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What is up with all those acronyms in your CD Mastering Package ! what do they mean ?

I realize all the different acronyms can be very confusing. I think the first thing we should tackle is "what is an acronym ?" An acronym is a word made from the initial letters of other words, for example LOL is a common acronym for "laugh out loud" . If you deal with computers for any length of time you will already have already been introduced to the world of acronyms.

The audio world is chock full of acronyms and can even make my head swim at times so I will try to tackle the ones that relate to our Deluxe CD Mastering package. Lets take them one at a time:

PMCD (Pre Master CD) - This is your default master copy. It is essentially your most accurate red book audio CD and will come with a PQ log sheet. This is the copy you would send to your duplication company. It would play in a regular CD player but in order to retain its integrity 3 reference copies will be sent to you. The reference copies are a means for you to listen to the master without actually playing the original master.

Reference - Your reference copies are cut from your master PMCD. It is a means for you to preview your master CD without damaging your original copy.

Safety PMCD Master - A safety is another PMCD master. In case something was wrong with your original PMCD master after listening to the references copies you could use the safety as a replacement.

CD-R (CD Recordable) - A CD-R is what most of us are familiar with and is the same sort of CD we can burn from our home computer. Increasingly many replication companies will accept this format as our burning software becomes more accurate and free of errors. Sometimes you will see an audio CD referred to as a CD-DA (Digital Audio). It is essentially the same as a CD-R . This is the format we use as our reference copies that the client can play in their own CD players.

DDP (Disc Description Protocol) _ This is a means to create an image of a CD or DVD for replication. It should include your audio files plus any additional information about your CD. In effect it is a Data CD that is more accurate and preferred by some CD and DVD duplication companies and less likely to contain errors than a regular audio CD.

ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) - The ISRC is a digital numerical code used for identifying and tracking the use of an audio track. It is particularly useful in tracking the sales from digital download sources like Itunes and Napster. We can and will place the ISRC codes in your Master CD but the client will have to provide them for us. How you get ISRC codes could be a whole book in itself but if you just want to read up on it please check out the official United States ISRC Website .

Let me just interject my own opinion from personal experience. If you are not working with a record label or replication company that can supply ISRC codes you probably do not need to worry about them at this stage in the game and I would not fret about it. The two major Independent Artist distributors (CD Baby and Tunecore) will give you free ISRC codes when you join and make your music available to digital download sources for you. I personally use CD Baby and although I will not endorse any one company you should read through CD Baby's Article and how they get you your ISRC codes when you sign up.

CD Text - Ahhh..... finally something simple we can all understand. This makes it possible for a person to see your tracks, album name, and artist name when they put it into a CD/DVD player that has the ability to read CD text like a home theatre or DVD player. It is a good idea to include it and it will not hurt anything. It is very important that we get the information correct though. It could be embarrassing if we mistakenly typed the name Barry Manilow as the artist. I usually have the client type up the titles, album name and artist for me exactly like they want it so we do not make that sort of mistake. :)

CDDB (CD Database) - This one is kind of easy to understand also. Woo Hoo. This is an internet based service hosted by a company named Gracenote and is not the only one but is the most common. Simply put it stores information about your recording in a database. When a person inserts your CD into a computer it can search your album information and retrieve it for your customer via the internet. There is any number of fields you can add to this like genre, producers, authors, musicians, record label, year , etc.

In most cases I recommend each artist or record label to do this themselves and is pretty easy to do through applications such as Itunes. We will provide this service for you if you do not feel comfortable with it but we will need you to supply us with the accurate information. This is usually the very last thing you would do and does not need to be included in the Mastering process. It would be best to do this when you have your final pressed copy and before you were going to sell them or promote them to your fan base.