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  #1  
Old 02-22-2006, 10:51 AM
Bezo Bezo is offline
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Default Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

My project is completely DYI. In a few months I will be looking to print my mastered album to CD and replicating it. I'm looking for a program or piece of equipment needed to do this. I've been using iTunes to burn mixes to, but it obviously doesn't have all of the options needed.

What is the name of what I'm looking for so I can begin to shop around? Any model recommendations? And what type of features am I looking for? Am I simply looking for something like the Alesis MasterLink or TASCAM DV-RA1000? Can I get away with less than that? Do I need more? Something different altogether?

Or would I be better of with a software equivelent?

---------------------------Part 2---------------------------

Secondly, a few questions about the process. All of my sessions are 24 bit/44.1. My understanding is that I should keep it that way until the final step. And I know it needs to be dithered when going to 16 bit.

So, assuming I end up with something similar to the link above, at what point should I dither/convert to 16 bit? I didn't see any mention of dithering in that link's description. Should a piece of equipment like that have a dithering function? If so, are they generally better/worse than a dithering plugin?

And what bouncing options would I have? Can I bounce directly to the disk recorder? Do I bounce to the CPU and get the resulting WAV into the burner somehow? Should I record the session directly to the disk recorder via digital outputs?

---------------------------Part 3---------------------------

Other than a well mastered tunes and the media needed to burn/replicate it, is there anything else I should have?
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2006, 11:59 AM
globaleric globaleric is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

Part 1: You're probably after a software like Jam, part of the Roxio Toast & Jam bundle.

Part 2: You already have a very good dither plugin available with PT: Digirack POW-r. Insert it as last plugin on the master fader of your last bounce step (to 16bit stereo interleaved aiff or wav "CD files") and select noise shaping option 3. There was a good thread about mastering techniques discussed here about a week ago.

Part 3: The only option I'd see for spending more money is having the mastering job done by some professional mastering studio. But try first if the results with steps 1 and 2 will satisfy you.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2006, 02:25 PM
Bezo Bezo is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

Quote:
Part 1: You're probably after a software like Jam, part of the Roxio Toast & Jam bundle.
Are you recommending this over the hardware equivlent? Am I doing better with Jam than I am with the Alesis, Tascam or similar product?

Quote:
Part 2: You already have a very good dither plugin available with PT:..
I'm aware of the Pow-R plug. I'm asking, if I had one of the above products, or something similar, should I dither before, after or while I'm sending it to the disk recorder?

Ultimately, I'm trying to get a relatively good home mastering set-up going. What would a pro mastering engineer recommend to someone looking to master/learn to master in a home studio situation.
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:12 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

If your after a real mastering tool for the mac then i'd recommend Peak . It adds a whole new meaning to the word mastering and its taught me a lot of stuff as well. You have control over every aspect of the burning/mastering process. Can't recommend it enough.

Regards

Bias Peak
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2006, 09:03 AM
Bezo Bezo is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

Quote:
If your after a real mastering tool for the mac then i'd recommend Peak . It adds a whole new meaning to the word mastering and its taught me a lot of stuff as well. You have control over every aspect of the burning/mastering process. Can't recommend it enough.
I planned on doing a lot of the mastering in Pro Tools... EQ, compression, limiting, ect. I would need Peak only to do the fades and track spacing, but there are probably parts of the process that I'm overlooking since I've only "mastered" individual tracks to this point. So...

Considering I plan on doing much of the work in Pro Tools, could I get away with the LE version? The feature lists for XT and Pro are much longer, but I'm not sure what most of that stuff is. Would you mind pointing out any essentials, if any, I'd be losing out on with the LE version?

How good are the plugins in the XT and Pro versions? Do you think they're on par, better or worse than Waves or UAD-1 plugs? Is it worth stepping up to either of those version just for the plugs? If so, can those plugs be used in Pro Tools?
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2006, 10:01 AM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

The idea of peak is that it lets you master a CD to the point where you would send it to a plant and get it reproduced professionally. You can add things like copyright protection, ISRC, cd-text & metadata. One part that is a real help is make up gain, if one track is slightly louder/quieter you can adjust the gain in the playlist, obviously you would try and master everything to a similar level but this just allows you to apply a final tweak. I also read something about in not so good CD players you can trigger a high pass filter which should in theory make your audio sound better , you sort of get an idea where its coming from.

You cant really compare peak to the waves plugs, for a start theres a major price difference. I have peak pro and the plugs you get are ok but nothing amazing, you get a nice compressor in the pro and some nice eq's but its more a fact that the features are unlocked (impulseverb etc). Its more of a fancy wave editor that you would ideally add the waves plugs to via VST. As much as i love Pro Tools its not a programme that i would try and master in. I like to be able to see whats going in with the waveform and the snag with Pro Tools is that you have to bounce then import to this.

