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Breaking the Sound Barrier: Mastering at 96 kHz and Beyond

The possibilities of the forthcoming high-density discs has generated considerable interest in recording and mastering of audio material at rates higher than 48 kHz and wider than 16 bits. One of the proposed high-definition audio formats is 96 kHz using 24-bit PCM. The difference in the processing required is not simply one of bandwidth: the signal processing itself must also be carefully analyzed for its suitability. Additionally, Sony DSD offers another mastering format with even more technical challenges. Part of the attraction of DSD is that is can be viewed as a Lingua Franca of mastering formats, since it can be converted to any release format with no additional degradation. This paper discusses the technical challenges involved in preparing audio material for these formats and proposes some solutions employing today's technology.

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