Using HOFA DDP Player
Your master file linked in the email you received is in DDP format which requires a special embedded DDP Player to open and listen to it. What is DDP? Think of it as a virtual image of a compact disc that can be easily transferred via Internet, here’s how it works:
Once you have downloaded the linked file above, it needs to be unzipped (Mac/OSX) or extracted (PC/Windows) . Double clicking the downloaded file is usually the simplest way to do this. Once the file is unzipped on your computer, locate the “Player” folder inside the main folder which contains a special HOFA DDP Player app for Mac or PC. Click either the Mac or Windows version of the app to launch it. If you are using the latest version of MacOS, you may also need to drag the “HOFA_DDP_PLAYER_INFO” file found in the Player folder into the player due to Apple’s latest security measures. The HOFA DDP Player all will guide you if needed.
If you’re getting an error while unzipping or extracting the zip file, it’s likely because the file hasn’t fully downloaded yet. Please wait until the zip file download completes before trying to open it, it could take a bit of time depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Windows Users: Upon downloading the zip file, be sure to “save” the file to your computer (as opposed to the Open With… option), then navigate to the downloaded zip file and EXTRACT ALL FILES contained within the zip file. In the “Player” folder, you should see a HOFA DDP Player Windows PC.exe with the black and orange HOFA logo, clicking on it will launch your master in the HOFA DDP Player.
*Please be aware of the output level control within the DDP Player . Set it to full (0.0 dB) when comparing levels to other sources on your computer like iTunes or Windows Media Player. The output level control doesn’t affect exported files or burned CDs, it only controls playback level from the software. It’s recommended to set the output level to 0.0dB and control the listening level via your computer.
From the DDP Player software you can either listen to the master via your computer like a virtual CD player, burn a reference CD-R , or export each track as a 16-bit/44.1k WAV file to your hard disk . Exported WAV files can then be loaded into your iTunes library if needed, or the WAV files can be used for submitting your songs to digital distributors such as Tunecore, CD Baby, The Orchard, or other digital distribution services. The will automatically be 16-bit/44.1k WAV files which is currently the standard for basic digital distribution.
From the DDP Player software you can either listen to the master like a virtual CD player on your computer, burn a reference CD-R, or export each track as a 16-bit/44.1k WAV file or mp3 to your hard disk for various purposes. Listening inside the player or burning a CD-R from the DDP Player is best.
If you plan to distribute your music via Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or would like to do a special Mastered For iTunes release. It’s recommended to request higher resolution master files if you haven’t done so already.
**Most online distribution services require WAV files to start with, and they take care of converting the WAV files to various data-compressed formats. Always start with a true WAV file for digital distribution. Converting an mp3 file to WAV does not add the resolution or sound quality back that was lost in the mp3 conversion.
Once a file is converted from WAV to mp3, the quality is lost forever. CLICK HERE for more info on format needs.
To save each track as a WAV file from the HOFA DDP Player, select “save all tracks as audio files” in the File menu of the DDP Player. You can also click the disk icons located along the left side of the DDP Player to export just one song, or all songs at one time using the icon at the bottom of the track list.
The reason for using the DDP and DDP Player is so that you can accurately listen to the master in terms of track spacing, track markers, and audio quality. You can also easily view all the titles and info to check for errors. Using the DDP Player eliminates the potential for accidentally altering the spacing between songs or creating sound quality issues, which can easily happen when working with single WAV or mp3 files in iTunes or other consumer media players.
In most cases, a CD plant will replicate discs from this exact same DDP file, so what you’re hearing and seeing on this DDP (or any revised versions) is exactly what will be on your replicated CDs. Even if you are not pressing CDs, DDP is still one of the best ways to audition a master because the sound quality and space between tracks can’t be modified accidentally by the user.
Please note that iTunes will not automatically recognize the info for your burned CD until it is manually submitted to the Gracenote Database.
Let me know if any of the Artist/Album/Track Titles or ISRC codes are either incorrect or incomplete in the DDP Player, and I will correct them. The DDP can’t be edited by the user and must be fixed in the mastering software.
After you’ve given this a few listens, let me know if anything needs to be changed with either the sounds, song spacing, or titles. After this digital master is approved I will make masters for any other formats you requested such as 24-bit vinyl pre-master, instrumentals, or a higher resolution digital master for Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Mastered For iTunes etc.
***I will have all of your mastering files backed up and archived on two separate hard disks for any future needs after the project is finished, but please be sure to keep track of the mastered files I’ve sent you. I will only be able to host them in my Dropbox folder for a few weeks before they will be removed and the links will no longer be active.
It would be appreciated if you would safely store all your mastered files on your computer or hard disk(s). There are also a variety of cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Box where you can simply and securely store your masters long-term. Physical CD-R is not a great way to store masters in my opinion. You’ll be better off in the future saving the WAV files and/or DDP on a hard disk or cloud service.
If you are wondering why your iTunes or other computer software will not recognize the song/artist info of your burned or replicated CDs, please follow this link:
More Gracenote Info
There is also a DDP Player for iOS devices that may interest iPhone and iPad users. Here is a link to more info about it:
DDP Player for iOS