Platinum Notes 4: Your Questions Answered

Platinum Notes 4

Available now for PC and Mac, Platinum Notes 4 claims to automatically improve the vast majority of digital music files.

Platinum Notes 4 is the first update to the music file improvement software from Mixed In Key in more than two years. For the uninitiated, Platinum Notes is designed to batch analyse all of your music files and make overall improvements to them like correcting volume differences, tightening up the bass drums, removing digital clicking, and correcting key discrepancies.

While some people baulk at the idea of letting software "automatically master" their music, others swear by the results Platinum Notes gets them - and the new version (review coming soon), has added a beguiling extra feature in the shape of a "warmth" filter, designed to add back some of the warmth allegedly lost from music in the switch from vinyl to digital.

We caught up with Yakov Vorobyev, the man behind both Platinum Notes and Mixed in Key, to ask him some of the questions you have asked us over the years since the last version dropped about music mastering and what Platinum Notes can (and can't) do:

What is the main purpose of Platinum Notes?
To me, Platinum Notes is a guarantee that every file in my music collection will sound great on a loud sound system. It's software designed to improve your tracks by giving the same volume and excellent contrast between quiet and loud parts. You'll enjoy perfect audio files without any clipping or distortion.

Who is using it, and what for?
Platinum Notes is made for DJs. Speaking from personal experience, I get my tracks from different sources. I download promos from SoundCloud, and get lots of music from Beatport, Traxsource, Amazon and iTunes. None of them have equal volume, and many tracks have clipped peaks. This is not Beatport's fault, they just sell the tracks that music labels provide to them. Our goal was to make MP3s and WAVs from different labels sound perfect together.

Yakov Vorobyev

Yakov Vorobyev, founder of Mixed In Key and Platinum Notes, answers your questions about Platinum Notes 4.

My music collection is all 320kbps MP3s and 256kbps AACs. Will it improve those?
Most of my collection is 320kbps MP3s and uncompressed WAV files, and Platinum Notes works perfectly on them. In fact, we recommend that DJs buy WAV files and run them through Platinum Notes, since that provides the best source material.

Can it be trusted to fix things about my music files automatically, or should I be listening to them too?
I trust it to work automatically. This is our fourth generation product, so it's stable and mature. The first version came out six years ago, so we've improved a lot over that time. Once you drop in the first 10 files, you'll understand very quickly what it's doing and you will trust the results immediately.

I don't like the idea of applying something automated to my music without understanding what it's doing - can you tell me in detail what exactly Platinum notes does when it processes a file please?
First, the file is decoded to an uncompressed WAV. Second, Platinum Notes analyses the volume of the file with our special algorithm that pays attention only to the drums. The benefit of drum analysis is that all your output files will have the same drum volume, which is really nice for beatmatching.

Next, it detects any clipped peaks, and fixes them with a combination of an iZotope multi-band audio processor, and our custom algorithm for clipped peak repair. It makes your music sound smoother and less distorted. After that, Platinum Notes adds warmth using an iZotope Exciter.

We have three settings: "No Warmth", "Gentle Warmth" and "Hot vacuum tube", which regulate the intensity of the effect. Gentle Warmth is like sitting by the pool in Ibiza during the summer. Hot vacuum tube is like listening to an old vinyl record at a record store. Both are good settings, but we recommend the "Gentle" setting for most DJs. Any pitch problems are fixed during processing as well.

Finally, Platinum Notes adjusts the volume of the output file by using another iZotope filter called IRC Limiter. It's an elite-quality plugin that makes music louder without clipping it.

I want to point out that Platinum Notes never overwrites your original files. It creates new tracks with a slightly different filename, so you'll know which ones have been improved. There's no danger of messing up your music.

Can you explain "decode to an uncompressed WAV", please?
Platinum Notes decodes to a high-quality WAV so it can work with the highest-quality material during the processing phase. It keeps the music sounding crystal clear without any artefacts. I think it's important to use high quality source material because it gives Platinum Notes more room to recover the quality.

I can think of a photography analogy. Imagine trying to print a beautiful poster for your wall. If your source file is a low-resolution JPEG, the poster will look fuzzy. If your source is a large RAW file from a top-quality DSLR camera, the poster will look crystal clear and beautiful. We recommend using WAV files for source material because they give Platinum Notes more room for improvement.

What did you get asked for the most with regards to the version, and have these changes been made in the latest version?
We added the new "Warmth" filter since it's a really valuable tool for DJs. It's nice to get a little bit of that "vinyl" sound without damaging the audio quality. We also updated the user interface so it's easier to see the results of processing for each file. It feels good to look at Platinum Notes processing hundreds of tracks.

What other benefits/advantage does Platinum Notes have on top of those mentioned above?
It saves you a ton of time. I used to open my files in Sound Forge and edit each one using a combination of different audio plug-ins. It took forever. Platinum Notes can process thousands of my files without any effort - I just add my tracks, click "Start Processing", and the whole thing gets done automatically. The typical "Auto-Gain" functionality in iTunes and Traktor cannot come close to what Platinum Notes does for each file.

