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Archive for January, 2010

The Mp3 Vs. CD Debate

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

There are pros and cons to both MP3s and CDs - it can be hard to choose between

Across the internet and throughout the media has been slowly growing one of the greatest debates of the digital era:  Which is better Mp3 or CD?  There are many aspects to this argument:  The cost, the environmental impacts, the levels of illegal trade in music and, of course, the quality of the sound itself.

Mp3s are small computer files which hold audio data, which usually takes the form of music.  They became public in the mid-90’s and have only been gaining attention since then.  They can be uploaded and downloaded to and from the internet with great ease and this has lead to a good deal of illegal trade in music and many breached copyright laws!  While the leaders of the music industry have been battling against what is basically digital theft with law suits, some companies have been cashing in on this technological advancement, beginning to sell their songs not only on CD but also as downloadable internet files.  The infamous ‘iTunes’ is a perfect example.  This has, in recent years, created quite a large drop in CD music duplication and for a while some people were convinced the CD would die out completely.

But it hasn’t.  This is for many reasons, not least of which is that the quality of sound on a CD is generally far better than on an Mp3.  This is due to the way that Mp3 files are created:  The original sound file is taken, then compressed into a smaller size, compromising the range of sound that can be heard and losing much of the finer dynamics of a song.  The smaller the file is compressed to, the more the quality of the sound is undermined.  Indeed, it is now being seen that while Mp3s have been sold with the label ‘near-CD quality’ the reality is that most Mp3s are of FM radio quality which is a bit better than the average cassette tape.  The merits of CD music duplication have a long way to go yet!

There is also some degree of satisfaction, especially to musical collectors, in having a good-looking CD collection, with their cases shiny and their covers colourful and individual.  However, these collections come at a price to the environment; CDs are notoriously difficult to recycle while Mp3s make no waste at all.  Having said this, many people download Mp3s simply to burn them to disc in their own homes.  While this is cheaper in the short term, because one Mp3 track is less expensive than a shop brought one, even with the added cost of buying the discs, in the long term, it causes just as much environmental damage.  To add to which, the disc will not last as long and, as I have already discussed, the sound quality will not be as good by far.  Particularly when you take into consideration the care that CD music duplication companies take in setting up their equipment and ensuring the highest quality sound for their products.

There are further side issues discussing the fact that most people listen to their music on personal Mp3 players now so they may as well just download them in the first place.  However, unless you back up your collection to a portable hard-drive, it is very easy to lose all your music through your computer crashing or getting a virus.  The benefit of CDs is that you will always have a hard copy of your collection to go back to.  To add to which, when you are at home, it is surely better to listen to CDs, where the sound quality will be superior to your personal Mp3 player.

In the end, the Mp3 vs. CD debate comes down to what you value.  However, for most people this seems to be the quality of the sound they are listening to.  If this is the case for you, then certainly CDs are a better way to go.  Personally, I feel that CD music duplication has a lot of life left in it yet!

How to create an autorun slideshow

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It's easy to create an Autorun slideshow for yourself!

These days, digital cameras are a common household necessity but with their advent, the practice of printing photos has become almost obsolete. Whilst sharing photos on networking websites and duplicating them onto CDs has become the usual practice, it doesn’t quite have the same personal touch or class as a good old photo album.

So what is the remedy?
How can we make photos personal again?

One of the most popular answers at the moment is to create a slideshow and burn that to CD. The wonderful thing about slideshows is that they can contain music, special effects, annotations and even voiceovers to make a personal, fun, digital age photo album. But to get a really good finish when you duplicate them onto CD for friends, family or even as part of a business idea, it is great to have the slideshow begin automatically when the disc is inserted into the machine. This is called an AutoRun Slideshow and I will be talking about how to create one of these in this article.

In a previous article, I gave instructions for how to make an AutoRun CD, but creating an autorun slideshow is an almost completely different kettle of fish. To program a slideshow to autorun with computer code is actually quite complicated, so I would advise the use of a piece of software to do it for you. There are lots of products on the market at the moment, some of them very expensive and others totally free, but I would recommend AutoRun Slideshow 6.1. It is a very good program with a free three week download so that you can fully test its capabilities before paying for it (a reasonable £18.72 for personal home use).

