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Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping

From: Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

Video: Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping

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 session. First, I've got the PhaseScope. The PhaseScope meter displays the relationship between the amplitude and the phase of a stereo signal, enabling you to monitor your stereo image graphically. I'm going to play back this track. (Music playing.) Now, that looks pretty good.

Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping

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 session. First, I've got the PhaseScope. The PhaseScope meter displays the relationship between the amplitude and the phase of a stereo signal, enabling you to monitor your stereo image graphically. I'm going to play back this track. (Music playing.) Now, that looks pretty good.

When the audio is panned just to one side, a diagonal line appears, and we don't want to see that, and we don't. In-phase material is displayed as a vertical line and we like in-phase material, and we saw a lot of in-phase material going on in there. Out-of-phase material shows up as a horizontal line, and we definitely don't want to see a lot of that. So as long as we don't see a diagonal line or a horizontal line here, then we're pretty good. Let's move on to the next one.

The Bomb Factory Essential Meter Bridge displays the output levels like you would see them appearing on an analog VU meter. Monitoring this way can help you see RMS, or peak metering, just like you would on a professional tape machine. I'm going to press play. (Music playing.) Now, you can see that we're kind of pushing the levels here with this -15 calibration and set to RMS, Root Mean Square.

It means we've got a pretty hot level, but we see that we're not peaking out on the meters down here, so we're probably pretty good. The TL MasterMeter is used to identify any signal clip events or oversampling clip events that might negatively affect the final master track. Fortunately, we don't see any events in here, so it looks like we're in the clear. Now, I use all three of these tools together to make sure that there are no phasing or clipping problems on the output signal. At the end of the mastering process, audio files often have to end up as 16-bit, 44.1 kHz tracks so that they can be burned onto an audio CD.

Bouncing audio from a higher bit depth to a lower one creates unwanted quantization noise that occurs at low volume levels, like on fade-ins or 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. However, the 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 can hear the best, such as around 4 kHz, to frequencies that we're less sensitive to.

This makes the noise more difficult for us to hear. Quantization noise is pretty minimal, but it is noticeable if it's in a sensitive range for our hearing. We can use this Dither plug-in to help out with that. So we can set the resolution, and we can turn on noise shaping to help move the noise that dithering creates and push it into an area that's not sensitive for our hearing. There's another plug-in option for dithering, and it's the Power Dither, and most Pro Tools systems have both of these.

This gives us an option of three different noise shaping types. Note that when you bounce down to create an MP3 file, you don't actually need to use dither and noise shaping, as these parameters are built into the MP3 encoders. Together, dither and noise shaping should be your last processor on your master fader track for master bounces. Now it's time to bounce your final masters. So, let's go here, and we'll select the whole amount of time that we want to bounce.

We'll go to File > Bounce to > Disk, and yes, Pro Tools warns us that you can't do a bounce when a track is record-enabled. So we'll un-record-enable that, go back to the Bounce, and we can choose whatever parameters we want here. Stereo Interleaved file. This is what we would need to create a track for a CD. We could make higher res or low-res files, we could make an MP3, whatever you need to make, and then bounce down each one of your tracks.

The one thing that Pro Tools cannot do is burn CDs. So you'll need a third-party application, like iTunes, for that. After bouncing down your tracks, listen to them critically in many environments and through many playback systems to make sure they translate well to all systems. If they do, then you've succeeded in mastering your tracks using Pro Tools.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 9 Essential Training
Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 11406 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 6s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 18s
    5. Using the exercise files
      3m 3s
  2. 31m 3s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 50s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 1s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      4m 13s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      5m 52s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      1m 38s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 43s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 33s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 40s
  3. 42m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 36s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 13s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and buses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O Settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 19s
  4. 19m 31s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 22s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 1s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 46s
    4. Importing session data
      3m 44s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 44s
    6. Importing video
      2m 54s
  5. 1h 0m
    1. Recording audio
      6m 14s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 0s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 25s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 29s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 3s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 17s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 52s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 17s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 19m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 3s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      8m 16s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 41s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      2m 46s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 28s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 9s
    8. Arranging regions
      5m 33s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 8s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      7m 22s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      4m 50s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      2m 52s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      6m 47s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      4m 13s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      8m 37s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      7m 38s
  7. 19m 27s
    1. Working with region groups
      6m 39s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 30m 47s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 7s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 13s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 37s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 7s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      5m 44s
    7. Using step input
      4m 14s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      2m 52s
  9. 54m 25s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      9m 47s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      8m 17s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 13s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 35s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      3m 49s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      3m 53s
  10. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 56s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 11s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 49s
  11. 25m 45s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      7m 21s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      3m 58s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 26s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 2s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 0s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 58s
  12. 1h 33m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      7m 53s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 11s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 25s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      13m 27s
    7. Adding depth effects: Delay and reverb
      12m 45s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      4m 14s
    9. Bouncing down a mix and making an MP3
      5m 44s
    10. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 36s
    11. Mastering a session
      7m 35s
    12. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      4m 52s
  13. 10m 6s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 42s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 32s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 22s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 22s
  15. 52s
    1. Further Recommendations
      52s

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