Last updated on

7 Dec. 2002

title.png (5734 bytes)

Main page

Parent page


Comparison of Word Length Reduction systems

ExtraBit Mastering Processor




Technical papers

Audio samples

Users' endorsements

Brief description



logo1.jpg (17184 bytes)


ExtraBit is a high-quality DirectX plug-in for mastering of digital audio. ExtraBit effectively maximizes the dynamic range of audio while converting high-resolution studio master to 44.1 kHz, 16 bit CD format.

ExtraBit word length reduction algorithm is ready for integration into any software or hardware mastering solutions.


ExtraBit Mastering Processor includes:

  • MegaBitMax - a high quality Word Length Reduction system with variable noise shaping and dithering amount. Our specially designed noise shaping algorithm provides minimal noise audibility, while totally removing any quantization distortion from your 16-bit recordings.
  • Mastering Limiter with a novel IRC (Intelligent Release Control) technology and variable aggressiveness. This limiter can easily sound as good as L2 in its loudness and transparency.



Feb. 3

A new version of ExtraBit Mastering Processor 2.5 has been released. This version features a totally reworked Mastering Limiter with a new IRC technology. Try it on your tracks! Demo DirectX plug-in is available for downloading.

Dec. 7

Welcome to - the site on a new Word Length Reduction technology MegaBitMax (former name - ExtraBit). Here you can find the description of the technology, audio examples and comparisons with competing noise shaping and dithering systems.

mbm.png (5482 bytes)

Oct. 15

More ExtraBit / MegaBitMax - processed samples are available at the "Audio samples" section.

More user endorsements have been submitted.

Sept. 2

ExtraBit algorithm is being integrated into SPARK mastering software by TC WORKS. Spark release is planned for this October.



Here you can download the latest demo version of ExtraBit Mastering Processor. It features a full functionality, but a limited length of processed-at-once audio block (about 14 seconds).

Download the demo version of ExtraBit Mastering Processor 2.5     new!

After ExtraBit installation completes, you are ready to use ExtraBit from your sound editor (e.g. Cool Edit Pro or Sound Forge).


Technical papers

Here you can read more about ExtraBit noise shaping system and compare different popular commercially available noise shapers (e.g. L1-Ultramaximizer, UV22, etc.):

new!  "Comparison of Word Length Reduction Systems for Digital Audio" paper (2-nd edition) (HTML page),

"Sonically optimized noise shaping techniques" paper (2-nd edition) (PDF file, slightly out of date).


Audio samples

1. Short samples - big shootout of different requantization systems

Compare how different word length reduction systems really sound! Given the same original high-resolution sample, different systems are running in their best modes to reduce the bit resolution.

Below we present results of word length reduction from 16+ bits to 12 bits. It enables everyone to hear the difference. When reducing word length from 20+ bits to 16 bits, similar artifacts arise.

Original high-resolution master
No dithering (truncation)
Standard TPDF dithering (no noise shaping)
UV22 by Apogee
POW-R system, "pow-r1" preset
POW-R system, "pow-r2" preset
POW-R system, "pow-r3" preset
L1-Ultramaximizer by Waves, "Ultra" preset
L2 by Waves, "Ultra" preset
WaveLab, "Type3" preset
Cool Edit, "44.1KHz" preset
ExtraBit, "Light" preset
ExtraBit, "Medium" preset
ExtraBit, "High" preset
ExtraBit, "Ultra" preset

* The presented WAV files (around 250 Kb each) are in 44.1 kHz, 16-bit, stereo format, although actual resolution of all the files (but the first one) is 12 bits.

** The positions in this table are unordered. For subjective quality results please refer to my paper on noise shaping.

In the following WAV file you can compare how some of these systems sound on very low signal levels (on reverb tail). This file has been composed from 1.5 second long tails of previous files. It contains 4 fragments (1.5 sec long each): 1. Truncation, 2. Standard TPDF dither, 3. POW-r3, 4. ExtraBit-Ultra.

Reverb tails: (300 Kb)

The actual resolution of this file is 12 bits.

2. Longer samples: comparison of several selected requantization systems

2.1.  8-bit samples (for ease of comparison)

All these samples (except original master) are 8-bit, 44.1 kHz, stereo WAV files. By comparing these 8-bit files you can form an opinion on how these systems sound in 16-bits.

Download samples (1.6 Mb ZIP archive)

00 - original high-resolution master
01 - truncated to 8 bits
02 - standard TPDF dithering
03 - the "most widely known" word length reduction system (UV22)
04 - the "most powerful" word length reduction system available today (POW-R3)
05 - MegaBitMax "Ultra" preset
06 - MegaBitMax "High" preset

2.2.  16-bit samples

All these samples are 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, stereo WAV files in ZIP archives.

