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Creating 24bit CDs, Masterlink, only option??

Member for

21 years
Hi all,

I have a knowledge problem.

I have been recording in a Boss BR900CD and it records in 24 bit. I've done 2 tracks for a friend of mine and she is going to put them on her forthcoming debut album. Obviously I'm relatively new to recording.

She recorded most of the album at a commercial studio here in Ireland. The studio wants to mix the tracks and needs them as 24bit. I'm not sure how to give them a cd of 24bit tracks.

I've been trawling the forums and have read about the Alesis Masterlink. An experienced friend of mine also loves this product. I can get one, new from a local distributor for 500 euro.

I'm in the process of upgrading my gear to a Yamaha N12, Adam P11a pair, TL Audio 5052. I'm wondering:

1. How do I get a 24bit cd to the studio.
2. Would it be worth my while investing in a Masterlink in the long run as I hope to do a lot of tracking, mixing for local artists.

Sorry for the long post, all advice will be greatly appreciated,



Member for

16 years 9 months

Reggie Fri, 09/12/2008 - 10:50
Remy, now you're just being silly. You are just discounting the facts because you either don't understand them or you don't care to, in which case you are trying to be a nuisance to those of us who do care. So good luck in your future endeavors, and good luck with your analog television set in a few months.

here you can have around 250 hrs of 24bit recording at only $0.22/hr. :

Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 09/12/2008 - 11:07
Ahh, yes. But then I would need something to put it in. And another bag to carry that around in. And I'm not sure I can use my USB to record and store...

Plus the mp3's I make from 16bit sources sound better than ones made from 24bit. Don't ask me why.

Plus, when I make CD's they are 16bit and if I down-sample with my computer it sounds like ass nine times out of ten, don't know why either. And if I try and play it through something 24bit and re-record it through something 16 bit that's mental and sounds worse than starting at 16bit...

I still don't exactly get the maths, I don't think 16 bit and 24 bit are only different by the accuracy they look at the voltage but in the range of possible voltages. So when you convert back to 16 from 24 you don't just chop off the 8 least significant bits, it has to be extrapolated or something.

I am still as confused as the day I started asking about bit depth. Any tests I do are mostly BS because I cannot generate a repeatable sound and I'm working with an Edirol UA-25.

Also I'm like Platinum, non-reactive and dense.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Fri, 09/12/2008 - 15:08
Greener wrote:
Plus the mp3's I make from 16bit sources sound better than ones made from 24bit. Don't ask me why.

Don't make mp3s from 24 bit sources; dither them down to 16 bit first.

Here it is in a nutshell:
Record 24 bit files
Mix down to 24 bit files
Master them, then save as 16 bit files (using dither) ready to burn onto CD or encode as MP3.

The important point is that you only drop to 16 bit once as the final step, and you do so via your best available dither algo.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 08/28/2008 - 12:13
Hey all. Just a quick add on question.

Do any of you own an Alesis Masterlink?
I'm asking because I work in a musical instrument store and the Alesis Distributor has offered me a unit for 500 euro. They're going for around 750 euro on websites in Europe.

I'm buying a T.L. Audio 5052 Ivory II stereo preamp/comp/eq for some tracking and basic mastering for my own demos. I'll be using a Yamaha N12, Macbook Pro and Cubase.

I was wondering would the results be better mixing down through the 5052 to the Alesis than mixing to Cubase? The 5052 has the option of digital out which would by pass the Masterlink converters. I've read they're not great. Good but not great!!

Member for

13 years 9 months

Codemonkey Thu, 08/28/2008 - 21:25
Data discs don't have bit depth. The files on them could be 24-bit waves.

Can someone clear up:
Do 24bit converters provide more information about what's down in the low level of things, or do they provide 24bits of resolution over the same range of input volumes as 16bit?

To me it seems counterproductive to produce extra detail at a point where no-one can really tell, when the aim should be to provide greater resolution.

If that seems unclear, (it is 5am here), imagine a designer working on the finer points of an obscure part of a plan, when he should be working on refining the slightly sketchy (pun intended) overall layout?

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 08/28/2008 - 22:20
As best as I can figure it, 16 bit gives 65535 points of resolution over 96db of range. Though I'm not sure what kind of db.

24 bit gives 16777216 points of resolution over 140db range.

Because db is logarithmic I can't "see" in my mind if that gives the same amount of accuracy but spread out over a larger field, or if it gives greater accuracy and a greater field.

Got nothing.

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Fri, 08/29/2008 - 10:58's the way to think of bit resolutions for audio (or anything for that matter.)

In binary, you've got 2 numbers to work with - 1 and 0. Just as in a base 10 numbering system, you think -Right to Left- (such as in base 10, the number 1,305 would be thought of as:
5*1 (to the power of 1) = 5
0*10 to the power of 1 = 00
3*100 to the power of 1 = 300
1*1000 to the power of 1

In binary, it's similar. (wikipedia does a good job of explaining it further.)

You must take into consdiration that:


is exactly the same number as:

That being said, a 16 bit number (representing a voltage) is identical to a 24 bit number if the leftmost bits in the 24 bit representation are all 0's. (A mild oversimplification given the different roles of certain bits).

Therefore, any voltage represented by a 24 bit figure up to the point represented above is identical to the 16 bit equivalent. As such, no extra points of resolution are provided to the bits that are identical in the rightmost 16 positions.

However, given that noise (digital and analog) inherits the lowest regions of the digital audio spectrum, the further down in the binary chain you can move it, the less objective and subjective impact it's going to have on the bits containing legitimate audio.

In addition, as IIRS points out, the further processing you do on this, the more you're going to muddle these lower bits. If they are below the audible range, you gain a perceived greater resolution.

