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Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

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Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby siderealxxx » Fri May 31, 2019 10:43 am

Hi, I have finished pre-masters which I'm sequencing so the tracks slightly overlap at the start/end.

It got me wondering if when you do this and they're bounced out at the mastering stage, if the DAW will re-sample the entire track or only the overlapping section? i.e. is the quality effectively degraded as a result.

Appreciate it's fairly academic but curious nonetheless.

Thanks
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby The Elf » Fri May 31, 2019 10:57 am

You could apply the cross-fade when you build the DDP. This is arguably the best place to do it, not least since you won't have to go hunting to add a track marker to already merged material.

The bottom line is that any processing has an effect on sound quality, but don't avoid it for the sake of your creativity. Cross-fades don't involve 're-sampling', and the maths is simple, so it's not a process I'd worry about. Hopefully your 'pre-masters' are 24-bit, so you'll add your dithering down to 16-bit after all this processing.
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 31, 2019 11:02 am

Bouncing is a digital duplication process and is bit-accurate, so no degradation -- provided you don't change the word-length. If you do change the word-length (eg, dither down to 16 bit for a CD master) then the dither noise floor will be raised, but the actual audio quality is not changed in any other way and, in all likelihood, the recorded ambient noise floor of your tracks will completely swamp the digital dither noise anyway.
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby siderealxxx » Fri May 31, 2019 2:41 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:ambient noise floor

I think you just invented a new genre of music there ;)
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby siderealxxx » Fri May 31, 2019 2:41 pm

Thanks for the info, interesting to know/understand. I will let the mastering engineer worry about the execution, just curious how it works in such a scenario. Cheers
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby Ariosto » Fri May 31, 2019 2:50 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Bouncing is a digital duplication process and is bit-accurate, so no degradation -- provided you don't change the word-length. If you do change the word-length (eg, dither down to 16 bit for a CD master) then the dither noise floor will be raised, but the actual audio quality is not changed in any other way and, in all likelihood, the recorded ambient noise floor of your tracks will completely swamp the digital dither noise anyway.
Hugh, would you say that bounce to disk is better (less degradation) than a fast render? Bouncing is in real time so can take ages, whereas a render usually takes just a few seconds or a minute at most. (I use Reaper as my DAW).
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby desmond » Fri May 31, 2019 3:05 pm

Ariosto wrote:Bouncing is in real time so can take ages, whereas a render usually takes just a few seconds or a minute at most. (I use Reaper as my DAW).

Either way, the DAW is calculating the exact same numbers.
You'll just need to bounce in real time if you are using external gear, that's all.

It's not like an offline bounce, to go quicker, somehow uses less precise calculations - it's that realtime bounces (typically) don't use 100% of the CPU, so they can go faster than realtime if desired. The realtime bounce is therefore artificially slow... ;)
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 31, 2019 3:09 pm

Ariosto wrote:Hugh, would you say that bounce to disk is better (less degradation) than a fast render? Bouncing is in real time so can take ages, whereas a render usually takes just a few seconds or a minute at most. (I use Reaper as my DAW).

It shouldn't make any difference if all the processing is in the box. The only reason to bounce in real time would be if you're using outboard hardware processors.

...Oops! Desmond got their first (but at least we agree :D )!

H
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby Ariosto » Fri May 31, 2019 3:14 pm

Great, thanks, that is good to know. I had a feeling it would be the same outcome in the box, but wasn't sure!
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Re: Bouncing digital tracks > Does quality degrade?

Postby James Perrett » Fri May 31, 2019 5:03 pm

Nowadays I regularly do a null check with Reaper on the final files (post DDP master) and I've yet to find a render that doesn't null unless it is down to something odd that I've done.
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