This program allows an autorun slideshow to be programmed onto your CD at no further bother to you: All you have to do is simply create your slideshow using the software, then copy the file you have made onto the CD. It should be noted that this software only work on Windows machines which run the operating system XP or newer.

The wonderful thing is, it can also be used for professional use (at a slightly higher price) so if you were wanting to use an autorun slideshow for advertisement purposes or as part of a business idea, you can use this program on a CD which can then be duplicated.

Good luck with making your autorun slideshow and duplicating it and have fun sharing your photos around in a personal, fun way!

Music CD Digital Remastering – what is it and what are the pros and cons?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Music CD digital remastering - is it worth it?

In the current age of constantly developing digital media, it is sometimes hard to keep up with the latest trends. One of today’s most popular buzzwords is ‘digital remastering’. This is applicable to both video and audio files but in this article I shall focus on the idea of audio, or CD, remastering.

To understand what CD remastering is, it is helpful to first know what ‘mastering’ is. When you duplicate a CD, you have an original, or ‘master’ recording. This ‘master’ copy is not necessarily the first recording of the audio content, but is the final edited version of it. For instance, if you are recording a radio-play or audio book, you may wish to add sound effects from another source in after the initial recording. Or, if you are making music, you might want to edit the singer’s voice or to equalize the sound. Many adjustments of these sorts can be made and the ‘master’ copy is the final edited version made before CD duplication commences. In some circumstances there is more than one master copy, for instance many ‘masters’ might be sent out to different CD duplication plants in different regions.

So, the process of CD mastering is the process of making the ‘master’ copy of the CD. Mastering had problems, however, when it came to analogue recordings, for analogue sound loses quality every time it is re-recorded or edited. This can make the audio sound fuzzy or start to hiss. This was particularly the case with cassette tapes.

However, with the advent of digital sound, CD remastering has become the remedy to this cause. When a piece of audio is remastered, very often the original recording of the piece, sometimes taken from before the CD master was even completed, and converted into digital sound, thus the editing can take place again, with no loss to the sound quality, creating a new master which can be used to duplicate the CD and release it again.

The pros and cons of CD Remastering make for a tricky debateBut there are arguments for and against CD re-mastering. Why? If a process makes an old song sound better and gives it a second chance to live, what can be the problem? Well, it depends on how well the audio has been remastered: Many classic albums from bands such as Kiss and the Beatles are now being re-released in digitally remastered form, but to modern tastes and standards. This often includes increasing the volume of a song to levels where the sound becomes distorted and starts to sound very different. this can dissuade people from listening to the music again, often without them even knowing quite why. Aside from this, many people see it simply as a marketing ploy, a way for shareholders in music labels and members of the bands to get even more money than they did the first time the song was a hit.

Despite these criticisms the point remains that, when done well by professional CD remastering technicians, digitally remastered CDs sell very well and do offer a new lease of life to the audio of the past. It also helps to preserve songs and recordings from the analogue era, as cassette tapes and vinyl discs alike become more scratched and naturally degrade in quality over time.

CD Insert and Cover Layout Design Tips

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It's tricky to create a good CD design - so here are some tips to help you!

The design of your CD artwork will have a really massive effect on who buys it and what your consumers think of it. Way before they listen to your CD, they will probably see the cover on a shop shelf. A lot depends on them taking an initial liking to this image, and also to the insert or booklet and back cover. This is why it is so important to put lots of effort into making your CD artwork look appealing and attractive – and not just to any user, but to your selected market! So this article intends to gives some helpful tips and advice on how to make your CD look super!

To start, it helps to know what size your inserts need to be:

– The insert for the front is 4.75”x4.75”
– If you want to make a foldout, simply add an extra 4.75” of length onto the initial dimensions for the insert until you have the desired number of pages
– If you are making a booklet, it should be 9.5”x4.75” so that it can be folded in half. This can be repeated for as many pages as are needed in the booklet
– The back insert is 5.906” with 0.25” on either side for each spine x 4.625”

These are the standard sizes for a CD Jewel case however I would advise leaving a 0.25” ‘bleed’ around everything to make sure that you don’t get any nasty unintentional borders – these can look really unprofessional! A ‘bleed’ is a gap where the image overlaps outside the print area and it serves to prevent white patches around the edge of an image. Similarly, don’t forget to leave a 0.25” gap inside the image too, called a ‘safety’, making an area called the ‘live’ image, where you can be certain that no important bits will get chopped off!

