Michele Ong
Improve DaVinci Resolve Audio Export Quality

Improve DaVinci Resolve Audio Export Quality

The life of a creator is one of continuous, iterative improvements.

Very Zen. Much philosophy. And you know, so’s life in general.

A while ago, I noticed issues where my video and audio exports had audible clicks where there was none in the timeline. With each re-render they would be in a slightly different spot. More infuriatingly, I didn’t notice them because I only played back the video exports at 1.5x speed and not the audio as well, and at a faster speed the clicks wouldn’t usually come through[1].

Things were going fine, but I was doing audio specific work, and I noticed the exports sounded off. Not as bad as a cooked mp3, but sort of flat-sounding with compression-like artefacting at the edges. I couldn’t hear the problem in my source files and the files I was getting out of Izotope RX in pre-processing so there was something definitely happening in DaVinci Resolve.

Good news, I worked out how to fix the problem. Bad news, I don’t have the time to go back through my old content to reprocess everything again, so I have to live with the older releases having defects unless there’s a solid justification for me to dedicate those hours to do it.

Step 1. Check your source

Don’t waste time mucking around in Resolve. GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) is key here. Make sure the problems you’re hearing aren’t present in your source files.

Step 2. Use wavs (if applicable)

For those using separate audio tracks, apparently, Resolve will devote precious processing power to converting audio into wavs on the fly if that’s not the format they’re imported in. Unless you can throw more hardware at the problem, convert your audio to wav first.

Step 3. Pre-process your audio files before importing them into DaVinci Resolve

Resolve has some nice audio processing tools in Fairlight, but I find third-party presets can increase rendering time, and adds extra processing load that could cause artefacts. Instead of using the presets for RX in Resolve, I’ll process the files in the RX standalone app, export as wav, and use those instead.

Additional: I download the separate audio only track from riverside.fm to process for this reason. There aren’t sync issues either as long as you don’t use the constant bitrate video.

Step 4. Set audio export settings

Update your audio export settings to be:

  • Format: QuickTime
  • Codec: LinearPCM
  • Sample rate: 48000
  • Bit depth: 24

QuickTime with LinearPCM is the combination most commonly suggested by Resolve users for general audio problems. When the Bit depth is lower than 24, I get the flat compression issues. 24 clears that up.

DaVinci Resolve file export settings

Step 5. Slow down the render speed

Slowing down the render speed will help with both click and artefacting problems. With my hardware, on free DaVinci Resolve with CPU rendering I needed 50 to get rid of the clicks. In paid DaVinci Resolve Studio using my graphics card, I could get away with 75.

DaVinci Resolve file export settings

For those on free and not great hardware, I’m sorry, your render time is going to suck. But at least you won’t have these problems in your exports anymore.


[1] Also super annoyed that I can’t replace the video on YouTube without losing stats, but you have to pick your battles.

Published August 05, 2022
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© 2022 Michele Ong.