Thread: When sending stuff out for mastering...

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  1. #21
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Found this, for those interested in the whole thing. It seemed to make a lot of sense.

    http://downloads.izotope.com/guides/...with-ozone.pdf

    P.S. It's not a product-centric document.
  2. #22
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Aw man, so I should have a dither plugin as the last insert on every track I freeze? What a drag! :p
  3. #23
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Aw man, so I should have a dither plugin as the last insert on every track I freeze? What a drag! :p
    I guess it depends how the DAW deals with track freezing, and I wonder if the answer will be a bit of a fudge - I mean, I use Sonar X3, it has a 64 bit audio engine, when I freeze a track I wonder what it actually does - does it create a 64-bit audio file to play back? If so, no need to dither.

    Does it create a 32-bit float or 24-bit fixed file? I guess it must be at least 32-bit float, to guard against the very real possibility that you might freeze a track that the processing pushes over 0dBfs at track level but gets controlled at the bus/stereo master level; you don't want to suddenly be getting clipping upstream if it becomes fixed 24 bit.

    If it's 64-bit down to 32-bit float, I wonder if dither just becomes a non-issue in practical terms, since 32 bit float has a dynamic range of, like 876 trillion dB...

    Also, if you freeze a track then do any other processing, as I think is likely, the dither noise gets processed and that's a no-no.
  4. #24
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    I guess it depends how the DAW deals with track freezing, and I wonder if the answer will be a bit of a fudge - I mean, I use Sonar X3, it has a 64 bit audio engine, when I freeze a track I wonder what it actually does - does it create a 64-bit audio file to play back? If so, no need to dither.

    Does it create a 32-bit float or 24-bit fixed file? I guess it must be at least 32-bit float, to guard against the very real possibility that you might freeze a track that the processing pushes over 0dBfs at track level but gets controlled at the bus/stereo master level; you don't want to suddenly be getting clipping upstream if it becomes fixed 24 bit.

    If it's 64-bit down to 32-bit float, I wonder if dither just becomes a non-issue in practical terms, since 32 bit float has a dynamic range of, like 876 trillion dB...

    Also, if you freeze a track then do any other processing, as I think is likely, the dither noise gets processed and that's a no-no.
    Cool, thanks. Though I thought flat dither was ok to process?

    In REAPER I can choose the file type for freezing; at the moment I've got it set to 24bit because I know I don't clip channels.
  5. #25
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Cool, thanks. Though I thought flat dither was ok to process?

    In REAPER I can choose the file type for freezing; at the moment I've got it set to 24bit because I know I don't clip channels.
    Guess it depends on your workflow? Reaper's 64 bit (I don't know if 64 bit is fixed or float?) so by converting to 24 bit fixed you are losing some low level resolution that you wouldn't at 32 bit-float (While your initial recorded files are of course 24 bit audio, once you process them or change gain in the mix engine they become 64 bit audio streams). You could maintain *some* of that low level resolution by using dither as you freeze the track, by the principles outlined in that Izotope PDF above (which I read and enjoyed, I'm doomed...)

    But, now you've got that low level dither noise baked into your mix, and a 24 bit fixed resolution track. If you send that to a bus and, say, compress it or distort it or boost a frequency band then you bring that low level stuff up - not just the dither noise, but also the lower resolution info from the frozen 24-bit audio file. Sure, that 24-bit info is being manipulated in 64 bits still but the mix engine can't add the low level info back in.

    Then, at the end of it all you dither your mix which already has dither noise on individual tracks. And if you freeze a bunch of tracks, you've got multiple instances of dither noise being summed together into a stereo mixdown which is then dithered.

    Honestly, I have a feeling that this kind of stuff often just won't matter in many practical circumstances, and it'll all be at levels low enough not to worry about. But that low level info demonstrates why 32bit float can be good for other things, besides just not clipping.

    When I get to my DAW this evening I'm going to check to see what my settings are actually at.
    Last edited by Cirrus; November 18th, 2016 at 04:37 PM. Reason: typos, formatting, the usual.
  6. #26
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    I guess it depends how the DAW deals with track freezing, and I wonder if the answer will be a bit of a fudge - I mean, I use Sonar X3, it has a 64 bit audio engine, when I freeze a track I wonder what it actually does - does it create a 64-bit audio file to play back? If so, no need to dither.

    Does it create a 32-bit float or 24-bit fixed file? I guess it must be at least 32-bit float, to guard against the very real possibility that you might freeze a track that the processing pushes over 0dBfs at track level but gets controlled at the bus/stereo master level; you don't want to suddenly be getting clipping upstream if it becomes fixed 24 bit.

    If it's 64-bit down to 32-bit float, I wonder if dither just becomes a non-issue in practical terms, since 32 bit float has a dynamic range of, like 876 trillion dB...

    Also, if you freeze a track then do any other processing, as I think is likely, the dither noise gets processed and that's a no-no.

