as I pitched it down a little bit). I went on a hunt and found other samples that sound bad at their original pitch - even at 24bit and 48kHz. This makes me think even more that it has to do with certain frequencies being distorted. Maybe it has less to do with the pitching up or down, but rather the frequencies of the resulting sound when you change pitch?

                    @Aaron Thank's for your responsiveness and your effort to solve this!
                    Last edited by Modularmind; 11-07-2019, 03:15 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      This issue is fixed in version 1.3.3. Please know that the solution involves a new, more CPU intensive algorithm for interpolation. Given that it costs about 1% of the CPU per voice, we decided to make it optional and switched off by default. Please note the updated part of the manual:


                      -----


                      Reduce Aliasing When Playing Pads Chromatically

                      Blackbox offers two choices for the interpolation algorithm used to play pads Chromatically. The first algorithm is called Normal mode. In this mode, blackbox may introduce some aliasing with some WAV files when pitch shifting notes to play sample, multi-sample and granular pads chromatically. The second algorithm is the High Quality (High Q) algorithm. This algorithm reduces the aliasing, but it requires more processing power, leaving less room to do other things. By default, your pads will use the Normal mode algorithm. You can configure a sample, multi-sample and granular pad to use the High Quality algorithm when needed. Here’s how to configure this option:
                      1. Open the parameter pages for the pad that is experiencing aliasing.
                      2. Touch ADSR to select that page.
                      3. At the top of the screen, to the right of the Exclusive grouping option, is the interpolation algorithm option, which is set to Normal by default. Touch this to display the options menu. Touch High Q to select the High Quality algorithm.
                      Note:
                      • The High Quality setting uses more processing power. This means you may encounter drop outs or crackling sooner when this option is selected. See Processor Management Tips below to learn techniques to avoid drop outs and crackling.
                      • This option only applies when playing sample, multi-sample and granular pads chromatically. If you are not playing the pad chromatically, it’s best to leave it set to Normal.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                        We will have a solution for this issue shortly. Stay tuned.
                        OH this is good news Aaron , thnx a lot . HiFi playback sampler is key in my case.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                          This issue is fixed in version 1.3.3. Please know that the solution involves a new, more CPU intensive algorithm for interpolation. Given that it costs about 1% of the CPU per voice, we decided to make it optional and switched off by default. Please note the updated part of the manual:


                          -----


                          Reduce Aliasing When Playing Pads Chromatically

                          Blackbox offers two choices for the interpolation algorithm used to play pads Chromatically. The first algorithm is called Normal mode. In this mode, blackbox may introduce some aliasing with some WAV files when pitch shifting notes to play sample, multi-sample and granular pads chromatically. The second algorithm is the High Quality (High Q) algorithm. This algorithm reduces the aliasing, but it requires more processing power, leaving less room to do other things. By default, your pads will use the Normal mode algorithm. You can configure a sample, multi-sample and granular pad to use the High Quality algorithm when needed. Here’s how to configure this option:
                          1. Open the parameter pages for the pad that is experiencing aliasing.
                          2. Touch ADSR to select that page.
                          3. At the top of the screen, to the right of the Exclusive grouping option, is the interpolation algorithm option, which is set to Normal by default. Touch this to display the options menu. Touch High Q to select the High Quality algorithm.
                          Note:
                          • The High Quality setting uses more processing power. This means you may encounter drop outs or crackling sooner when this option is selected. See Processor Management Tips below to learn techniques to avoid drop outs and crackling.
                          • This option only applies when playing sample, multi-sample and granular pads chromatically. If you are not playing the pad chromatically, it’s best to leave it set to Normal.
                          GREAT NEWS , LL TEST IT OUT RIGHT NOW .
                          I would like to know if there is a way to suggest some minor upgrades for the sequencer that are key for techno and house live performing or can I write here in this topic?

                          tho thnx for the fast and great customer service

                          Comment


                          • Zapman
                            Zapman commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I would put that ideas in the 'wishlist' subforum.
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