What "big names" are using and endorsing the product?
Pete Tong's a fan, and so are thousands of other Mixed In Key customers. People use it all over the world and it's growing every day.

Who "ear tested" it? Whose job was it to listen to and tune the results being obtained from the software when you were developing it?
Recently, we hired two audio engineers in Miami to audit our algorithm and suggest improvements. Unfortunately, they agreed that the official template is as good as it gets. We were hoping for some new ideas. As a result of our audit, we decided to create a second template called "Festival" that has a little more "air" in the hi-hats. It has the perfect balance of bass and hi-hats for me: I use it on all my tracks.

Why is it so expensive?
Platinum Notes is like the Rolls Royce of audio mastering. We use three different iZotope filters, a pitch correction filter from a highly respected German company, and several of our own algorithms. It's crammed with studio-grade plugins and algorithms, so $98 is a very reasonable price.

• The new version of Platinum Notes is available at US$98 now.

Do you use Platinum Notes? What's your experience of the software? if not, would you be tempted to? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. scooterADAM says:

    Do I understand correctly that using this will strip a track of its existing cue points and beat grids? its potentially changing the wave form right?

    Does indeed sound like it will add some goodness to ones music, but it seems as though it will also require a significant investment in time re-adding all the metadata and fixing beatgrids.

    • It’s creating a brand new audio file…so if you’ve applied beatgrids, cues to a track they remain on your original track – you would need to re-do them on your new audio track.

      I don’t have Platinum Notes so I can’t test this for you…maybe someone else can?

    • Scooter, you’re right. If you run Platinum Notes on music that already has Cue points, you’ll have to re-do them manually afterwards.

      We always recommend running files through Platinum Notes first, then adding them to your favorite DJ software. It’s always the first step in my music preparation chain.

  2. King of Snake says:

    hi Phil,
    do i understand correctly PN will analyse and write the key of a song as well?

    regards
    KoS

    • Platinum Notes doesn’t do key detection, it’s only an audio mastering tool. Mixed In Key is what we use for key detection.

      • King of Snake says:

        alright
        thanks Yakov for your response.
        i like Chuck’s suggestion(s) below…
        regards
        KoS

      • Hello,
        Quick question. Yesterday i put my set through platinum notes and at the club there were a couple audio issues…..some distortion, rumbling weird bass,etc

        We were using a Traktor Z2 mixer btw…

        Thanks

  3. Everything sounds good except re adding all my cue points and beat grids. Big turn off.

    • I’d honestly leave the old files alone and only use it on new. Maybe toss old files you think could sound better in.

      I’ve said it over and over…if you think your stuff sounds great, then why mess with it? In a room of 500 people you might have 1-2 audiophiles, but 498-499 people who honestly don’t care.

      No need to put added stress on your life. :)

  4. How does it affect lossless files ?

    • It works great on lossless files. You can give Platinum Notes the highest-quality files you can find, and it’ll gently repair any acoustic problems like volume, pitch and dynamics.

      In Photoshop, people prefer working with uncompressed files because it gives the highest quality results. It’s pretty much the same thing in Platinum Notes: better input files means better output files.

      • I’m a HUGE fan of MIK(will you just let Traktor and Serato use YOUR CAMELOT format!! Their key detection is horrendous and that new D/M system is horrible in traktor) and have been toying about the idea of getting PN for a while now-but I have ALL 320kbps MP3s from beatport-how will those work for me because I’m ALWAYS messing about with the gains in traktor!

  5. will it work with MP4 videos coming from xtendamix and VJ-pro/ smash vision ?

    • There is always a risk in processing video files, because the video/audio streams could go off-sync. We decided to focus on audio files only, so Platinum Notes doesn’t support any video formats.

  6. Can PN 4 integrate with my itunes database?
    All my tracks are on their original places in .mp3 format, but I don’t want to search track file per track file in their folder in finder.
    I wish I could select a smart playlist or manual playlist in itunes and give it all to PN 4 optimize.
    Is that possible?

    I also have questions regard id3 tag comments, itunes rating and cuepoint/beatgrid in traktor.

    Should be nice a FAQ regarding this general doubts.

    Thank you :)

    • We’re going to explore how iTunes does playlist management, and we may release a free upgrade that has better iTunes integration. Thanks for another +1 for that idea.

      > I also have questions regard id3 tag comments, itunes rating and cuepoint/beatgrid in traktor.

      We don’t transfer cue points/beatgrids to new files because the audio may shift by a few milliseconds due to processing. Every track created by Platinum Notes has to be re-done in DJ software, so we always recommend that people put music into PN first, and then drop it into their DJ software.

    • You can drag selected tracks in iTunes to Platinum Notes, so you could just select all of your playlist.

      • Once the Itunes integration come out I will purchase this program without hesitation. Otherwise, going file by file editing & rating my songs again doesn’t sound to pleasant.

  7. I don’t really see the price point as being very high, it’s actually quite reasonable to what I was imagining it might be.

    I’d enjoy trying this out on some of my older tracks, though I do admit that tinkering with my tracks in such a way seems a bit taboo.

