Exporting for Mastering

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me. I have a project that I want to master. I export it to a wav file and then load it into a new Cubase project (I normally drag and drop). I need to do this for processing power rather than do it all in one. Now I have been doing this for a bit but I am unsure if I am doing it right with respect to the tempo and timestretching etc… The original project is mainly at 130bpm but rises at one point. My mastering project I forgot all about the tempo and it was set to 120. Does this mean Cubase will have time stretched it when importing? If so is there a way to avoid this as I do not want any degradation of quality. In the pool window it shows the temp as 130.5 and musical mode is not on.

Also what is the best way to transfer files between the mix and the mastering project ? My final output will be CD quality. I am using wav 44.1K 24bit as the intermediary file but it would make more sense (I think) to use floats but then on import to my mastering project it asks to convert it to 24.

Thanks in advance for any help.

There’s a Pref to set the default track mode, Linear or Musical. You’d want Linear. CD standard is 44.1k 16bit. Going from 24 to 16 requires dithering. Export and Import for transfer.

Hi, thanks that is useful. Can I not go from one project to another without a change in bit rate and hence no need to dither ?

Yes, just ignore the convert box on import.

Thanks and what about the tempo issue?

Didn’t you read my post?

Yes I did thanks. Perhaps I have not understood fully. If I use linear as you suggest then does it not matter what the tempo is set to? I just find it odd that I can change the tempo of the project and the audio stays the same, that implies a timestretch

That’s because you have all tracks set to linear mode. In this mode the tracks will stay at their original position no matter what tempo you set in the project. There’s no time stretching being applied. However, when you set all tracks to musical mode and make tempo changes, the tracks will follow those tempo changes based on the stretching algorithm you have set for all audio files in the Pool (i.e. Elastique or Standard).

What I personally do when I need to master a project separately from the mix is to Export a 32 bit float, two track file at the original sample rate into a new project. There’s an option to do this automatically in the Export window. If the tempo doesn’t correspond with the files, then (as has been already suggested) you can simply disable musical mode and they should play at their original tempo without issue. You don’t need a metronome at that point so it doesn’t really matter if the track doesn’t align to it.


Thanks a lot , that makes sense ,I understand now

just to add keith, you have to dither when changing your bit depth only, not when changing sample rates…and when you are applying any dithering make sure it is the LAST process on your master bus chain.no processing should be applied after dithering. :smiley:

Yeh I checked that, I use Izone which has it built into the expander and is last in the chain

Quick Tip:

I find this to be the fastest way to achieve what you’re doing for mastering. It’s mainly a time saver, but when I’m in the flow of everything, this works best for me. It is the fastest way to set up the mastering session. Make one final save to your original session before doing this.

When you’re ready to export the final mix, go to export like you usually do. Except tick the radio box toward the bottom “Audio Track”. Then click export. This will bring whatever you have just exported back into your session in the exact same spot as your locators. Then, go up to the main menu and select “File -> Save As”. What you’re doing here is saving a new session with a new file name (i.e. song name master) in the same project folder. This keeps everything nice and tidy in your project folder.

With this new session file, delete all other unnecessary tracks in the session (except your export). Delete all the VST tracks, reverbs, delays, and anything else you have that might eat up horsepower. If you keep your tempo track (you mentioned the tempo changes), then all of that tempo information will already be lined up with your export.

No need to open a new session file and import a track or do any of that organizational kind of stuff. This is the super quick way to keep your workflow moving.

Nice tip. I do this every time when I’m going to master one song individually … but I don’t bother to “save as” with new name. Just solo the mixdown track for mastering. Yes, I have too much horsepower on my PC for the way I work (most of mixing/processing out of the box), so no need to get rid of extra tracks.

When mastering multiple songs I just create empty project and drag all mix wavs into different tracks. Never had to worry about tempo or anything. It just works.

Thats a good tip. I do have to worry about latency unfortunately :frowning: so need to master in a new project. I think I have the pipeline up and running nicely now