Phase Distortion/Shift with playing kick sample

Hello, when playing a pattern with a mono 808 sample, I get clicks in the right channel, each time it sounds different and I would like to fix this in future versions

Hello Chee,

Thanks for reaching out. This is happening because Playbeat converts mono samples to stereo. The algorithm used might tweak the sample(s) upon importing and it seems that in this case it has introduced unwanted artifacts.

We have already identified the problem and we’re working to correct it.

Stepping in here because I recently purchased Playbeat 3 and am quite puzzled because of this issue.

Basically it’s impossible to use mono samples with Playbeat. Which is awkward for a drum machine, to say the very least.
I’m thinking about requesting a refund, because this is such an essential thing for a drum machine. And there’s no way to find that out until you run into it. Nothing mentioned in the manual, the videos or anywhere.
I even ran the demo months ago, but likely it happened by accident that I loaded only stereo samples into Playbeat. And NOBODY is explicitly testing if a drum machine can handle mono samples, because it’s pretty much the most rudimentary thing of all.
Does anyone know another sample based drum software that isn’t capable to properly playback mono samples? I don’t.

Why are you even doing that, converting mono samples to stereo?

Hi unmodern,

Playbeat converts mono samples to stereo in order for them to be process by our panning engine (Pan Tab). While we’re using a new algorithm for our next update which solves this problem, no Phase distortion should be introduced and especially during Export.

Is this happening in all of your mono samples? Would you be able to share the problematic ones to inspect?

Well, I already suspected you got (good) reasons to do the conversion. But it looks like the conversion doesn’t work properly (at least with the samples I tested so far).

I prepared a video clip where you could see that the hits are spread out differently in the stereo field. Of course without touching any panning, and the positions are also slightly different from beat to beat.
But since I’m new here attachements are still blocked for me :slightly_frowning_face:

So I can’t post a sample either. The main ones I was testing so far are 808 and 909 drum kits somebody sampled from the hardware back in 1995 or so. Those are 44kHz, 16bit, mono, PCM (little/signed).
Also Goldbaby’s Tape 909 pack.

Unfortunately I’m currently very short of time, so I didn’t have too much to really bother with yet. I’ll look into it deeper and do some testings in the upcoming days when I got more time for it. Hopefully can post examples then. BTW, I think it isn’t so bad with samples of higher frequencies content.

I’ll upload a little set of those 808 & 909 kits to the request link you posted (probably tomorrow). I’m in a hurry and somewhow didn’t really recognize the link lol

Attachement seems to work now, so I’m quickly throwing it in here.
Same sample on Playbeat (right side) and Bitwig’s stock Drum Machine (left)

Sounds much worse than it looks :wink:

(wanted to attach the sample used in the clip, but apparently even .zip files aren’t allowed in general)

Ok I was testing a whole bunch of (mono) samples and came to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter what kind of mono samples they are.
Samplerate, bitdepth, bitrate and so on won’t make a noticable difference. Only thing I noticed is that 32bit float samples might work better than others, but I’m not sure of it and would need to double check that.
I’m not sure if it matters if it’s low or high frequency content. But I’m very sure that I had some nasty dB spikes with higher frequency mono samples.
Below you can see a spike of +280 dB I’ve had with a rimshot sample (44.1kHz, 24bit, mono, 1058kb/s, PCM little/signed), taken from the factory content of Triaz:


That spike came out of nowhere, the 4-on-the-floor pattern with 32 steps looped like four times, and suddenly it occured on one of those hits that swing out to the very right of the spectrum (like shown in the video above).
Interestingly it was the first swing to far right in this case, I watched it and on the first three loops there wasn’t a single hit to far right. Suddenly it hit far right and along with that the massive dB spike occured.
That’s not even the original topic, but it’s certainly a quite unpleasant thing. And one more reason that makes mono samples almost unusable with Playbeat.

I still might send you a little pack with example samples, but I’m not sure if that makes even sense. You’re surely aware of all that and meanwhile I could see in a number of similar threads that you’re working on it anyway.

For the moment I wanted to point out another related thing I stumbled upon:
it almost looks like there are already slight issues with playback of Playbeat’s factory samples (they are all stereo I believe).
Below an example with “After Hour Kick 07.wav” from the factory. The signal heads to the right in general, but is also moving and inconsistent.
Panning the track ~ 6% to the left moves the signal to the center, but the exact position is still different from hit to hit. Only setting the width of the track to 0%, aka making it a mono track, results in a consistent signal sitting in the center.

This makes me think the real problem might not even be the conversion, or the source samples.
Could it be there’s a general issue that is simply far more pronounced when using mono samples?
Only speculation and of course I got zero clue about the signal flow and internal audio processing of Playbeat.
I’m just somehow having the impression that using mono samples might only make something else more obvious.

EDIT May 27:
After reviewing and comparing I’d say playback of stereo samples isn’t as bad as I thought first.
For some reason Playbeat is always leaning towards the right channel, and is overall shifting more compared to others.
But I guess it’s still within a “normal” range, so likely not that big of an issue.

The problems with playback of mono samples are certainly there.
Still didn’t have time to pack and upload a few samples, hope I can do that later today.

Hi unmodern,

I can confirm that this has been corrected, we will release an update this week. Stay tuned.

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Hi. Saw your post that an update to Playbeat was going to be released last week, but it seems that it is still on 3.2.6. Also, is the new version in beta yet? Still need any testers? :slight_smile:

Hi oobesan,

you can download the latest 3.2.7 update from your account -or- from our updates page here: Latest Software Updates | Audiomodern

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Didn’t have time to check out the update until today.
After an one hour or so test drive I can confirm this is waaayyy better now! Couldn’t notice any distortions, pops and clicks, dB spikes or any other stuff that happened before.
Great job and thanks a lot for fixing this :+1:
It’s a real improvement when you don’t have to be overly careful anymore not to accidently choose a mono sample that could possibly blow your speakers up (or will just simply sound awful) :wink:

Different topic, but I’m having trouble with exporting stems, both MIDI and Audio. No time to really bother with it currently, but while I was checking out the update I also tested the export functions, without very good results, tbh.
Single MIDI stems seem to be ok, but exporting “All Stems” puts out pretty strange patterns, example below:

Screenshot shows a result when dragn’dropping “All Stems” from Playbeat into Bitwig. Not only different to the original in Playbeat, it also contains i.e. four lanes for the “C3” note. Quite odd.
And when exporting the same Playbeat pattern as MIDI file to the hard drive it’s different again, but still nowhere close to the original.
Just reporting this quickly, at the moment I’m too busy to really bother with it.

BTW: in the credits under “Developers” I could see the name “Mario Nieto”. Might just be a coincidence, but could it be this is the “Harmony Bloom” Mario Nieto??

Yeah, Mario is doing both

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Hi unmodern,

May I please have a screenshot of your MIDI outputs in the settings tab (gear icon) ?

Oops, apparently I forgot to mention that in this instance all MIDI settings are on factory default (I believe)

Here are two versions of the sequences Playbeat exported to the hard drive, generated from that same pattern

Have you checked your midi out settings as shown in this video?