I am still relatively new to Wavelab and as I finish up my first mastering project with it, I have run across something I don’t know whether or not I should be concerned with.
I have used CD Wizard and edited the CD text. The burned CDs sound and play fine.
However, when I open up the Markers window for my project, I see Offset numbers (-6 ms, -2 ms, -10 ms etc.) before each track except the first track on the CD. I also see an 8 ms offset after the final track. What do these offset numbers mean and how did they get there, as I have not knowingly put them there.
Did you quantize the markers to the nearest CD frame or otherwise move the markers from where the CD Wizard placed them?
The offset refers to how far the marker is from the start (or end) of the associated audio clip.
For example, if you tell the CD Wizard to make markers, and do not quantize the markers to the nearest CD frame, all the offsets should read 0s. The CD Wizard will bind the markers to the most logical clip so that when you move the clip, the maker(s) move too but you can of course detach the markers from clips if you prefer.
If you move the markers around, WaveLab will tell you how much they are offset from their associated clip they are bound to. If you should for some reason detach the marker from a clip, the offset reading disappears.
It’s nothing to be concerned about if when you zoom in close to analyze, that the markers are located in an acceptable place and either not cutting off any part of the first track, or perhaps containing a short blip from the previous track.
It never hurts to render a DDP of the montage and open the DDP itself to analyze where the markers landed in relation to the audio,
Thank you very much, Justin for your detailed and clear response - it is very much appreciated!
Yes, I did quantize the markers to the nearest CD frame so that explains the offsets (I thought that might be the reason the offsets occurred). I had read somewhere online to do that but I don’t know why.
Would it be better to not select that option in CD Wizard so that the offsets all read as 0? In case it matters, the spaces of 1-2 seconds between each song/track are in the audio montage. The CD spaces are all set to 0 since the spaces I want between each song/track are in the audio montage.
I persoanlly do it just as you seem to be doing. First I place all the clips in the montage so they sound like I want them to, then I generate the CD Markers with the CD Wizard and use the “Quantize Markers To Nearest CD Frame” option. I tell the CD Wizard to use CD Track Splice Markers. If I end up fine tuning any clip placements or markers, then I call up the CD Wizard and ONLY select “Quantize Markers To Nearest CD Frame” to essentially re-quantize the markers but make no other changes.
I think it’s important to “Quantize Markers To Nearest CD Frame” before rendering files that may have any CD involvement so that any WAV files you render from the montage will in theory match your DDP/CD master 100%. There are definitely cases where you would not care about or want quantizing but for most normal album mastering that has any possible CD relation, I choose to “Quantize Markers To Nearest CD Frame” before rendering anything to be safe.
I also keep any song spacing built into the CD tracks as you seem to be doing and to me, it’s the most logical way for album mastering in modern times. I don’t bother with the CD Track Start and end markers except for the very first and last marker of the CD montage as the CD Wizard automates for you.
I think you’re all good with how you’re doing it, but it never hurts to render a DPP of the montage to check out what you’re doing. I prefer to burn CDs from a DDP image anyway vs. having WaveLab run and render a temporary image with all the plugins and whatnot before burning the CD. Making a DDP first gives you one last chance to double check things which I personally prefer but to each his own.
Attached is a screen shot of my “normal” CD Wizard settings for mastering an album/CD and I run the CD wizard after I have the clips initially placed in the montage as desired.
The way I see it, WaveLab will do a temporary rendering anyway before burning a CD, so you may as well do a DDP render to verify that all plugins and everything else is cooperating before you burn a CD. Plus, for nearly 100% of projects, I send a DDP to the client for approval so I already have a DDP rendered and if/when a CD-R master is needed, then I simply burn a CD-R master from the approved DDP but thankfully, CD-R is rarely needed these days for CD production. In the Tools menu (I believe), you can have WaveLab burn a CD from an existing DDP image…or you can open the DDP and burn from there
I think the “Keep Locked CD Track Markers” setting is irrelevant if you have no markers to start with before running CD Wizard which for me is always the case. It’s a nice feature but I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I used a lock CD track marker so I think you can largely ignore that setting unless you actively lock a CD track maker for whatever reason.
