Backwards countdown missing on CD tracks

I am referring to the way a CD player will display the gap between the end of one track and the next track mark as a reverse countdown.

I have recently had my album mastered and pressed and have noticed that these countdowns do not take place. The gaps are incorporated into the total length of each track at the end (this doesn't apply to the last track, of course).

I was a bit disappointed, as all my other albums have featured this. All other albums in my collection, in fact.

I realise that it doesn't make a difference to the listener, the countdown doesn't appear on computer playback and - as far as I can tell - CDs with the countdown still incorporate the gap into the total length of the tracks. However, it does bug me in that I feel that this oversight detracts from the professional appearance of my album.

The explanation I have been by my mastering engineer (who has generally done an excellent job) is that the tracks were rendered as one long file (albeit with tracks marks). He told me that enabling the countdown feature involves a separate process but I don't recall the details and to be honest didn't fully understand it when he briefly explained. Something about having to render each track separately? All I know is, for my other albums, the mastering process didn't seem to take as long as this would suggest.

I am going to be doing a repress next week for other reasons so I have the opportunity to redo the DDP image 'with' the countdowns included. My engineer says he never does this even for major label releases, but he is willing to do it for me (although he's not crazy about having to do it and it's something he's not used to).

Am I being over-fussy? Can anyone clarify the process? Any other light to be shed on this?
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
However, it does bug me in that I feel that this oversight detracts from the professional appearance of my album.

I don't think I ever paid much attention to countdowns between songs, or even if there were any.
I actually think a visual countdown maybe takes away from the listening exerience...the planned silence between songs, and the surprise start of the next song.
I mean...do you bother to countdown the entire song as it's playing...???

Don't worry about it....the "pro" part is not about what's between the songs. ;)
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
The explanation I have been by my mastering engineer (who has generally done an excellent job) is that the tracks were rendered as one long file (albeit with tracks marks). He told me that enabling the countdown feature involves a separate process but I don't recall the details and to be honest didn't fully understand it when he briefly explained. Something about having to render each track separately? All I know is, for my other albums, the mastering process didn't seem to take as long as this would suggest.
ALmost every mastering engineer I know (myself included) stopped using end points (that's what you're missing) as soon as iTunes and other forms of digital delivery took hold. Personally, I'd very much welcome the fact that you have no stop (end) points -- Otherwise, via digital delivery, you'll wind up with awkward gaps that won't resemble playback of the DDP or CD. Including those gaps guarantees (with some exceptions, like programs that "skip" the silence for whatever reason) consistency. Even with some CD players, especially professional decks (radio stations, PAC's, etc.), gaps are -- unnecessary at best and semi-problematic at worst.

I am going to be doing a repress next week for other reasons so I have the opportunity to redo the DDP image 'with' the countdowns included. My engineer says he never does this even for major label releases, but he is willing to do it for me (although he's not crazy about having to do it and it's something he's not used to).

He never does it because it really doesn't happen much. Heck, I stopped using end points in the 90's. There was never any good reason to use them in the first place IMO -- Except with "flow" records where the song would end as some sort of transitional thing came in before the next track's start marker.

Yes, over fussy.

Well, yeah. Over fussy. He's doing you a favor in the long run - Leave it at that.
 

Here's Jonny!

New member
I am referring to the way a CD player will display the gap between the end of one track and the next track mark as a reverse countdown.

I have recently had my album mastered and pressed and have noticed that these countdowns do not take place. The gaps are incorporated into the total length of each track at the end (this doesn't apply to the last track, of course).

I was a bit disappointed, as all my other albums have featured this. All other albums in my collection, in fact.

I realise that it doesn't make a difference to the listener, the countdown doesn't appear on computer playback and - as far as I can tell - CDs with the countdown still incorporate the gap into the total length of the tracks. However, it does bug me in that I feel that this oversight detracts from the professional appearance of my album.

The explanation I have been by my mastering engineer (who has generally done an excellent job) is that the tracks were rendered as one long file (albeit with tracks marks). He told me that enabling the countdown feature involves a separate process but I don't recall the details and to be honest didn't fully understand it when he briefly explained. Something about having to render each track separately? All I know is, for my other albums, the mastering process didn't seem to take as long as this would suggest.

I am going to be doing a repress next week for other reasons so I have the opportunity to redo the DDP image 'with' the countdowns included. My engineer says he never does this even for major label releases, but he is willing to do it for me (although he's not crazy about having to do it and it's something he's not used to).

Am I being over-fussy? Can anyone clarify the process? Any other light to be shed on this?
How do you do the reverse countdown? I've looked everywhere online, not a single detail about it, except this forum thread mentioning it.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
The track end marker is placed some amount of time before the next track start marker. Normally the end marker of one track is at the same point as the start marker of the next, but in most software you can separate them.
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
And no one uses them anymore. Or at least, it's exceedingly rare. I last used them on a sound effects collection (where it's actually useful). That's about it.
 

Here's Jonny!

New member
The track end marker is placed some amount of time before the next track start marker. Normally the end marker of one track is at the same point as the start marker of the next, but in most software you can separate them.
I saw on iTunes where you can add a 2-10 second gap, Do you know if that does the countdown? I burned a cd for my Grandpa with the gap setting on, but never had a chance to test if it actually did that, I was walking out the door as soon as it finished burning. I know, I'm that weird guy who still likes those countdowns. Most of my CDs are "best of"s from the 90's of 50's artists and they all have countdowns on them.
 

Here's Jonny!

New member
Now another question I have is, I saw on the Tom Petty "Full Moon Fever" album where it starts counting down between what would be Side 1 & Side 2 where he tells us to pause for a moment out of respect for records and cassette listeners, how do you do that?
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
Now another question I have is, I saw on the Tom Petty "Full Moon Fever" album where it starts counting down between what would be Side 1 & Side 2 where he tells us to pause for a moment out of respect for records and cassette listeners, how do you do that?
You use professional audio software, which I suspect you don't have because the "gap" reference suggests you're using some kind of consumer disc burning program. In the pro software I've used (mostly Vegas Pro), you freely place audio files and markers on a timeline. If you want a start or end marker in the middle of an audio file, it will let you do that.
 
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