DAT's, CD/R's, 24bit Files, ???

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by MMazurek, Jun 16, 2001.

  1. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    Any mastering dudes have any preferences for media type?

    Clients (college/high school kids mind you) keep asking me to mix my 24bit mixes to DAT cuz they think all the pro's do it.

    They then send out to be made into CD's or Vinyl (don't ask). The places they send it offer 'all in one' bundles with mastering included. They seem to shop around and use the ones they like the sound of best coming back.

    They're convinced they need a DAT and seem very wary of me asking 'their guys' about the possibility of 24 bit files going to them.

    Should I just let it go?

    How do you guys prefer your mixes?

    Do you stay digital when you receive digital?

    Should I leave the 2-bus alone (unless for effect)?

    Where do babies come from?
     
  2. PaulStory

    PaulStory Guest

    Hi,


    Any mastering dudes have any preferences for media type?


    I like the sound of nice 1/2" and 1" analog tape a lot. I even get some 1/4" stuff from a jazz label. The majority of stuff I get comes in on 24 bit DAT, then CD (data and audio). The 24 bit DAT stuff usually works out best if no analog master is available.


    Clients (college/high school kids mind you) keep asking me to mix my 24bit mixes to DAT cuz they think all the pro's do it.

    If you have a 24 bit DAT you're OK. If not, just burn a CD of the data. Tell them this is just as "pro".


    They then send out to be made into CD's or Vinyl (don't ask). The places they send it offer 'all in one' bundles with mastering included. They seem to shop around and use the ones they like the sound of best
    coming back.


    If they like the in house mastering sound then they are doing fine. A lot of these places think a Finalizer set to "nuke" is mastering.


    They're convinced they need a DAT and seem very wary of me asking 'their guys' about the possibility of 24 bit files going to them.

    I'd tell them to trust you (they have so far if you recorded/mixed them). Get other opinions and then talk to them about what you think will sound best.


    Should I just let it go?


    I'd try the above....


    How do you guys prefer your mixes?


    Honestly, I like them fine on 24 bit DAT if the conversion was done right. I traded my wife's old car (when I moved) for a nice analog machine that I put some money into. When I A/B mixes that come in on analog and *good* 24 bit digi often times the DAT gets picked. Not to say that 1" isn't great, but the digi stuff has become much better than it was.

    Do you stay digital when you receive digital?


    Depends.....many times no, I'll use an analog EQ or compressor (or both) and reconvert. I'll gladly take the reconversion hit to not have to use digi EQ (especially if the stuff sounds a bit harsh).

    Should I leave the 2-bus alone (unless for effect)?


    That would be my preference....but I *know* guys do it all the time and don't tell me....they think I don't know...hehehehe.......


    Where do babies come from?

    Tell me when you find out....

    :eek:
     
  3. Rog

    Rog Member

    Interesting stuff. Out of interest, do you get handed many 32 bit data CDs?
     
  4. PaulStory

    PaulStory Guest

    Rog,

    Not many at all. I think maybe 2 in the recent months (32 bit float .Wav files). I'll have to sit down and listen, but I don't think that there would be any benefit in
    32 bit files at this point in A/D, D/A technology*** Due to thermal noise and the like I don't know if 32 bit files will have much use. Heck, there is still not an A/D
    that can produce a 24 bit word properly yet!
    The 32 bit stuff could have a benefit if one is doing all of their EQ, comp etc... in the digi domain. Since I haven't done an A/B comparison with my own ears on a
    24 vs. 32 file I don't know.... but as I said, I don't think it matters. FYI, there are no 32 bit converters out there (to my knowledge).***The 32 bit word length is an
    internal process that some DAWs are implementing now. The audio still "enters" the DAW as a 24 bit word. The conversion and subsequent storage and
    manipulation of the file are two entirely different things.
     
  5. brad

    brad Guest

    ....
     
  6. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    I've been sending 16/44.1 DATs.

    It sounds as if it would benefit the final mix to send the 24 bit files (maybe even start tracking at 48khz).

    And maybe invest in a 1/2" machine as an alternative. (any favorites for Rock'n'Roll?)

    Is everyone in agreement to leave the 2-bus alone? It seems SOOOOO tempting to run multiband compression and squeeze the level up with an L1/L2 typo 'o' plug.

    Do you guys generally take care of all this type of processing? I'll do it for the band but send out the final without it if necessary. Or, is there a benefit to doing some of this prior (a little bit of each as opposed to one big squash)???

    (Thanks for any help with my amatuer questions) :)
     
  7. brad

    brad Guest

    ....
     