Absolutely. It’s nice to get a 2nd perspective in another app about how CD-Text translates and I think the HOFA DDP tools give a nice overview of the album. The price for the standalone DDP Player is very fair.
I actually use the HOFA DDP Player Maker so I can send the DDP to my clients via Internet and they can open it on their Mac or PC, and then easily listen to the DDP or burn a CD-R, and you can be sure they are hearing what you intend them to hear regarding the sound quality and spacing between songs. Then most of the time, CDs can be replicated from the DDP you have already uploaded after you have a client approved version of the DDP.
Clients can also export each CD track as WAV if needed from the HOFA DDP Player that DDP Player Maker generates. It’s very easy to install and very easy to use for both yourself and clients.
My experience with HOFA products is very good. Great customer support and the software from them that I own is very stable.
I think from a sound quality standpoint, there could be no difference unless something is incorrectly done. Where you could see a difference is in the timing of the WAV files by a VERY small amount if you do not quantize your CD Track Splice Markers before doing any rendering.
For example, if the CD Track Splice Markers are not quantized in the montage before you render the DDP, they will be quantized when the DDP (or CD-R) is made. For most projects, this may not matter but for a live album or album with songs that overlap/crossfade with precise marker placements, the CD Track Markers could quantize to an undesirable place.
So my personal practice is to always quantize the markers before I render anything related to normal music/album projects, so I know where the markers will end up. This way, whether I render WAV files of each track from the montage, or WAV files are exported from the DDP Player or ripped from a physical CD, the tracks in theory will be more perfectly matched as far as timing.
To check for any sound quality changes and other things, you could do this null test:
Render a 16-bit WAV of a track from the montage
Export that same track from the DDP Player
Make a new 44.1k montage
Place the two WAV versions on their own montage track
Make sure they are lined up perfectly in sync (down to the sample level)
Insert the Stereo Tools plugin on one of the clips and invert the phase of both left/right channels
If all is done correctly, there should be only silence when you play the two files with one phase inverted.
I did quantize the CD track splice markers so that wouldn’t be an issue. The detailed null test information is useful to have and I may try that but I am confident that nothing was done incorrectly in my DDP file.
As always, thank you for such an informative and detailed response, Justin!
No problem. Null tests are great to do now and then to make sure that a plugin you have inserted in the montage is actually rendering correctly. A year or two ago, I found out the hard way that Eiosis AirEQ was audible on playback, but wasn’t actually rendering. I think a few Slate plugins have or had this issue but I mostly avoid Slate in WaveLab.
AirEQ has been fixed/updated so the rendering problem is gone.
I understand and good point. The 3 plug ins I used on this album project (custom settings for each song) were the Equalizer and Imager from the Wavelab 9 Master Rig and the Waves L3-16 limiter. I would have heard if any of these were not rendering correctly.
Audio for DDP and audio CD has to be 16-bit. So, if you don’t dither to 16-bit as the very last part of your processing chain, WaveLab will have to truncate those bits when the audio for the DDP is made.
Technically speaking, montages do not have a fixed bit-depth, only a fixed sample rate.
Best practice is that if your source audio files are higher than 16-bit, or if you are doing ANY digital processing in the montage such as plugins, or even a simple gain change or fade in/out of an audio clip, that you should dither to 16-bit for DDP renders, audio CD burning, or to make 16-bit WAV files.
One of the Tools in WaveLab is a bit-meter so you can see the true bit-depth of your audio stream which can easily be different than the bit-depth of the original audio file if you are doing any form of processing from the smallest gain change or fade in/out, to using lots of plugins.
Yes, of course I know all that and naturally work that way. But I did not realize that a DDP file would force a 16 bit truncation to occur. Makes sense, and so HOFA DDP Player would in turn turn out a 16 bit wave file. Thanks for answering my question.