    Good questions. I use X3 also but I never thought about what dithering does or doesn't happen when you freeze a track because there isn't anything you can do about it.

    Can you hear a difference between a track that's frozen and one that isn't? I can't, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. If you're curious about the actual process, the cakewalk/ Sonar forum might be of help.

    AFAIK the only time you get to choose dither is mixing to 2 track audio in the "export audio" function.

    The choices are: none; rectangular; triangular; pow-r 1; pow-r 2; pow-r 3

    Default is triangular, which I use when making a 16 bit file to burn a CD to listen to in the car (some of us are old-fashioned that way).

    I'd be curious to know what the differences are and which would be best for creating a 2 track file for mastering.

    Also the best bit depth. Would a 32 or 64 bit file have an advantage over a 24 bit one?
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    AFAIK the only time you get to choose dither is mixing to 2 track audio in the "export audio" function.

    The choices are: none; rectangular; triangular; pow-r 1; pow-r 2; pow-r 3

    Default is triangular, which I use when making a 16 bit file to burn a CD to listen to in the car (some of us are old-fashioned that way).

    I'd be curious to know what the differences are and which would be best for creating a 2 track file for mastering.
    There is a comparison graph showing how the noise is distributed here: https://goodhertz.co/good-dither
  8. #28
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Can you hear a difference between a track that's frozen and one that isn't? I can't, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. If you're curious about the actual process, the cakewalk/ Sonar forum might be of help.
    No, I've never noticed a difference, except that I don't really like that blue colour. Also, I suppose some plugs that aren't coded well can behave differently in an offline bounce vs real time. Sonar can sometimes be, shall I say, unpredictable when it comes to its behaviour in sidechaining, so just out of superstition I don't freeze, say, the bass if I'm sidechaining its compression off the kick.

    AFAIK the only time you get to choose dither is mixing to 2 track audio in the "export audio" function.

    The choices are: none; rectangular; triangular; pow-r 1; pow-r 2; pow-r 3

    Default is triangular, which I use when making a 16 bit file to burn a CD to listen to in the car (some of us are old-fashioned that way).

    I'd be curious to know what the differences are and which would be best for creating a 2 track file for mastering.

    Also the best bit depth. Would a 32 or 64 bit file have an advantage over a 24 bit one?
    I've never tested the different kinds, and I go with triangular because it's the default and worst case I'm going from 64 to 24bit so I think it's going to be very low level stuff anyway; not like 16 bit where the noise is only(!) 96dB down.

    I guess if you export 64 bit, dithering is irrelevant because you're outputting exactly what the mix engine gives you, no bit depth reduction at all. Downside is larger file size and possible compatability issues.

    So it's 24bit vs 32 bit float. 32 bit *does* have some compatibility considerations - for example, I like to reference mixes on my phone through my car and my wife's car. I have an android phone, and android can't play 32 bit float files. I've not found an app that can do it. I also, about 5 years ago, had a bit of bother where 32 bit versions of an album session didn't open properly in the mastering studio (luckily I also had 24-bit backups, bounced as such so they could fit across two data cds!)

    I think 24 bit is fine for the stereo mixdown, just because at that point your levels should all be pretty much in line - if something is quiet, down near the noise floor, it's going to be a brutal mastering engineer that brings it up into the range where it's going to be spoiling something on the 16 bit master file - you'd be talking about a 50dB boost just to get that low volume stuff to affect the least significant bit!

    OTOH, maybe that lack of resolution down at -144dB could bother you, in which case 32-bit float resolves that. Or maybe the mix is peaking and some strange set of circumstances is colluding to make you want to preserve that status quo rather than turn it down?
    Last edited by Cirrus; November 18th, 2016 at 05:23 PM. Reason: My usual scattergun approach to speeling, grammar, punctuat!on.
  9. #29
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    Aw man, so I should have a dither plugin as the last insert on every track I freeze? What a drag! :p
    You can same FX chain with dither to be default for each new track you create.

    the dither noise gets processed and that's a no-no.
    Well, not really. A noise is noise, I guess you don't mind your mics?) And sigma-delta ADCs use some form of dither/noise-shaping on the way in anyway.
    There are some things to be aware of, though. TPDF produces white noise, which sounds skewed towards top-end to our ears, and it still is noise. So boosting top-end like madman as well as flat-ironing with compression might not be the best idea. And extra caution should be used if noise-shaping were applied to dither. This process boosts noise amplitude at the frequency extremes, so again if agressive top-end boosts and compression are used, this noise can become a problem.
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    You can same FX chain with dither to be default for each new track you create.
    I just changed my freeze settings to 32bit FP. I figure that should be good enough.
  11. #31
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    Default Re: When sending stuff out for mastering...

    I just changed my freeze settings to 32bit FP. I figure that should be good enough.
    Sure.
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