Audio mantage Ok but distorts heavily on burnt CD

Hi all,

20 years Cubase user here but fairly new to Wavelab. Had to set up an new account here on teh forums as my old login seemed to be defunct.
I just had to do a recording, mastering and authoring for an audiobook CD.
All went fine, and ass I had not used any compression during the recording, the overall levels were a bit low, so i decided to use the maximizer plugin in the master section before the final CD render. I set it to 0db max, with soft clip on, optimize set to 25.
Now , the weird thing: all levels were fine while auditioning, the levelmeter never exceeded 0db. But when I listened to the Cd on my stereo setup, it distorted like crazy. I had never seen such a thing before. I tested it on my 2 PC drives, there was “some” distortion left if I really focussed with headphones. So I ripped the CD into soundforge, and all the waves were clean! No distortion.
i ended up doing another master without the maximizer, and all turned out fine.

This has never ever happened to me before, I usually mastered in soundforge 10 for levels, and then used nero or similar to burn.
Does anyone have a clue what happened here? what am I missing?

Thanks for any clues!

You certainly burnt with the option “master section off”.
Check this in the cd burning dialog.

hi Philippe,

no, as I knew that i had this plugin in the master section, I had left it in the chain for burning.
How could the master section corrupt the CD in such a way?

If for some reason there is a limiter off, in the master section, then you could get clipping.

Ok, but as I mentioned, I had nothing whatsoever in the master section, apart from the maximizer. Or is there a limiter by default somewhere?

A maximizer is not much different than a limiter with a pre amplifier.

So how is it possible that the CD is distorting that much but the waveforms and the listening on the PC do not show any anomalies? Is there possible something that has gone wrong in the burn process?

Burning the not alter audio. The problem is upstream.
Is it something you can reproduce?

You might try making a render and also DDP and see what the results are. I had a (vaguely) similar issue and PG tracked it down, but it took a lot of looking…

Hey bheller,

that’s what I did, as I absolutely could not make sense of it all…I had to do a DDPI to send to the printing plant, so I reimported that DDP and checked…no issues! I also took the distorting CD and ripped it back into Soundforge…no issues! needless to say I had sort of panicked and remastered the whole thing, with a pretty big safety headroom of -3db. I figured that as it’s meant for small children, the whole narration does not need the typical loudness levels anyways. The whole phenomenon still ramsins a mystery tho, as I usually master my CDs in soundforge using wavehammer at 0db, never had any issues so far. Philippe, I will try and reproduce the original problem with the Maximizer plug and report back.


Check CDR brand and player it can be that simple !

regards S-EH

You are mastering an audio book, presumably speech. Why are you maximising this?

As an experiment, try backing the levels off instead to give at least 3dB headroom on the peaks.

hi stingray,
I ended up doing exactly that. I had compared it to a few commercial audiobooks, which were all extremely compressed and maximized, and sounded unnatural. As this is for kids aged 3-6. I ended up not maximizing and only slightly adjusting some levels on the respective clips in the montage. It is now lower in volume than other audiobooks I checked, but sounds smoother, and kids can just turn up their player if needed.
Still checking on the CD distortion thing tho, as it really left me clueless.

I’m just guessing what possible happend here,
Could it be that you render to file with Maximizer
and then have the Maximizer still in Master Section when making the burning ?

simply why I’m asking is I can’t make this happened with a file and using Maximizer
with your setting in your above posting
and the burn process should not alter the audio in this way (distort) !
that’s why I ask for CD-R media (brand) or even player too

and WaveLab will not do any hidden things behind our back
we as tech or mastering people has to think twice or more what we are doing.

I have been there and doing funny things (and maybe still is) :slight_smile:


regards S-EH

Yes, unfortunately, some commercially released audio book CDs are ridiculously compressed and gated using processor settings which are completely inappropriate for speech. I once heard an audio book CD which had almost certainly been heavily processed via some kind of ultramaximiser and also heavily gated. No breath or life remained and it was absurdly loud, and really fatigueing to listen to, even when you turned down the listening level.

IMO speech benefits if it is mastered with some respect for the natural dynamics of the recording and without enormous amounts of additional compression.

Stingray +1 :slight_smile:

regards S-EH