Download 01 - truncated to 16 bits (730 Kb)
Download 02 - the "most powerful" (POW-R3) word length reduction system available today (1.6 Mb)
Download 03 - MegaBitMax "Ultra" preset (1.8 Mb)

Thanks to RayMaxer for providing the original sample with gorgeous ambient fade-out from his "Without You" single.

3. Long samples of MegaBitMax

These samples are 8-bit, 44.1 kHz, stereo WAV files in ZIP archives. You'll be amazed of how quiet and distortion-free 8-bit recordings can be. Now you can imagine what gain you can get from 16-bit recordings!

Download sample 1 (3.2 Mb).  Low dynamic range.

Download sample 2 (4.4 Mb).  Higher dynamic range.



Users' endorsements

"Just pulling up the Extrabit Mastering Processor and randomly picking one of the presets breathed a huge amount of life and warmth to a track that was otherwise   stale and lifeless. This is not your ordinary plug-in!  I can't wait for the final release."

Mike Tomko
Student of Audio Production, Webster University;
Program/Music Director, KGLX The Galaxy Radio;
Owner, Dark Skyy Production


"This past weekend I listened to your sound samples and was amazed! I had heard some dithering and noise-shaping demos before, but never with so many different samples at one time. It was quite revealing -- and yes, your system was the quietest. I have used UV-22 and POWR-3 and had been quite happy with the results, but now I eagerly await the VST version of your algorithm."

Barry Hufker
Assoc. Professor, Audio Production,
Webster University


"ExtraBit is... EXCELLENT !!! It is by far the best I know, in my ear's point of view."

Alexandre Delattre
Multimedia Research Engineer


"I'm really fascinated with the sound quality of ExtraBit. Programs that I tested and compared ExtraBit to are: Nuendo dither, UV22 Apogee, Waves L2, Waves L1+.

Your program is very different from all other competitors as the sound is very crisp, clear, and space around instruments is very well defined. There is a special quality of your program which is very difficult to describe but I will try. When reproduction of music in high-quality systems is good you can "see" empty space around each instrument. In poorly recorded disc or in poor system each instrument is coming from "dark" or "nowhere", but in good recorded disc you can see empty space between musicians very clearly. I would say that your algorithm's strongest advantage is pin-pointing individual instruments and space between instruments.

The next very good (the best I've ever heard) difference of ExtraBit compared to above plug-ins is analog-like reproduction quality, so called timbre which is easy to "see" even with a poor quality multimedia speakers.

I hope that you will continue to develop already best algorithm I have ever heard."

Miroslav Petrovic
high-end enthusiast,


"I spent a long time listening to your program in comparison to other commercial dither techniques over the weekend. After the PC and Digidesign cards, the system used was an Apogee psx100 D/A, Genelec 1038a speakers.

ExtraBit is impressive. The sound is open and natural, and very close to the 24-bit master. This dither is superb with acoustic instruments, revealing a sense of space and ambience that is missing from some of the best commercial word-length reduction techniques. Notably, detail resolution is also high. Low level, high frequency detail is presented with air and transparency, and the over-all level and shape of the dither noise should not present any problems for modern electronics and duplication processes."

Dr Ambrose Field
Composer, Sound Designer,


Brief description of ExtraBit Mastering Processor

scrshot1.png (23118 bytes)



Limiter section

Threshold trackbar allows you to set the amount of gain applied to the recording (dB).

Out ceiling trackbar allows you to set the maximal output level of processed recording (dB FS).

Behavior trackbar controls the aggressiveness of the limiter. Low ("quick") values produce the loudest, but dirty sound. High ("lazy") values produce softer sound, which is more transparent, yet has some pumpung. Medium settings work best. Use Behavior = 0.5 to get the sound of a famous L2 limiter.

Attenuation meter shows the amount of attenuation applied to the signal by the soft limiter (dB).

Bypass limiter option allows you to bypass limiter section and to compare processed vs. unprocessed sound.

Noise shaper section

Dithering amount trackbar allows you to set the amount of dither noise applied to the recording. More dither noise eliminates more distortion from the 16-bit recording at the expense of adding more noise. At the "Best" (recommended) setting virtually all distortion is eliminated.

Shaping amount trackbar allows you to select the particular noise shaping curve. The more noise shaping you apply, the less audible noise becomes.

Noise shaping curve radio-buttons select the overall shape of noise shaping curve. You can select between psychoacoustically optimal and flat spectrum settings.

Limit peaks of dither noise option allows you to slightly limit the maximal amplitude of dither noise bursts. Useful only at moderate shaping amounts.

Bypass quantization option allows you to bypass noise shaping section and leave your recording at high resolution. You can use this option to apply limiter to the signal without word length reduction.



I will gladly appreciate any comments or suggestions on ExtraBit: (Alexey Lukin).