files been supported as well. Syntrillium's
Cool Edit Pro
is also an excellent stereo andmultitrack editing package, but doesn't have integrated CD-burning facilities. IKMultimedia's
provides virtual valve EQ, compression, and multi-band limiting, aswell as fade options, and has recently been updated to accept 24-bit files, but unlike theothers mentioned here doesn't provide graphic editing — in fact, it's more like a rackmountprocessor such as TC's Finalizer in approach.
For the best final results when mastering, the stereo audio files of each track should be at24-bit or higher resolution. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to record everytrack in your audio sequencer at 24-bit resolution, since most multitrack applications will letyou mix 16-bit and 24-bit tracks at will: the important part is to make the final stereomixdown at 24-bit, or even 32-bit if you have a suitable application like
.You will benefit from this even when using 16-bit converters or samples on the originalrecordings, since as soon as multiple tracks are mixed together there will be more than 16bits' worth of resolution anyway.
Choice of sample rate is a more thorny issue. Istill use 44.1kHz since this is my target rate forburning audio CDs and although some peoplemaintain that modern sample-rate converters arenow so good that you can start at 96kHz andthen down-convert at the end, I prefer not to putmy audio through an extra stage of conversion.However, if you're convinced of the audiblebenefits of high-sample-rate recording for yourtype of music and gear, and your system cancope with the increased processor and hard diskrequirements, go ahead, though bear in mindthat 88.2kHz may be a more benign choice than96kHz, since the down-sampling process to44.1kHz is so much simpler.
If you're transferring a 48kHz DAT tape into yourPC for mastering, you will obviously have toconvert this to 44.1kHz. Since this will changethe overall sound slightly, I would be inclined todo this as the first process, so that you can addfurther tonal tweaks to the final 44.1kHz versionas required. If you have several applicationscapable of this conversion, try them all andcompare the results, and if there are any qualityoptions make sure that you always use thehighest one — it may take considerably longer toprocess the whole track, but you want to lose aslittle quality as possible.
Whatever sample rate you choose, you should leave recordings at as high a bit depth asyou can until the last moment, and then convert to the final format (normally 16-bit for audioCD burning) as the last stage, with suitable dithering. This is because any alterations youmake to the audio files — including gain changes, compression, EQ, and fades — willproduce rounding errors in the calculations. If they are already at 16-bit then theaccumulating errors will gradually make your tracks sound coarse and grainy, and you'll
Many musicians find that using analyticaltools helps during mastering, and Idiscussed many of the options in somedetail in
September 2000. A spectrumanalyser is useful to examine frequencyresponse against other recordings, and canalso be invaluable in spotting low-endproblems that may not be audible onnearfield monitors. Most audio editors,including
Cool Edit Pro
now incorporate them, andshareware plug-ins are also available fromNick Whitehurst (see Contacts box).Steinberg's
also has one built in,and can learn the frequency response ofanother track and apply it to one of yours.
A phase display can help check for monocompatibility (which is still vital if you expectradio play). Steinberg has one in its
, Nick Whitehurstincorporates one in his shareware
, and PSP provide a
.A sonogram display can help you makedecisions about high-frequencyenhancement, as well as spotting low-levelhums, whistle and DC offset problems.Again,
Cool Edit Pro
have one built in, while Steinberg's
has one in plug-in form.
Página 3 de 9CD MASTERING ON YOUR PC: TOOLS & TECHNIQUES04/07/2001http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/jun01/articles/pcmusician0601.asp