If some of this stuff seems a bit overkill for you then i would recommend reading Bob Katz's 'Mastering Audio the art and science of' before making a big purchase. Its a top book dedicated to mastering and you'll get a true idea of what mastering really is.

Hope this helps

PS: You could probably get away with the LE version for you needs. Bias offer sidegrades from LE to Pro as well which is a great help. I now have Pro on the iMac and LE on the powerbook. This is perfect for the laptop because the LE version is not dongled whereas pro is. Believe it or not it actually worked out cheaper going down this road then it did buying the pro version right off the shelf.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2006, 12:58 PM
Bezo Bezo is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

Quote:
The idea of peak is that it lets you master a CD to the point where you would send it to a plant and get it reproduced professionally. You can add things like copyright protection, ISRC, cd-text & metadata.
It appears LE has these essentials.

Quote:
You cant really compare peak to the waves plugs, for a start theres a major price difference. I have peak pro and the plugs you get are ok but nothing amazing...
That's exactly what I needed to know.

Quote:
As much as i love Pro Tools its not a programme that i would try and master in. I like to be able to see whats going in with the waveform and the snag with Pro Tools is that you have to bounce then import to this.
True. I'm sure the graphics help a lot.

I actually want an analyzer plugin that would help me when I mix.

Quote:
If some of this stuff seems a bit overkill for you then i would recommend reading Bob Katz's 'Mastering Audio the art and science of' before making a big purchase.
I'm on top of the sound part of mastering. It's the coding and such that I'm not familar with.

I have that book. I guess it's time to start studying up on the non-sound stuff.

Quote:
PS: You could probably get away with the LE version for you needs. Bias offer sidegrades from LE to Pro as well which is a great help. I now have Pro on the iMac and LE on the powerbook. This is perfect for the laptop because the LE version is not dongled whereas pro is. Believe it or not it actually worked out cheaper going down this road then it did buying the pro version right off the shelf.
I think I could get away with it, but let me ask, what features do you frequently use that are exclusive to the Pro version?
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2006, 04:12 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

To be honest not that many, i was so impressed with LE that i didnt hesistate with pro. I was anticipating a lot of use so i just wanted to be prepared. Too be honest the amont of money you shell for Pro doesnt really reflect the differences between the LE version, by this i mean you spend an extra £220 and you really dont get that much for it, you just have to weigh up what you need i guess. The restrictions in LE are that you are only capable of running one VST at a time, whereas Pro lets you run 5. Alot of the DSP stuff is locked in LE but too be honest its mostly fancy stuff that makes cool sounds that you would never really use practically, the standard important tools are there. Obviousley if your not planning on mastering in Peak, i wouldnt imagine they would really affect you.

To put the programme in to context, heres an example of a recent cool thing i did in peak. I ripped a music concert DVD to MP4 with 320kbps mp3 audio. I then extracted the audio with peak, this left me with a 2 hour file. I then used the region markers in peak to create break points/track markers, you would ideally use this in a live recording situation. I now have the entire concert on my ipod, it sounds good, the song markers are where i want them. A little off the subject i know, but its a fairly comprehensive piece of audio kit.

Regards
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  #9  
Old 02-24-2006, 07:35 AM
Bezo Bezo is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

Quote:
The restrictions in LE are that you are only capable of running one VST at a time, whereas Pro lets you run 5.
Only one plug at a time? That sounds like a big deal if I wanted to do all my mastering in Peak, which I would probably do since you mentioned the visual aids. I wouldn't be able to EQ, compress and limit the tunes. Or am I misunderstanding?

Quote:
I ripped a music concert DVD to MP4 with 320kbps mp3 audio. I then extracted the audio with peak, this left me with a 2 hour file. I then used the region markers in peak to create break points/track markers, you would ideally use this in a live recording situation. I now have the entire concert on my ipod, it sounds good, the song markers are where i want them. A little off the subject i know, but its a fairly comprehensive piece of audio kit.
Whatever I end up with is also gong to facilitate getting my vinyl onto CDs and into my iPod. And I have some concert DVDs that I always wished I had on CD.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2006, 02:07 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Putting mastered tracks on CD - questions

No, your right, that is the major setback. There are 5 plugin selectors but in the LE version 4 of them are greyed out. You would have to go to Pro to benefit from being able to run 5 plugs. Pro also has somthing called Vbox, this is essentially a tool that looks like a grid, from here you add pretty much as many plugs as you like, you can also select the order of routing.

In a perfect world Bias Peak Pro & the Waves bundle would be a match made in heaven, but as always it just comes down to the amount of $$$$$$$ your prepared to spend.

Regards
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