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Posts Tagged ‘Sound Editing’

Jargon Buster Part 1 – Master Discs:8th July 2019

Monday, July 8th, 2019

As in most Industries there are many terms and abbreviations which are used in duplication, that have become part of our ordinary language. For the uninitiated these terms can sometimes appear complicated and a bit daunting. This is especially true of file formats as some terms are used to define different entity’s even when working in the same markets!

 

Our Director of Technology Mark Smith has written a series for articles that we will publish over the next 3 weeks explaining  some of the most used terms,in relation the the optical media (CD, DVD and Blu-Ray) market. With links for more detailed explanations:

 

Physical Masters:

This simply means a hard copy CD or DVD which we can use to duplicate from.

 

Disc Image Formats:

The type of images here are not photographic images. The term relates to a ‘snapshot’ of the contents of a disc, the format and the exact layout.

The most important thing when working with disc images is you are sure you have formatted them correctly. Failing to do this will result in any discs made from them to be faulty. If there is any doubt, or you are new to this area, ask for help and advice. We have a team here who are always available for email, phone or online chat and will be very happy to help and advise you.

 

ISOnrg

An .iso image is a computer file that is an exact copy of an existing file system. ISO files are typically created through a software application that will extract the contents of a CD or DVD, and then write then as an exact electronic copy of the original disc to a file (a .iso file). This allows us to burn to burn an exact copy of the original onto CD or DVD.

Iso files are perfectly acceptable for CD-Rom and DVD-Video, but should not be used for CD-Audio due to technical restrictions

 

IMG

This format is very similar to a .ISO image with a few subtle changes and features which are beyond the scope of this article. For our purpose they can be used the same as an ISO, but more in depth information can be found in this article should you wish to learn more.

Like ISO files, .img should not be used for CD-Audio discs.

 

NRG

These files are a relatively new proprietary optical disc image file format. NRG files are used in the same way as other image formats, but are a more advanced and very versatile.

NRG files can be used for any type and format of disc, CD-ROM, CD-Audio, DVD-Video, Blu-Ray, etc.

NRG files on Wikipedia

 

DDP

This stands for Disc Description Protocol and is commonly used for delivery of disc pre-masters for commercial Glass Master Replication. The DDP format is compatible with all CD and DVD discs and is the industry professional format used in mass manufacture of discs. Although becoming more common, its a relatively unknown format used mainly within the optical media industry for transporting discs electronically between production facility’s and mastering houses.

DDP files can be accepted the same as all other listed image formats for duplication, but are not a specific requirement in any way. Further more detailed information on this format is available here.

 

Bin/Cue

This is a versatile image file format particularly useful for CD-Audio. The consist of two files,

  1. a binary data file (.bin file), This is the raw data of a disc, a solid block of information with no organisation.
  2. a Cue sheet (.cue file). This is a descriptive file, used to give structure and organisation to the raw binary (.bin) file.

Each of the Bin & Cue files are meaningless on their own, and must be provided together with their specific and matching partner, never mixed or edited. Further information of this file type can be found here.

 

 

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!

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