As for what you put in the artwork, that is quite up to you, but it is a good idea to have important information accessible from the outside, i.e. on the front or back covers. For example, if you are making a music CD, it is a good idea to include the artist, album or single title, song names and record label in an easily visible place. But at the same time, don’t overload the cover with information which could be off-putting to many users. Sometimes simple is good! If you are making a booklet, you might want to put in some interesting information like an interview with the artist, lyrics or acknowledgments. Conversely, you could just have lots of really lovely pictures – it depends a lot on what you want the mood of the CD to be.

As for the imagery itself, try and make it as personal as you can, for instance if you’re making a mix CD for a friend perhaps include images of the two of you together! Obviously, if you are aiming at a wider audience try and define what would appeal to your market. For example, heavy metal music usually has very heavy, gothic artwork involving lots of blood, skulls and demons, while classical music tends to have calming scenery or renaissance paintings on the cover.

The same rules apply for choosing a font. For a more serious audience, try and select a serious font, for instance ‘Garmond’. Try not to pick anything that is too hard to read or very over-used – these will both put people picking up your product whether because they can’t understand it or whether because they dislike the cliche implied!

To pick up the mood of your CD, especially if it’s musical, it can be really beneficial to listen to it while you are working on the artwork: Professional graphic designers do it all the time to get their creative juices flowing! Also, try creating a few different images before you settle on one as sometimes the first idea you have is not necessarily the best and look at other artwork to see what else is being done for inspiration. If you’re working on a computer, it is also worthwhile to zoom right out sometimes and take a look at the cover as a whole: This will give you a much better idea of what it will look like once it’s printed up!

Be especially careful when designing your spine – it may look like a small thing but it is very easy to mess up if you don’t leave the proper bleeds either side of it! I would suggest at least two millimetres to compensate for any inaccuracy during the guillotining process, ensuring the writing doesn’t get cut in half or left off altogether! It’s usually a good idea to fit as much information as you can on here. With a music CD it’s normally the band name, record label and album or single title.

It’s also quite important to keep your packaging in mind: The artwork will have to fit into it. Consider whether you wish to make a booklet, fold-out, single sleeve or whether you want to do something extra special. The band Tool recently brought out a very individual album with stereoscopic viewing lenses inside the booklet which made all the images appear in 3D! Their fans loved it and it got them a lot of publicity! Remember though, when brainstorming these awesome ideas, to always consider the cost, too. Sometimes what seems like a great plan is not practically the best thing to do.

It’s also worth bearing in mind – and this is particularly appropriate for music CDs – that in this technological age, many CDs get copied to computer CD libraries where the CD artwork can be viewed when the song is played. It is worth remembering that any special colours, or ‘spot’ colours, which cannot be made with the standard computer colour displays will not show up! These include fluorescent and metallic colours. Though these look very nice on the shelf, you may want to make a different set of artwork that is computer-friendly, too.

A particularly useful website for helping to design and create original and attractive CD covers, inserts and body-prints is offered here for free! You can upload your own images, add text and know for sure that your layout is exactly what is needed!

I hope this helps get your ideas-hat on and gives some practical advice, too! Good luck with all your CD artwork designing! Remember to keep your intended user in mind and never stray far from the CD content and you’ll be well on your way to creating some great CD artwork!

The Differences Between CD and DVD Duplication and Replication

Monday, January 4th, 2010

CD duplication or replication - there's a big difference, but what is it?

When making many copies of a disc, often it is easier just to hire a professional company to do it for you as it saves you time and, in the long run, money. But there are two different ways of making multiple copies of CDs and DVDs: The first is disc duplication and the second is disc replication. The two are not altogether foreign, but there are some subtle differences which can make a massive difference to which one is better suited to your needs.

The process behind disc duplication involves burning CDs or DVDs the way you would at home, in a disc burner using a laser. However, professional equipment is such that it can burn many copies of a disc at once, using disc burning towers. This makes the process much faster than it would be at home. The discs are then decorated and checked for quality in special machines.

