Getting an outside company to press up your CDs can be expensive. While it will often give you the best results in terms of quality, sometimes the budget just won't be there in the early stages of your music career. At a time like this, if you're making a mixtape for example, you may want to consider home CD duplication as a cheaper way to get your music pressed up. While there are still costs involved, it can be a lot cheaper, and CDs can be pressed up as and when you can afford to.
That said, while this method is cheaper then going through a CD duplication company, there are some common pitfalls you could encounter. While you may save money like this, you don't want a cheap looking product at the end of it. That's where we can help.
In this guide we'll look at common mistakes musicians make when pressing up their own CDs, and how to get a better quality product. So read on for all the info.
Note: This post has been contributed by the nice folk at We Print Discs and edited by Shaun Letang.
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Mistake And Solution 1. Yours Discs Are Not Loading On Certain CD Players
While compatibility isn't as much of a big issue as it once was, it is still something you need to be aware of. It's important you get a audio CD if you want people to be able to play your music in any device; get a data based CD and you'll only be able to play it on your computer and certain more modern CD players. Get a audio CD however and you should be able to play it anywhere. Even so, you'll want to test it on a few devices before you press up the rest of your CDs.
You'll also want to make sure you are buying a good quality CD. If a low quality dye was used to make the CD, you CD will be of a poorer quality as a result. A good sign of quality CD is the detail of the purple color on the data side. The more purple and rich the color, the better.
Mistake And Solution 2. Duplicating The Wrong Track Listing
This is another mistake that's all too easy to make.. You know how you want the CD to be, but during the final compilation of the songs you miss out a track, or put two of the same ones by mistake.
In order to make sure this doesn't happen, proofing is once again in order. First on your computer when putting the tracks together (Make sure each track is correct), then again once you've pressed up your first CD. Listen to it through from start to finish, making sure there are no long gaps, jumps, or incorrect tracks. If it's ok then the others should be too. As long as you press it up from the same playlist that is.
Mistake And Solution 3. Picking The Wrong Color Format For Printing Images
While CD duplication may look like a easy process on paper, getting the best print for your disc and covers can be rather challenging. The image on your CD can be used for marketing reasons, and can really help strengthen your brand. Because of this, it's important you get it right.
If you're going to be doing on CD image printing, be sure to use the CMYK color format when designing your image. This is the color format used for printing, while RGB is used for web based design. If you print a image in RGB format, your printer will substitute any colors they don't recognize for other tones. This will mean your printed picture will look different to the one on you computer monitor, and not how you was expecting.
The image editor you used to design your on CD print cover on will allow you to switch between CMYK and RGB, so be sure to pick the right one before printing.
Ok, so we're just over half way through. We have more home CD duplication pitfalls and solutions for you below, so keep on reading for all the info.
Mistake And Solution 4. Printing CD Images At The Wrong Resolution
Continuing with the above issue of getting a good print, as well as ensuring you get the right color format, you also need to make sure the resolution of your image is at a good quality. While having images at a resolution of 72dpi is perfect for computer screens, you need a resolution of at least 300dpi for a printed image (dpi stands for dots per inch).
To make sure your print is going to come out like you planned, you'll want to print a test copy first on a plain piece of paper. If it comes out blurry and not crisp, you'll want to go back and check the resolution of the image is correct.
Mistake And Solution 5. Printing Poor Quality Artwork
This could happen in two ways. First off, you could simply have a poor quality printer. If this is the case, you'll need to invest in a better one. While this will cost money, it's still cheaper then duplicating CDs through a company, and you'll be able to do as many runs as you want. Printers aren't all that expensive these days, so it may be worth you investing in one.
A second potential problem with artwork is mistakes on the covers. Be sure to proof read everything you put on there, and when you make any changes, reproof the whole things, not just the bits you edited. This will allow you to catch any mistakes before you've printed up a whole batch of CDs.
If you decide to press up your own CD, be sure to do it right. Just because it's a DIY job, that doesn't mean you can let the quality suffer. The end user won't care if you need to save money so decided to print it up yourself, they'll only see a good quality product or a bad quality product. Make sure yours is the first one.