    • I don’t like the idea of messing with “good” files either. Platinum Notes leaves perfect files alone, and gently modifies “good” files. If the file is “bad”, stronger processing is applied. I can run my entire collection through the software and not worry about it, because the strength is adjusted dynamically.

  8. Alex TC says:

    Though I try not to be overkill about the sound quality, I strive for the best I can and I´ve been using PN for some time, I really like the results. Got around 70% of my music through it and then MiK so far, I´m not too good with file managing so I have to do things slowly, a few at a time (but I PN and MiK all new stuff before adding to my iTunes).

    I´m looking for exactly what it does i.e. add some quality to the music and normalize my files. I´d have to run it all over again on this one but I believe once I´ve organize all my files it´ll be easier and faster. IMHO it´s worth it I like both programs very much.

  9. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Hey folks,

    Bought PN recently (and got lucky with the almost instant upgrade :-)) and so far, so good.

    I do understand the concern about having to redo all your existing stuff. I also understand that the best advice is to only run your new stuff through PN (make it part of your download to playable track workflow).

    However, say you had been using PN for the last 2 years (only on new stuff), by now you’d have a pretty decent amount of tracks all cue’d, gridded and looped. And now PN 4.0 gives us a great new “warmth” option, which you’d want to apply to your already PN’ed files. It would be very nice (I think) to have the option to “re-PN” files (possibly with the selectable option to only run the new features or to re-PN the entire file) and have them stored under the same filename with all the cuepoints intact (these are kept seperately in metadata, not inside the music file itself if I am not mistaken).

    The prospect of having to redo my entire collection (or have several “blocks” of music files in my collection depending on no PN, PN 3.x, PN4.x and future PN x.x versions) is not very appealing.

    I do think that if there is a solution possible for that problem it needs to be found.

    One other thing I think would be a nice addition is some kind of “master-skin” which, if you own both PN and MiK, allows you to run both programs simultaneously. Obviously it could also be merged to one program, with the licensing key unlocking only the features you bought.

    If you have a rather large collection it seems a bit silly having to go through the entire process twice.

    Greetinx,
    C.

    • > The prospect of having to redo my entire collection (or have several “blocks” of music files in my collection depending on no PN, PN 3.x, PN4.x and future PN x.x versions) is not very appealing.

      > I do think that if there is a solution possible for that problem it needs to be found.

      I agree, we’ll think about it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • +1 for the master skin program!

      • Jam-Master Jake says:

        Agreed, Chuck. This is why I will never upgrade Mixed In Key again. I bought 5.0 over a year ago and scanned my entire library. When 5.6 came out, I upgraded and rescanned my library once more. The rescanning wiped out EVERY SINGLE BEATGRID, CUE-POINT, and COMMENT in my library. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE…just for an “Energy Level” tag to be added. That’s proving to be an awful lot of work for a minimal amount of improvement.

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        I can see how that ruined your day.

        Especially when there was no actual work done on the music file itself (ergo no changes in the beatgrid), just metadata changes.

        Which makes me wonder. MiK and PN take the original file, work on it, then store the results. I wonder (especially for MiK – since this is only an analysis tool) what would happen if the workflow in MiK becomes:
        * make copy of original file – add MiKversion# to the name)
        * analyse the original file
        * save the original file under the original file name
        Logic dictates (but I may not be logical enough) that since you are effectively only writing tag changes to the ORIGINAL file, any other tag and metadata in the original file should stay untouched. All you’d need to do when starting up (for example) Traktor again is rescan tags and you should have both the new information and all your cue points and such intact.

        For PN it would be a different story, since there is the potential of actual changes in the sound file, which might mess up your cuepoints, even if they are saved.

        Greetinx,
        C.

      • @Jam-Master Jake – cue points and beatgrids should be preserved when files are processed with MIK. Have you contacted tech support about this problem?

  10. Being one of the first users of the software, I have used MIK & PN for years. I even bought their Mashup program. MIK is their flagship and the one I like; it does the job effectively enough – saving you a lot of time and effort. Mashup, to me is mostly a cheap imitation of MixMiester. But my real issue is with PN.

    The developers always tout iTunes in their examples of how to use PN. The default file format in iTunes downloads is 256kbps, VBR AAC. However, PN does not offer anything similar in it’s ‘Output File Formats’. It doesn’t have AAC at all and only has 192 and 320 kbps MP3. This means PN is worthless if your iTunes library consists of 256kbps files. Any option other than 192kbps would be “up-sampling”, and 192 would be inferior to 256…

    • Alfonso, we improved PN significantly in that regard. These are the latest “output format” options in PN 4:

      1. AIFF (16 bit / 44 kHZ)
      2. Apple Lossless (16 bit / 44 kHZ)
      3. FLAC (16 bit / 44 kHZ)
      4. MP3 using encoding (CBR, 320kbps or VBR, 192)
      5. WAV (16 bit / 44 kHZ)

      We figured that AIFF and Apple Lossless are probably better options than AAC encoding because of the higher quality.

      • If I input a tagged MP3, AAC or Apple Lossless file and output to Apple Lossless will it copy over the tags and album art?