On the other hand with disc replication, CDs or DVDs are copied using a master disc made from glass. This master disc literally punches the digital information onto the disc before the protective layers are added. It thus becomes part of the entire disc manufacturing process.

Although the initial costs of disc replication are more expensive because the glass master has to be made, if you want to make more than 1,000 copies of a disc it is actually cheaper than duplication. But duplication is much faster than replication: Duplication can take from 24 hours to three days, while replication takes between seven and ten days on average.

Also, the type of discs which can be made in both processes differ significantly: Disc duplication will only deal with CD-Rs or DVD+/-Rs, while replication is only for CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs and also now Blu-Ray discs. This is because CD- and DVD-ROMs cannot be burnt upon and CD-Rs have been taken too far down the It can be hard to decide whether to duplicate or replicate CDs and DVDs so here's a table to make it clearermanufacturing process to then be stamped with the replicating machines. This seems trivial, but it can have a slight difference to which disc players can read them: It is estimated that in the current market that only 98% of CD players will play duplicated CDs while 90% of DVD players will play duplicated DVDs. This could have an effect on your decision: If you need to be able to guarantee your customers will be able to play your product, it is better to replicate the discs! This is because of the way that data is read from the different discs.

Aside from this, there are no real differences in appearance of the discs or the quality of data stored, though it should be noted that duplicated discs can be a little more susceptible to UV damage than replicated discs but this technicality is so slight it only really counts if you are planning on making your disc last more than thirty years!

Good luck with all your duplication and replication and I hope this article has helped you on the way to making your mind up on which is better suited to your needs. Just remember that the most important thing in the decision-making process is simply how many discs you are planning on creating: The basic rule is over a thousand, you replicate, under a thousand, you duplicate!

Printing CDs at home – it may look cheaper, but is it a false economy?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Home CD duplication - does it really save you money?

In the current economic climate we are all constantly looking for ways to save money on everything. This is no less the case in the world of CD printing, but while printing your CDs at home may look cheaper on the outside, there is strong evidence to suggest this is in fact a false economy and it is less expensive to get a professional company to do it in the long run.

To start, let’s examine the cost of the CDs themselves, especially in relation to the quality you will be getting. It goes without saying that the cheaper a CD is, the less likely it is to be of good quality: There are no free rides in the digital world and if a price is very low, the chances are that somewhere a corner has been cut in terms of quality. For CDs this may mean a much shorter life span, which means that your CD product would need replacing some years sooner than if you had had the CD produced by a duplication company. Thus, if you print at home, you could be paying almost twice as much for the same product in the long run.

To add to this, if you do home CD printing then there will be far fewer quality tests in place. CD printing businesses have a very high level of standard quality, where each CD is thoroughly tested for any faults. Home CD printing could allow faulty CDs to be overlooked, which means that you might lose very important data or, if you are sending out your CDs to consumers for advertising or commercial purposes, could mean that people come away with the impression that you are unprofessional because your product does not work!

On a similar note, you will get a much more professional finish to your product if you use a CD printing company than at home. The print on the disc will be done using the correct machinery, which it is extortionately expensive to buy yourself. Also, unless you have an incredibly good printer, the booklet and inlay will be of a higher print quality if you use a credible company. A good-looking CD with high quality packaging and an attractive cover and body print will entice consumers and look far more professional. This effect is very expensive to achieve yourself and so, in the long run, it is far cheaper to use a CD printing company.

On a more personal note, it takes a lot of time to produce CDs at home, which ends up wasting a lot of your precious hours! If you pay someone else to do it for you, you may well end up saving a lot of money by achieving other things with your time instead. It also puts far less strain on you personally, especially if you have a looming deadline! Professional CD printers are used to working to a deadline and some of them even offer next day delivery, which means that you can rest assured that the job will be finished on time and to a high standard, without the worry of having to do it yourself.

So while it may look like in the short term it is cheaper to buy that very cheap roll of discs and do all the CD printing yourself at home, it can in the long run mean that your product needs replacing faster (costing you more money!), is more likely to allow a product through which is faulty (losing you precious data or customers, costing you more money!), ultimately does not look as good (again, losing you consumers and giving people an unprofessional opinion of you, losing you more money) and all this only having been done so that you can have more stress and worry! Therefore, I would say, it is less stressful and more economically sound in the long run to get a professional CD printing business to do your CD printing for you so you can relax, knowing the job is getting done fast and to a very high standard!

