FAQs - CD Replication

Question? We've Got Answers

  • Can I order less than 500 CDs?

    The minimum order size for CD replication is 500 units.  However, with our Fast Tracks service, there is no minimum.

  • What is your turnaround time for CD replication?

    Once you approve your artwork, it typically takes 12 to 15 business days to complete a replication order. “Business Days” means you can’t count weekends or holidays. Turn time can take longer if you’ve ordered add-ons such as special coatings, embossing, etc. or have special packaging requirements.

    If you have a tight deadline—talk to us. It is usually possible to rush a job, though this may add to the cost of running your job.  We can also drop ship and express ship portions of your order as needed.  Don’t forget that we offer 1, 2 and 5 day turnaround time through our our Fast Tracks short run duplication service.

    In the interest of sanity, we strongly recommend that you do not plan a CD release party or other event too close to your estimated date of receipt. Situations sometimes come up which can delay a project or its shipping, so give yourself a safety margin. This also gives you more time to plan and promote your release, as well as send out advance promo copies for radio and reviews. We know that creating your music took time. Please allow us sufficient time to make your project look and sound appealing to your audience.  Besides, who needs the extra stress??

  • What is your turnaround time for reorders?

    Since we don’t have to prepare artwork, we start counting from the day we receive your forms (this is considered day zero).  Replication reorders typically take 10 to 12 business days.

  • What is “day zero”?

    ”Day zero” is the day that we receive all of your materials. For both duplication and replication, they must be received by 11 AM for that day to be counted as day zero.  We then count business days (not weekends or holidays) to determine your turn time.

  • What is the difference between replication & duplication?

    Replication is the process of making a glass master from a pre-mastered image, creating a series of stampers from the master, then pressing discs with the stampers by injection molding raw polycarbonate plastic. Replication requires millions of dollars worth of equipment, a specialized dust-free environment, and highly-trained technicians. Because of the initial set-up cost, it is simply too expensive to manufacture any quantity less than 500.

    Duplication is the process that uses a pre-manufactured CD-R or DVD-R which has a laser sensitive organic dye layer embedded under the reflective layer. During the recording process, a laser beam “burns” the vegetable dye so that some parts reflect light and some parts absorb the incoming light. Duplication produces many copies of a disc at once. Duplication uses CD-R or DVD-R media, and usually a bank of recorders controlled by a single processor. This method is best for short runs (less than 500).

    To learn more, read this blog article.

  • Why do GrooveHouse discs sound better? What is TrueSound?

    Sound quality is our passion. We use vintage equipment that was originally created for high fidelity audio CDs. Over the years, newer equipment has been developed to manufacture discs faster and more cheaply in order to appease the mass-market CD-ROM industry.  Honestly, discs made on these new machines just don’t sound that great, which is why we stand behind our TrueSound process.

    We create all of our glass masters in-house, which decreases the possibility of transfer loss. Some of the best mastering engineers in the business have helped us optimize and customize our system. In addition, we injection mold our discs with high quality polycarbonate for up to 4x longer than other manufacturers which decreases playback correction errors. 

  • What is a glass master? Isn’t it the same as an audio master?

    CD glass mastering is comprised of a number of stages needed to create a metalized glass master from which the stamper is produced. (We use the metal stamper in our injection molding machines to ‘press’ your CDs). The production of the ‘glass master’ occurs in a state-of-the-art mastering facility, with a class 1,000 clean room. Operators wear special clothing including face masks and foot wear to minimize any particles.

    What you get from your mastering engineer is not a glass master, but a PMCD (Pre-Mastered Compact Disc). 

  • What happens to my glass master after the job is finished?

    The glass mastering describes the process - you don’t end up with a physical piece of glass that you own. In fact, the glass is recycled and re-used. The metal stamper (which is created from the glass mastering process) is what we mold the CDs from. It stays with us in our clean room conditions, ready for your reorder.

  • How exactly do you make a CD?

    Here’s an interesting video on how CDs are manufactured.

  • Do I need to have my audio tracks professionally mastered?