      • Simmo: yes, it copies the album art and regular tags.

      • I get a bit lost at all these different formats-perhaps Yakov-you and Phil could do an article together on formats, bit rates and their differences(maybe with some samples put in for us to listen to??)

      • Yakov, that’s all very well; But like your interviewer Phil Morse mentioned: “My music collection is all 320kbps MP3s and 256kbps AACs…” Evidently, the issue of all the 256kbps AAC tracks was not addressed because they’re technically unusable in PN for the reasons I stated.
        If you don’t want to touch AAC at all, you should at the very least incorporate 256kbps VBR, MP3. This is a no-brainer; you have just about everything else. – why not 256kbps?
        Mr. Morse, myself and many others have a vast library of 256kbps music. Much of this was obtained from sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Juno, etc that only offer 256kbps downloads or they’re from all the years of CD-Ripping done prior to Hard-Drive space becoming more affordable.

  11. been thinking about getting it for quite some time now and after reading this interview I went to their site and bought it. First prosses is trying out some 80’s hits to see the resaults. I only have 3450 songs on my gig laptop and probable less then 1500 that are club/house that I might play at a gig maybe only 400 that I have in playlists that have cuepoints. So takeing them little by little should not be to much work.

  12. I havent used platinum noted yet, but i must say that yakov is exceptional at customer service. Always replies back very quickly. Hard to find good customer service these days. Ive been a customer since the first edition of mixed in key came out and its been a valuable piece of software. Cant wait to try out platinum notes.

    • Thank you :) Really surprised and happy to see positive comments. We try our best, and we’ll keep doing that.

      • dennis parrott says:

        the folks who hang out at phil’s place tend to be really nice. we seem to excel at working and playing well with others… maybe we did learn something in kindergarten!!

        as for other dj sites, well, YMMV.

        thanks for taking the time to answer questions about your product. i read about it when i bought MiK and was somewhat suspicious of it. based on the information you brought here today i am thinking i should reconsider… my library is a mess anyway and cleaning it up might as well include making things sound better! thanks, yakov!

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      I’ll second that. Have moved back and forth with MiK starting on PC then moving to MacBook. Very prompt response with new key for OSX. Then I bought PN for Mac and decided (quickly) to switch it all back to PC. Can’t beat 6-core processing with 12GB of Ram after all. Again, very prompt and kind reply.

      Good job indeed.

      Greetinx,
      C.

  13. Will i lose all my warped tracks in ableton after running my tracks thru platinum notes? Is there a way around this if it does?

    • Yes, the warping is specific to each file, and the beatgrid won’t transfer over to the new files. It would have to be redone.

  14. Sebastian Thomas says:

    Hi guys, I’ve been using PN and MIk for about 2 yrs now and have noticed that sometimes the output file from PN processing has gone Mono for some parts of the song instead of being stereo all the way. For example, it sometimes eats up the left channel or the right depending on what it feels like! It’s not a regular thing, but I’ve noticed it happening. I’m not sure if some of you have a similar problem. All I then do is delete that PN file and redo the process for those unsuccessfully processed tracks and it usually works. Any thoughts?

  15. I think PN is a great way to save time and improve the perceived audio quality but only if it does the job well. It is a great initiative and therefore I feel it deserves a thumbs up!

    Unfortunately, I do have reservations, some of them previously mentioned. Paying $98,- is a good price ONLY IF it works well. If it doesn’t then it is still money thrown away and therefore I would really appreciate an honest answer about my biggest concern, explained as follows:

    I have been converting my vinyl to .wav formats (many, many styles of music from 70’s until I started purchasing digital formats 10 years ago). Everything from reggae, soul, disco and funk to modern day electronic music.

    To record, I used professional (almost audiophile) quality cartridges, DJ-mixer and pre-amp (better than Stanton, Pioneer, etc.). Recorded into Logic at 24bit but using the internal sound card in Mac and then bouncing to 16 bit in Logic after editing and slight sound enhancing. I have often found that the recordings always sound terribly harsh. I was under the assumption that the harshness could probably only be solved using something like Pro Tools. If PN works well, then it would be a great time saver. Although I feel reasonably convinced that it would work well using digital formats purchased from music portals, I would only like to purchase if I am convinced it ‘also’ works well using using .wav-files recorded as I mentioned above.

    Could you possibly elaborate on this. Is there any way to try 3 different tracks ‘before’ purchasing?

    Thanks in advance, cheers, John.

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      Hmmmm, that sounds odd. The RIAA curve dictates that the highs are supressed while the lows are boosted. So for you to have harsh sounding vinyl recordings is interesting.

      Is the harshness there after recording (in 24-bit logic file) or only after bouncing in the 16-bit file?

      I’ll leave the detailed answers to what PN can do for you to Yakov, he seems to be on top of this thread :-).

      Greetinx,
      C.

    • John: Our software has a 100% money back guarantee, that’s something that most companies don’t do. There’s no demo, but that’s a good alternative.

