CD glass mastering problem - anyone experienced THIS (see links in message)

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by markharmer, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member

    Hi - hope you can all help. I've had a run of glass-mastered CDs made and they've just come back with this fault. These were of course replicated from a glass master, not just bulk-copied in a burner, and they have a really odd distortion which sounds a bit like an old dusty LP in the first few tracks, but the distortion / noise gets more noticeable as you go higher up the track numbers, and the final track is really, really bad. Track 1 has a bit of noise, but almost unnoticeable, track 28 is absolutely horrible. It sounds like an LP when you have grunge on the stylus.

    This is an extract from track 17 (which is about 2/3 of the way through - the CD has 28 tracks in total.

    As supplied: 27 Round and Round as supplied by MarkHarmer on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
    On the CDs I got back: 27 Round and Round as pressed by MarkHarmer on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    I've never heard anything like this and never had problems before with this company so any ideas what can have happened? Anyone know about CD replication from a glass master? Before I get back to the company!!
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I don't know what that is but I can't believe they shipped that to you. It's totally unacceptable. That noise sounds like it's external to me. Like it leaked into the track when they cut the master. Either way, you're going to have to get those redone and there's no way you should pay for a new master. Be polite but definitely lodge a complaint.
  3. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member

    Good idea!

    This morning I realised I hadn't checked the CD text. Unfortunately the masters I supplied are with the company but burning another from the CD list reveals that my copy had CD-Text but the replicated ones don't. This is not as important as the messed-up audio but it's another issue that I will have to complain about. I will be polite but I don't want them to get awkward. There are 1000 CDs in cellowrap, with a 12-page booklet. The printing and packaging is immaculate. Shame about the audio.

    Thanks for your reply - I really appreciate it. It helps to have just an outside view on this!
  4. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Ask them to make a new Glass Master from your CD and redo the entire job, this is not your problem imo.
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'd kinda like to know which plant this was... Not that I want to throw allegations and names around, but I don't ever want to send a client there...
  6. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member

    I don't want to name the plant (yet, anyway) but it's not in the US or Canada if that helps! I'll keep you all up to date, but thank you for all your comments. I may deliver anything in future by DDP rather than CD after this experience.
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    That does help - Thanks!

    And yes, the DDP option certainly -- well, under most circumstances, it's easily the more reliable method. That said, wherever you sent that project had to go through some trouble to do what they did.
  8. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member

    Yep - I reckon if you tried to mangle audio that badly, it would be quite difficult!
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    This definitely sounds like some kind of clocking issue? What bit depth and sample rate did you send them? This sounds like an imprecise transcode? Like going from 24-bit, 96 kHz to 16-bit, 44.1 kHz? Almost like television where were not at 30 frames per second but at 29.97 being played at 30. Where I've heard something like this in the past but certainly not on a replicated disk. That's like 0% quality control if ever I've heard it. So no one at that company bothered to check one lousy disk before they shipped. Try doing that with a new pharmaceutical or birth control. That won't fly. LOL that really got me going. What a horrible pressing. I wouldn't be dealing with that company again, ever. I wouldn't care if I had to pay more. It sounds like they got sand in their glass that never melted? Ya really shouldn't go to those Antarctic CD pressing plants. It's too cold down there for the sand to melt. Maybe it's not sand? Maybe it's Penguin feces? They knew the pressing plant was a warm place to hang out, is obvious.

    Penguins aren't afraid of us. And now they're on your CD.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member


    Love the Penguin theory. And almost certainly correct!! Frozen penguin poo, definitely.

    Update: I sent two master CDs to the company I dealt with (an intermediary company). They kept one of the master CDs, and sent the other one to the pressing plant. The pressing plant then rejected that master because of too many errors. So the intermediary company sent - not my other master - but a copy of my other master. Assuming my other master had errors on it, then I'm guessing their copy simply faithfully copied these but in itself was error-free (if that makes sense) otherwise they would have rejected that one too.

    I'm not sure exactly how that copy of my master was made (I'd hope it was a bit-for-bit copy but who knows?) but clearly that's how stuff goes wrong. That may be related to why there was no CD-Text on my production run.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    They've got to make good with a screwup like that. They have to admit there was no quality control check in that procedure. Everybody has to do a make good once in a while. But even that doesn't keep us in business. But we still don't want to go down in flames and neither do they, I hope.

    I think penguins are cute and it's great that they don't taste good. Actually I wouldn't know?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member


    Well - I've got the CDs back. They are now not distorted. But EAC says there are 18 extra samples at the beginning of every track. And STILL no CD-TEXT despite sending them a (labelled) master CD!

    Rats. Can't delay this client's project any more by getting it redone yet again. So I'm not happy.
  13. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    CD players have error correction systems built into them, otherwise there'd be a crackle ranging from slight to horrible all the time, on every CD, due to particles of dust, scratches etc. You might find that different CD players respond differently (having different error-correction systems).

    I'd point the finger at a dusty glass master if the crackly errors are burned into the actual disk, and it varies across the run. That's not the hallmark of a good quality pressing plant! If it's the same on everything, it's burned onto the glass master. If it isn't the same, then it's due to dirt on the glass master.

    Use FTP and an ISO disk image wherever possible for supplying your digital files.
  14. markharmer

    markharmer Active Member

    Just out of interest, and taking your points in reverse order, can you do an ISO of an audio CD? I didn't think you could but I might be wrong there.

    I should have said - the errors on the CDs sounded identical (ie, identically crap) on every single device I played them on - XBOX360, Blu-Ray player, DVD player, CD player, Car CD player, Computer. So definitely it was a pressing issue. It was the first thing I did when I played that first CD back from the factory and heard that extraordinary noise - just in case it was machine-specific (it wasn't - they sounded exactly just as bad in exactly the same places, on all devices).

    I wondered about dirt on the glass master and even looked carefully to see if there might be some region of the pressed CDs that looked different somehow (but different in the same place, across all CDs). But no, not that I could see. But I think what happened was that the company copied my master, sent that to the pressing plant, and for some reason the errors got carried over from my backup master (yes, it had errors, which is why they rejected the first master) but the copy appeared error-free even though it wasn't. I think. Not sure - but the company admitted fault.

    They are chasing up things with the plant to see why my (new) masters didn't get pressed with CD-Text on them because I have at least three more runs to do of new projects in the pipeline, and they are sure as hell not getting my money in future if they can't guarantee fault-free copying. Apart from anything else it's been a huge hassle with my end client for the job, and also it's meant a lot of work testing / arguing the case / repackaging the CDs from the first run. All of which I could have done without.

    If they don't come up with some reasonable explanation, then obviously to protect anyone else from the same issue, I'm definitely going to name names.
  15. bishopdante

    bishopdante Guest

    Well, by ISO I mean disk image, point being to use FTP to send your data archive. Optical disks are unreliable, not really suitable for using as masters. The proprietary (ISO9660 is an open standard, Red Book ain't) format for an Audio CD image is a DDP image. There's nothing wrong with sending an ISO, zip or dmg with Wavs or AIFFs and a ReadMe file, that's what I've done with the pressing plants I've had dealings with doing runs for mates or indie labels. A mastering engineer or proper burning software will make you a DDP, though.

    Here's the sort of thing you need to do that.

    Whoa... Hadn't used that this side of 2000, but, well...

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