Silence at the beginning of tracks, do we have to put it? (WAV files, AIFF files)

Bob Katz 1 Comment

From: Jim Schwarz

My comments are: Yesterday, someone told me that it is a good practice to have one second of silence at the beginning of the .wav or .aif file of each song when burning a cdr. This is in addition to (or instead of) the “pause” between tracks in a cd program “playlist”. He said that some cd players will not play the first split-second of audio if it starts right at the beginning of the track. Is this true? I love your website, and I figured if anyone could give me an answer I could trust, it would be you.


Jim Schwarz

In Bob we trust, eh? Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but I do have experience in the area of your inquiry. Many thanks for your comments, Jim. When we master compact discs, we use an integrated program (Sadie) which can perform all the crossfades necessary to make a cohesive presentation. Many programs use CD-Frames (75 Frames per second, but I’m used to thinking in SMPTE frames (30 FPS) and Subframes (80 Subframes per Frame)). Sadie not only puts the track marks exactly where we want, but permits us to put marks even in the middle of continous music program, if desired. The amount of space between tracks can be artistically adjusted for extremely tight or as much space as we want, and then we insert the track mark exactly where we want it. We have no problems with any modern CD players if the track mark is within 1 frame of the track beginning, though to be safe, we usually use from 5 to 10 frame offset between the track mark and the beginning of the selection. We have occasionally produced CDs where the track start has been one subframe (417 microseconds) in front of the audio we want to cue. This is necessary when the previous track ends very close to this one and you don’t want to hear the end audio of the previous track. As you can see, the options are up to the engineer and the requirements of the music program.

However, if you are using a “typical” program that assembles .wav files one after the other to put into an audio CDR, then it may be necessary to add more space than you would have liked to do artistically. This is due to the limitations of the particular program, not to the limitations of the CD player.

Much for that same reason, when clients send us CD ROMs with WAV or AIFF files for us to master, we ask them to leave some space in the file in front of the music modulation, because a lot of programs that read or write files of this type put glitches or noises at the head, and that’s not nice!

Hope this helps,

Bob Katz

Comments 1

  1. Same Issue. About 2 months ago (7/19) all of a sudden soundcloud started hacking the ends of of some songs and the beginnings of others which really sucks. I have 120 pieces of my own music. Am I supposed to now go back and change them all. I would rather just build my own site that has support. I’ve been here 6 ish years and it never did this before. WTF, you are ruining a product I put a huge amount of work into. BTW Nowhere does it say to leave silence. Plus I am told by people I am down about 10,000 listens and get shit from everyone about this, but worse is they say they follow me but can’t get it to work. Remind me why I am paying $20 a month for this. You seem to have it set so I can not get above 78 followers. Ever. With 65,000 listens. SMH

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