The amazing mood swings of SoundTrack Pro

I’m using SoundTrack Pro to do editing on recordings for Sod This, have done so since the first episode. Cool software, usually. But sometimes shit happens in it, and it’s just unbelievable.

When recording, I always try to remember to switch the track to mono, but about half the time I forget. By default it records in 24 bit, 44100 Hz, and saves as an AIFF file. So a typical one track recording ends up being a cool 600MB or so, in stereo.

Anyway, so I have to bring the thing down to mono before mixing it in. No problem — that’s what the Convert to Mono menu entry is for. Right? Yeah, theoretically. It works fine on the mp3 files Gary usually sends me from his end of the recording (yeah, somehow he can’t be bothered to set up that recording format to something more sensible). It usually works on my files as well. Sometimes it doesn’t, like today.

When it doesn’t work, the result is simply an empty file. Not a single sample left. Well, that’s not true — it still shows 12000000 samples or some such number, but they are all empty, silent. No idea why it does this. I can only imagine it’s a bug, perhaps based on the precise details of the encoding of the audio data. I just can’t imagine where it comes from. I can be accused of leaving all the settings on their defaults, but definitely not of fiddling them to some creative new combination every single time I record. Nobody else in the world seems to have that problem, or at least I can’t find a single mention of it in Google.

Brilliant, so I try fiddling around with the various encoding settings to try and work around that odd bug. Save my file in 16 bit (need to do that anyway, since a hard-learned lesson of the past is that Logic is too dumb to work with 24 bit files — not that it ever tells you so, it just doesn’t work), resample it to 32000, whatever. No dice. Hm, how come that the AIFF file I save for my recording is always called *.aiff, while the one I save from Gary’s recording is called *.aif (yeah, single ‘f’)? No idea — both are saved using the same file type in SoundTrack.

Anyway, finally I think what the hell, I’ll save the file as an MP3, since that works with Gary’s thing. Stupid, but there you go. Just need to use that Export command in SoundTrack to do that, right? Hey, what’s that? Export is disabled? Interesting… wonder why. Well, Google once more is clueless. Not a single fucking result. Should never be inactive, by all accounts. Brilliant.

Guess what I’m just doing? I’m using Audacity to encode the file as an MP3, hoping that I’ll be able to pull it into SoundTrack after that and finally start the actual work of editing it. Unbelievable but true. At least I have time to write this absolutely useless post in the meantime. If you ever see Sod This episode 6 come out, you know I’ve found a way to work around all this crap.

Update: Converting to mp3 didn’t help at all. I’m sure I’m not enough of an expert on this, but somehow I just can’t even guess what sort of a weird bug SoundTrack must have so it’s unable to do anything useful with my audio data. So, next idea: use Audacity to do the conversion to mono. No fancy menu option for it, but it seems to work so far…

1 Comment on The amazing mood swings of SoundTrack Pro

  1. Hi Oliver,

    I know exactly what you mean, my ‘fun’ with SoundTrack Pro is as follows:-

    I have some test video in Final Cut Pro which consists of a number of clips where I am trying various level outputs from a wireless microphone receiver into a camera. I’ve marked the video with text displaying the level which was set for each clip.

    So, the video becomes useful to other folks if I have a moving VU meter on screen showing actual output. So I’ve got a VU meter plug-in but stupidly it thinks it needs the audio from a separate file.

    Easy huh? Just select the audio track in the timeline and send to SoundTrack Pro Project (eventually got that going by resetting the link in preferences).

    So in STP, I do a save as and make the file an aiff. Try playing file in quicktime, zip, soundless. Load saved as file back into Final Cut, zip, soundless.

    Load the file into iTunes… It plays!

    Utterly bizarre and what a waste of my time. Using Final Cut Studio v3 by the way.

    Like

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