Skip to main content

Dithering and bouncing

Member for

21 years 2 months
Hey there guys...just a question about dithering and bouncing down from 24/48 or 16/48 to 16/44 during the mastering process. .what is dithering and should i play with the dithering programs in my logic and pro tools when bouncing down to final product. .or should i just let the protools/logic defined dithering do it's thing. I keep reading your topics and it seems most of you mess with the dithering on the way down to CD ready. what is it. and why do you mess with the dithering. (funny, it kind of sounds like a dirty word. don't it?) cheers best of the season mark


Member for

19 years 2 months

Michael Fossenkemper Sun, 12/22/2002 - 13:46
Here is a basic explanation on dither, I just did a search and grabbed the first one that popped up.

yes, some of us play with dither. Ideally, dither shouldn't be heard but that's in a perfect world. Different types sound different and picking the one that sounds the best for that particular music. There are several stand alone dither plugs or progams, including Apogee UV22, POW-R, Cranesong, IDR, just to name a few. You should be dithering your bounces to 16/44.1, dithering too much is not good either so you have to be careful what you use and how much of it you use. many of these dedicated dithering progams let you choose how much dither is added depending where in the chain you are dithering. hope this helps a little.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 12/22/2002 - 15:22
thanks guys....that link was great at explaining it michael ...again you are both right and look to the ears for final confirmation...i am going to try my hand at mastering an independent artists cd that i played guitar and mixed some of the tracks and i will heed your advice and again reference everything back to my ears....happy holidays michael and bill...mark

Member for

20 years 4 months

audiowkstation Mon, 12/23/2002 - 17:15
Thanks Mukshoe!

That is a funky avitar you got there!

I wish you all the best.

In mastering think:

Sub bass 14 to 38hZ
Bass 38 to 160hZ
Midbass 160 to 220hZ
Low Mids 220 to 320hZ
Mids 320 to 900hZ
Higher Mids 900 to 1700hZ
Low treble 1700 to 2800hZ
Treble (aka Trouble) 2800 to 6K
Higher treble 6K to 11K
Super highs 11K to 18K
Ultrasonics type 1 18K to 35K
Ultrasonics type 2 35K to 50K
Type 3 Ultrasonics 50K up to limit of reproduction electronics.

Look at all of these ranges separate at the same time and make them blend for every loudspeaker made from the crappy walkman headphones to the super high fidelity equipment. Then make the dynamic integrety of all of that fit, them listen on many systems so you can sounds good on all of them, then most importantly, leave some dynamic range.

And hyper importantly, make it sound like music and art.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 12/23/2002 - 20:31
thanks bill....i will keep this all there and explore it more...the avitar, thanks...but how do i get the things flying around my head like in the way, quick other question about the mastering...should i bring in my paradigm reference monitors from the living room and ab them with my studio monitors (yorkville ysmp 1) or should i get some more full range 30 hz to 30khz as opposed to the paradigm reference monitor which are 60 hz to 30khz...if so any reasonable speaker suggestions..cheers thanks for the time ...mark

Member for

20 years 4 months

audiowkstation Tue, 12/24/2002 - 08:26
The paridigms' have a sexy sound. Brothers at arms sounds damn good on ALL the Paradgms speakers. They sound like my boston acoustics speakers, made to work with the room and add bass. The Paradigms have too much bottom for mastering as they are a consumer speaker, they also compress the dynamic range more than a pro speaker and if you ever track with them, expect roasted tweeters.

I cannot use the bostons at all in the professional mastering realum. I use them after I have burned a cd to compare (in another room) my work with others familiar material.

I would rather use a pair of NS10's for mastering since they are dynamically linear than any home bookshelf speaker as of late.

The problem with a majority of home loudspeakers is the huge rise at 55hZ (with the room) and no bottom below 35hZ. At least the NS10's are darn smooth to their theroretical 60hZ limit. They have the ultra lightweight cone to give you instant bass response as well.

My Choice is to completely stay away from home speakers when working in the professional realum...but to use them in another room with consumer grade equipment for evaluation of your work.