      • Hi Yakov, I’m sorry, I didn’t know about that there was a 100% money back guarantee…definitely a good alternative. Thanks for that, cheers, John.

  16. I’ve tryed a few songs now. How I did was run a few songs through PN then deleted the original removed the _PN from song name inported back to Traktor. The file keeped all cuepoints but some were a little of so just moved them back on beat and all was fine again. So I can put all my songs throught PN without loosing my cue point although I need to go through them again to check if they are still on beat, but won’t have to remember where they were and set them all over from scratch. so that is realy good. I tested listening to an original file of A-ha – take on me and compared it to it after PN and it sounded alot better more bunch. I’m a happy user of PN from now on.

  17. DJ alt.rock says:

    I’m a wav or high bit-rate savant and have been losing my mind chasing down higher bitrate versions of rare old funk and roots reggae tracks that, unfortunately, were ripped at 128 or 192. Realistically, would Platinum Notes help?

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      At the end of the day, you can only work on psycho-acoustics (i.e. the PERCEIVED sound). If a file is ripped at a certain bitrate, you can never make it actually better. The original information is just not there.

      Same goes for digital clipping. What happens is that the top of the waveform is simply cut off, producing a blockwave which sounds awful. It is a neat trick that PN manages to remove the clipping, although I am guessing in essence they are reshaping the waveform. As such the resulting new waveform can never be an exact replica of the original waveform as intended. That said, digital clipping sounds far worse than a slightly altered waveform, so you are better off with a sounds slightly different from what was originally intended than with the alternative.

      Back to psycho-acoustics though. Our ears are great little machines with amazing powers (of audible deception :-)). We can easily fool our ears into hearing something that isn’t there. Our ears/brain will fill in the blank spots and/or delete noise we want to filter out.

      I haven’t delved very deep into PN yet, but so far I think they have done a great job of taking best practice audio engineering techniques, using high end tools to execute those techniques and come up with a more uniform sounding collection of tracks.

      It’s not the miracle cure-all to fix-all, but it IS the best automated tool I have seen so far. PERHAPS, you can do better if you are a seasoned sound engineer, have access to all the relevant plug-ins (some of which cost more than a controller/DJ software combo by the way) and plenty of time. Even then, no automation, but track by track work.

      So, in long answer to your short question: even PN can’t recreate what isn’t there in the first place. It can however make sure that what you have sounds as good to the human ear as the source material permits.

      Greetinx,
      C.

      • “It’s not the miracle cure-all to fix-all, but it IS the best automated tool I have seen so far. PERHAPS, you can do better if you are a seasoned sound engineer, have access to all the relevant plug-ins (some of which cost more than a controller/DJ software combo by the way) and plenty of time. Even then, no automation, but track by track work.”

        Thank you for saying that. That was a huge compliment, I really appreciate it.

  18. Using PN4 for a few days now (used PN3 for quite a long time) and must say this upgrade works pretty good. Nice work Yakov and crew!

  19. DJ Lando says:

    I have been wanting to purchase platinum notes since 2010 when I first heard about it, but I have been waiting until my old Dell laptop dies or I buy the MacBook of my dreams. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my 7 year old PC is still running strong like bull. If I purchase Platinum Notes 4 for my Windows computer, can I download it again with the same license for my future Mac?

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      I switched twice, both times an email to them got me a quick response with a new download link and vip code.

      So yes, you can swith later if you want.

      I went from PC to my MacBook and after a while RAN back to my PC :-)

      MB Pro’s might be great DJ tools, but they don’t come near to the raw processing power my PC delivers.

      Greetinx,
      C.

  20. djrizki says:

    We have three settings: “No Warmth”, “Gentle Warmth” and “Hot vacuum tube”, which regulate the intensity of the effect. Gentle Warmth is like sitting by the pool in Ibiza during the summer. Hot vacuum tube is like listening to an old vinyl record at a record store. Both are good settings, but we recommend the “Gentle” setting for most DJs. Any pitch problems are fixed during processing as well.

    Could you possibly elaborate on this “pitch problems are fixed” ?
    Does it mean tempo-pitch ? Or what sort of pitch ?
    Does it mean if you run thru an old 70’s disco funk like for example, “Midas Touch” by Midnight Star, into PN, it’s automatically correct the “pitch”? (since ya know most 70’s disco tunes its not done digitally), so when you try to beat-match DJ it, the songs tempo-pitch wont run across here and Timbuktu and back…
    That would be super legit !

    • We have two options for pitch correction, which you can see in this screenshot:

      http://platinumnotes.com/Images/PN4_Screenshot_Customize.png

      Option #1: Vinyl-style. If the pitch of the song is too low, we increase the BPM to make the song more high-pitched. This is equivalent to increasing the pitch on your CDJ or turntable. This is the safest, most gentle way to correct pitch problems without affecting audio quality, but obviously it’ll change the BPM of the output file.

      Option #2: Re-pitch. We fix the pitch, but keep the exact same BPM. This what you would get if you used Ableton Live’s “Complex” repitch mode. We use an algorithm called Elastique Pro from zplane.development, a well-known German company that’s at the core of many DJ products.