Different kinds of CD and DVD cases

Monday, January 4th, 2010

There are lots of different CD and DVD cases

Nowadays, when issuing a CD or DVD onto the consumer market, it has become almost as important what the disc looks like and how it is packaged as to what its actual contents are. That is why it is so important to choose the right CD or DVD packaging for your product! And as the market is flooded with so many different kinds of CD and DVD cases you would be forgiven for getting confused or finding it hard to make a decision. This article is here to help! In it, I shall discuss the various most common types of CD and DVD case, their pros and cons and any particularly distinctive features each one could offer, helping you make up your mind on how you want your CD or DVD to look.

Though there is some crossover between CD and DVD cases but mostly they are quite different: CD cases tend to be smaller, designed to be almost the exact size of the disc itself. However, DVD cases tend to be the size of a thin, A5 book to accommodate extra booklets and information. I shall start by explaining the main types of CD case before going on to DVD cases.

The most common kind of CD case is the Jewel Case, so named because their creator, somewhat romantically, said they picked up the light like jewels. These cases are made from transparent plastic, comprised of a lid supported by two arms, in turn attached to the base. The base is made from the remaining two pieces, one is plain and forms the back of the case, the other suspends the CD, holding onto it with small teeth which grip the central hole of the disc. With these cases, there is a lot of scope for CD artwork and information: It can be in an insert or booklet slid into the front cover and held there by four or six small plastic teeth and also on an insert in the back, between the two components, which makes it very aesthetically pleasing. Not only that, but they will also protect the CD for much longer than some of the other, flimsier cases, thus being ideal for use in the music or film industry. There are also variations on the case, making it double thickness with extra hinged trays, so it can carry two, four or even six CDs. To add to this, so long as the inlays are all in place, the disc is almost completely protected from UV damage!

So, these cases are pretty, versatile and generally resilient: What is the problem? Well, the smaller parts (the teeth and arms) are liable to snapping which can render the holder useless. Aside from this, the cases are environmentally quite unfriendly as they are difficult to recycle and their creation produces lots of carbon dioxide and toxic fumes. They are also quite bulky and can cost quite a lot in comparison to some other cases. There have been some attempts to address these issues: Some cases have been fitted with tougher, black plastic backs to strengthen the case, but this is less aesthetically pleasing than the clear backs with artwork. Also, some cases have been made slimline, with only one component making the back, but again this compromises on aesthetics because the backing artwork is eliminated.

By far the most space saving case for single CDs is the simple ‘sleeve’. These sleeves are made from either a thin, flimsy plastic known in the business as ‘tyvek’ or out of paper or card. The tyvek sleeves will protect the disc from water and other spillages where the paper ones won’t. But the paper sleeves are very environmentally friendly; recyclable and also able to be made from re-used components. However, in both cases, the sleeves are not strong and don’t serve to stop the CD from snapping or getting crushed and while the paper sleeves protect from UV damage, the plastic ones, unless they have inlays, are next to useless for this! So, perhaps not the best long term solution! However, in the short term, attractive inlays can be inserted into the plastic sleeves either side of the disc, while the paper sleeves are very printable and can even be laminated for a more professional finish.

In keeping with the theme of paper sleeves, cases made from card are becoming increasingly popular. The market is full of new an innovative ways to display your CD in ever more eco-friendly packaging; from the highly acclaimed and regularly used DigiPack, which boasts only one component of plastic, to the origami-like Jake Case which is impressively folded around the disc to create an original and very aesthetically pleasing look. There is even the environmentally friendly WowWallet which is entirely made from FSC approved paper and cardboard. While these paper and card cases are ethically very sound and have every surface available for artwork and design, they are still less resilient than the plastic cases. They are susceptible to spillages, with the slight exception of the laminated DigiPak, and can be torn and battered. For this reason, they are more often used for advertisement or demo discs rather than a long term product which a consumer is paying for.

Going ever more green, the most eco-friendly of the CD cases is the Soft or Green Case. These are made from the recycled discs themselves and are known for their opaque quality. However, because of this opaqueness, artwork is reduced to a minimum, and they are also not very good protection against the disc snapping as the CD cases can easily be bent back on themselves.

