Mastering / Sequencing software

Anyone have any recommendations on mastering / sequencing software? I’ve been using an old copy of WaveBurner forever, but it’s starting to be so buggy as to be unusable.

In the Disquiet Slack, @markrushton has been telling us about Kunaki for short-run CD publishing, and in that context, @mzero told us about HOFA and the CD Burn & DDP HOFA plugin. I’m not actually certain if this is the kind of thing you are looking for though?

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My first Kunaki pressed CD is due to arrive today. I’ll report back how it came out.

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DSP-Quattro might well fit the bill.

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the hofa + burner/ddp combo is the kind of thing i’m talking about, thanks for the tip. any software that allows for sequencing multiple audio files, having region-based plugin chains as well as master plugin chains, adding track breaks and metadata/isrc codes, and (ideally) being able to create a ddp.

@myecholalia yes! that looks great, thanks.

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Triumph maybe?

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Oh that looks nice. Cheaper than HOFA, and nice looking approach to the interface. (And it doesn’t have HOFA’s license system… which icks me out.)

Just downloaded and fiddled with it a bit - does more than just CD-mastering (which is what I need) - but it looks like it could fill other roles - like prepping the tracks for DistroKid, and Bandcamp.

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Discs arrived:
Google Photos

First - Surprising how much holding a CD makes the album so much more “real” than just knowing it’s up on streaming services and Bandcamp!

Second - Using Kunaki’s native per-track uploads works, but the tracks are placed with no gaps (and hence no pre-roll). Given that I didn’t use consistent fade times, or leave consistent silence at the ends of tracks, I’ll need to redo the disc (because I’m a silly perfectionist - I just played it and it is great, but the track transitions do feel like hiccups. That, and the volume isn’t that consistent, since the tracks were mastered individually, at different points in time over the year.)

I think the per-track upload would work fine if you accounted for gap needed at the end of each master, and didn’t mind the lack of a pre-roll count down.

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Update: I’ve now redone the disc using CD mastering software. My aim was two fold:

  1. Get all the track gaps correct (or in one case, no gap)
  2. Make the track volumes more consistent

I tried Triumph (thanks, @rknLA) for reasons I outlined above. The process was pretty darn easy took just a few hours to learn and do. The program did crash on me once, losing my last edit. It is a giant disk hog - seems to make whole copies of your tracks in the file bundle it creates. All in all it was easy to add the few fades I needed, space the tracks as I desired, add track and album data, check LU metering, adjust track volumes - and generate the DDP files that make up an audio CD. I liked that you can use the same software to master the track for streaming services with just one command - but didn’t since I’ve already uploaded those.

The process for going from DDP to Kunaki is:

  1. Use a DDP player to burn an Audio CD (Triumph comes with such a tool)
  2. Use Kunaki’s getISO.exe program to read the Audio CD and generate an ISO/CUE file pair.
  3. Use Kunaki’s web site to upload that pair, along with CD artwork.

Along the way I discovered some things about that:

  • Even burning at slowest speed (as recommended by Kunaki), the burn and then read process still had two disc errors resulting in two small sections of bad audio in the ISO file.
  • However - the Kunaki generated ISO file is actually the raw audio file of the whole disc - and is identical in format to the image.dat file in the DDP file bundle. So - I just simply substituted that file for the ISO when uploading.
  • The Kunaki CUE file is just a small binary file of track start points. Alas, Kunaki doesn’t do either CD-TEXT, nor the proper track end markers that would get you a count-in during the gap between tracks. I checked the disc burned from the DDP bundle, and it does have the count-in. Oh well…
  • I couldn’t find any documentation on this binary CUE file (other CD systems use a text file for the same purpose) - but looking at the hex dump - it would be easy to reverse engineer, and simply generate it from the DDP info, rather than do the whole burn / read-back cycle just to get it.

New discs uploaded and ordered…

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Update #2: I’ve redone it one more time. This one is juuuuust right!

First: It has all the proper track markers so that the gaps between tracks (where you want them) count as lead-in to the second track, and doesn’t count as time for either track. I realize this is an incredibly nit-picky detail, but I’m glad to have it right.

Note: You cannot get these markers using any of the standard ways Kunaki gives you to upload your CD. How’d I do it? Glad you asked…

Second: I have a Python script that converts directly from a DDP file bundle to the format that Kunaki uploads (.CUE and .iso files, and no, not the .iso you’re used to). So no need to burn and re-read with Kunaki’s Windows-only software. I’ve only tested this with the DDP bundle that Triumph outputs, but suspect it will work in general. If anyone wants to try it, just ask…

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I use a combination of Audiomulch (Transfer and Capture with the analogue chain, VST plugins, Limiting etc), RX7 Advanced (topping and tailing, SRC etc) and Sonoris DDP Creator Pro (final CD authoring) here, although I’ve been learning REAPER the last year for recording and mixing, with a view to mastering use in future as Mulch hasn’t been updated in half a decade now… I did buy Samplitude at one stage but couldn’t get on with it at all. You seem to find as many different approaches and workflows in mastering, as you do mastering engineers!

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@Gregg this seems to be a pretty old topic. A more up to date conversation can be found here:

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