You will not gain more points of resolution in the traditional sense.

On the other hand, since 0dBFS is a fixed voltage (or the constant), think of shifting the lower end of the audible spectrum down (which is where the increased dynamic range comes from). In other words, just because there are more numbers in a 24 bit string, doesn't mean it's louder than a 16 bit string. This makes the noise floor the variable (determined by the quantity of bits).

Just some thoughts.


Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 08/29/2008 - 11:28
I can see now I used "points of resolution" in a whack context.

I want to be able to graph it, as in I need to know the lowest possible voltage and the higest possible voltage. The range.
And I need to know the accuracy at which the voltages are stored. This would give me the scale, or size of the increment between each possible step as it goes from lowest to highest.

Anyone know these things for 16bit and 24bit?

Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 08/29/2008 - 12:04
I'm not good at explaining things. I'll probably confusing things further, but here goes.

Bit depth and sample rate effect the audio differently. The bit depth represents the resolution of magnitude of the signal. The sample rate effects the frequency/time domain response.

Whether you are recording in 16 bit or 24 bit, you probably give yourself 6 to 12 dB of head room. Each bit represents a magnitude of two, and each 6 dB also represents a magnitude of 2. If you record with 12dB headroom, the left most 2 bits are your head room. Noise floor is about 102dB below the signal. 102dB / 6db per bit = 17 bits.
      In 24 bit:
| Signal Noise floor
| | |
24bit 000000000000000000000000
16bit 0000000000000000
clean audio lost due to bit 16 bit depth.

Bottom line, full scale in 16 bit is the same as full scale in 24 bit. The difference is in the least significant bits. 24 bit gives you:
1) a larger headroom without loosing quite signals.
2) Less error introduced when mixing or processing audio due to rounding.

voltage dB(full scale) dBv
1.23 0 +4 Full scale voltage
0.309 -12 -8 Signal level with 12 dB headroom
0.000002 -114 -110 noise floor

v = 1.23 * 10^(dB/20)

Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 08/29/2008 - 12:46
"Headroom" comes from analog days, literally meaning how much room on the tapehead you had.

Is this a correct assumption? The wider the strip of tape the greater the dynamic range you could get from the quietest perceivable signal until tape saturation?

I'm getting lost in thinking about things in terms of analog and digital...

Member for

13 years 9 months

Codemonkey Fri, 08/29/2008 - 13:18
OK. So 24bit just tacks on an extra 8bits for detail further down the volume ladder.

When something is AD'd the objective is to measure the amplitude from 0 (think of a sine wave graph). Use 1 bit to determine whether it's negative/positive (I believe audio is stored using signed values) and the other 23/15 are for the actual amplitude.

What I thought is that the available bits would be spread evenly across the volume.
0 in the graph scale (no input voltage) = a full complement of 0's.
1 in the graph scale (maximum input voltage) = a full complement of 1's.
0.5 in the graph scale would be 000000010000000 in 16bit or 00000000000100000000000 in 24bit mode.

However my understanding of the AD process is probably wrong.

Member for

13 years 8 months

BrianaW Sun, 08/24/2008 - 21:20
I don't really know anything about the machine you have, but I do see in the description that it has a USB port for syncing to a PC. You could transfer the WAV files that way, organize them, and burn them as a data disc. That's one way to do it, but sorting out the undo's, punch-in's, and time code/track placement issues is a completely different story. Hopefully there's a song maximize feature on the Boss that could help with this, or maybe even a software that came with it to make things easier. Just a suggestion, like I said, I don't know anything about that recorder. Someone else here may be able to give you a better solution. Maybe the Boss can burn direct data CD's?

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Tue, 09/09/2008 - 23:10
This poor gentlemen indicated the beginner studio wanted 24-bit files for their mixing. Too bad they don't stop by

Since my math sucks I don't care a "bit" about this. What I care about is tape speed, 7.5, 15 & 30 IPS and its digital equivalent, sample rate. That's where the resolution is.

I have made many fine arts/classical music recordings where bit depth would of course be a primary concern. This is where I believe folks like IIRs & others are confused about my postings of recommending 16-bit. I frequently have foot in mouth disease and frequently "assume" most folks here, inquiring about multitrack mixing/recording, are generally referring to some type of pop music recordings. Not fine arts classical, even though multitrack recording & mixing has been a long-term reality there as well. And as has been pointed out, my responses are frequently tactless. That's my personality flaw. But if it's rock-and-roll? You're talking about a "five DB" dynamic range. That is to say, rock-and-roll, in all its glory, doesn't depend much on dynamic range. On the average hole..... There I go again.

Tactless goof
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

15 years

VonRocK Sun, 08/24/2008 - 21:24
I quickly googled your product, found and downloaded your manual. On page 150, it explains how to do what you want.

The studio is going to want to mix your raw recorded tracks. That means, they don't want a mixed down stereo track on CD. They want the original files.

So, open your manual to page 150, and read how do burn the raw wav files on to CD-R. I did not read further, but I'm sure that you could transfer the wav files to your computer, and probably send them to the studio via the internet. Most studios will do this.

It would be best to give them the tracks without any effects or processing. Just the raw recording. Nothing else.

You could include a mixed down stereo CD to show them your mixing chops and vision. If you can, ask your friend if you can sit in on some of the mixing sessions.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 08/24/2008 - 21:27
"1. How do I get a 24bit cd to the studio."

Easy as pie, don't burn it as an audio cd burn it as a data cd. Just drag and drop the files onto a data cd.

Your best bet is to go and get a usb key, you can get a few gb for only a few dollars and use that as a portable data solution.

If you have larger data requirements get a portable hdd.