I've got the Waves Ultramaximizer and Izotope Ozone for mastering and dithering on my DAW, but compared to some outboard gear, do you think something like a (BBE?) SonicMaximizer and a high-quality rack parametric EQ could get the job done as far as mastering goes? Of course with high quality far fields, acoustic treatment, etc. etc.
I can't hear the difference between dithered and non-dithered audio. I tested myself on some of my tunes to find out. I also tried to test the difference between noise-shaped dither and regular dither. I used 32-bit float source files of a 1 kHz sine wave slowly fading linearly from 100% to 0% over a few seconds. For each type of dither I rendered a different 16-bit file.
At low volumes I had to crank up the volume really super high to hear anything at all. Honestly, many of the noise-shapings sounded worse than non-shaped.
Ultimately I gave up on all of that stuff. I used to do everything by the book until I realised that in most cases I can't hear the differences and when I can hear the difference, I prefer the non-shaped usually, even for triangular TPD which is supposed to be the best.