  8. PaulStory

    PaulStory Guest

    M,

    I understand the temptation to want to add eq or compression to the mix. The logic being..well, it sounds better when I do this so I'm really doing the guy a *favor*. I record and mix as well as master. I recorded a project last year that was to be mastered by one of the top 3 guys in the world. Naturally, I wanted it to kick ass, so I mixed it through a Manley Massive Passive tube eq. Then I got to thinking....hmmmm...maybe I better take my own advice. So, I sent an eq'ed version and an un-eq'ed version. Out of 10 tunes 3 eq'ed versions got picked. I'm sure he knew what was up :eek: Trust the person you use to have the best gear and ears for the job until they prove otherwise. Keep theplug-inson individual tracks and you'll get a better sounding master.
     
  9. bradmcgowan

    bradmcgowan Guest

    A friend of mine recently sent mixes he and I did to a fairly well known professional mastering facility for CD mastering. The mixes were provided on data CD-R's as 24-bit, 44.1 kHz WAV files. When the mastering engineer received the mixes he wanted to charge extra to load up these files on his DAW (Sadie I believe). What's up with that? Wouldn't it take him less time to load up files off of a CD-R than it would to play back a 16 bit DAT or 1/4" tape into his digital system? The extra charges didn't seem warranted to me. Can someone please enlighten me to what's going on here. We ended up sending him 16 bit audio CD-R's to save cost instead.

    Brad
     
  10. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    M,

    I have to agree with Paul and Brad. It simply cannot be stated strongly enough: PLEASE leave the compressor off the stereo bus when you send mixes out for mastering. Give the band some squished mixes to play in their cars, but if you send me a pancake, I can't make a damn souffle' out of it, I'm sorry...

    SC
     
  11. MMazurek

    MMazurek Guest

    Advice taken guys.

    You've all been VERY helpful.

    Any opinions on converters & clocks for a ProTools system??? I'm looking for that point where I don't have to worry about strapping in a Distressor/Summit EQ/Amek EQ/Avalon EQ accross a submix/track/etc... without the D/A A/D causing more bad than good.

    I realize it's not a 'mastering' question, but I would like to know your opinions as I believe you'd be more qualified than typical mixing engineers. I'm thinkin 8 i/o 24bit... Lucid 8824 (via adat bridge lightpipe)...RME...just re-clock the Digi 888/24 with a Nanosyncs/Aardsync/Lucid clock??? :p
     
  12. patrick

    patrick Guest

    Hello. A supplementary question for this thread. Assuming that someone is sending you a 24-bit file for mastering, and that the final product is going to be a CD, do you have any preferences for the sample rate? Is 44.1k always best, or are there cases where you will still retain something better from a higher sample rate (48 or 96k), even after converting for CD?

    thanks very much,
     
  13. Rog

    Rog Member

    Brad, SADiE's 'import PC audio' function could import the file no problem. I have no idea why you would be charged extra unless he didn't have any dithering plugs?
     
  14. brad

    brad Guest

    ....
     
  15. brad

    brad Guest

    Ask your mastering engineer.

    If he processes digitally, he might want it at 44.1 (I'd hope not) to avoid SRC (unless he has good SRC's on hand, then he'll most likely prefer 88.2, 96, or higher...

    If he's an analog mastering guy, he *should* prefer the highest FS available.
     
  16. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Originally posted by Brad Blackwood:

    Ask your mastering engineer.

    If he processes digitally, he might want it at 44.1 (I'd hope not) to avoid SRC (unless he has good SRC's on hand, then he'll most likely prefer 88.2, 96, or higher...

    If he's an analog mastering guy, he *should* prefer the highest FS available.[/QB]

    I generally send a 24/44.1 Masterlink file, under the assumption that the extra room on top in 24/48 isn't worth the SRC. I'm mixing (for now) on a D8B, and 48's the highest it supports.

    Of course, there's a Quad 8 in my living room that I need to finish working on, then I'll probably be sending 24/96... :)
     
  17. brad

    brad Guest

    ....
     
  18. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    I agree about using the highest resolution available EVEN for a mostly "digital" guy. Often the difference between cheap converters and expensive ones at 48k is pretty subtile while it can be night and day down at 44.1.

    I do think I've gotten better results using sample-rate conversion from 88.2 masterlink files over 96k. but I've never had a direct comparison available.

    Finally, don't sleep on 15ips 1/4" 2 track. It frequently sounds a lot better than cheap digital and machines in that format are often available for a song because they made a zillion of them for broadcast as well as recording.
     
  19. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    I forgot...

    The "carpenter's rule" applies very much to mastering. It says "measure twice, cut once."

    The reason to not go nuts processing your mix bus is simply that reprocessing rarely sounds as good as the right processing does applied once. A bit of low-ratio compression with a 100 ms or greater attack time is often a good idea but save the overall eq and peak limiting for the mastering room so that it can be applied only once in the appropriate proportions for the release format and the song's location in the final sequence.
     

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