Why You Should Never Use Offline Bounce

If you’re a Pro Tools user, you were probably very excited when they announced the ability to offline bounce.

If you’re pretty much any other DAW user, you’re probably wondering why it took so long for PT to catch up – you’ve had the same feature for ages!

Either way, it’s a very convenient and fast way to get your music into a stereo file.

But guess what? When you’re bouncing something that matters, you should never do an offline bounce. Here’s why.

When you offline bounce, you lose two things. The first thing you lose is the chance to hear the entire mix from start to finish. This is actually a pretty big deal.

You should critically listen to the mix as it bounces out. You can catch clips, crunches, or imperfect balances. It’s a great way to “proofread” your mix. Also, you’ll be certain that the mix is ready to be sent to the client.

The other reason you shouldn’t do an offline bounce is because it can actually add artifacts into your mix without you even knowing it. In a session recently, I decided to offline bounce a few stems to be mixed in a different DAW. After I imported them in, I heard a few clicks and pops that weren’t in the original tracks. I had to go back and re-bounce them in real time to make sure they were right.

Offline bounce is great for a quick and dirty rough mix, but think twice before using it on your final mix or master!

5 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Use Offline Bounce”

    • Offline Bounce is basically allowing the computer to bounce your session down to a stereo (or mono, for that matter) mix. It can usually do it in faster than real-time, which is why it’s convenient. Cubase and Logic have had the function for years, but Pro Tools just caught up with 11.

  1. Interesting that it actually added artifacts. It’s something I’ve heard of having the potential to happen but never heard any reports about it occurring. Has this ever happened more than once with offline to you? If it’s a plugin-intensive session I generally won’t use offline, but if it’s minimal stuff, say mixtape/smaller sessions, I would imagine there wouldn’t be much of an issue.

    My understanding of why Avid took so long to do this was automation reasons and these types of things having the potential to happen. Seems to be tied into to processing/DAE somehow which is a bit weird. I wonder why the artifacts show up between offline/real time.

    • We use offline bounce for any mixes that might be quick roughs or previews, because we know we’re going to listen to them after the fact anyway. But final bounces? Eh…. 🙂

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