      I want to clarify that Platinum Notes is not like Auto-Tune. It doesn’t add crazy repitch effects that sound like T-Pain or Cher. Instead, it corrects the whole track at once. So if it was 25% off key before processing, it would become 0% off-key after processing.

      • So you are centering it into a key for easier use in software like Mixed In Key? I find using the word ‘problem’ problematic….as in, how many times are these off keys done by accident….

    • That was going to be my very question. What does it mean by ‘pitch _PROBLEMS_’

      -James

      • Hi all…I would like to elaborate on this, if I’m not mistaken, I think there is slight confusion here with the term ‘pitch’ and that goes back to the days of the use of vinyl on the Technics SL1200 turntables.

        These turntables have a fader called ‘Pitch Adjustment’. By using this, not only would it change the ‘speed’ or ‘tempo’ of the track but with vinyl it would also change the pitch or the ‘perceived tone’ (hence the name ‘Pitch Adjustment’). Therefore, back in the day, DJ’s used to speak about ‘pitching’ vinyl records up or down but what they were actually referring to was the ‘tempo’, i.e. changing the tempo or speed using the ‘pitch’ control. Using this term became commonplace and can therefore be confusing. I think what djrizki is asking is ‘does PN tighten up the tempo’. I’m pretty sure it does not! To do this you would have to use other software (but beware, you could lose significant sound quality).

        Apologies upfront but please anyone, feel free to correct me if I’m if I am mistaken or if I have explained this incorrectly. If possible, try to avoid commenting in terms that may be too technical for myself or other readers :)

        Cheers, John

        P.S. I’m curious what Yakov or others have to say about this

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        Yeah, I think that is right.

        Key correction is a highly specialized field. Yakov already mentioned AutoTune (and there are others) as a tool for doing that.

        Even AutoTune is still pretty much ment for single channel operation (i.e. only vocals or a piano for example), it is still pretty much not possible to do pitch correction on stereo tracks.

        AutoTune is a great tool to correct one or two notes that missed the mark for a recording without having to redo anotherwise perfect take. Some producers now actually use it as a creative tool.

        If the total pitch of a track is off, EVERYTHING in the track will be off by the same amount. I think that what PN does is check this trackwide pitch deviation and corrects it (see Yakov’s explanation on this above). His option two sounds like they do option one and then just do a BPM change with key pitch locked.

        I guess this whole process has nothing to do with a particular beatgrid or anything (so no elastic audio), no quantizing, just checking if the notes in the song are on key, not next to it. And since our ears are sensitive to pitch/key deviations, that is a good thing :-).

        Greetinx,
        C.

      • “If the total pitch of a track is off, EVERYTHING in the track will be off by the same amount. I think that what PN does is check this trackwide pitch deviation and corrects it…”

        This is spot on. The pitch correction doesn’t adjust individual instruments in the mix, it adjusts the entire song’s overall pitch.

        This example will illustrate why this is important. If you have one song that is 25% off key flat, and one song that is 25% off key sharp, and then you try mixing them harmonically, you’re half a semitone off pitch which isn’t going to sound good even if they are “in the same key.” It is this type of problem that Yakov is referring to.

  21. Abijah Overman says:

    love it. only suggestion i can think of would be keeping a record of processing before-and-after information for each track that’s ran through it. unessential, i know, but would be interesting nonetheless.

  22. Question:

    Could someone also clarify something else which I have found really, really confusing?

    The term ‘Apple Lossless’ is also pretty confusing and I’m still not quite convinced that I have understood. I ‘think’ that Apple Lossless is also sometimes referred to as ALAC and M4a opposed to Apple Lossy (lesser quality) which is also known as FLAC. Is this correct?

    Thanks for your time, cheers, J.

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      Too much information to go into a full blown description of formats here, but let me try to give you some short answers (I know, I can’t really do short answers, but bare with me :-).

      In essence lossless files (regardless of their denomination) will store files at approximately 40-60% of their original size, without losing any of the original sound quality. So, you can always recreate the exact sound of the source (for example CD) file. Hence the term lossless, you lose nothing.

      Lossy files use “tricks” to make files much smaller (320kbps is only 20-25% of the original, lower kbps even smaller than that). It is impossible to recreate the original sound from an MP3, period. Why, because information has been lost, hence Lossy! However, due to the way our ears work, you can actually lose a lot of information before it becomes audible to us. As such a 320kbps MP3 will, to the human ear, sound just as good as the original CD track. And with a factor 5 smaller file, that is a profit. Especially in the days that hard disk space was measured in MB rather than GB and now TB.

      On PC’s/laptops which have 500GB to 4TB hard disks there is less and less reason to go lossy, but memory sticks, iDevices that are still dealing with 4,8, 16 and 32GB storage space still make it useful to have lossy file formats.

      There are a few other factors, but I won’t bother you with those now.

      You are right that Apple Lossless is nowadays referred to as ALAC, but both AAC and ALAC files use the M4a extension! Just a different compression algorythm.
      Then Apple Lossy is definitely NOT the same as FLAC. FLAC is actually another LOSSLESS format and (ironically in this context) is not even supported by iTunes.

