How to Set Up the CD Spacing?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by hunter07, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    I have all of my tracks sounding exactly how I want them, I've done the mastering process and yep I'm happy with that. I want to create the CD layout now but am unsure of how to do this. I would just go ahead and put the waves on a CD and burn away but I want track 5's end to go IMMEDIATELY into track 6's start with no break in between.

    How should I go about doing this or what software should I be using?

    Can I just get the layout that I want in Ableton Live (my DAW) then render it all down as one Wave, load it into something like Audacity, then set the track spacing?
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    You need some sort of PQ editor...
  3. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Sony Creative Software - CD Architect 5.2
  4. Scott Chae

    Scott Chae Active Member

    Wavelab might be the simplest one you could get.
  5. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    Thanks for the software advice so far. Is there a free option, however? I created two tracks in my DAW so that I now have the spacing that I want between tracks and I rendered it down to one large Wave file; I just need a way to set markers at each point in the Wave file so that the CD burning program knows that's where the space goes. So I need to use CD Architect of Wavelab to do that?
  6. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    CD Architect is the easiest way to do it (easier than Wavelab!)

    If you want a free option check out Reaper: its not as obvious how to do it, but it can be done with the nag-screen demo version, or with the $60 non-commercial license.

    You will need to create regions or markers to define the track starts. Then open the render dialogue (cntrl+alt+R) and set the output format to Audio CD Image (CUE/BIN format). Set Track Mode to Markers or Regions depending which you used, then tick the "Burn CD Image after render" box.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Back in the mid-1990s when I got into the computer digital thing (I was recording digitally starting in 1983) I only had rudimentary basics. Some kind of awful audio cd burning software & Cool Edit. Because of the live work I specialize in, I didn't necessarily want fade-outs & fade-ins. So while I started with a complete single 60+ minute file, I would have to break it down into individual song chunks. Which required highlighting the waveform and selecting " save selection" as opposed to " save as". And one had to be intimate enough with the Cool Edit software so that not one sample was dropped or added between songs. It also required that I selected " preferences" in the rudimentary audio CD cutting software I was using to eliminate it from adding any " 2 second silence" between cuts/songs. I could still keep or eliminate songs when I wanted to since I would always check the edits for any audible artifacts. And this is when blank CDs were only cut at 2X and were $10 each for blank ones! So it was really depressing than you would have 2 passes of buffer under run's, just trying to cut one disc. And if your client only wanted a single disc, it was costing you 20 extra dollars out of your own pocket. What are audio CDs today? $.10 each. So you can experiment with this similar cheaper method I have described without the need for any new software or cash outflow. It worked well and I ended up with contiguous sounding live recordings with proper PQ codes and no silence between any cut I didn't want. One of the things you must make certain of is that all song tracks start with a 1 second pre-roll so as not to " up cut" any musical track. That doesn't require much practice, just rhythm.

    Later I went to CD Architect when I had also invested in Sonic Foundry, Sound Forage 4. But the two of those together was a $500 investment. Not including the couple of hundred dollars it still cost for a SCSI CD burner. I actually waited on purchasing my first SCSI CD burner since it was $1500. I waited until it became an affordable $500. Then the software, $500. The home built, custom made, 75 MHz IBM CPU computer with a whopping 1.2 GB capacity was well over $1000. So you've got it easy now. It's practically free.

    If you're still confused, let me know.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    CD Architect is bundled with Soundforge these days: that's how I got my copy.
  9. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    I'm trying Cd Architect and really like the simplicity, good call IIRS! Thanks for your rec and help in the other thread.

    I burned the ordered CD just how I wanted it without issue. Can I send this CD to get pressed as is after I burned it through CD architect? I didn't mess with any settings or anything so I don't know if there's something I need to do which professional CDs have which mine doesn't have or if it would be fine to just send it to get pressed as is...
  10. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I hate to say the whole "If you don't *KNOW* that it's absolutely, positively in spec, have it done by someone who does" thing, but that certainly applies. I can tell you more than a few stories about bands that DIY'd and wound up eating 1,000 CD's with improper markers, missing pre-gaps, tails-in-pauses, bad starts, etc.