A Table Demonstrating the Different Types of CD and DVD Case

Moving on to DVD cases, these are mainly being kept to book-sized plastic boxes called Keep Cases at the moment, which are akin to Jewel Cases, but have only one component on the back and are usually made from black plastic, though sometimes it is also clear or, very rarely, blue. A thin clear plastic cover allows for a colourful cover to be inserted on the outside and inside, two teeth make a holder for an information booklet. These are by far the most popular cases as, like the Jewel Case, they are resilient and leave plenty of options for artwork. Sets of DVDs are also released in Box Sets, storing two or more Keep Cases together in a cardboard box. However, the Keep Cases are quite expensive, thus it has not been unknown, especially in the advertising world, to use Tyvek or paper sleeves to distribute DVDs.

When it comes to bulk packaging, CDs and DVDs are very similar, coming mainly in Cake Boxes. A Cake Box piles discs one on top of the other on a spindle, with one large cylindrical plastic cover to protect them all. However some of the cheaper CDs can also come in Blister Packs, like pharmaceutical pills, or shrink wrapped in plastic. Normally only blank discs are sold in this manner and it is advisable in these cases to at least buy sleeves to protect your discs once you have burnt onto them.

Of course this is a vast generalisation on the different kinds of CD and DVD case available – there are always exceptions to the rule, for example many special limited edition or anniversary albums or films are brought out in unique cases which are made from metal or even wood. Some albums are released with pop-up artwork and some advertisement discs have oddly shaped booklets to try and draw attention to them. While these are all excellent marketing ideas, they do come at a hefty price and I would advise only going down the specialist route if you know it will be worth it for you in the log run – whether for profit or artistic achievement!

I hope this article has proved useful and helped you to make your mind up about which CD case is best suited to your needs, whether they be to produce an attractive product, create a long term data storage device or simply learn which case would be most kind to the planet!

Differences between disc printing methods – which one is right for you?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It can be difficult to decide which CD printing method you want to use

It is very important to have labels on your CDs: This is not only so other people know which way up it is supposed to go into the machine, but also for a beautiful and professional-looking product. But the problem is, there are lots of different ways of disc printing so deciding which one is most suitable to your needs can be tricky! This article is aimed at helping you to figure out which one you want to use!

To start, there are four main techniques for printing CD labels: Lithographic, or offset, printing; thermal transfer printing; silkscreen printing; and inkjet printing. Each one has it own pros and cons.

Lithographic CD printing, or offset printing, involves putting your CD artwork onto a processing plate either through simply printing it from a computer or using photographic negatives and a chemical treatment. The plate is then ‘offset’, or imposed, onto a rubber blanket cylinder which applies it to the surface of the CD or DVD. This process looks incredibly good, and allows for high-quality photographic images and small text to be printed onto your CD. However disc printing in this way is only avaliable if you are replicating rather than duplicating discs as it is part of a whole manufacturing process. It can take up to ten days for the entire process to complete, thus is much less speedy than other printing methods. It is, however, a very good printing option if you need more than 1,000 discs to be made as large batches of discs are usually replicated anyway to save money. But, even taking this into account, Lithographic printing is not the cheapest option by any means.

A Table Showing the Different Methods for Printing CD Labels

When it comes to thermal transfer disc printing, each colour is placed separately onto a transfer ribbon which is then applied beneath a heated print-head. It seals the disc so that the label is waterproof and smudge free. Because the

images are taken directly from a computer, the process is very fast. It is cost-effective in small runs and also looks very good – the print quality is even better than with lithograph disc printing! (This is not to be confused with thermal printing which uses basically the same technique but can use only one colour and is slightly less precise in finish – though it is even faster and cheaper!) Both thermal and thermal transfer printing do not allow you to print right up to the edge of the disc and thermal transfer printing will quite often have to have a white base to print the other colours on top of.

Next, silkscreen printing, or simply ‘screen’ printing, allows disc printing by passing ink through a monofiliment screen. Each colour is put on separately, a different film acting as a stencil over the screen each time. This technique, while by far the cheapest for large runs of disc printing, can leave a grainy effect around colour gradients and text. Nevertheless it is perfectly acceptable for simple designs which use only a few colours. Be warned that the more colours you use with this technique, the less the quality of the image will be!