      It seems that ALAC is a relatively “easy” algorythm and therefor better suited for low cpu power devices like iPads and such. Still, spacewise the profit is only about half.

      Someone suggested an article on the whole format, bitrate, bitdepth, sampling rate issue. I think that would be a good one.

      Greetinx,
      C.

      • Grrrrr…and I thought / hoped that I finally had it worked out…hearing this is a real bummer (especially since I use Traktor via iTunes in what I hoped was Apple Lossless format).

        Thanks Chuck

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        In all fairness (I hate iTunes and have very little 256kbps AAC files in my collection as a result), rumor has it that AAC 256kbps sounds the same as 320kbps MP3. If this is the case, which for lack of evidence to the contrary I will accept for the sake of this argument, then there is no real downfall to using lossy AAC files instead of ALAC lossless.

        The discussion has been back and forth here and on the forum for many times, but the concensus seems to be that, ESPECIALLY in the environment DJs work in (often mono, always loud, not always most optimal acoustic circumstances, etx.) there is really no need to worry about the lossless/lossy discussion (provided you stay on the high end = 320k MP3/ 256k AAC), as there is effectively no audible difference. With the possible exception of audiophiles, but they’ll complain anyway LOL.

        So, hope you are not as bummed anymore. If you have 256k AAC files you are using in Traktor, there is nothing to worry about.

        Greetinx,
        C.

      • The thing is…for years I’ve been using original .wav files and since using Traktor via iTunes, I’ve converted those to ALAC so as not to lose sound quality AND incorporate tags (which can I think only be done in iTunes using mp3 or ALAC). Once though, I purchased some tracks via iTunes (which hopefully I’ll NEVER need to do again) or even less often ‘rip’ the occasional unavailable track from wherever. I understand your point about clubs and I agree but it’s a real waste to lose sound quality if not necessary

    • Shenoizy says:

      There was a recent article on this site about choosing file formats for your music library that should be of help – http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2013/04/choosing-the-right-file-formats-for-your-music-library/

      While I don’t doubt that Platinum Notes makes certain improvements to older audio files and brings the whole collection into line I find it concerning that modern digital lossless releases would not already be mastered in the way that the producer had intended them to be heard. Why modify or change that sound which may intentionally be distorted or rough for a reason. That’s how electro-house got its sound.

      • King of Snake says:

        good observation Shenoizy!

      • “I find it concerning that modern digital lossless releases would not already be mastered in the way that the producer had intended them to be heard. Why modify or change that sound which may intentionally be distorted or rough for a reason.”

        I’m surprised that this wasn’t mentioned in the article. It’s because of a concept known as the loudness war (youtube it for some excellent examples). In summary, mastering engineers have progressively been mastering audio louder and louder in an effort to sound “better” than the other guy’s music. This loudness comes at the cost of reduced dynamic range. One of the functions of PN is to restore this lost dynamic range by doing the opposite of compression, which is called expansion.

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        You beat me to the punch, Chad.

        If only we could get those mastering uhmm … ‘engineers’ to stop with the ridiculous 2-3dB dynamic range idea. It has just gotten soooo out of control.

        Several tracks I had recently did just not move the meters at all, with every led representing a 3dB jump.

        Yep, it sounded loud, but also tiring, flat and unimaginative if there is such a thing.

        Would be so much easier not having compression (of that magnitude) to begin with as opposed to reversing the process with expanders and stuff.

        Greetinx,
        C.

  23. King of Snake says:

    hi Yakov,

    another question.
    let’s say the files in my playlist are all run through PN. When i record the set, would it be usefull to run that file (i record to apple lossless) through PN again?
    will it enhance the recording?

    regards
    KoS

    • You can run the entire DJ set through Platinum Notes, but it’ll just change the overall volume. It doesn’t “ride the volume” to adjust individual tracks, it treats the entire set as one long music file.

      I could go either way.

  24. Yakov recommended WAV files a couple of times, but I think it is important to note that they have notoriously poor metadata support. I am recommending that all of our DJs move to AIFF for source files wherever possible, they have perfect metadata support as they use the same ID3 tagging standard that MP3 files have always used.

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      And then, if we could get a global standard for id3 tags for DJs. Like cuepoints, beatgrid info and such, so we are no longer dependent on the whims of DJ software producers, what a day that would be!

      Greetinx,
      C.

  25. Playmochi says:

    I’ve been tempted to buy PN for a very long time, but always wondered if it really was better to recompress a file this way. After reading the article, I bought PN and tried processing just ONE file and I have a question:

    I tried processing Dyro’s Leprechauns & Unicorns bought from Beatport. After processing, I can hear a tinkle/clink kind of noise at each note in the song. I didn’t change any parameters on PN, but would like to know if this issue is common.

    • Playmochi says:

      All right, I’ve found out from the previous PN 3.0 article that it’s due to the pitch correction setting. I’ve tried it without the pitch correction and the issue is resolved. Is there a good argument to keep pitch correction on though? I’m still very new at this.

