Professional Sound - Indepth

Preparing Your Masters For Manufacturing by Darcy Scott

There are a couple of common problems and mistakes that CD manufacturing plants encounter when receiving DAT or CD-R pre-masters for production. The first is not having enough information about what is contained on the source. The second is receiving a CD-R, burned “Track at Once.” The first is an easily avoidable situation. When sending in your masters, always remember to supply more than enough information about what is being duplicated, i.e. number of tracks, track lengths, start time, program length, group name, album/project name, and contact name and number…

The second most common problem is receiving a CD-R that is burned “Track at Once” instead of “Disc at Once.” This refers to burning the CD in one complete pass, instead of pausing between writing track IDs. Stopping the disc writing process between tracks causes an enormous amount of errors called “link block errors”, which in most cases makes the disc unable to be glass mastered for manufacturing. The result is to have the disc fixed at the plant or have a new master sent in, which ultimately results in an increased turnaround time, which is the last thing anyone wants to hear.

One more thing to look out for is to be sure the disc is written in proper “Red Book” value. Not many people realize that the reason “professional” CD Burners are as expensive as they are is that they write discs to certain Book values that are required for the type of manufacturing that is being written. With the price of consumer CD recorders coming down to such an affordable range, it’s easy for someone to put their master onto CD-R, without realizing that it may be a waste of time if it’s not written to the proper Red Book standards.

Everyone would like to have their CDs back from the plants as quickly as possible and by checking a few simple things ahead of time, we can make sure that you don get your products back ASAP.

Darcy Scott is the president of NF Audio Manufacturing in Brantford, ON, which manufactures both CD audio and CD-ROM and offers DIGalog Cassette Duplication.

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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