Interview:Manufacturing Expert

Part 1: Definitions of Mastering and EQ/How CDs Are Manufactured

Part 2: What to Supply the Manufacturer/What is the Minimum Order for CDs/How Much Music Will Fit in a CD

Part 3: How CD Booklets Are Priced/The Use of Special Colors/Barcodes

Part 4: A Common Mistake/Mastering Issues/The Future of the CD




Jeff Magid : Manufacturing Expert


Part 1: Definitions of Mastering and EQ/How CDs Are Manufactured


A production and manufacturing expert, Jeff Magid shares his 2O years of experience with In this exclusive interview he has crucial advice on an important part of the manufacturing process: Mastering your recording. What is mastering?


Jeff Magid: Mastering is a necessary step in the manufacturing process because when an artist records an album in a studio the recordings are done at different levels. Once all the songs are recorded and mixed, mastering levels out all the songs by using EQ and compression. Also, the mastering process is when you can do your fade ins, fade outs, and try to adjust the overall sound. If one particular song is mixed and it sounds a little tinny you can add some bass to it. It is sort of like the last stop in the recording sequence of events where the music can be fully realized to its best potential. Also, you have to remember that albums that were recorded long ago that were mastered for the LP format, in order to be reissued, have to be mastered again for the CD format. Could you define for us the term EQ?


Magid: EQ stands for equalization. That really describes what the main thrust of mastering is, that you are trying to get equal levels from song to song, from the first song on the album to the very last song. If you were listening to a project that isn't mastered and didn't have the EQ process done you would be listening to a song that was kind of loud so you would turn down your volume to listen to it and then the next song comes on and it was recorded at levels much lower than the first song, so you have to turn it way up, and then when the third song comes on it was recorded at levels louder than the first one and blows your eardrums out. So that is the purpose of mastering and EQing a record. How are CDs manufactured?


Magid: The master has to be delivered to a manufacturing plant, usually in a 16/30 format. Some plants will manufacture from a CD or from a DAT, but most prefer working with a 16/30. That gets delivered to the manufacturing plant. The color separations for the artwork get delivered to the printer. Once the printer completes the booklet and the inlay, they deliver it to the manufacturing plant and the plant takes the 16/30 and makes what they call a glass master, and from that the duplication process begins. The CDs get made in a compression-molding type of machine. They get the labels printed onto them. The inlay and booklet are inserted into the jewel box. The disc is put into the tray, which is inserted into the jewel box. Some machines automatically flip the jewel box over and it may get what they call a "top spine sticker" and then be shrink-wrapped. Any additional stickers get placed on it at that point.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4