    We always recommend that you get your recording professionally mastered in order to get the most balanced, professional-sounding product. A mastering engineer unifies a CD by adjusting EQ, compression, and other dynamics processing to give it a consistent sound from track to track. The sound of your CD is also “sweetened” during the mastering phase, giving your music warmth, punch, and fullness.  The engineer can also raise the overall level (volume) and highlight details that aren’t already apparent. Finally, mastering is also helpful for addressing issues such as “pops,” out-of-phase tracks, and overall noise reduction.  It’s what makes the difference between the sound of a home-made recording and a major-label release.

  • Can you master my CD for me?

    We do not offer in-house CD mastering, but we do know several solid mastering engineers.

  • What master formats do you accept for CD replication?

    For CD audio, the most common formats are PMCD / CD-R disc and DDP image discs.  We can also accept a pre-manufactured CD.

    For CD-ROM, the most common format is a CD-R disc.

  • What can I do to burn the best CD master possible?

    1) Always use a high-quality media brand to record your master.  We recommend MAM-A Gold, Apogee Gold, and Mitsubishi Green Tune. Do not use CD-RW (rewritable) or bargain-priced discs. Check to make sure that your master is free of dirt and fingerprints.

    2) Use a high quality stand-alone CD burner. Though most home computers come equipped with CD burners, their quality can vary greatly. To get the best quality master, we recommend looking into some of the better burners such as Plextor, LaCie and Yamaha.  Keep your burner in a clean environment. Dust and debris can mask the writing laser and cause permanent defects in the CD master.

    3) Use a good CD burning program such as Toast or Jam for the Mac or Nero for the PC. Higher end programs include Wave Burner or Peak. Note that you CANNOT use iTunes to burn a red book audio CD.

    4) Make sure your master is being generated from files located locally - not from a network, CD-ROM or hard drive. It’s better to generate a CD from a single location. If you are grabbing the files from various locations make sure a disc image is created first.

    5) Burn the master at the slowest possible speed. We suggest writing the CD at 2x or even 1x, if available.

    6) Make sure there are no open processes in the background while creating a master, such as an active Internet connection or open application. Make sure that the CD writing program is the only thing open and active.

    6) Record your master as a single session, disc-at-once (DAO), mode 1 disc. Note that some burners may default to track-at-once (TAO) mode. Save the files as 16 bit, 44.1 CD Audio files. Be sure to check with your user manual for details.

    See article: How to Create a Red Book CD Master Using Roxio Toast.

  • Should I listen to my CD master before I submit my replication order?

    Yes. When we receive your order, we will digitally analyze your master to make sure that it is free of errors and we can make a good stamper from it, but we do not listen to the content of your disc. It is your responsibility to carefully listen to it at least once to make sure everything sounds right.  However, don’t listen to it more than a few times, to minimize dust and scratches from your player.

  • What is meant by Red Book and Yellow Book?

    The original CD standards, set by Philips and Sony in 1980, were published in a book with a red cover. Such standards are needed so that an audio CD made by any manufacturer can be read by any CD player. They address the physical specifications for the CD; the tracks, the sector and block layout, coding and sampling of digital audio files, and other specifications. For example the recording must be a single session, limited to 99 tracks.

    In 1983, Yellow Book standards for CD-ROM were announced as an extension of the CD audio standard. The Yellow Book specifies two types of sector layout (Mode 1 and Mode 2), additional ‘layered’ error detection and correction to ensure higher integrity of the contents, and much more.

  • What is the time / data limit on a CD?

    The Red Book standard for an audio disc is 74 minutes 40 seconds.  Normal data capacity is 654.7 Mb. It is possible to record and replicate somewhat more data on a disc than the “normal” capacity and still remain within Yellow Book specifications, but some older drives may have trouble reading data from these discs.

  • Can you make enhanced CDs?

    Yes – we can both author and manufacture enhanced CDs.  You just need to supply us with an appendable master (do not close the session) and the media files (MPEG or Quicktime) you wish to have on the disc.  Using Adobe Flash, we will build you a Flash player with controls and combine it all into a enhanced master.  Contact us for pricing and details.