To have great speakers for mastering, you need:

1. Dynamic lineararity.
2. Flat freqency response to the low 20hZ range.
3. Unlimited peak power handling.
4. Moderate to high effeciency (94 to 97dB 1W/1M)
5. The speaker must be inert. No resonances beyond 1dB.
6. High presicion matching, each speaker should be an exact mirror of the other.
7. 3 times the wattage in the amplifier than you will ever use.

In therory, the above is impossible but many speakers do come close.

Stay with what works for you. Some engineers can use junk and make it work well. It is all about your conditioning to what happens to your mastering in all avalible systems used by consumers...and the mix must be masterable to begin with.

BTW, find a moving .gif image and paste it into your avitar slot. Stay away from the adult .gifs :eek:

I hope this helps!

Member for

19 years 8 months

Alécio Costa Wed, 12/25/2002 - 09:58
Hey friend, being also a PT user, I would recommed you:
Try Power dither Level 3. at least to me it sounds very msuical. SOme other guys have also rported it.

Turn off your Multiband compressor/ L1/L2 algorithm dither and only aplly it at the very last stage:

a) bounce 48k/24 to 44k/24 bits
b) new PT session, bounce 44k/24 bits to 44k/16 bits, now with the POWER DITHER PLUGIN inserted at your master stereo fader.
Hope it helps

Now a question to teh gurus. MASTER X 5 band mode v2.0 was written at 48 bits. How is it handled inside PT? Seems L2 has also a nicer bit lenght.. Should we dither the plugin outs or PT will acomodate that word lenght shortage? I mean going from insert to insert, you shallbe doing 48 bits to 32 bits to 24 bits. It is a mess because there is no fixed rule among plugin manufactures.

Thanks again

Alécio - Brazil

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Thu, 12/26/2002 - 07:50
FWIW the latest version of L-1 is also 48 bit.

I've posted this definition elsewhere but it's a very important concept for everybody to understand.

Dithering is modulating the bottom bit so that it sounds like noise. Adding noise BEFORE TRUNCATION is just one common way to dither. The alternative is accepting 10 to 12 dB. of distortion riding on the signal in place of around 3 dB. of steady noise. This distortion can not be undone or compensated for later.

My experience has been that dithering to 24 bits becomes important the minute you do any additional processing to the audio. When you don't dither, you soon run right square into that icy digital sound everybody hates and wants to "warm up."

Member for

19 years 8 months

Alécio Costa Thu, 12/26/2002 - 17:09
Hey, Mr. BOB - a doubt
so you always dither, even when manipulating 24bit samples?
but a cascaded effect of dithering at every step won´t be a bad "medicine" to teh final product?
sorry, if it sounds dumb to ya but this doubt has to do with the 48bit/32bit/24bit downscaling with inserts and bounces at PT sessions.

Shall you give me a light in that?

Member for

20 years 9 months

Bob Olhsson Fri, 12/27/2002 - 19:14
Originally posted by Alécio Costa - Brazil:
Hey, Mr. BOB - a doubt
so you always dither, even when manipulating 24bit samples?
but a cascaded effect of dithering at every step won´t be a bad "medicine" to teh final product?
There's no free lunch. You have a choice between about 3 dB of noise or 12 dB of added distortion. My experience is that you are better off cascading the noise than cascading the distortion. It ought not to even be optional (and isn't in an Oxford console) but the DAW developers are idiots who put the number of features ahead of audio integrity.

Member for

20 years 4 months

audiowkstation Sat, 12/28/2002 - 20:50
Reminds me of an audio show I attended and Kenwood brought out this huge super receiver.

Sansui had the offerening of the G-33000 at an honest 330/w ch @ 8 ohm DC to 300K monster unit(s) with umbilical cord to preamp tuner and they would dock and be this humongous receiver. (I had the same shell, G-22000 only 220 watts a channel personally)

Pioneer with the behemoth SX1280 270 watts a side monster unit that had unbeliveable headroom.

Then this Kenwood.

545 watts a side prototype. 6 tone controls per channel and two of them parametric. 0 to 700K rated response. 310 Lbs.

They forgot the power switch!