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What is CD Text?

CD Text is an interesting aspect to creating audio masters. If you don’t know what CD Text is – you’re not alone. I hope this short explanation helps clarify it for you.

There are specific standards for what it takes to create a master that falls within accepted requirements for an audio CD to be prepared. Each disc format has a set of specifications – Red Book Audio and other formats- for audio discs its called Red Book. The specification was released in September 1996 and backed by Sony.

CD Text is an extension of the CD specifications standard. The extension of the specs allows for storage of additional related information on the disc – the information is album name, song title, artist name, genre etc.

There’s approx about 5 kiloytes of space available. What’s interesting is that while provisions have been made to specifications CD text, CD Text itself is by no means universal. There are multiple subchannels where this information can go, some CD burning software put this information in one particular subchannel and another program will put it in another. This is technically not within Red Book Audio but it is allowable and there is a place to put it and still consider it a standards-compliant audio CD.

The text is added to a disc in a format usable by the Interactive Text Transmission System (ITTS) and is readable by CD players that are specifically equipped to read the text in those subchannels and to display that information in a window on the CD player. While many people think putting a CD in a computer and seeing text in the window display is CD Text – it is not. A computer’s media player is not designed to pull information from those subchannels. You’re seeing data from somewhere else. That’s another issue and I’ll post more information on that later.

Things that are considered CD Text would be song titles, artist name(s), album name, genre, ISRC and barcodes.

Adding CD text is a function of your sound  or mastering engineer. It is not a standard function of duplication. If you want this information on your duplicated or replicated, this information must already be embedded on your master.
So if you have it on your master – good for you. If you don’t, do not spend a lot of time agonizing over this – you can always add it later when you make your next round of discs.
posted by Carolyn Holzman in CD Text and have No Comments

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