Audio Mastering |Mastering tools | CD Premastering

Compact Disc Premastering

Formats accepted for glass mastering:

Compact Disc:

DDP files
Audio CD-R burned in Disc-At-Once mode
For CD-ROM: a Data CD-R burned Disc-At-Once and Mode 1

DVD-5 masters:

For DVD-Video or DVD-ROM: a DVD-R usually works, or you can send a DDP image.
For CSS copy protection you must author with a program that supports DDP images and enable the CSS flag. We have a method to apply CSS to a regular DVD-R or VIDEO_TS files. The cost is $150.

Dual layer DVD-9 masters:

Traditionally DDP images for each layer are to be supplied.

A DVD+R DL burned with the proper layer-break setting can work. Special software is required to set the layer break. Most DVD+R DL masters supplied by clients fail in glass mastering because the layer break has not been set correctly. There is a $150 fee for creating a new master.

Uploading your master

We can accept your files by the internet. There is usually a small fee for downloading, burning a master, and QC: $30 for CD, $50 for DVD. There is no fee for DDP uploads.

Making your own master

When making your own master it is very important to choose Disc-at-once and not Track-at-once. For a CD-ROM choose Mode 1 as it is very unlikely that you want Mode 2 XA format. Most consumer software uses the wrong settings by default so you must look through the program options to change these settings.

What is premastering?

Premastering is the process of transferring your source into the DDP format supported by the glass mastering departments of CD plants. PQ codes are inserted to mark the start and stop points of the CD and each track. You may also want to insert or modify the UPC, ISRC, and CD-Text data.


  • Base rate: $30 includes DDP creation and CD-R copy for approval from 16 bit 44.1 khz digital files
  • Real-time transfers or digital processing: $1.00 per minute with a $30 minimum
  • 24-hour turnaround
  • immediate turnaround available for $50 surcharge
  • Work performed by skilled audio engineer
  • The base rate including DDP files is $125 if we are not making CDs for you. We can send the files to your factory by the internet.


What do we do in premastering and mastering?

We load your audio into our hard-disk editor. Once loaded, we ensure the songs are properly identified as to their start and stop times. We check if your volume level falls into the standard range: peaking near 0. If there are any problems or discrepancies we give you a call to discuss it. At this point we cross the line into mastering. If needed, we trim the songs, redo the fadeouts, adjust the levels, remove noises, resequence the songs, etc... For more involved EQ work we suggest you contact a project-mastering studio or go back to your mix.

If you are interested in maximum volume, we have high-end plugins available for this task.


The following additional services are available in mastering:

  • Resequencing and adjusting the song spacing
  • Resampling to 44.1 kHz
  • digital limiting and compression
  • EQ
  • Leveling the songs so the loudness is even from song to song (Note that the "normalising" that some computer programs do is almost totally useless and pointless. The ear and skill must be used to judge loudness)
  • Fade-ins and fade-outs
  • Broadband noise reduction
  • Declick and Denoise
  • DDP preparation

Special note about the 1630 Umatic format:

This format is obsolete. We can have your 1630 transferred to DDP files.

Track sheet

Please supply a track sheet with your audio source.

Notes on supplying your own premastered CD-R:

You may supply a CD-R as your premaster. Here are a few pointers:

  • Use good quality professional discs like Taiyo Yuden or Falcon
  • Every disc has errors which are usually correctable. To minimize errors burn at lower speeds. With a fast PC, a Plextor burner, and Taiyo Yuden discs 16X speed is fine. With cheap media and 48X burning on a cheap burner you can expect problems (uncorrectable errors).
  • Do not scratch it or get fingerprints on the bottom.
  • Hold the disc up to the light to ensure there are no holes in the reflective surface
  • Do not submit masters made on standalone CD-AUDIO recorders. These discs are usually corrupted and must be remastered.
  • Send 2 copies and keep another one or two for yourself
  • Send it in a jewel case or clamshell. Tape it shut. Do not send it in a paper sleeve.
  • Only write on the surface with soft markers like Sharpies
  • Indicate how many songs and the total running time
  • Mark your 6-digit order number on it if possible
  • indicate clearly AUDIO MASTER
  • if DDP files supplied on CD-R indicate in big letters: DDP
  • indicate GRAPHIC FILES on your graphic disc!


As an added service we usually spot-check your CD-R masters for obvious errors or problems but we will not be held liable for your mistakes.