Replicated CD sounds different than the "tape master"

Discussion in 'Tape Recorders' started by jarjarbinks, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Hi experts.
    Im new in this mastering realm.

    Should replicated CDs sound different than the DDP master? and if so, how different?

    What do you answer to a client that was happy with the final master but unhappy with the replicated CDs? The replication house say they did quality checks and everything was performed "as always".

    How do I know if I did something wrong? How do I prove the replication house did?
    Whats the procedure to null test the DDP against the replicated CD?

    I´ve read some confusing stuff on other forums, so I want to get more info on this topic.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    If the pressed CDs play without uncorrectable errors, then the audio content will be identical to that on the master. However, it's rare to find CD pressings that play error-free on cheap CD drives. You need to try the pressed CDs on a professional player that has error counting and display built-in. We had a thread about this recently.
    kmetal likes this.
  3. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Boswell, you´re my hero.
    Thats so useful.

    However, we´re on a low budget here. Is there a way to tests this in the DAW or Mastering software? Im using Cubase 8.5 for mixing and Wavelab 9 for mastering.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    Unhappy in what way? Are the discs playing with errors? If they are playing with errors, are they the same errors every time in the exact same place in the songs from disc to disc, or are they random?
    Or is your client saying that it's sonically different? If it's the latter, do you hear a difference sonically?

    Also, what is your client listening to the discs through? Is it a top spec CD player through decent monitors? Or a laptop with built in speakers?

    Doing a checksum/null should be relatively easy - if your DAW supports the format, you could import the DDP file, then import the same track from the CD, make sure they are perfectly aligned in time, flip the phase on one of the tracks - and if they null, then your client needs to stop taking the yellow acid. If not, and you hear artifacts, then you need to contact the replicator. Have them do a null check on their end.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    Almost verbatim what I was going to say.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    I think the client is just having issues that are unrelated to the actual cd pressing. From anxiety, to obsession, to post pardem depression, to afraid of what people will say, to being just generally insasaible. It's difficult to narrow down from afar, but that to me is the issue. This may not be the case w them, but I've worked with artists who have a difficult time "letting go" of the mix/cd, and I have a stack of 'final mixes' in the basement to prove it.

    Otherwise, it seems to me, the client would have a specific complaint i.e., my cd skips, or there is a glitch at 1:55 of track 3, or my vocal so how sounds loud. Yada Yada.

    I'd sit with them in the studio and play the song session, then the replicated cd song, back to back, and listen. You could try a null test, I guess, but I've never done one like that.

    It's quite possible there is in fact an error, but I remain the skeptic on this, and think it's just a case of the artists imagination getting the better of them.

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