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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section


    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.



    Burning vs Pressing
    by Jef Peace

    Pressed cds are far superior to cdrs. If you're serious about your music, you need to have your album pressed.

    Bullshit. Sorry for the vernacular, but this lie perpetrated by the music manufacturing companies (and the major labels) really gets my goat, so to speak.

    The fact is that the quality of the finished cd, whether pressed or burned, is determined by the quality of the media it is pressed or burned to. There is absolutely no difference in audio quality between a pressed cd or a cdr if they were made from the same master. The only real benefit to having your album pressed is that you can be validated by the ignorant, pompous and/or misinformed people who think this detail makes a difference.

    That would be the end of this article except that there are a few things left to be said regarding the actual creation methods used. Cdr's are every bit as good as pressed cds if the media used is as good and the actual burning is conducted properly. Cdr's have a bad reputation because the vast majority of cdrs out there were burned on inferior media by inferior burners using inferior programs.

    Want To Burn Your Own CDR's?

    I'm a real die-hard TDK fan. If you're going to burn your own cdrs, I highly recommend getting a TDK burner and using TDK media. I have been using both for 3 years to manufacture my band's albums and have not had a single one returned. Prior to that, I had another respected name-brand cd burner that would occasionally spit out a cdr, saying it was bad media. This happened to about 5% of the cds I burned. When that one kicked the bucket, a local store was having a sale on TDK burners. I had already found through trial and error that TDK was by far the best media. So, since I already had a good impression of TDK and since I needed a burner immediately, I took advantage of the sale. I was impressed from the very start and will buy another TDK when this one finally wears out. That first TDK burner is still going strong after 3 years of heavy use where before I was accustomed to replacing cd burners about every 18 months.

    As for software, I recommend Nero and only Nero. I've tried eight different programs and only Nero proved to be consistent in either producing error-free cds or letting me know when an error had occurred. The other programs I tried would either allow errors to go by without alerting me, or would create more bad copies than good by locking up in the middle of a cd burn process.

    As for labeling, I feel compelled to warn you that the myths regarding paper labels are also mostly untrue. The fact is that while some labels are inferior and do bubble, chip, or peel off after a time, there are a number of reputable companies that produce a permanent label that will not come off the cd, even if you try to scrape them off. I use Label Blank and they have been tested in heats high enough to slightly melt the cd itself without so much as a tiny bubble. I have several cds in my collection which are labeled with these and even after over 5 years of nearly daily use, the labels still look like they're painted on the cd.

    DO NOT fall for the on-body inkjet hype. What you will end up with is a finish that will smear and smudge at the slightest provocation. It will look pretty, granted, but if you so much as sneeze in it's general direction . . . well . . . can you say Picasso? There are a few companies that sell on-body thermal printers, these are fine, but they cost quite a bit, usually a lot more than a decent color laser printer and the inks are much more expensive that toner and paper labels. My recommendation: if you want a perfect label that will not smear or fade, purchase a Ricoh AP206. They run about a thousand dollars (including shipping and the first batch of toners) and are very reliable. If you don't have that kind of money to spend, the next best thing is to print one camera-ready proof on your inkjet and have it color-copied to your labels at the local copy shop.

    Want Someone Else To Burn Your CDR's For You?

    Be very cautious when shopping for short-run manufacturing. There are a lot of "companies" that promise full-color on-body labels and artwork (they may be using inkjet) for only a few bucks a cd. Look closely for hidden costs, such as a set-up fee or exorbitant shipping and handling fees.

    Also use caution when considering orders at companies that press cds. There are several that offer unbeleivable prices and provide you with (dare I say shoddy) a product you will not be happy to call yours. Also, make sure you have a solid price quote before sending your master. It is an all too common practice for a manufacturer to agree to a price then, after recieving the master, inform you it needs to be remastered and tack another thousand dollars or so onto your invoice. I even have heard of instances where the customer cancelled the order because of this tactic and was then informed that their deposit (often as much as half the quoted cost of manufacturing) was non-refundable.

    READ THE FINE PRINT. I can almost guarantee you that any company advertising low prices and promising full packages will have a lot of hidden costs. The most common hidden cost is the shipping. It's fairly often that a company will charge 5 to 10 times the actual shipping costs, and on a thousand cds, this represesents a very significant amount.

    So What's The Best Plan, Man?

    CDR. Okay, okay, I'll expand on this. If you're an independent musician looking to break into the music scene, the only real reason for having cds pressed is for the alleged prestige. By refusing to play that game, it will slowly change.

    Here's some other things that were not so long ago considered "cool" or prestigious (and still are in some circles):

  • Smoking and other recreational drug use.
  • Bright, wide neckties.
  • Polyester liesure suits.
  • Mink coats.
  • Beepers.
  • VCR's.

    By releasing your music on cdr, you will be helping dispel the myths that have arisen surrounding the burning/pressing debate and will even possibly set yourself up as one of the visionaries that did their part to wrest control of the music industry from the fat cats that are now in charge. That's a legacy I'd like to leave.

    (c) 2003 - Jef Peace - all rights reserved.

  • About the author: Jef Peace is the co-founder and Senior Partner of PeaceWork Music Net (www.peaceworkmusic.net), founder and owner of PeaceWork Records (www.peacework.com/Label) as well as the co-founder and main writer and vocalist for the band Jazza Diction (http://www.peacework.com/Label/jazzadiction.htm). He has been writing, composing and performing for over 20 years and has been involved in the business side of the music industry since 1999.

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