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sudden silence

A very strange and disturbing thing happened to a recent project I mastered and I wanted to post it to know if anyone has seen this sort of thing before and how it could happen. I certainly don't want this to happen again.
I prepared a master for a pressing and did it with care and checked it before I sent it to the producer. The CD had low errors- no C2's or CU's of course, and I delivered it with a twin that had similar characteristics. The producer sent it to the plant, and when the CD's arrived, the cue timings were exactly as I had made the master, but the first track began with 1:20 of silence (not recorded silence, just empty blocks) and all the music was offset by that amount, the final track having 1:20 lopped off at the end. Checking all my files and programs at my end, nothing could explain it. The control copies were all fine. The plant sent back the master, and it is exactly like the pressed CD's-correct cue times, content offset by 1:20. I verified that it is the master I made, and I checked it thoroughly-no visible damage, low error rates with no C2's or CU's. I imagine that in the mail the TOC somehow got damaged, but I just can't figure this out!


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 03/28/2007 - 23:45
It is weird, isn't it? Although I'm quite sure I verified this disk before delivering it, (I always do a Q-check immediately) let's assume that somehow I missed it and listened to one of the control copies instead and this disk was burned this way.

My .wav files are all normal, and my log files don't show any signs of anything going wrong. My project file re-burns perfect cd's. In a program like Gear with its constant output checking, this would have shown up. Despite Gear's multi-tasking features, when I burn a "pro" disk I don't do anything else while burning-I avoid even touching the mouse! How could I have burned it this way?

Frankly, I'd prefer it if the problem could be traced to some error on my part, because the possibility that I delivered a clean copy to my client and it got corrupted later is worrisome.

Now, if it was burned correctly, could physical damage to the disk have caused this, without apparent scratches or smudges on the disk? How can one test a TOC?

I'm not looking for an excuse for this incident. I've already worked things out with this client, since it's an important one for me and we have several other projects in the pipeline.

I will vigorously check and re-check copies before delivery in the future and verifying in the presence of the client should avoid surprises, but I would sure like to know what happened, because if it is some kind of TOC corruption, I'd like to be able to avoid it!

Ftp is not always an available solution, we do have to deliver hard copy in some cases.

Antone out there who has experienced anything like this?

Thomas W. Bethel Thu, 03/29/2007 - 05:28
I personally would not use NERO for burning master CDs. I think a program like Wavelab or CD Architect would be much better for this task.

CI and C2 errors have nothing to do with what you are describing

Physical damage could not cause what you are describing.

A couple of things come to mine.

The plant for some unknown reason reprocessed your CD before they manufactured it. There are still some "fly-by-night" CD pressing plants that routinely run everything they get though their "mastering" operation and something could have happed to your CD when it got "remastered"

Your program may have a built in offset that somehow you changed in one of the preferences without knowing that you changed it.

Something got messed up in the PQ coding for the disk either as a problem in mastering it or when the plant transfered it to the glass master but that would be extremely unlikely

The fourth scenario is probable but only you and your client can verify this. The client, for some unknown reason RE BURNED the master CD after making some changes in it AFTER it left your facility.

A couple of quick stories...

I got a call recently from a plant telling me that the master I sent it was burned TAO instead of DAO and they could not make it into a CD. (our name, phone number and email address are on every CD we sent out)There were also two additional tracks on the CD that were not on my PQ list that I included with the master. I called my client and asked if they had done anything to the CD after I had mastered it and they took it home. They said they had added two additional songs and the brother of one of the musicians re burned the disk after adding the two additional songs. I asked them why and they said it was cheaper than bringing back the stuff to me to add. Well after the postage, my time to fix the problem and re burn the material correctly and re mastering the two songs that I did not originally master it wound up costing them about 1.5 times as much as it would have if they had just brought the material back to me.

My second story concerns a pressing plant that seemed to be having a lot of problems with burning a CD that we had sent them. This happened years ago and I don't think this place is even in existence any more. I called down and asked to speak to the Chief Engineer and was told that he would return my call when he got out of high school later that day. So when he calls me I ask him what the problems were and he replies that the place, my clients chose, is run on a shoe string and that most of the equipment is being held together with bubble gum and bailing wire and that his boss will not let him transfer the material digitally but he can only do it via a analog setup because the digital setup cost more money. I advised my clients that they should SERIOUSLY think about finding someone else but they were looking more for saving money than for making a good CD and when I got the finished CD back besides my mastering it had a bit of hum and hiss included with the "sound" of the CD.

BEST OF LUCK! :!: :!: :!: :!:

Boswell Thu, 03/29/2007 - 09:14
I'm not sure I understand fully your description of the fault. The 1:20 silence at the start of the first track is clear, but then are you saying that song1 is split between the first and second physical tracks on the CD, and so song2 starts 1:20 into the second track and so on?

The only similar problem I had once is where I had wrongly listed an unedited version of a live track in the track list of my burning program. The unedited file was 22 seconds longer than the edited one. I renamed the file to be the correct one, but when I restarted the burner, it burnt the correct file but padded the end of the track with 22 seconds of silence. All I can think of is the burner had cached the file lengths, and didn't re-read them from the files before burning. It was just this first burn that was wrong, and I had shut down the computer before I discovered it. Subsequent burns after re-starting the computer were correct with no other changes. This cacheing effect may or may not be related to your problem, but it sounds as though yours is a global time offset and not related to one track.

There is a chronological offset value in the CD Red Book standard, principally to allow for variable start-up times of different CD players when skipping directly to a track. It is possible that your master has a false large value (6000 frames) for this parameter rather than its default.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/29/2007 - 11:52
Got cut off before I could finish-
The day I burned this faulty master, I burned a control copy, either just before or just after. Same program, same speed, same burner. The control copy is fine.

The faulty copy was returned to me, and it is the disk I burned.

Oh well, unlikely I'll ever find out exactly what happenned, but I welcome any thoughts anyone might have.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 03/28/2007 - 07:53
Thanks Tom,
This was a classical instrumental CD, mastered on Adobe Audition to .wav files, burned with Gear Pro Mastering Edition to Red Book standard on a Plextor external firewire drive on TDK blue surfaced Indian manufactured media. Iknow this isn't the best media available, but testing my burns with this stuff it has given me consistently decent results from 4x to 32x-With Plextools this defective master reads out at 1.8 C1's/sec with a max of 18 and a total under 7000. Although I'm a full-time musician and only a part time recording engineer, I have supplied masters to labels with this set-up in the past, I've surely burned 1000's of cdr's over the years and I have never come across a problem like this. I've used less serious software and hardware as well, Roxio, Nero, oem burners, this 1:20 offset has me stumped!