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In this movie I want to talk about all of the plug-ins that I've got on my Master Fader Track in this Mastering secession. First, I have got the Phase Scope. The Phase Scope meter displays the relationship between the amplitude and phase of a stereo signal, enabling you to monitor the stereo imaging graphically. Let's take a listen and you will see it here in the meter. (Music playing.) When audio is panned to just one side, a diagonal line appears indicating the channel.
In phase material is displayed as a vertical line and outer phase material as a horizontal line and just by us playing that everything is located here in the center, so we don't have anything that looks really out of whack. So it looks like we are doing just fine. Let's move on to the next one. Here we have got the Bomb Factory Essential Meter plug-in. This displays the output levels like they would appear on an Analog VU meter. Monitoring this way can help us see the RMS or peak metering just like you would on a professional tape machine.
(Music playing.) The TL Master Meter is used to identify any signal clip events or oversampling clip events that might negatively affect your final master track. Fortunately, we don't see any events in here. So it looks like we are in the clear.
Now I use all three of these tools together, so there are no phasing or clipping problems on the output signal. And the last plug-in here I've got is Dither. Now at the end of the mastering process, audio files often have to end up as 16 bit 44.1 Kilohertz tracks so they can be burned onto an audio CD. Bouncing audio from a higher bit depth to a lower one creates unwanted to quantization noise that occurs at low volume levels like on fade ins and fade outs. Dither and Noise Shaping reduce quantization noise. The funny thing is Dither actually adds a small amount of noise to an audio signal to cover up the quantization noise. However, this noise helps to make the quantization noise less obvious.
Noise Shaping utilizes digital filtering to move the noise that Dither adds from frequencies that our ears are most sensitive to, such as around 4 kilohertz, to frequencies that we are less sensitive to. This makes the noise more difficult for us to hear and this noise is actually pretty minimal, but it is noticeable if it's in a sensitive range for us. Showing here I have got the DIGIRACK Dither plug-in, we can choose the bit resolution that we want to go down to. Usually, I just want to go down to 16 bit and we can turn the noise shaping on or off. All Pro Tools system come with this plug-in. However, LE and HD users can also use the DIGIRACK Power Dither plug-in for more advance dithering. You can choose that here and we have some slightly different options, three different Noise Shaping types.
Note that when you bounce to create an MP3 file, you don't need to use Dither and Noise Shaping as those parameters are built-in into the MP3 encoders. However, if you recorded your tracks at 24 bits and then use Dither as you bounce them down to 16 bit master, like we are set up to do here, you can actually achieve better subjective performance out of that 16 bit master than if you did not use Dither. Together Dither and Noise Shaping should be the last processor on your Master Fader Track for your mastered bounces.
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