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Pointers on making a CD?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by millard, Jan 18, 2005.


  1. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    I've searched around, but keywords like "recording" and "CD" and "duplication" generate way too many hits to wade through.

    My band is making its first CD in a few months. It seems that while several of us have been through the recording process before, none of us was ever responsible for it.

    Anyone have good pointers to material that describes what you need to do, what sort of specs you need coming out of production in order to go to a CD duplication house, etc.?

    Any good SoCal recommendations on folks who do this well and at reasonable prices?

    Thanks...Millard

    [I posted this in Recordings, then realized it might not belong there. After I get a response on one of the threads, I'll delete the other.]
     
  2. I can't imagine you'll have any problems finding a place in SoCal to do recording or mastering. Probably just look in a phone book or ask around at local music stores. It's not like you're in the middle of nowhere.

    I think to answer your other questions though, we need more specifics here...Are you going to record the CD at home and then have someone master and do the pressings or what? A good website to start might be www.homerecording.com if you are doing the recording yourself.

    Also, is this going to simply be a demo CD, or will it be a full fledged album that you are trying to release commercially? The two could entail entirely different processes...but ultimately there are a lot of ways to go about getting to the final outcome.
     
  3. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Real studio recording (Desert Moon in Anaheim for pre-production at least). Going to do pre-production "live" recordings of half-dozen songs in March. Listen to them a while, decide if we want to change anything for the final run.

    Then in to record the multi-track versions that are going on the CD. The sense I get from the mate that did the initial research is that we need to take that somewhere else in order to get the cost of the duplication down.

    I'm expecting that somewhere in the mastering phase, I'm going to get asked a bunch of questions about levels, gaps between songs, etc. and the answers I give need to be compatible with what the duplication house is expecting. Or maybe not. I'm one of the guys that hasn't been responsible for this, so I don't know what happens or what the output of a particular stage in the process is and what sort of input the next stage in the process is expecting.

    Thanks for any insights. You are right, being in SoCal, there are lots of places to choose from -- all the more reason to want to find out others experiences as I'm sure they differ.

    Millard

    PS: Forgot to mention that the CD will serve two purposes: demo to local clubs, agents, labels and of course as merch at gigs and schwag for FOTB.
     
  4. unrealrocks

    unrealrocks

    Jan 8, 2004
    That sounds like a good idea although I don't really understand why your doing live recordings in a real studio, you could just as easy and cheaply do it yourself (and end up with the gear at the end, lol).

    If you want a professional sound - go to a professional, simple as ... There are loads of decent cheap studios all over the place so just find a good one and go with it (or are you going with that Desert Moon place, sounds OK, lol).

    If your getting an all in one package from the studio will either master it for you, or they can forward you onto someone who they can recommend (sort all this out BEFORE you start though). Most duplication places will do exacly that, you give them the master, coverart etc., money and a quantity and they'll get on with it.
     
  5. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    This exactly what I'm trying to do. Understand the process and the "input" and "outputs" of each stage. I don't want to get a "master" whose specs are not in alignment with what the duplicator is looking for.

    If anyone has experience with local places, I'd like to avoid any that have done badly by musicians before. They don't usually advertise that feature. No good saving 10 cents a disc if it means you get crappy, out-of-focus artwork and a grunt when you complain.

    Thanks...Millard
     
  6. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    After looking around at many options, this is what we decided to do.
    We'd already been avid recordists, so we got what we needed to track and mix the cd ourselves. Took it to be mastered by one of the Big Names and weren't happy at all.
    Decided to buy the mastering gear and learn it ourselves. That's not something most folks would recommend, but it worked out for us. Now we're able to use our studio for income by making cds for other bands, and we have the time and freedom to record our albums as we wish.

    As far as what you need to know spec-wise, try getting in touch with a duplication or mastering house and they'll let you know exactly what they need. I've dealt with a lot of projects and don't remember there being too many particulars; we've sent DAT, CD, etc... they'll tell you if they require anything special.

    I'll look around for any links we still have.
     
  7. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    I continued to dig around and found some good links also.

    http://www.discmakers.com/music: lots of info and the prices and extras seem pretty good. They claim to have a money-back guarantee so, for example, if you don't like how they mastered your stuff, you just pass and the write what you sent them to CD. Not ideal, most likely, but at least you didn't pay for something you didn't like. They also have lots of useful information.

    http://www.getsigned.com: you can feel them trying to suck money out of you, but there's some good data there nonetheless.

    XUSH: We aren't active recordists, so we won't be doing it ourselves, at least not for the money shot. I could see doing something close to this to get our personal use demo together, but we want a real professional sound for the final (and that's something we won't be doing for ourselves).

    Millard
     
  8. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    well, that's smart too. Get the best you can afford!
     
  9. Generally speaking, it's better to have the album recorded and mixed in one studio, and mastered in a different one. This lets you get fresh ears, fresh perspective, and different speakers / gear involved in the project at this stage.

    As far as duplication, whoever you decide to go with will probably give you a template to make the artwork with, or at least give you the dimensions and type of file they want to work with. Another thing to work out beforehand is to get all applicable logos on the packaging... ie) the 'compact disc' logo, copyright, songwriters organization you belong to, etc. You should also get a bar code if you plan on selling a lot of these, or using any retail distribution.

    As far as levels / gaps, I would think the mastering house will take care of all that no problem, remember their job is to make projects that are compatible with manufacturers.
     
  10. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    My experiences are the same.

    Just don't expect your artwork to look anything like what you expect. It never seems to survive the translation.
     
  11. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Generally once you get all the material to tape/CD/DAT, whatever, in the studio, then you take/send it to get mastered, where they will normalize the levels and get the gaps down or whatever. Some of the track spacing/gapping stuff can be done at the studio, too. Then you'd send the master off to get duped by whomever.

    Good luck!
     
  12. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I have had 3 CD's pressed by Discmakers and they are great to work with. Oasis CD Duplication is good to. If you want fast turn around I would suggest finding someone local. Someone gave me a flyer at NAMM for duplication and I can't remember the specs or the company, i'll try to find it.
     
  13. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Did you have them do the mastering also or just the duplication? How well did they handle the artwork for the cover?

    Thanks...Millard
     
  14. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Just the duplication. I did the artwork, it's my day job. They have a great design team though.