Playing a CD into a computer for mastering...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by mcjb2, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. mcjb2

    mcjb2 Guest

    Hi everyone, my friend's band is releasing their first CD on a small indie label, and the mastering engineer has requested that they send a standard 16 bit 44.1 listening CD as the master source, which he will "play" into a computer via an analog front end. Is this a standard practice for some mastering engineers? Every engineer I have worked with previously has imported the data from a CD, not played it into the computer (it's not a tape master obviously), and often requests that the material be sent in the highest quality format possible (higher sample and/or bit rates if it was recorded that way)...So basically I just wanted to find out if playing a CD into a computer is standard practice...The company is called DigiPrep and I know nothing about them. We just want to make sure that the CD is mastered well & properly. Thanks for any input.
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'd be just slightly concerned if that's their preferred method...

    I can't even imagine why they wouldn't heartily suggest 24-bit mixes...

    This is DigiPrep in L.A. we're talking about? Dan Hirsch? Throw another Grammy on the fire DigiPrep?
  3. mcjb2

    mcjb2 Guest

    Yes, that is their preferred method & i was told if we provided it in a higher resolution (such as 24 bit) that they would have to import it & covert it to 16 bit 44.1k! And "that is a fairly time consuming process and is usually inferior sonically"...So I am a little concerned. Yes and this is Digiprep in LA but the mastering engineer who will be doing it is Dave Shultz. Again I know nothing about this company, but the practice of playing a CD into a computer is new to me...
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sounds a little bizzare to me if you're able to supply higher resolution masters.
  5. mcjb2

    mcjb2 Guest

    The material was recorded in 96k, 32 bit float, so I could easily provide higher resolution files. He said "In the future those high resolution files are going to become more usable as is...In this specific case, please make a 16 bit 44.1k audio CD if possible. "
  6. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's a freaky one... :? Those guys have worked on some pretty huge projects. I'd think that they could take anything you throw at them.
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    It is possible they master on input with analog gear and therefore want the CD to act like a tape deck. I cannot imagine any other reason for not wanting the highest quality on input. You should talk directly to the mastering engineer and not go though your client. I find that a lot of misinformation is generated when you are talking though an interpreter who knows nothing about the process.

    I once did a project for client and the client informed me that I could not send the the CD replicator a computer generated PQ sheet and that it had to be hand written. I called the company and told them what I would be sending them and they said "sure, GREAT!" when asked about wanting PQ editing sheets handwritten the guy at the other end started laughing. "No we told your client we would prefer typewritten or computer generated and printed PQ editing sheets over handwritten ones since they are harder to read" enough said.....

  8. lucidwaves

    lucidwaves Guest

    Thats what my first thought was as well, but wouldnt they want the higher resolution before they process in analog, as long as they have decent converters? I thought the point was to keep it at the highest resolution possible until the final src and bit depth reduction/dither down to cd quality.
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I would say it would be best to get the answer directly from the ME. Could be a reason, like a broken piece of gear or mis communication.
  10. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

  11. mcjb2

    mcjb2 Guest

    Thanks for all the input, I got my information from an email forwarded directly to me from the ME. The quoted portions in my previous posts are directly from the ME, so there's no mistaking that's he really wants. This is the email verbatim:

    It's Dave Schultz from DigiPrep here. Hope you are doing well. Will look forward to our upcoming festivities.

    The technique here at Digi is to "play" material into the computer through
    an analog front end. The best/easiest source for most present day clients
    is a well prepared 16 bit 44.1k audio CD, but anything "playable" is fair
    game. We still get a few DAT tape sources and a surprising amount of
    analog tapes. Those will work great also.

    If the source is a higher resolution file, like a 24 bit 96k ProTools file
    for example, we can convert and import it digitally here, but that is a
    fairly time consuming process and is usually inferior sonically. Same with
    the split mono formats. Of course this is all based on CD preparation. In
    the future those high resolution files are going to become more usable as

    In this specific case, please have them make a 16 bit 44.1k audio CD if

    In any case, the band is trying to push for someone local to master it so they can attend...If anyone has any recommendations for DC area please let me know.
  12. lucidwaves

    lucidwaves Guest

    Maybe they are playing the cd through their various analog processors then clipping at the ADC for some loudness, then capturing it in the DAW at 16bit 44.1khz for the master cd. Though I still dont know why they wouldnt want a higher resolution file to begin with and pump that through good converters into their analog gear then come back into their, DAW clipping the converters there.

    I am quite new to this so maybe there is a reason I cant think of. Anyhow, if they get good results with this method (and they very well may), that is all that matters, right?
  13. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Isn't this the Doug Sax method of doing it?
    It looks like they are doing it out of convenience...?

    We had a mastering studio here in Denmark where they used a tibook with mbox playing through an apogee if the client delivered files. Their prefered method was via audio CD or DAT.
    Maybe it was audible on their masters... or maybe it wasn't...? maybe it was just their old sonic DAW if something was audible??

    My next "top of the line" converter is going to be 16bit so what the hell. BTW the chip was handpicked in a test where it won over 24bit chips so I'm not all that crazy!... just a little special :lol:

    Best Regards
  14. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    That's EXACTLY what I was thinking...

    And the high resolution files are "usually inferior sonically" part is truly bugging me...
  15. mixandmaster

    mixandmaster Active Member

    Maybe they've only got one workstation...odd as it would seem they have the cash to handle any format easily. Maybe they get more weird ass files when people try to send them anything other than a CD. I think you should call and talk to a live person before jumping to any conclusions.

    Don't know of anyone in DC offhand, but I'm sure there's someone I'm forgetting. Having the entire band present can end up costing a lot of money...if you know what i'm saying about chefs and broth. But it could also make it so everyone's happy. I usually prefer no more than two or three other people in the control room no matter what I'm working on.
  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I'm sure budget has something to do with it. They have 1 daw and it's probably an old sonic. Doesn't mean it won't sound good. Plenty of great masters have been done from dat and CD. It doesn't cost much to get a masterlink these days so there would be no reason why higher res files can't be used. But time is money and maybe there is a cap on the rate so he would rather spend the time eq'ing than converting. But the important part is if you like the guys work, then do as he says. You have to trust that your ME is looking out for the best interest of your project. Like I said, it probably has to do with money, like everything else.
  17. Right, so if it was my hard-earned money and my masterpiece album, I'd want it done right! Not by some guy running a line out the headphone jack of his boombox. Who are these clowns? :-? Hell, send your record to me and I'll ruin it for much less! :cool: Proper dither and Weiss SRC included.

    Is that first emoticon a clown, I can't really tell. In DC? hm, Chad Clark comes to mind, does most of Dischord's stuff.

  18. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Well, I also believe it is a matter of $$. I am sure they will do it the other way but maybe the client did not want to pay an extra hour or two. There approach might be very professional and they are trying to accomodate the client.

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