naive mastering question -- ISO vs actual CD

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sears
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naive mastering question -- ISO vs actual CD

Post by sears » Fri May 14, 2010 8:20 am

Can you ask your mastering engineer for an ISO of the production master?

Will a disc replicator accept an ISO of a disc via the internet?

It seems like this would be the most foolproof way to make sure you have a bit-perfect copy. I mean, you have a production master in your possession that doesn't have any errors on it.. for now.. and how many production masters should you get? Better to have it on your hard drive and a private backup server somewhere, right?

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Post by MASSIVE Mastering » Fri May 14, 2010 8:58 am

You can't make an ISO image of an audio CD.

There are a couple of proprietary (and non-compliant) apps that will make an "image" that, of course, can only be read by that program...

The only way to package up a CD-A is via Disc Description Protocol (DDP) which is (A) pricey (B) "old" - although still hearty, but rarely ever written to the tapes they used to be delivered on and (C) it still seems to be a little sketchy with meta-data such as CD-TEXT info and such.

There are some plants that don't even accept DDP anymore.
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Post by sears » Fri May 14, 2010 11:47 am

I didn't know that.

I did a little more digging. ImgBurn doesn't make an ISO of an audio CD, as I thought it did, it makes a BIN. What about that format? If you make a BIN of your CD and then write another CD from that BIN format, what is different about the new CD?

If it contains all of the information, can you ask a mastering engineer for a BIN file in place of a production master? For the same price as buying a production master?

Or is what's done is this: you buy the production master, make a BIN backup of it and then send it on, even though you're not supposed to play the production master?

Obviously I've never gotten anything mastered before. It weirds me out that you get a disc, that you can't play, that is "ruined" after you play it once, that you send to the disc duplicator to be made into copies (and is "ruined" in the process?) and you don't have anything should you need more CDs in the future or the process doesn't go like you think it will.

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Post by cgarges » Fri May 14, 2010 3:22 pm

sears wrote:Obviously I've never gotten anything mastered before. It weirds me out that you get a disc, that you can't play, that is "ruined" after you play it once, that you send to the disc duplicator to be made into copies (and is "ruined" in the process?) and you don't have anything should you need more CDs in the future or the process doesn't go like you think it will.
I don't know about anything being ruined after you play it once. It's probably not a good idea to listent to the production master a thousand times after carrying it around in your car for a few weeks, but every reputable mastering house I know does a real-time QC check of the production master before sending it out. I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't do this.

I always make sure that the mastering house sends a copy of the production master to me and at least one to the artist, in addition to sending one directly to manufacturing.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Fri May 14, 2010 5:35 pm

Many places are now delivering DDP img files of the audio masters which treats the entire disc as one chunk of digital data.

Reading and writing a CD Rom is done in fits and starts and deals with sectors/regions and non-linear digital audio if you're ripping or burning audio. Certainly not ideal.

The idea is to ensure that the manufacturing plant has the best, most accurate file to make the glass master from.

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Re: naive mastering question -- ISO vs actual CD

Post by Waltz Mastering » Fri May 14, 2010 6:43 pm

sears wrote: I mean, you have a production master in your possession that doesn't have any errors on it.. for now.. and how many production masters should you get? Better to have it on your hard drive and a private backup server somewhere, right?
I would get 3 production masters from the ME

1 Client ref
1 Master - for production - goes to plant
1 Safety master - goes to plant

DDP 2.0 is fairly common as well ime, Discmakers just started accepting DDP. Not all plants are set up to receive it.

Even if a ddp file set is used for the final delivery it's still a good idea to burn a ref from the ddp to verify that everything is in order.

Any other format like a jam disc image or a bin cue are not standard delivery formats although they might be good for archiving.

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Post by MASSIVE Mastering » Fri May 14, 2010 9:49 pm

Obviously I've never gotten anything mastered before. It weirds me out that you get a disc, that you can't play, that is "ruined" after you play it once, that you send to the disc duplicator to be made into copies (and is "ruined" in the process?) and you don't have anything should you need more CDs in the future or the process doesn't go like you think it will.
You're thinking of the glass master - Not the production master. You can play it just like anything else. But as mentioned, it should be handled delicately and carefully. I actually all but insist that the client listens to the production master all the way through at least once or twice before sending it in. No prints or scratches...
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Post by sears » Sat May 15, 2010 5:58 am

This has cleared a lot of anxiety for me. In another life I programmed interfaces to insurance companies and set up their transfer, and there seemed to be some inefficiencies in the flow of data here. Ideally everyone would do it all electronically but if it's not so critical that you don't play the production master, that eases my mind.

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Post by MASSIVE Mastering » Sat May 15, 2010 8:24 am

Let me even add just a line or two for the sake of the search function...

Going along with the "I actually want you to play your production master disc" thing, one thing I forgot was to suggest a *tray* fed player - as opposed to a slot-loader.

Nothing touches the surface on a tray-fed player. The disc sits in the tray (not actually sitting on the surface of the disc), the tray goes in, the transport comes up and grabs the inner ring and starts playing.

Slot-feeders have gears and wheels and nasties... My own car stereo has wrecked more than a few discs - especially glossy-finish discs.

A written CD-R, assuming it's made from quality stock, is a fairly hearty piece. I've done plenty of non-contact durability tests myself for a few companies. Going from the freezer straight out to a hot, sunny dashboard where it would sit (face-up) for two weeks in the summer, back into the freezer, back out into the sun and then back here for a null-test and BLER reading. With most good media, the tests were perfect and the disc would match up with where it was weeks before when it was written.

The problem comes from physical contact -- Slot loaders, flexing the disc, scratches, touching the data surface (it's actually polishing the fingerprints off that causes the damage, but that's a side-note) and other goofy stuff like accidentally leaving the disc in the microwave.

I've never taken a disc and played it on a loop for a year and then tested it again, but I'd bet it would be fine.
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat May 15, 2010 12:17 pm

MASSIVE Mastering wrote: and other goofy stuff like accidentally leaving the disc in the microwave.
as opposed to leaving it there on purpose. :D

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Post by E.Bennett » Sat May 15, 2010 4:37 pm

how else are you gonna get close to that warm analog sound all the kids are talking about

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat May 15, 2010 10:13 pm

dude i use a toaster oven.

old school.

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Post by Nick Franklin » Sun May 16, 2010 3:03 pm

Hi guys,

I work for a fairly large and busy mastering place here in Sydney.

When the master has finished burning, we put it strait into the CD player and we all (the mastering engineer, the client etc) listen right through. Provided there are no problems, we put the master into a case and tape it closed. This is so the client doesn't accidentally open it.

We then provide a safety copy and as many reference copies as there are people attending the session.

This way we know for absolute sure the master is fine and the client has something to blast in the car on the way home.

Nick
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