  26. Robert Wulfman says:

    I play in a very wide variety of electronic genres and I’ve run my whole collection through platinum notes three and I can tell you that maybe 95% of the time it’s an improvement. However if you play a lot of ambient music you might want to watch out as a lot of those tracks are meant to be a bit quieter than a normal track. Platinum notes 3, in my experience can push these types of tracks a bit too far and create some harsh tones and I’m not sure whether they fixed this or not in the new version.

  27. Upgraded from PN3 to PN4. All my files have been mp3. I decided when I upgraded I was going up grade my files as well when running through PN4. I have lost all my album art as well as all my genre tags. Why is this and can this be fixed?

  28. I am a longtime MIK, PN, Mashup user and enjoy using each of those programs but would much prefer paying and upgrade price rather than a repurchase price whenever there is an update/upgrade.

    Also please tell me can you somehow add a feature to PN and MIK that knows when you have already processed a file and will recognize it a) doesn’t need improving, and therefore just recognizes it in the library list and cuts down on time etc. b) needs to be reprocessed for say improvements made in the software.

    Lastly renaming meta data because of say new software or o/s upgrade/failure, hdd issues is also a problem ie multiple _PN_PN notations on files gives me a headache help please lol.

  29. how comes that when i run my applelossless files trough PN4 and output setting is applelossless aswell,that the Pn files got more size.
    PN files are all 1411 kbit/s and original files inbeetween 800 or 1050 kbit/s.

    with my over 40 000 applelosless files,it makes a diffrence for storage space.
    can i just reconvert them after to make em smaller again without and loss of Quality?
    why PN can,t convert them same size as other Converters?

    Another problem i face is,that when i import the PN mp4,and same time the normal mp4 into itunes to check for doubles,that i could see wich ones are not processed(sometimes i lose internet connection or some files have to long file names?,itunes do not recognize like 20% of the files as double,even they have exactly same tags .
    (sorry about my poor english)

  30. Hey everybody,

    I just want to say I bought Platinum Notes 4 for Mac and it is for sure worthwhile. The price-tag is, I agree, a bit higher than I think the market is willing to pay, but for a professional, it’s a small price to pay for what it does.

    The biggest thing for me was normalizing/limiting all my tracks to the same level so that I don’t need to mess with my gain settings on my mixer. Purists will argue this is no big deal, but it’s a huge deal. If you never need to check your levels, you are free to do amazing things with your mix. For me there is just no arguing this point. People who do argue it need to learn to grow and change with the technology.

    One of the things I was looking for was bigger wave-forms in my Serato interface. Now, even the crustiest of old vinyl rips were effortlessly converted into something extremely useful. Thinking back, I canned a lot of tracks and even select tracks based on their viability in a mix. Now, I’m pretty sure 99% of tracks will be instantly useful.

    Of course, you CAN do this yourself in Audition, Audacity, etc. with the right plugins. I already have iZotope Ozone, so all my tracks could be tweaked to my preferences. However, this would take hours and hours for the amount of tracks I have. So, it comes down to this: What is your time worth? For me, my time is worth a lot. This application can save you tons of time and thus make you money. It’s simple.

    I should make it clear, I’m writing this post because after reading loads of comments and reviews on this plugin, what I saw was 50% of the people liked it, and 50% of the people said it wasn’t worth it. I now know that if you don’t like what this plugin does, you are just a stupid person.

    I also really enjoy the vinyl warmth it adds to the tracks. The warm is really tuned well. What it does is cut down some of the sharp highs in overly-mastered tracks and it brings out tracks that have perhaps been under-mastered.

    All said, great plugin. Did exactly what it said it would and more. I think they should work on some sort of a demo for people because the really problem with this app is that you are purchasing it on faith. Perhaps an online system that you could submit one track to and they would output the results at least visually. Something to make it a bit easier for people to make the choice. Hope this review helps somebody!

  31. Cleto Capetta says:

    Hi everyone.

    Can someone kindly give me a little step by step tutorial on how to transfer the PN files in to iTunes please.
    Basically I know how to transfer my files from iTunes it to Mixed In Key, then I transfer the one that need to be adjusted ii to PN. Then I go in to the PN output folder and (here is where I get confused) one by one I swap the files that have been fixed by PN. Now! These files before I move them from the output folders to iTunes they have a distinguished “PN” sign written at the end of the tag, but as soon as I drag them in to the iTunes library the “PN” sign disappear. Am I doing something wrong? or is it normal that on the tag in iTunes the “PN” sign is no longer visible?
    Regards

    Cleto

  32. I have had mixed in key for a while, and love the results, so I picked up my copy of PN, wow…. so nice… i expected it to improve songs, and i expected it to volume level, what i did not expect, and was a pleasant surprise was how easy it was… i took a sample group fully expecting that some “improvements” may not actually be improvements at all with default settings, not the case. every track sounded the same or better.. with zero effort…
    i mean how can you complain about that. i have a 6 core machine and it was pretty quick to do large groups of tracks i set it to use 4 cores, and could still continue working without hesitation. nice feature.

    Thanks from a new found fanboy !!!

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