We like to work with all types of client! Songwriters, indie artists, producers and of course labels too. Not everybody knows the ropes with regard to the mastering process or jargon used. Below is a short overview and FAQs.

What are ISRC codes and are they necessary?

ISRCs are alphanumeric codes that are embedded as meta-data into an audio file. Each song has a unique ISRC code and are an industry standard way of watermarking your music. When you broadcast, publish and distribute your music into the public domain, i.e via Radio/TV or Streaming, it’s easier to track usage, and of course, earn precious royalties. All digital aggregators/distributors will ask that you use ISRCs; some will generate them for you. If you want to use your own codes, you’ll have to go to PPL in the UK, contact the ISRC Agency, or talk to your local PRO (performance royalty agency) for more details.

We can embed ISRCs directly into WAVs or CDs or DDP master files.

What is a DDP master?

A DDP master is a digital version of your CD master wrapped up in one file. It’s a  proprietary digital audio format that is essentially a perfect digital copy of your mastered Album – with zero data errors! Your CD manufacturer uses a DDP file to create your final CD product, usually from a ‘Glass Master’ for replication. DDP files are more reliable than burning off a physical CD-R as the CD format itself isn’t 100% error proof. If you wish to get a DDP master for your project, please get in touch with us to discuss your options.

What is the difference between duplication and replication?

The main differences are: order size, product reliability and production costs.

The duplication process is done using a CD-R (redbook) master. Duplication machines burn mutiple copies onto other CD-Rs at the same time. This process is usually more cost effective for smaller CD runs. Overall, the final product isn’t as professional looking. CD-Rs can be less reliable due to the nature of the stock, as they’re easier to scratch.

The replication process is more reliable, but set up costs are higher, as your pressing plant needs to create a ‘Glass Master’ or ‘Stamp’ from your master CD or DDP file. Also this process is less prone to errors as each CD is pressed from a stamp and not burned from a laser. CDs made from the glass mastering process are more robust than duplicated CD-Rs. Overall, this is a far better and more professional solution and can be more cost effective if you have a higher product output. The pressing plant keeps your stamp for future runs, so over time, it becomes a cheaper alternative to duplication.

Can you recommend distributors or pressing plants?

We can, but at your own risk. If you’re based in the UK, we do recommend you go via a UK aggregator, as it’s a simpler process. However, there are quite a few U.S based aggregators who are just as good. CD & Vinyl Pressing manufacturers here in the UK are far and few between nowadays, but there are still some good ones. Please email us for more details.

Do you master for Vinyl?

Currently we do not, we master for digital and CD/DDP only, as we do not have a cutting lathe, but we can recommend some great places for you.

What are your payment terms, do you have credit account options?

Unfortunately, as we’re a small company, we do not currently have any credit options. Our payment terms are strictly by return only. We send HQ MP3 files to listen to your masters for approval and send on final WAV files or CD/DDPs only after we’ve received payment in full.

What is ‘Mastered for iTunes’ and can you offer this service?

Mastered for iTunes is an audio mastering workflow vetted by Apple. It’s a quality assurance process, by which they ask us to abide by certain loudness limitations and no clipping. Mastering this way, when encoded into Apple’s audio codec format, is better quality, has more dynamic range and apparently more enjoyable to listen to, leading to less listening fatigue. However, masters done this way are generally lower in perceived loudness than other commercial products.

We will offer this service very soon, but we’re currently going through the application vetting process with Apple. When you see the logo on our site, you’ll know we’re able to offer the service.