Creating Your Own Audio CD Master
While it's great that
people are becoming more empowered to take direct control
over the production of their own CD projects, it can lead to
problems caused by inexperience. Improperly supplied CD
Masters is an issue I thought I would share with you because
we're beginning to see it more frequently these days.
Audio Format For Manufacturing
File Format: WAV or AIF
Bits per sample, per
Sample rate: 44.1Khz
Channels: 2 (stereo)
Maximum audio duration is
Begin Burning Your Master Disc
As stated in our Terms of Business clients are to supply
their production assets "in final form and in proper working
order." This means your production materials are ready to
manufacture as supplied without any requirement for
modifications. We don't listen to your master so make sure
it performs exactly as required before you send it to us.
Additionally, we don't alter your Master content in any way
we don't add anything and we don't delete anything. If you
require CD Text or ISRC Codes or any other types of
meta-data or functionality on your CDs this information must
already be on your Master when you supply it to us.
Formatting a CD for music/audio is different than formatting
a CD for data (aka: CDROM). Any reasonably good disc copying
software should ask you what type of disc you're trying to
make (music or data), so be sure you check the various
default settings before you burn your Master. If you format
your audio CD as a data disc it wont work on all audio
Make sure that your disc will be finalized at the end of the
burning process. Supplying a 'multisession' disc can lead to
problems when we try to make the glass master and
replication stamper from it. If problems occur, we will need
a new Master Disc supplied to us which will cause a delay.
To finalize your disc means that no additional
information/content can be added to the disc later so,
again, check the default settings on your disc copying
software before you burn your Master to make sure your disc
will be finalized.
Don't include any other files (like artwork) on your Master
unless you actually want them on your finished product.
Only use high-quality name-brand blank CDR media. Going with
a cheap 'no name' brand isn't worth it, and then burn your
Master at the slowest possible speed to ensure the best
possible image on the CDR.
Always make at least three copies of your Master Disc. One
is for you to keep as a safety back-up, and the two others
are to supply to the CD manufacturing company. If one of the
Master copies fails during testing the CD manufacturer can
immediately go to the second copy which will prevent delays.
If both copies should fail testing, then you always have
your safety back-up copy on hand to make additional copies
from. Note: If the CD manufacturing company informs you that
your Master Disc(s) failed during testing, try making new
copies using a different computer drive/burner. Many times
its the drive/burner that causes the problem.
Have Burned Your Master Disc:
Make sure you listen to your Master(s) from beginning to end
- all the way through - to ensure they perform EXACTLY as
intended with no errors, skips, pops, etc. Remember - the
CDs that you are getting manufactured will be exact clones
of your Master so whatever is on your Master will be on the
We do not listen to your Masters (I'm not
aware of any replicator/manufacturer that does) because the
only person qualified to know what your Master is supposed
to sound like or how it should perform is you.
Check your Master on a variety of playback units (portable
stereo, car stereo, home stereo, computer, etc.) to make
sure you've formatted it correctly and that it will play on
Before you send your Master Disc(s) to the manufacturing
company make sure you properly identify them. Use an
indelible felt tip marker to add your name, phone number and
order (or quote) number onto the non-playing side of the
disc. Avoid using a ball-point or other hard-tipped pen.
Package your Master Disc(s) safely before shipping. Putting
the Disc(s) into paper sleeves will not protect them from
rough handling, so it is advised you should use a durable
form of packaging such as a case. Use adhesive-tape to
ensure the case doesn't pop open during transit. Ship the
Disc(s) in a padded mailer.