Huge quality loss in 17.1 after importing audio

Hi! I’m facing a weird issue here. After I import my wav file in unreal (16 bit, 44.1khz), I double click on it to set the compression quality to 100. Then I create a cue from this file. The audio however is bad, as if the sample rate got decreased somehow. In previous versions (4.16 and below) everything was fine. I know UE4’s audio engine got a lot of changes lately, maybe I’m missing something?

Hi SilentAndAsleep, out of curiosity are you using the new Audio Engine or the old Audio Engine?

I’m not sure, I’m using the one that is activated by default in 4.17 (so the new one I guess)

EDIT: I think I’m using the old one, I’ll enable the new audio engine and see if that fixes anything. :slight_smile:

EDIT2: I’m actually using the new audio engine. I’m still unable to fix the quality issue. :frowning:

Hi SilentAndAsleep, would you be able to get a screen recording of this? I would like to get an accurate representation of what you’re experiencing.

Duh… I found out what the issue was. Unreal seems to lower the default volume of a sound file (or at least, it sounds way louder in VLC). It gave the impression that the sound quality was lower (everything sounds better when it’s loud), but in fact the sound remained the same. The sound itself was recorded poorly, and the lower volume made the bad quality stand out more.

Sorry for the trouble and thank you for your help. :o

No worries! Some audio players actually boost the sound (or allow max volume to be greater than 100%) on their UI. The old audio engine also had some boosts that were inappropriate and implemented by a non-audio programmer, the new audio engine should be cleaner and have more headroom available for your mix. :slight_smile:

Dan beat me - I was about to chip in and point out that VLC’s volume goes up to 200%, where 100% is 0db and boosting over 100% introduces gain to compensate for older codecs which normalised to -6db. It used to go to 400% and there’ve been hacks for 800%… Weird tangent: a few years ago Dell were refusing warranty repair for laptop speaker damage if people were using VLC! Input from a lead VLC dev here, plus some technical analysis which confirms the (pretty obvious) fact that Dell were using poor components and trying to shift the blame: Installing VLC Media Player voids your speaker warranty | Hacker News

So this is a good reason not to use VLC for reference-checks on audio files - it’s easy to forget that you’ve boosted it, and even easier to accidentally roll the scrollwheel and whack it up to 200% while paused, without realising. On Mac, Finder’s Quicklook preview follows the system’s default output volume and is a pretty reliable reference for comparing sound file volumes. I only use Windows for UE dev, but UE previews Sound Waves at pretty much the volumes I expect so I’ve not needed to use any other audio players for level reference. And yes, lots of headroom! :slight_smile: