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Archive for the 'Red Book Audio' Category

Music CD Duplication Services vs Data Duplication

When you’re looking for music CD duplication services, what makes music duplication different from a data disk duplication?

The actual duplication process of creating an image of the source disc or the master is exactly the same whether you’re duplicating music or data, there ARE concerns that are specific to the duplication of music that will have an effect on the final result.

Critical Aspects Specific to Music CD Duplication

image of blank suitable for music cd duplication


First, there is the quality of the blank disc itself. There are different professional grades. The kind of discs that can be gotten very cheaply from Office Depot are not even as good as the lowest quality professional grade. One distinction when evaluating the quality of a blank disc is determined by the amount of the dye on the bottom of the disc. More dye is going to be a better disc which in turn will give you a better music cd duplication

The more dye that is there the greater the amount of data can be deeply burned into the dye on the bottom of the disc. The less grades of discs have less and less of this coating. They have enough to be copied but it makes a music cd more likely for there to be a loss of playability as the dye begins to breakdown over time. You have to know who manufactured the CDR because you can’t just tell by the color when you flip the disc over to look at the underneath color – there are other disc characteristics of a CDR that also help determine its quality grade.

Wikipedia has a great write up on what makes a great CD-R. And we have more detailed information on music cd duplication click here.

Then there is duplication speed, how fast is the laser being asked to burn the data can affect how well the data is written to the disc and how deeply the information is set into the dye.

So what good is it to have a great disc if you don’t give it a chance to have a good burn of the data? When it comes to music cd duplication all of it plays a huge part in the resulting sound. Most duplication services are trying to get the most discs out in the fastest amount of time and to keep track of different duplication speeds on all the different equipment is challenging – not impossible.

Music CD Duplication Service

And this has a huge impact on music CDs when they are duplicated. Unlike a file with some text on it – there is a huge amount of data that even a 3 minute track will contain that a data only file doesn’t have. All that data is information for the CD player. So the more data available on the disc, the better the sound.

We’ve run tests of the same master at 4X, 8X, 16X, 32X and 64X. Then we did a blind test to see what if any difference we could hear from the naked ear. Not on headphones – just ambient playback. Same source master for each, same high quality blank disc, the only difference was the speed.

The results were interesting. No differences were charted on the 4X, 8X, 16X. It wasn’t until we got to the 32X and faster than we could actually hear a difference. We didn’t investigate into what was causing the differences because once we heard a difference it didn’t matter. When it comes to music cd duplication projects in our studio, we don’t charge extra to slow things down.

Most duplication services are duplicating much faster than 16X and many will charge a fee to slow down because they are scheduling machines so the difference between the different speed could move only half as many discs through the machine on an 8 hour shift once it was slowed down to 16X. I hope that is clear – most duplication services do not distinquish between music masters and data masters – they will duplicate them as though they are all the same.

However, we at CDMaker do consider them differently and slow down the duplication speed especially when it comes to the music cd duplication projects.

If you’re interested in working with a  service that cares about how well your copies reflect the sound of the work you did in the studio, give us a call (512) 388-1998. CDMaker can be found at 13581 Pond Springs Road, Suite 301, Austin, TX 78729. After all, don’t you think your music and work deserve the best music cd duplication service around?

posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Duplication,CD Duplication Service,Red Book Audio and have No Comments

Duplication vs Replication

Not sure whether you need to look at duplication or manufacturing using a glass master? This information is designed to help you navigate which you should consider.

image to illustrate duplication vs replicationUsually we are asked – which is better but more often ultimately its a decision based on economics. Let me explain.

By the way, this entire topic is typically moot for CDMaker clients because we offer replicated CDs options at a low quantity of 300. At that point it is actually cheaper to press than to duplicate. So its really more a question for those that need less than 300 or those that are doing DVD formats where the minimum quantities to press are higher, for example DVD-9 manufacturing as of 2014 still requires a minimum quantity of 1000 pieces.

The number of discs from the same master is the primary factor in determining which one is best suited for you.


Duplication or Replication is all about the economics

What you need to understand that the work to replicate a CD or DVD requires hours of glass mastering – preparing an exact replica of the physical master to then have stampers made so that thousands of pounds of polycarbonate pellets can be melted down and injected into the molds that will form your disc and then have some nickel oxide spun on the disc and then have the finished discs silk-screened.

All that time and labor to create the glass master and stamps is spread throughout the number of discs that are manufactured now. Previously in the early 1990’s you would have paid a separate glass mastering fee.

If you only have 100 discs made by glass master, even by spreading it out on a per disc charge would make those 100 discs almost as expensive as pressing 1000 discs. The labor and materials for the glass mastering and the step up on the machine and testing is a lot easier to spread out over 1000 or more discs without causing coronary issues!

Duplication, where a pre existing round blank disc is placed in a duplication machine for copying, is much better suited for runs up to 200 – 250. You do pay more PER disc for short runs compared to replication but the OVERALL price is less.

Duplication vs Replication is an important choice when doing less than 300 pieces

How do you choose CD Duplication vs Replication?

Usually this is a question asked by our audio clients who are concerned about the sound quality of duplication. We do have clients who insist on only doing replication and will press the minimum amount because they want the stability that a pressed disc by nature holds.

You see,what makes a CDR or DVDR able to be copied is also what makes them easy to be damaged when compared to a replicated disc. Not that a replicated disc is indestructible by any means, this is all relative.

How about sound quality for music discs?

First and foremost, your master and how it was created plays an enormous role in this process. Manufacturing is going to be an exact replicate of your master. So there are fewer opportunities in manufacturing to “mess” with your sound. This is best understood if you realise that manfacturing is a physical process and everything up to your master has been an AUDIO process. For for the duplication process there are many ways the sound can be depricated.

For instance, the main way this happens is depending on how fast your music CDs are duplicated. CDMaker duplication for audio CDs is set to 16X – no faster. This is typically lower speed than most duplication facilities who are more interested in scheduling vast numbers of discs rather than a lesser number of better sounding discs.

Another factor is are the computer chips in the players – car stereos vs home systems. Some CD players have a hard time with different media – the brand of the blank disc – and it can be a high end automobile that spits out your duplicated disc. While duplication and replication has standards it must meet in order to be an audio CD, CD players are not held to the same standard – they can use any set of standards for playback which may not be a full range of Red Book Audio.

UPDATE: In response to the comment below, DVD-R and DVD+R blank media are two entirely different animals. We do not accept any rewritable media as masters because of the possibility that they were used before and could have digital “events” that are not apparent in playback but potentially could get noticed in the glass mastering phase which makes an exact copy.

Additionally –
A DVD-R is a non-rewriteable format and it is compatible with about 93% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.
A DVD-RW is a rewriteable format and it is compatible with about 80% of all DVD Players and most DVD-ROMs.

They both come as single-sided, single layer as well as double sided,single layer and double-sided, double layer formats.

But which is best?

Well, you have to realize that while you want to always have an archive of your best copy, producing a commercial CD or DVD either by duplication or replication shouldn’t also be confused as archival quality. You may only want 100 copies and the question to you is – if you don’t want duplication – are you willing to pay the higher price per unit for manufacturing? Because what we’ve found is that once a client can obtain pressed copies of their music at a price that is lower than duplicated discs, economics turns the tide in the decision-making process.

Best bet is to talk with your representative and tell them what you need, what your concerns and priorities are so they can provide you with a complete range of options so you can make an informed choice whether or not you want to duplicate or replicate your project.

posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Duplication,CD Replication,DVD Duplication,DVD Replication,Red Book Audio and have Comment (1)

Music CD Capacity

What is a Music CD Capacity in terms of minutes?

They are with us in our lives but most of us don’t really know how much as we fit onto a CD? Our ipods are almost inexhaustible but until we start putting music on discs, the question doesn’t even cross our minds.

