Help regarding Dithering and Mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Trex, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Hi there!

    I’m doing a mastering session in Digital Performer using variety of plugins and working at 48/32bit. Once done, I’ll take this to a to a very good facility for final stage where they arrange all the tracks in Pyramix, bounce it to 44/16 and create the professional CD master.

    My question is: If I decide to give them my master at 48/32bit, should I disable the default Dithering in Digital Performer and in my master plugins? They’ll use Dither when bouncing to 44/16 anyway, as far as I know you should use Dither only once, right?

    But what if I need to bring them a 48/24bit master? (my native working resolution is 32bit) should I Dither this when bouncing my master? They’ll Dither again at the end anyway, so now you have two Dithering done?

    It’s a bit confusing and I’ll appreciate your help!:))

    Thank you.
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You may be working at 32-bit floating point internally within the DAW, but when you write the mix out a bwav or other file, it's 24-bit fixed point. You should not dither when doing this as the representation has not changed significantly. Only dither when truncating, as when going from 24 bit fixed-point or 32-bit floating-point to 16-bit fixed-point (CD quality).
     
  3. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Ok Boswell, as I understand - NOT to Dither?
    Disable dither in DP and in the master plugins, bounce it as it is (48/32bit Wave)
    and bring to the facility.


    Thank you!
     
  4. MrEase

    MrEase Active Member

    I don't know Digital Performer at all so this may be complete rubbish. I do know that many other programmes allow you to export at the full internal resolution. Whether that means 32 bit or 64 bit Floating point or even 48 bit fixed point, then exporting the files at that resolution means that dither is meaningless and the mastering house gets the best possible material to work with. That is without doubt what I would do.

    Of course if you can only export with a maximum resolution of 24 bit fixed point then do that and do not bother with dither as the least significant few bits are already in the noise which is all dither will add anyway. IMHO dither only becomes relevant when going down to 16 bit CD files where the LSB's are not lost in the noise (at least with decent converters!). At that stage the choice of which dither algorithm to use is best left to the mastering house.
     
  5. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    So no Dithering at all, just bring the finished Master file at highest resolution.
    OK, Thank you!
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Check with your mastering house whether that they can accept 32-bit floating-point in AIFF or bwav format, if not, use 24-bit fixed point. They will do the wordlength reduction to 16-bit and dithering at the end of their process as part of the CD master generation.
     
  7. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Thank you Boswell, yes, i think they accept 32-bit floating point,
    but i'll ask again to make sure.

    You guys prefer AIFF or Wave for finished Master file? Just wondering, any big differences?
     
  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Dither once, right before the final truncation to 16 bit. I prefer 24 bit wave at the native rate of your project. 32 bit float is advantageous for processing but not so much for storage.
     
  9. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Thanks for the advice Bouldersound!

    Funny, some people don’t like bringing Master file at 32bit, some say it’s a must as it contains higher resolution depth and so on…

    Actually I don’t do the conversion to 16 bit, I’ll leave that to the facility later… I just do the mastering.
    All the project is done at 48/32bit, from recording, mixing and now the mastering,
    When I’m done with the mastering, yes I can change the Bounce to Disc to 24bit, but will I need then to enable Dithering?

    Thank you again!
     
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Dithering from 32 to 24 is irrelevant because once you truncate to 16 anything below 16 bit's LSB, like the dither signal for 24 bit, will be gone. Don't bother.

    There's little reason to record at 32 bit. You have to really screw something up in 24 bit to run out of dynamic range. All you get with 32 bit audio is bigger files.
     
  11. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Great, Thank you so much for the help!
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I share the same opinions of everyone here except I never dither anymore. Another reason why analog summing and using a capture DAW excels.
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Well, you don't have to do it manually because it's done automatically during conversion. Another advantage is that you don't have to worry about intersample peaks if your digital signal is straight off the converters.
     
  14. Trex

    Trex Active Member

    Good advice! :) Thanks!
     

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