Current mastering formats and mastering software questions

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by mart1977, Jan 11, 2006.

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  1. mart1977

    mart1977 Guest

    So 16 bit DAT is all over. Recently I've been running my mixes onto 2 tracks on my RADAR and transfering them to computer to top and tail them before handing them to the client as 24 bit WAV files. Mastering engineers seem to be happy with that. Is that the best current format?

    I do some mastering myself for clients using CD Architect. This allows me to render to 16 bit Audio CD or burn a wav of the album (I don't know if this contains red book information or not.

    I've heard of lots of formats from other mastering engineers such as validated CDR and DPPI but how can I make these formats and what can read them?

    Another question I have is what software are most engineers using. For me, the CD Architect approach is quite like SADIE (less powerful here and there though) but I've heard a lot of people mastering with Protools. How can you use PT to master when it has no facilities for PQ encoding and burning red book masters?
  2. dcollins

    dcollins Guest

    Re: Current mastering formats and mastering software questio

    Thank goodness.

    Well, there isn't really a "best" digital format. Best is the closest to the original mix format. What you're doing seems just fine.

    Just leave it at the same sampling rate and wordlength as the session.

    People that tell you split AIFF sounds better than stereo WAV are smoking something, imo.

    For delivery to manufacturing, an error-checked CDR or DDP file is a good idea.

    Bad CDR's are incredibly rare however, and there really isn't a need for the client to provide me with a verified copy.

    I saw exactly one bad CDR from a client last year, and had IIRC, two bad Taiyos that I cut.

    I use Wavelab for playback and Sonic Solutions for recording.

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Another question I have is what software are most engineers using.

    Samplitude/Sequoia V8 here. Samplitude is actually a "crippled" version of Sequioa, but there's plenty left to do a totally professional job when mastering.

    I'm still learning a few things with it, even after using it for almost a decade now, having worked all the way up from Red Roaster through Samplitude, Samplitude Professional/Producer, and now....Sequoia.

    I've heard nothign but good stuff about CD Architect; wasn't that the program that Sonic Foundry discontinued, only to bring it back/resurrect after so much end-user outcry?

    FWIW, I use DVD Architect (in tandem with Vegas - both Sony products) and they are without a doubt, the best bang for the buck I've ever spent on software. They have paid for themselves many times over, and so far, they have NEVER crashed in over two years of constant use here.
  4. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    Learned on Sonic here, bought CD Architect to get myself started, and then when I got the cash for a "real" rig, got Sequoia... Been using it for years and love it. Also been playing around with Pyramix a bit as well, but I still prefer Sequoia.

  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Wavelab is the choice here but we have all the programs including Sound Forge, Samplitude, Vegas, Adobe Audition. I have always like Wavelab ever since version 1.6 when we started with it. Version 6.0 will be out the end of this month (YEA!) I also LOVE Samlitude but we use it mostly for multitrack mixing.

    As to delivery formats.

    Do what the mastering engineer request(s) but what you are currently providing would be just fine for most.

    I got a call this summer from a potential client that wanted to know if we could hancle 32 bit 192 kHz files. I told him that the only place he would be able to find someone to handle that format is probably on one of the coasts. Some people just HAVE to HAVE the best but I think this is overkill.

    Figuring 6 db per bit this would mean that the S/N or Dynamic Range would be 192.00 dB and I don't think there are many consoles or rooms that could produce results at this level of quietness or dynamic range. Also these files are HUGE we are talking mega Gigs.

    The kicker to his story was that the person calling was doing "Grunge" so I don't think he has to worry about the ultimate "quality" of the delivery format. (not a cheap shot a Grunge bands just a simple fact of life)

    24 bit files at 44.1 or if you want 88.2 would be just fine. Try not to record them at 48 or 96 kHz if this is going to CD since it would involve a conversion to the correct 44.1.

  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey I can do 32/192 - send him to me....Oh, wait. I'm on one of the coasts... :cry:

    Like Ben, I moved to Sequoia after a few of the others (like Sonic and Sadie). My original intent was to go with Pyramix, but I changed my mind right before dropping the $$$ on it. I still think it's a great system, but I really dig the Sequoia stuff. (Better workflow than sonic and the exact same crossfade editor. Well, not EXACT same, but close enough that there should be some patent/trademark lawsuits somewhere... :lol: )

    I do get clients who bring me DAT from time to time though, so I wouldn't say it's over. The most common projects I get on DAT are straight to 2 track classical and when bands think they can put out an album from their live shows, they bring me a stack of DATS and say "I need this song from this dat, that song from that dat, and so on..." It becomes the proverbial "turd-polishing" competition.

    BTW Tom - I must know. What on Earth does MTCW mean???
    (Milk The Cow Wet?, Mighty Tasty Crap Wafers, Milk Tastes Cruddy Warm ...)

    J (y)
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Here are the short cuts I use.


    My two cents worth....


    For What it's worth


    Laughing out Loud
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA

    (I'm a Moron...)

    I guess I'm getting too old to figure out new internet acronyms.

    Funny nonetheless - Here I've seen that on your posts for years now and I just now learned what it means. :D

  9. BobYordan

    BobYordan Guest

    Me to I thought TIA was someones name on a forum once and used it
    in a lot of posts until I discovered that it meant Thanks in advance. :oops: :D
  10. soundfreely

    soundfreely Guest

    The funny thing there is that it was likely 32 bit float audio and not integer. That means that it had a 24 bit mantissa providing essentially the same resolution as 24 bit integer audio. The only semi-advantage of 32 bit float is that it has the 7 bit exponent allowing for a "floating" noise floor and the exponent allowing for increase headroom. However, if one were to "float" that noise floor, it isn't worth the potential artifacts from the theoretically increased headroom.


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