Lastly, using inkjet printing you can achieve a very high quality finish. This process involves simply printing straight onto a specially prepared disc, then covering it with a UV-resistant laquer so the image will not fade or get scratched. This is a very good method of printing, however it does tend to be pricier for large runs of disc printing, as the price is fixed and does not drop the larger the order becomes. In this way, it can be more economical to is silkscreen or lithographic printing methods.

I hope that this article has helped you make up your mind which printing method is right for your needs and good luck with your disc printing! Remember, if you can stretch the budget, it’s better to have a good-looking disc as it will attract more attention and consumers will like it better!

What can you use the media on a CD for?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

There are hundreds of uses for CD media!

Since it’s invention, the CD has had manifold uses in everyday life. And yet people are constantly becoming more and more innovative with the ways in which discs can be used. It is straightforward knowledge that CDs are used for storing files such as music, video and powerpoint software but how the media itself is being distributed is constantly changing and there are lots of new ideas that are always coming to light.

For some years now, CD media has been used for advertising – we are all familiar with the AOL software demos which come through our letter boxes! Aside from these software demonstrations, CDs can also advertise through an interactive package which draws the consumer in, or for bands who want to release a few demo songs to increase their fan base. CD media can also advertise through short films, this last being especially useful for fundraising, particularly for charities: Nothing will make someone want to help more than seeing the heart-wrenching images of a starving child or an interview with a war refugee! Here, widely distributing a short film on the issue at stake is likely to raise a lot more money than simply reading about it in the papers.

But there’s the real clincher: The high compatibility of CD media makes it very suitable to wide distribution among the general public. It is rare indeed to find a household which does not have a computer or stereo system which will run CDs thus it is pretty much guaranteed that all your customers will be able to view the information sent out.

This factor, combined with the excessively easy portability of CD media, has also lead to CDs being handed out in schools. Recordings of lectures, whole terms of work-packs and copies of specially-licenced software are regularly given out to thousands of students. Students can also take their assignments to and from school or university on CD, the wonderful rewritable nature of CD media only moving to assist this purpose. CD media can also be an invaluable learning tool in itself: Many students and adults alike use CDs to learn languages or listen to audio-books.

In the work place, too, CDs create a remote storage back-up system, archives and video or audio recordings of conferences and meetings. Similarly, archives of CCTV are also often kept on CD. Apart from keeping records, many people are now promoting their businesses with miniature CD business cards, which can contain anything from links to websites to interactive features, music, adverts or simply contact information. As you can see, CD media has endless uses.

But amongst these more serious uses, because CD media is so portable and also relatively inexpensive to create, discs are often being given out as free gifts. Not only in magazines and newspapers do we see free films or compilation albums being given away, but even with some books, too! These discs, however, are not simply presents but are another clever form of advertising as someone is much more likely to buy a product if a ‘free’ gift comes with it!

CDs are constantly being given as genuine gifts, too, not only shop bought CDs containing music or films, but also as compilation CDs, with music personal to you and the recipient, making the present poignant and more meaningful. The same idea applies to giving short home movies as gifts or audio recordings of loved ones. These, too, can be sent across the world in nothing more than an envelope, so they make excellent presents for friends and family who are far away!

Strangely enough, people have even started giving CDs out as party favours: Because data can be put onto a CD very quickly, one can copy a CD with images of the party on while the event is still going on, so the guests have a memento of the special occasion. These favours have been known to come from weddings, birthday parties, even just nights out which are especially good fun! CDs have even been known to be given as prizes, a special edition CD makes an excellent reward, or perhaps a good music CD. Special edition CDs can also be a very good advertising tool, making people buy not only the original disk, but that one, too!

So you can see that CDs have a multitude of purposes, and CD media is one of the most useful tools at our disposal, not only in the workplace and at school, but also as a form of advertisement and as a cunning hook to get customers interested in your product. Aside from this they can also make personal, fun gifts with films, music, games and photos. It is perhaps this adaptability and variation, alongside CDs high compatibility, inexpensiveness and portability, which makes CD media so popular in the world today.

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