Still 16bit CD?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by JasonPRudd, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. JasonPRudd

    JasonPRudd Active Member

    Hey Guys,
    My first ever post, sorry if not the correct place or if already been addressed elsewhere;
    Can I start giveing cleients 24bit Red Book standard CD's instead of 16bit? I've been giving both 16 and 24bit. They probably think I don't know what I'm doing but the tech side of it changes so much that I don't know if that is what we should be doing. Thanks in advance for responding and would welcome messages with other experices with other projects.
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    There are no 24 bit redbook CDs. You are simply giving your clients a non dithered 24 bit file which is only using 16 bits. More info here Red Book (CD standard) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. If you want to give them 24 bit files they will have to be WAVE or AIFF files but won't play in a standard CD player. Lots more info on the WWW.

    Best of Luck!
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I give 24-bit files frequently - But as Tom mentioned, there is no typical (TYPICAL) playback method for 24-bit. Not too many people have an Alesis Masterlink or SACD player (which still needs to be properly formatted, at great expense I might add) lying around to be able to readily take advantage of a 24-bit source...
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Does it have to be a CD?

    DVD-Audio is a way of distributing multi-channel 24-bit audio with sampling rates up to 192KHz. However, while there are now many DVD players available that will play DVD-Audio discs, the performance of their D-A converters and output amplifiers is not usually up to professional audio standards.

    DVD-Video also carries 2-channel 24-bit audio at either 48KHz or 96KHz, and most DVD players will attempt to reproduce this type of material, often with unsatisfactory results.
  5. JasonPRudd

    JasonPRudd Active Member

    Thanks, I have a few more question.

    Thanks, I appreciate the great advice from the pro's. I have a few more questions though. Let me tell you guys what I'm doing. From Cubase 6 I mixed down and dithered to 16bit wav and then to 24bit wav. Then I drop the 16bit dithered and ,in another sitting, 24bit mixed down dithered to Sony Sound Forge and created discs on demand for each the 16 bit and the 24bit. I guess the duplicators will reject the 24bit because it is not 16bit. What I don't understand is why is it that my 24bit mixdowns play on every CD player I have tried and sound great? I've been listening to 24bit CD's and giving them to clients for a year now. Also, do I need to mixdown to something other than wav for a redbook CD? I guess, as Tom stated, my 24 bit CD is only performing at 16bit. It sounds better because it is from a better (24bit) source and it is non-dithered because after dithering to 24 bit (in Cubase) the CD plays back at 16 without dithering (a second time) to 16 bit. I know you should only dither once so I guess I should just do the 16 bit Redbook just as I have been? (if it sounds like I'm doing that right) Thanks guys, if you can give me any more advice I'd greatly appreciate it.
  6. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    If they're listening on a CD player, I have bad news for you -- You're possibly giving them truncated 16-bit recordings. It's not 24-bit.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Here is what's happening. First, you indicated you made a recording and mixed to 24-bit. Then you down converted and dithered to 16-bit. Then you're going up again to 24-bit? That's not 24-bit. And in another aspect, the software that you are cutting your audio CD from automatically takes 24-bit, 32-bit, 32 bit float and automatically converts it to 16-bit to cut a Red Book compliant audio CD. And all in real time, while it's cutting. So while you are creating 24-bit masters, everybody is listening to your automatically converted to 16-bit & dithered CDs. Hey! They sound great don't they? Then what's to worry about? You tell them it's a 24-bit recording because it is. Not that their CD is but that's beside the point. You don't have to explain all of the why's and wherefore's of what we do for a living. They ask for 24-bit and you give them 24-bit. Then you give them CDs and they're happy. When we used to record in analog, we might multitrack at 30 IPS. Then we might mix down to 15 IPS. Then we gave the client a 7.5 IPS copy for them to be able to play on the radio.

    You worry too much
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. JasonPRudd

    JasonPRudd Active Member

    Thank you for the reply's. I did not know that Sony Sound Forge will automatically convert to 16bit and dither. Does Window's 7 Media Player also do this (most of my 24bit discs burned for checking a mix are done on Window's 7 Media Player as I only use Sound Forge for the Disc-at-once tool)? I will definately be looking into this myself and critically listen to what sounds better. Of note, I never convert 16 to 24 bit; I make both mixdowns from Cubase 6 separately. One more question for you pro's: if the 24bit sounds better and I try 32bit and it sounds even better (if my experiments work - I will be listening for truncation, Massive Mastering) and my disc burning software (Sound Forge) automatically converts to 16bit and dithers, then can I use this method (using higher bit files to create Redbook CD's for duplication? Thanks again
  9. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Your 32BFP files are already 24-bit. The arithmetic is done in 32BFP and the noise floor is somewhere in the -1500dB range so I can guarantee you aren't going to hear a difference between 24 and 32 bit. I only know a few people that can reliably hear a difference between 16 and 24 bit sources. And that source has to be one helluva recording - and the system has to be one helluva system. It's actually more likely that you're hearing some sort of dithering that doesn't sound so hot.

    Back to basics though -- CD-Audio is 16-bit, 44.1kHz, period. No matter what you fed it, if you can pop it into a CD player and listen to it, it's 16-bit at 44.1kHz. Perhaps resampled badly, perhaps dithered with something awful - But there's absolutely nothing wrong with a 16-bit delivery medium.

    Keep in mind that I'm not saying to *not* work with 24-bit files -- Certainly record in 24-bit. Most definitely do the math in at least 32-bit (Heck, Sampitude works at 80-bit internally and I'm not going to complain about the clarity of the audio engine). But if a finished recording isn't one of the greatest, highest-quality, audiophile-worthy reference recordings of all time, the fact that it's at 16-bit isn't the issue.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    So don't feel bad for the confusion you may be going through. A lot of this new found knowledge can always be quite shocking. I'm sure Massive and others will enjoy this little story. So as a well seasoned freelance audio engineer you pick up a myriad of different gigs. So I get a call one day to go down to a United States Postal Service government studio. Quite nice actually with items like Meyer HD 1 monitors, Manley preamps, equalizers, limiters, API 3124 preamps and a Sony DMP 100, $20,000 digital console. The gentleman running it had a Masters in The Recording Arts & Sciences & music degree from Berklee. Before taking over for him for a much deserved week of vacation/holiday he played for me some of his musical & mix masterpieces. He's quite an accomplished musician & engineer, quite impressive. By then, though, I was slightly bewildered? So I happily play him some of my recording & mix masterpieces, to which he also was quite impressed. I have been told this control room only got the Sony console only last year but that he owns one of his own at his home studio, for the past two years. Impressive to say the least. The problem was however I noticed that my mixes were in his control room, all quite profoundly MONO! I asked him why he was monitoring in mono? He told me everything was in stereo...???... I told him nope... it's mono. Now I had never used a Sony DMP 100 nor had I looked at the manual but I sat down and took a look, pressed some buttons and BAM! Stereo. This poor guy was so incredibly dumbfounded he couldn't believe that this is the way he had been working for the past more than 2 years since he got his own console. And all of this with his Masters from Berklee. At least we both had a good laugh as this is not untypical even up on a Major Television Network level such as NBC. I have other similar stupid stories from their to be shared at another time. Such as the missing low-frequency response on all of the on air music playback tape recorders.

    AUDIO... It's not just a Job. It's a Troubleshooter.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. SASman

    SASman Active Member

    As mentioned no such thing as a 24 bit red book CD, 16 bit only. Of course a client may request a set of 24 bit files this is common. It's also a good idea to present unlimited 24 bit files should a vinyl run be anticipated. All down to communication
    with client.


    online mastering

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