CD Gaps and Dithering

James Hardiman

Jonathan Wrote:

I hope this finds you well and that it’s OK for me to email you with a question rather than a spot of business?
I’m reaching out to you as I’m new to the mastering world and have found your books and website super helpful – especially regarding wordlength management and dither. So many thanks for that.
My question is about dither and the gaps on CDs. I’ve got dither as the very last process from my DAW (Nuendo) after fades and SRC and then I import the resulting 1644 files into Sonoris DDP creator. All this works great but I realise that the gaps between tracks that DDP creator creates are at digital zero where of course the fades on my tracks fade into the dither noise, which then stops abruptly at the CD gap – i.e. there is no fade to digital zero on the dither.
I guess you may be chuckling (or sighing) by now as maybe not so many people listen loud enough to hear that dither just cut out (!) but it’s bugging me having taken the trouble to make sure everything else is right on.
Am I losing it? Thanks for your time Bob, and also all you have done to share your knowledge.
Best wishes, Jonathan.

Hi, Jonathan. Thanks for your kind words. 

Ideally, your DAW should be able to handle everything, including dither noise between tracks, and ideally the track marks as well, so by using Sonoris you’ve discovered a weakness in your procedure. 

Normally when mastering we use a DAW that integrates everything, your segues, dither noise between tracks, material that’s in the pause between tracks, and track marks. 

I don’t use an external program like Sonoris to deal with these issues for the very reasons you mention and more! For example, I’m about to make a master today that was recorded on analog tape and on purpose I’ve included tape hiss, continuous tape hiss between tracks…. which definitely is meaningful and audible. 

That said, if you never put any intentional material in the gaps and if you don’t think that the 16 bit dither noise between tracks matters (which it probably does not), then you can keep on using Sonoris in conjunction with Nuendo.

Hope this helps,