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Unread 06-15-2010, 08:03 AM   #1
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Burning a 'proper' CD

I'm hoping to release my first album in the new year. I've made several unprofessional CD's before for various reasons, and always wondered how to include all the relevant information and CD art etc.

When I insert a store bought CD into my computer, Media Player gets all the info for it, including album art (I believe it gets it from the internet, but also read a few things about CD Text).

How does one go about making their own 'professional' album entirely by themselves? I'm guessing a CD distribution company would do all this kind of stuff for you, but I obviously don't want to go into that for a little home solo project.
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Unread 06-15-2010, 08:52 AM   #2
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Generally track listings come from CDDB, or Compact Disc Data Base, or some derivative like FreeDB. You can submit track listings to them in some programs. (Which ones on Windows though I am uncertain)

As for album artwork, that's generally downloaded separately, and I know in iTunes it comes from the iTunes Store. So if your album is sold in the iTunes store you're already set for iTunes. I don't know about Media Player, though.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 09:52 AM   #3
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A lot of apps will also search for album art on Amazon.
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Unread 06-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #4
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To get the track names and such to show up you can just edit the ID3 tags for the mp3's prior to burning the CD. Any program that is a metadata editor does that I believe

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splinter8451 View Post
To get the track names and such to show up you can just edit the ID3 tags for the mp3's prior to burning the CD. Any program that is a metadata editor does that I believe
I think he's talking about making it so when he sells his (or his band's) albums, that the track listing comes up for the people who buy it.

Since metadata can't be stored to a CD, then CDDB or FreeDB would be the route to go.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
A lot of apps will also search for album art on Amazon.
This I did not know.

I'm not impressed, unless Amazon has a special repository for HQ artwork that I'm not aware of.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:22 AM   #7
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Also, I've never seen any implementation of CD-Text. I don't believe it's in wide use, if it's used at all. None of the 100+ factory CD's I have purchased have CD-Text on them.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EtherealEntity View Post
How does one go about making their own 'professional' album entirely by themselves? I'm guessing a CD distribution company would do all this kind of stuff for you, but I obviously don't want to go into that for a little home solo project.
Once you've got the raw WAV's, you've pretty much got a CD. The only real difference between a burnt CD with a printed label and a factory CD is that the factory CD is not burnt. Factory CD's use some other type of process where the information is stamped into the disc somehow.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:27 AM   #9
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Ok, I'm done post-whoring now.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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Jesus christ, thanks

I'm going to get iTunes after all. I found this explanation about CDDB, which is pretty cool. Essay:How to Make Your Song Titles Come Up When You Put Your Mix CD In - Your Subculture Soundtrack - a Wikia Music wiki

And I think you're right about CD text not being widely used. I think some CD players with screens use it though, so it's kinda cool if I can have it on there.

I found a free burner called ImgBurn which seems good. I can write CD text for the song names and artist and album name with that, which is nice for PC's with no internet connection or a CD player.

And for those with the internet they will get all the other info and album art on iTunes

Thanks!
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Unread 06-15-2010, 03:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splinter8451 View Post
To get the track names and such to show up you can just edit the ID3 tags for the mp3's prior to burning the CD. Any program that is a metadata editor does that I believe
No no no don't EVER burn mp3 to disc. Audio CDs can only be burnt with Linear PCM Wav format at 16bit/44.1k sample rate. Whatever file format you try to burn, it'll always get converted back into .wav before it's burnt anyway.

As for metadata, .wav doesn't support metadata. mp3s allow you to embed this metadata in the file header but there is no such support for that .wav format. As a technology I think it's almost 40 years old. CD Text is a workaround to this, I forget exactly how it works but I do know that is supported by some car stereos and hi-fi CD players for instance. I don't know if computers support this or not and to be honest, CD text isn't used much at all anyway. When you open up a CD in a software player it will call upon the CDDB database for instance, and I think the resulting album information is based on number of tracks, their length, and the overall album length.

As a rule no matter what your equipment, always burn at the slowest possible speed. This will keep errors to a minimum and will help CD players correct these errors on playback. A big feature between a Macbook disc drive and a professional Tascam or HHB burner is in the speed they're able to burn at (1x) and the number of errors they end up producing.

What's also important is the actual discs you use. Cheaper discs will produce more errors, may not playback on every system and won't have as long a lifetime as the better CD brands out there. If you can afford to, buy blank faced HHB discs. The smaller capacity the better. 650MB are fairly obsolete, so 700MB will be fine. Actual memory space will never be an issue, only the time limit.

The reason for using blank faced discs is that you can print them with an inkjet printer with a CD tray. Many Canon printers are able to do this, but I remember reading recently that there were licensing issues with this feature out in the states and it has been disabled on some models. If it's pertinent to you, there are ways of hacking the BIOS of these printers to switch the feature on, and to easily craft your own CD tray. There are tutorials out there on how to do it if you're interested. The reason I think it is important is because you can buy these sticker-based sets from some shops, but they're unreliable. The heat caused by the disc drives spinning the discs at high speeds can cause the glue to melt, the label will come away, cause the disc to shatter and ruin the drive, and even a whole laptop (it's happened twice to a lecturer of mine).

On the sonic side of things again, once you've finished mixing something and want to then master it, bounce your mix down at 24bit with noise-shaping dither (POW-r#3 is good). When you master it, the very last stage you want is to then dither down to 16bit, POW-r#1 is good for this. Depending on what your original sample rate is, you may need to downsample to 44.1kHz. If your files aren't at 24 bit instead of 16 and you burn to disc, you'll be truncating 8 bits away from your signal, which will sound terrible. Most burning programs will probably have an in-built dithering process by default, but disable it if your files are at 16 bits already. If your files are at 48kHz for instance, when you burn to disc they will playback slower (at 44.1kHz). It's essentially the same as playing a 45rpm record at 33 (or vice versa). I would highly recommend Roxio Toast for the purposes of disc burning.

Hopefully this is most of the information you need, and I hope you can understand it. If not, feel free to ask.

EDIT: Just seen you're an Essex lad, so I guess the states-related stuff isn't pertinent to you.

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Unread 06-15-2010, 04:30 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for that info! Very helpful
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Unread 06-15-2010, 07:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Atomic Ass View Post
Also, I've never seen any implementation of CD-Text. I don't believe it's in wide use, if it's used at all. None of the 100+ factory CD's I have purchased have CD-Text on them.
I've got a few cds that have text, a couple of breaking benjamin ones I think amongst others. It's nice to have the track names etc come up when you play a cd in the car, I wish more bands would do it.
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