Does cross-fade create a new recording or not?

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Recording style guideline says the following about merging recordings with fade in/fade out sections:

Similarly, different volume fades at either end of multiple tracks are not reasons to maintain separate recordings - they are considered mastering differences unless they cause the structure of the song to change.

My question is: does “different volume fades” include cross-fading? I mean the case when the end of one track fades out, and at the same time second track is fading in - so that the beginning of the second track is already heard at the end of first track, and vice versa. Does it make a new pair of recordings, or not?

In other words, is it still mastering (which doesn’t create new recordings), or is it more like mixing (which does)?

I’m asking because of differences in the digital and CD releases of this album:

There are differences in track lengths because some tracks on the CD cross-fade into one another as described above. This is not the case in the digital version, where all tracks have very disctinct ending (and often have some silence at the end).

Currently both releases share the same set of recordings. Is this correct, or should it be changed? (I hope it’s correct, adding new recordings would feel like splitting hairs for very little gain)


Hey @Alioth,

Your instinct is right: A crossfade at the beginning or end isn’t just a mastering difference: It warrants a new recording.

A crossfaded recording only fits in the specific continuous mix that it came from; so, when a track is part of a mix, some editors indicate this in a disambiguation comment. I’ve found those comments to be helpful when sorting through variations of the same song.

Just an fyi: If a crossfade is at the beginning of track, it will have a different AcoustID than an unmixed version. But, if the only crossfade is at the end of an otherwise identical track, it might still have the same AcoustID. This is because Picard instructs fpcalc to analyse only the first two minutes of the recording.


Thanks for your answer @sibilant :slight_smile:

Yes, now that you mention it I recall seeing edits which added similar disambiguation comments (e.g. single version of “Plug In Baby” by Muse).

Yes, that’s clear. I know about the two minute limit.

As for the case of the two releases mentioned in my earlier post - I guess I need to listen to them carefully and create new recordings with disambiguation comments where applicable.


All right, so I finally found some time to listen to both versions carefully, and I have one more question.

Several tracks in the CD version are arranged so that the fade out section of the preceding track spills over to the beginning of the next track, but nothing of the second track is heard in the first one.

So according to our previous conversation the second track needs a different recording. But what about the first one? Musical content of the CD version is exactly the same as in the digital version, it’s just a second or two shorter. Does it count as an edit (different recording in that case), or not?

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In the end I decided to create new recordings whenever I wasn’t sure. If anyone disagrees, these can be later merged.

Please vote if you can:

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If a song in Track A doesn’t finish until Track B, then Track A is an incomplete recording of the song. If that’s the case, then you made the right decision by creating a new recording. It wouldn’t be an “edit”, but a “partial recording”.

In the end I decided to create new recordings whenever I wasn’t sure.

Perfect. :slightly_smiling_face:

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