Officially, red book audio, the technical term for the standards that spell out what makes an audio cd an audio cd, tell us that a disc will hold 74 minutes. The reason its 74 minutes is as the story goes, when Phillips was developing the CD, they decided to find the longest piece of music they could find and make it so. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was the longest symphony in terms of time – it takes a full 74 minutes when you follow marked tempos from start to finish with a small break between movements. Well, that’s the story anyway.

The reasoning being – no one is as great as Beethoven, thus no one will write anything longer than 74 minutes, thus a CD is 74 minutes long.

And then came the 80 CDR.

So will officially red book audio ends at 74:30, you can fit up to 80 minutes on a single disc.

Now when it comes to CD players that’s a whole nuther story. While Music CDS have standards and guidelines and what works and what will not, CD players, the machines that playback the audio CDs, have NO standards – they can read whole or partial red book audio tolerances or not. So you could have a CD that is perfectly good and holds 80 minutes of music but you put it in a CD player and that player is set to stop reading with the laser at 74 minutes 30 seconds. So you might think you have a defective CD but in reality the CD is fine and the player is fine, they just aren’t set up to match.

And yes, the 74 minute parameters includes the seconds inbetween the tracks.

posted by in CD Duplication,Red Book Audio and have Comments Off on Music CD Capacity

Making an Audio CD

Making an audio CD is often more easily conceived than executed. In short, it can be easier said than done.

Making an Audio CDSo let’s focus on making an audio CD if you are a speaker or author that wishes to take an mp3 recording and publish it to a CD.

Making an Audio CD

First if you already have the audio that’s a good thing. Otherwise, you would need to come up with some way to record whatever your content is. But for now if you have an mp3 file, you’re good.

Next, determine how you want your customers to play your disc. Do you want them to play it in their cars? on a cd player? on their computer? on their ipod player?

These may sound like obvious questions but you need to know this because it has an impact on your master format. If you want the CDS you publish to play on a CD player you need to provide a master than already is set up to do that. If you simply copy over the mp3 to a blank disc like you would a PDF file, then you do NOT have an audio disc you have a CD-ROM. It will play in a computer and on some CD players that read mp3 but they will not play like an audio disc in a standard CD player.

Making an Audio CD

All is not lost and you have the answer probably on your computer. Its as simple as opening up iTunes, importing your mp3 into its own playlist and then telling iTunes to burn your disc for a music CD.

Now this is a poor man’s way to make an audio master and if it weren’t spoken word, I’d tell you to go to a studio and get it prepared as a master.

Feel free to put your comments at the bottom and if you have any general questions I can answer them here. If you need additional information, use the contact page and give us your details and we’d be happy to see how we can help you specifically.

posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Duplication,Red Book Audio and have No Comments

CD Text and Audio CDs

CD TextCD Text has to be one of the most misunderstood and poorly explained concepts in the world of music. For the life of me I wish someone would eliminate the jargon and stop torturing aspiring musicians and bands that just want to get their music out there in an accepted format.

OK, most people think CD Text is what you see when you put a CD into a computer – WRONG!

CD Text

A media player such as iTunes or Windows Media Player does not use any information on the disc other than the .wav file. If your computer is connected to the internet, it pulls the text data from a giant database called the Grace Note Program Database. It used to be called CDDB, Compact Disc Database. Essentially, its a huge database that anyone can contribute to if you know where the “Submit Track Names” option is in your place.

The point is, when you insert a CD into a computer that is connected to the internet, this database is what supplies the artist, track name, genre and album information you see on your screen, not the CD.

So what’s CD Text then you wonder?

CD Text

Well, its added or embedded into one of the sub-channels on your CD master by your mastering engineer most likely. You have to ask for it. Its not typically a standard aspect of a mastering process. Some mastering studios do and some don’t, the point is ask for it if you want it. Then when you have the cd duplication done, the information passes from your master onto the duplicated discs. If you don’t have it on your CD, do not expect it on your duplicated or replicated CDS.

So, if what I see on my computer isn’t CD Text, why would I have it on my master?

