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Backup Your Masters!

Backing up your masters is more important than just being careful at mastering time.
Years from now, formats will change and media can surprise us in not-so-pleasant ways. For instance no one could have predicted years ago that some brands of analog tape (particularly Ampex-Quantegy and Agfa-BASF) would become sticky to the point of being unplayable. Pprofessional archiving companies can bake sticky tape in special ovens in order to revive it.

When DAT tapes first came out, we were mixing to analog tape and DAT backup at the same time. This was a good backup proceedure because having the different formats gave extra options down the road.  Yet older DAT tapes aren't totally predictable either, and old mastered 1630 tapes (which look like giant 3/4" DAT tapes) are now developing playback problems.

Will hard drives have problems in the future?  Will CDRs play like new 10 years from now?  Yes - according to the manufacturers, but who really knows!  We know that some CDRs have more errors than others depending on the burner combination.

It's just a good idea to cover yourself when you've invested so much time and energy into your project.  We recommend backing up any data files two ways - onto addtional hard drives, DVD-Rs (not DVD+R), or CDRs.  DVD standards may change in time, so always include something else besides DVD-Rs.

Remember that audio CDRs stream audio and when you play them in order to make backups, be sure to clock both master and backup machine with the same clock.  Always use the best digital cables you can afford.  Data files like AIFF, WAV, SDII should be copied at 2X, 4X or 8X unless your equipement manufacturer states the data is more error-free using a different speed.  Higher speed CDRs came later, so we suggest sticking with whatever is most stable.

Keep your masters in a safe place.  You've invested a lot of time and money to create your project.  Remember, hard drives will always fail at some point.  Back up early!!!!  Back up often!!!!!!

I love what you did on my CD. Do you have any more suggestion for what I can do to promote it and get a deal? -Ed

Check out my links page and one group's success via the Internet. There are lots of ideas and support from the sites I have listed. The sky's the limit. Utilize all possible ways to get heard. From iTunes to Paramount Pictures, there's a lot of ways to get your music sold. A good idea is to match the time and money you've put into the recording and manufacturing with the same amount of time and money for promoting, marketing and selling your music. Promote yourself relentlessly.... and you can't help but make progress.

The CD wouldn't play past track 4 on my home CD player. I hooked up another player and it played fine, and the CD played fine in two different car stereos. This happened one other time with a CDR. Do you know what could cause that? -Tom, Louisville, KY

The reason that your CD player won't play the CDR is because they have an "ink" on the bottom, not actual physical pits like a standard CD. The laser burns spots represent the "1" (and no burn spot represents the "0"). Some CD players (usually car stereos) just aren't happy looking at those burn spots and the result can be anything from dropped tracks to glitches or other weird things.

CD/DVD players are getting better all the time. Just to be sure, if you go to purchase a home/car CD player, take several CDR's with you to check which one will play them all (some manufacturers of new units state that they play CDRs, MP3's etc.). The brand of the CD player doesn't matter much, as the laser assembly inside them often are made by different companies, like an RCA deck might have a Techniques laser in it.

Tip: When you are going to burn an audio CDR, burn it at the slowest speed your burner will go for the best sound and reliability. Do not use iTunes to burn anything you need for critical listening! iTunes adds unwanted processing to the sound. Also iTunes is not the best for making MP3 files. 

Caution: When making MP3's be aware of the volume level of your original file. Straight-across converted MP3's files will be clipped if the audio level is too hot. Contact us if you need the best sounding, level corrected MP3 files. 

Created 05/29/02 Modified 03/13/06
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