Master Recording Format


Well-Known Member
Mar 22, 2005
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Hey RO'ers:

I am delving into learning a little more about mastering just so I get a good understanding of how it works. I know that it takes a lot of experience to master the art, but I was wondering if anyone out there could tell me the steps to creating a Redbook master? I have Nero Express which I heard is capable of completing a master Cd, but what format is generally used? What I mean is once I have the songs mastered do I place them on the master Cd as data files, or do I place them as .wav files? I have been working on an album for my label for the past seven months now and we are in the final stages. Any help or suggestions would be helpful. Please don't tell me to go to a professional because I do know that, this is just for my own learning experience. I do eventually plan on sending the final mixes to a professional. Thanks


The CD you make is a duplicated as is, the CD should be exactly as you want it to be pressed. In other words, an audio CD, defined under the red book standard.

When you deliver data to be mastered at some other place, use data format and 24 bit files.

Boring answer: a google search on the 'red book' term will probably help a lot!

Check, some nice articles, the book is very helpfull too.

Andreas Nordenstam



Red Book is basically an CD Audio

  • Defined by Philips and Sony in 1980 and published in a red binder, hence Red Book.
    Standard needed so a CD made by any manufacturer can be read by any CD player.
    Physical Block Structure, 75 blocks are read per second, each block divided into 98 24 byte frames.
    Frames are encoded using EFM (Eight to Fourteen Modulation), CIRC (Cross Interleaved Reed Solomon Code) codes are inserted for error detection and correction.

So you do not need to be bothered with that, because that all takes place at the CD pressing plant.

If you need to know how to hand the songs to a mastering engineer I would suggest simply asking them. Many engineers may have a preferred format these days, but I'd guess many would take it in a variety of formats, you know?