If You Build It, They Will Come . . .

We're still waiting to see even one official US release of DVD-Audio software, but reports are trickling in that the recording industry is nonetheless planning for the multichannel high-resolution audio landscape. The latest bit of news comes from mastering facility Future Disc Systems, which announced last week that it is now mastering DVD-Audio projects, and will soon be ready for high-resolution surround sound.

Steve Hall, chief mastering engineer at Future Disc, says that "Because the DVD process is complex, a project may be loaded and/or modified by several engineers in facilities with different systems. This can cause errors to degrade and become even worse in the final master. For this reason, all preparation of a final DVD master should be done at the mastering level. This gives the artist and producer complete control over all DVD assets—and allows them to retain the best possible quality as a project goes from mastering to the manufacturing stage."

In preparation for DVD-Audio business, Future Disc says that it has completed Studio 7, a new DVD suite for DVD-Audio and -Video encoding, and is preparing its existing Studio 6 for high-resolution digital audio and surround-sound mastering. Future Disc's Gary Rice comments that "we have made a major investment in Studio 7 in response to client demand for state-of-the-art DVD mastering and authoring capabilities. Both we and our clients are very pleased with the results."

Hall adds, "We are also gearing up the mastering chains and working with several high-end equipment manufacturers to prepare my room, Studio 6, for surround sound. When we are done, we will have the ability to create 24-bit/192kHz multichannel surround-sound masters. This is a very exciting and challenging time for us, as well as for the mastering industry as a whole."