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Topic: CD-burning software

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  1. #1
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    Question CD-burning software

    I would appreciate any suggestions regarding how "virtual-users" are burning their work down to CD - primarily, what software package(s) are you using?

    I'm running a PC with Cubasis/Cubase SL and a host of VST Plug-ins(GPO, EWQL GOLD, Philharmonik, etc.

    Also, a related question:
    So far, I've pretty much been running everything at 16-bit/44.1kz to avoid having to use dithering, and because I'm just cranking out demo quality stuff at this point. Since we're talking virtual-sampling here, and most of my libraries were recorded at 16-bit, is it really going to matter what sample-rate I'm using? Obviously, if I'm using samples recored at higher rates, it makes since to use a corresponding rate to maintain as much of the original harmonics and such.


    Thanks, in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: CD-burning software

    Quote Originally Posted by harleg
    Also, a related question:
    So far, I've pretty much been running everything at 16-bit/44.1kz to avoid having to use dithering, and because I'm just cranking out demo quality stuff at this point. Since we're talking virtual-sampling here, and most of my libraries were recorded at 16-bit, is it really going to matter what sample-rate I'm using? Obviously, if I'm using samples recored at higher rates, it makes since to use a corresponding rate to maintain as much of the original harmonics and such.
    If you are only bouncing one instrument and burning it to CD without processing, then what you are doing is ok.
    BUT : If you are mixing several tracks, or if you use Eq or compression, then working at 24bit bring you much better result, even with sources/libraries recorded at 16bit. Then you have to dither your 24bit mixdown to 16bit.

    Note : don't confuse bitdepth (16bit) with sample rate (44.1k)...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: CD-burning software

    You're mixing a lot of metaphors when you start speaking of CD burning, dithering, etc.

    You are using dithering. You're just not taking control of the process. Everything in your audio mix is being processed at 32-bit floating point and is being dithered to the project depth as a last step using whatever built-in algorithm is in Cubase.

    Sample rate has nothing to do with dithering. Bit depth is the issue that gets dithering. Dithering is essentially a low-level noise source added to the sawtooth-shaped "jaggies" that exist in soft signals that are represented by fewer bits. It is said to increase the "apparent" resolution by hiding the sharp digital noise that results at those levels otherwise. It sounds like hiss.

    The better dithering algorithms all have their secret forumla of magic-juice that they call noise shaping, which is taking that dither noise they add, then re-directing it to the portions of your hearing range that are least sensitive.

    Thus the problem with "re-dithering" that you hear about. When you essentially "re-noise" the noise that has already been deflected into other energy bands, you create a situation where it builds up. Because some of this noise is actually LOUDER than you perceive it to be, doubling the process can give something that sounded previously quiet a seemingly exponential noise boost (and really IRRITATING noise, at that).

    So, this becomes a problem.

    Rather than being intimidated by the processes, just get some reading materials and learn what the actual issues are!!! That way, you'll be making decisions based on a fact set rather than recommendations here (where you'll just get the parade of sycophant drivel, as the pygmies shout the names of their favorite brands in an effort to drown each other's voices out).

    Per CD-Mastering software, Sony makes an application called CD-Architect that is very nice to use. Wavelab probably still contains CD mastering amenities--I have not kept up with it. The Sony product has worked very well for me, and its UI is very clean and to the task at hand.

    But I would take the little bit of information I provided above, and do some more research to fill in the blanks, so that you have a really good handle on the issues. And by all means, mix in the highest bit-depth your system offers. This, to cut to the chase, prevents the "re-dithering" steps which will eventually take the glimmer off your mixes. You can always dither. You cannot un-dither.

    Best regards,
    Bruce

  4. #4
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    Re: CD-burning software

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Everything in your audio mix is being processed at 32-bit floating point and is being dithered to the project depth as a last step using whatever built-in algorithm is in Cubase.
    Hum, I think sequencers use dither only when you "export" audio. Every intermediate calculation during the mix are (hopefully) truncated, not dithered (eg : when tracks are "freezed" - sorry, "sonar word" - at the project bitdeph)

    Agree with the bottom line :
    "mix in the highest bit-depth your system offers"... and dither at the very last step.

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