    "But it sounded right on their CD player..."

    Don't know where you are in Oregon, but there are a few out there - Russ Nyberg, Cass Anawaty (Sunbreak Music) that could literally rip the disc you have, and make sure it's within spec (writing you a new disc if it's not and/or properly QC'ing the disc if it is) and it'd probably only run you an hour or so of time.
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Good advice in the post above.

    It depends really. If the disc is being duplicated in small quantities you can usually get away with sending an audio CD. (In my experience many duplication plants will get a bit flustered if you try to give them anything else!) In this case you should burn your master disc to good quality branded media, with no other software running, and make sure you don't kick the table or otherwise jolt the machine while burning! Run off two copies, and check them thoroughly in a couple of different players before sending them off.

    A better solution might be to send them a CD Architect image as a data file (via ftp, or a file transfer service like, or even burnt to a physical data CD or DVD): this will have better error correction than an audio CD, but you need to check with them first that they have CD Architect and are happy to accept that format as its not a standard. Of course its possible that they will simply burn the CDA image to a disc and then duplicate that, which might be no better than you burning the master yourself!

    If your discs are to be replicated however, you should really be sending them an industry standard DDP file. The software to create this format isn't particularly cheap: an hour of time at a local mastering studio would probably cost a lot less. In fact it wouldn't need to be local (I could do it for you if you want!): just send the wav file you rendered, along with track names, album title, ISRC codes etc. and get a DDP file back.

    Seriously though: if you're getting a thousand or more copies replicated you should consider paying for a proper mastering session to make sure you don't make any expensive mistakes.

    (In case you don't know the difference, "Duplication" means burning a load of CDRs in one go, and makes sense for smaller quantities. "Replication" is a proper CD manufacturing process, and doesn't make economic sense till get you to about a thousand copies or more)
  12. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    One other thing: you should be aware that the default CD Architect project has a dither plug loaded in the master section. If you dithered your wav file to 16 bit already you need to make sure you disable or delete this dither plug, or you will be pointlessly adding dither noise twice.
  13. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    Yes I used Izotope on the mastered Wave but I had dithering turned off because I figured that I'd be using a program like CD Architect to create the actual CD and that would have a dithering effect on there. I noticed that it appeared that by default, dithering is turned off in both Izotope and CD Architect, so it only added dithering when I turned it on and chose the shape I believe.
  14. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    I'm not planning on getting it replicated. For the foreseeable future the music will only exist in an online digital download format, but I wanted to learn how to make the physical CD and all that goes into it for myself.

    So a DDP file is a universal and industry standard file format which can be sent to any CD replication plant in place of a physical CD and it's preferable because there's less room for error, and I would send them just this file electronically and they'd use that to burn however many copies of my CD? But I can't use a DDP file to burn CDs on my own burner... or can I? I'm a bit confused here. And I take it that I can't create a DDP in a simple program like CD Architect.

    And with the ISRC codes, I would need to get them myself? If I was mastering someone else's CD, would they supply their codes to me or would I be in charge of creating them for them? And how to ISRC codes work with digital music? It seems to me that if I get a mastered CD which has this information on it and rip music from it to create MP3s, it will be at a lower Bit Rate because the CD audio has been dithered... so I likely want to just put the ISRC on my Waves which I have on my computer but how do I do that?

    Wow I'm really sorry I have so many questions but again I realllly appreciate all of the help here.
  15. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Yes, you need to enable dither in Ozone (at least you do in ver. 3)

    However, the Mega-Bit-Max dither algo in Ozone is posher than the generic dither plug that CD Architect loads by default, so you might want to consider doing it the other way around. Unlikely to make a real difference with typical pop/rock mixes, but nevertheless: you have it so you might as well use it!
  16. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Correct, except there is no burning involved in replication: the discs are manufactured with the data in place, like the "proper" CDs you (used to) buy in a shop.

    Go here:

    Their DDP Player software will allow you to burn your own preview discs from the DDP file (and their DDP Creator is the cheapest option I am aware of for creating DDP files)

    They come from the record label. If that's you then yes you need to get them yourelf. More info here ;)
  17. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    I forgot to mention the most important thing: if you leave the dither to the CD Architect stage you will need to render a 24 bit final wav file from your DAW. If you dropped it to 16 bits already its too late to add dither: it won't do any good.