Good question. There are a lot of audio CD players that are equipped to read the CD Text that your engineer embeds into the master. When you insert a disc into an equipped machine, there is an LCD read out that scrolls or does a two line display of artist, track name and album. In that circumstance, that’s CD Text.

Its true whether you are doing cd duplication or cd replication.

CD Text

In future articles I’ll show you how to submit track names and how to check to see if your replicated or duplicated discs have CD Text in them. But for now, this will at least stop you from calling your duplicator to tell them that they didn’t put CD Text on your CDs. At least, I hope it stops you.

posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Duplication,CD Replication,CD Text,Red Book Audio and have No Comments

CD Duplication and Red Book Audio

CD duplication and Red Book Audio usually get mentioned together when an audio recording is being talked about. If you need some CD duplication and if you have spent any time locating a CD DVD duplication service, you may have come across these terms but not had a clue as what they were or how or if this information applies to your needs .

CD Duplication

All CD duplication projects are done on Red Book standard audio media.

CD Duplication

So what is the Red Book of audio duplication, what are the media standards it has set, and why is it so important? CD duplicators and replicators must adhere to produce discs that conform to certain standards.  The Red Book is one of the nine Rainbow Books, which provide universally agreed on specifications for all types of media.

CD Duplication

Red Book Audio

The Red Book provides the standards for audio CDs, also known as CDDA (or Compact Disc Digital Audio). There are also Yellow, Orange, White, Blue, Beige, Green, Purple, and Scarlet books in the Rainbow Book set.

These different colored books provide disc standards for:

  • • Yellow – CD-ROM and CD-ROM XA
  • • Orange – CD-R and CD-RW
  • • White – Video CD
  • • Blue – Enhanced CD, CD+G, and CD-Plus
  • • Beige – Photo CD Green –
  • • CD-I (Interactive)
  • • Purple – DDCD (Double Density Compact Disc)
  • • Scarlet – SACD (Super Audio CD)

Specifically as it relates to audio, according to the Red Book, a standard CD is 120mm in diameter, 1.2mm thick, and is made up of polycarbonate plastic substrate, one or more thin layers of reflective metal (usually aluminum), and a lacquer coating.

The disc is divided into 3 parts – The lead-in area containing the Table of Contents, the program area containing the audio data, and the lead-out area containing no data.

The Red Book of was developed in 1980 by Sony Phillips to specify the physical parameters of the audio CD. This includes the optical stylus parameters, deviations and error rate, modulation system and error correction, and subcode channels and graphics. When the question came up as to how many minutes a CD should hold, Beethoven’s Symphony #9 was the length standard at the time. The prevailing thought was Beethoven needed 74 minutes and if no one is as masterful as he, no one will need more than 74 minutes.

In terms of the business costs of development and research. each disc – either blanks that are sold or replicated CDs – a portion of your cost is a license fee that is paid back to Sony Phillips for the technology they researched and developed.  In the early days of CDs, the fees for the licensing were significantly higher than they are today. Today less than .10 per disc is collected by replication facilities and blank disc manufacturers and paid over to Sony Phillips.

If you wish to read more about red book audio – Wikipedia is a good source – click here

CD Duplication

One other major CD specification set by the Red Book is the form of digital audio encoding taken on by CDs. The parameters set have become a de-facto standard in the CD duplication industry.  And while CD manufacturers must adhere to these standards, cd player manufacturers do not have to ensure that their devices provide 100% CD audio playability. Over the years, as CDs went from 74 minutes to now 80 minutes, some CD players will still stop at 74 minutes 30 seconds which is the official requirement of red book audio.

{All in all, most consumers probably won’t be too concerned with the individual technical specifications set by the Red Book.| In general, the technical specifications of Red Book shouldn’t be the concern of most consumers. } But as a consumer you can take comfort in knowing that there is a high standard of quality being upheld when it comes to your CD duplication, DVD duplication or data CD duplication project. Make sure that when you go to your CD duplication service you ask them if they use Red Book quality CD media.

posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Duplication,Red Book Audio and have Comment (1)