Technical Info

It's been too long since I've posted on the mastering blog, so I thought I should tell everyone about some great new gear here at Terra Nova.


The new Rupert Neve Designs mastering compressor.

Often a source of confusion is the .cda file.  On a windows computer, when you insert a RedBook Audio CD, the tracks show up as .cda files.  One might assume that these are the audio files on the disc because they are the only items that show up in the explorer window. . . that would be wrong.  The .cda files are merely placeholders pointing to a place on the CD that the song starts.  Think of them as what windows calls a 'shortcut'.

Jitter is a time-based signal error.  Often misunderstood, this problem can range from subtle and nearly inaudible to loud and distracting.  Jitter can reduce low-level resolution (add noise) and add distortion.What are they talking about when they say "Jitter"? Well, it can be several things.  This is part of the reason people are often confused with the topic.  Jitter can be induced by a poorly designed clock (the part of the digital device that sets the sample frequency. . .

In the past few months, we've had several requests for masters to be sent over the internet to the manufacturing plant.  DDP is the perfect format for this.  Many plants will give you FTP information to send the DDP master to their facility or a login to a webpage that you can upload the file.  I like this trend and recommend this for clients that have chosen replicators that accept DDP masters.

We just pressed our first CDs that feature a QR code on the packaging. When the artist, songwriter Tonya Tyner, handed in her artwork, I didn't even know what the black and white square on the back of the digipak was. Now it seems like I am seeing them everywhere. When she told me that it was readable by smart phones and that you could have it link to a variety of functions, I thought it sounded like a great idea. In fact it sounded like such a good idea, I was kind of surprised that everyone wasn't already using them and that I had never heard of them.

When preparing your mixes for a mastering session, we typically get the question, "Should I take the L2 and compressor off the mix bus?"  My first thoughts run through my head like asking why or what are you doing. . . but I refrain myself.
This shouldn't even be an issue, but it has become one. . . Thanks Apple. . . Since OS10.4.9, Apple has decided to change the byte order of their aiff files from big endian to little endian.  These new 'aiff' files are really AIFF-C/sowt, but all you see is 'aiff' making it hard to determine which you have.  Some programs use the old aiff format and some use the new 'aiff' format.  Due to this issue, depending on your computer, you may or may not be able to read aiff files consistently.  My advice is to abandon ship and stick to .wav files for all uses.  
SINCE THE 1990's AND THE ADVENT OF BROAD DISTRIBUTION OF DIGITAL AUDIO, POPULAR MUSIC HAS STEADILY BEEN CREEPING LOUDER AND LOUDER.  DIGITAL AUDIO MUST BE COMPRESSED AFTER PEAK AMPLITUDE IS REACHED (AT 0DBFS) TO BECOME LOUDER.  HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED AN EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS?  It's just a bit obnoxious, isn't it?

I've had several projects in the past that were Spanish language music.  With most music sung/written in Spanish, they had titles that were also in Spanish.  Spanish, along with several other languages, is different from English due to a few extra letters in the alphabet (letters with accents and the like).  Several words had accents that without the accents meant other things.  I knew I could encode several of the accents that showed up some places but not others.  Almost every player that regularly showed CD-Text would give up and show a blank square when they

A question that is asked to me routinely several times a week.  Why do my track titles show up as 'Audio Track 1' etc. . . when I put my CD in the computer?  There are several explanations of this occurrence.

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