    So this is another reason to dither with Ozone instead: your final file will be smaller, plus CD Architect won't have to do any processing at all while burning, so less chance of anything going wrong.
  18. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    (Going with the good-cop-bad-cop motif):

    Keep in mind that even with DDP (which is all good and wonderful as it takes the BLER and other potential physical errors of a disc our of the equation), the same problems are there if you don't create it right. If you have your track marker on the first purposeful oscillation in your PQ editor (a bad idea that far too many "newbs" find out the hard and expensive way), those markers are going to be right up against the first purposeful oscillation in the DDP. If your pre-gap isn't precisely 150 frames before the first track marker in your PQ editor, it will be in the same (wrong, non-compliant) spot in your DDP fileset.

    Is DDP a superior delivery format to the plant for replication? Absolutely. But it's only as good as the data it's made from. If the disc is non-compliant, the DDP will be non-compliant. And the plant will replicate what they're given. Sometimes you luck out and they're spot something (and charge you anywhere from $200-400 and up to correct it). Other times, you're sitting with your bandmates ripping discs open and exchanging them with discs from the "new" (fixed) batch.
  19. hunter07

    hunter07 Active Member

    Thanks IIRS, that is something one should NOT forget but I kept that in mind. I went ahead and did it in Architect the first go around and the CD after I burned it sounded abrasive at the higher frequencies... not sure what happened exactly there. Good call on using Ozone's custom dithering technology, I've been reading up on it and yeah it looks like they put a lot of time into making it better than conventional dithering. I'm burning now using the Ozone setting and making a couple more tweaks to the master process. We'll see how it sounds this go around.

    Hey MM, I appreciate your input very much, as well. I'm very much a newb so I wanted to clarify on what you were talking about and what errors could arise. When you say having the track marker on the first purposeful oscillation I figured you meant that some people make the mistake of placing the track too soon so that the first millisecond of audio gets cut off? Please clarify there if you could.

    And you mention the pre-gap being at precisely 150 frames. Is that industry standard? I assume the only way a problem could arise is if it's placed before that; starting the first track marker after that shouldn't cause issues, just a slight extra space before the audio comes in, correct?

    And finally, couldn't I just burn a copy for myself and test it on multiple CD players to make sure that nothing is cut off anywhere and there aren't any issues?

    REALLY appreciate any clarity you can provide here, thanks so much.
  20. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    A LOT of people make that mistake. And technically, it's not even a mistake (which is probably why it's so common). Sometimes the first hundred milliseconds or more. Depends on the player. More than 50 is pretty rare, but with MP3 players, that's all left to chance. I've seen ripped MP3 files that ramp up over the first 200ms (rare again, but it happens).
    150 frames is the RedBook specification. Precisely 150 frames - no more, no less. And as someone who's forced to play discs from a smorgasbord of sources (iTunes, WMP, on and on and on) I can tell you that discs that aren't written to that spec are a crapshoot at best whether they're going to actually play when you need them to (and if they continue to play - or if they'll simply jump around like a record with a bad stylus). The more "pro" the playback gear (radio stations, performing arts facilities, etc.), the pickier they tend to be. And this has nothing to do with the audio itself or the space between the track marker and the audio -- This is the gap before that first start marker that the CD player doesn't play.

    Many programs have a preference hidden away somewhere so it's handled in the background and never adjusted again. Some don't - Some you can't even adjust it (and plenty of consumer programs don't even have it at all). But you'd better *know* that it's there (hence, if you can't produce a frame-accurate PQ log using said program, don't trust said program).
    If you're using the proper software properly, you shouldn't need to test it anyway. Sure - you'll want to QC it. Preferably reading and recording the BLER (that's hardware dependent). But if it's within spec, it should play on all of them.

    The point is to KNOW the tools, KNOW the specs, KNOW the routine. It isn't rocket-surgery - but it's very precise and there's no room for "I think so" or "I'm not sure."

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