CD, DVD and Vinyl Pressing

Birnam CD started out as a cassette duplication facility in 1986. Although we have branched out considerably in recent years, mass production of CDs, DVDs and vinyl is still the mainstay of our business. We have duplicated short-run jobs of a few hundred discs for musicians operating on a local or national level, pressed large orders of five hundred up to several thousand for more established national and international artists and produced massive orders of almost two hundred thousand for bodies in the public sector. So as you can see, our philosophy here is that no job is too big or too small. When your job is finished, let us know where you would like it sent and we’ll take care of it; we can deliver world-wide! Get in touch to discuss your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our line of work is very subjective, and there are many questions that our clients frequently ask us about their projects. We have selected the most common of these questions and provided answers below. We hope that you find this information helpful but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries.

What is the difference between replication and duplication?

REPLICATION

For production runs of 500 discs upwards, we use the industry standard production method of replication (pressing). The digital data from your master is processed to create a glass master from which a disc stamper is produced. This is then used to press the finished copies. The discs are printed using screen or litho print methods, depending on the nature of the design – screen printing is generally more suitable for designs with solid blocks of colour, while litho printing achieves superb results for full colour picture discs. For replication orders, the packaging is always produced using offset litho printing, the professional standard.

DUPLICATION

Duplication (burning) is ideal for short runs of less than 500 units. Your master is copied directly onto recordable discs. For printing on to the disc faces, we employ the same professional processes are used for the replicated discs. For the disc packaging, we offer highest quality digital or offset litho printing depending on the quantity of parts to be produced.

What is "audio mastering"?

In the recording process, audio mastering is the stage after mixing. The purpose of mastering is to improve the audio quality of your music and to ensure that it will sound its best whatever it is played on – a state of the art sound system, portable radio, iPod, in-car stereo or your computer. Put simply, it will make your recording sound better.

To achieve this, the tracks are processed using a series of audio enhancement tools and effects including tonal adjustments, limiting, compression / expansion, equalisation, noise reduction, harmonic excitement and signal restoration. The relative volume between tracks is levelled out and any extraneous noises (pops, clicks and bumps) are removed.

The tracks are put into the correct sequence, with fade-ins, fade-outs or cross-fades applied and the spacings between tracks set. Additional information such as CD text (with the artist name, album and track titles), ISRCs (International Standard Recording Codes) and the product barcode can be added if required.

You are then supplied with a test copy. Once your approval has been granted, the production master is created and delivered to the pressing plant.

The mastering engineer will also supply a PQ sheet, to be used as a reference by the pre-mastering engineer when preparing the glass master.

What is "DVD authoring"?

In DVD authoring, the engineer collects the various components, such as video & film footage, stills, the audio soundtrack, the navigation menu etc. and assembles these into the format required to ensure that the finished discs are compatible with industry standards and will play and respond correctly in all DVD players. If an unauthored disc is supplied as the production master, the DVDs can still be replicated, but they may not play as intended (or at all!).

What is required for an audio master for replication?

Production masters can be supplied electronically as DDP filesets or physically on Red Book Audio discs.

DDP FILESETS

1. An MD5 checksum digit must be allocated for each file.

2. All files (including the MD5 checksums list) must be compressed and saved into a single zipped folder.

3. The zipped folder should be named with the Product Catalogue Number and / or the Artist Name and Project Title.

RED BOOK AUDIO DISCS

Ask your engineer to include a PQ sheet or, at the very least, a track list with titles and timings.

What is required for a DVD master for replication?

DVD production masters should be supplied on disc. For dual layer DVDs, masters can be supplied as a single disc for each layer or as a dual layer master.

What is required for a master for vinyl pressing?

Masters for vinyl pressing should be supplied as WAVs.

1. Supply 24-bit WAVs at a sample rate higher than 44.1kHz if available.

2. Supply a single WAV for each side of the record.

3. Clearly name the files with the Product Catalogue Number and / or Artist Name and Project Title, as well as “Side 1” & “Side 2” (more for multiple disc sets).

What is required for an audio master for duplication?

If you supply a master disc, you must ensure that it is in the correct format for the purposes required of the copies. For short-run duplication, we can also work from DDP filesets or WAVs.

What is required for a DVD master for duplication?

If you supply a master disc, you must ensure that it is in the correct format for the purposes required of the copies. We do not accept DVD masters sent electronically.

How can I send my audio master to Birnam?

UPLOAD

You can upload your master via the link on the audio master upload page.

BY POST

You can also send your master on disc. Please clearly mark the artist, title and catalogue number on the disc face and on any accompanying paperwork including the case insert. To avoid damage and scratching to the disc surface, pack your master into a hard jewel case and send it in a padded envelope or jiffy bag. If sending from within the UK, we would recommend Royal Mail Special Delivery Post. This is an inexpensive and secure method for sending  masters and is available at any Post Office. Delivery is guaranteed by 1pm next working day and the package cann be tracked if it does go astray.

Be sure to make – and keep very safe – a copy master made to at least the same standard as the one you send to us.

NEVER send the only existing copy to us. Our postal address is on the footer of every page.

What is a "catalogue number"?

Any product to be sold commercially should be allocated a catalogue number to make it easily identifiable for ordering, tracking and other purposes. This can be anything you want, but typically, a catalogue number will be a combination of letters and numbers (e.g. ABC123: ABC123CD: ABC123DVD etc). Once you choose a format, it is a good idea to stick with it for further product releases. It’s also a good idea to check whether your catalogue number may already have been used for another product. Type the number into Google and see what results come up. This isn’t a failsafe method, but it’s a good starting point.

Check that the catalogue number appears everywhere you would like it to on the packaging. For CD packaging, it is usual for the catalogue number to appear on both spines, on the rear tray card (or on the back page for card packaging) and on the disc face. For DVD packaging, the catalogue number will generally appear on the spine and the rear page of the outer cover as well as on the disc face. It may also be included on the rear page of the booklet, if the package includes one.

Should I include a copyright notice on my product?

CDs, DVDs and Vinyl products should always carry a copyright notice to protect the rights of the individual or company producing or releasing the discs.

A typical copyright notice reads:

© 2016 Your record company name* ℗ 2016 Your record company name*. All rights of the producer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this recording is prohibited.

*If you don’t have a record company name, you can make one up (but check that it hasn’t been already used), or simply use your own name or the name of your band. Check that the wording is correct and that the correct year has been specified for the © & ℗ Rights credits.

Does Birnam provide a graphic design service?

Our in-house graphic design service is second to none. Over the years we have produced eye catching, imaginative designs covering all types of disc packaging for a large number of extremely satisfied clients throughout the UK, Europe and North America. When we undertake to create your packaging, we will work with you to establish the style, look and feel of the packaging you want. We will then produce a draft design which will be developed and refined in full consultation with you. You can supply your own images and photographs or, if preferred, we can source suitable images from one or more of the online libraries we subscribe to and/or recommend one of the top quality photographers we regularly work with.

We are happy to offer advice based on our knowledge and experience, but we will never lose sight of the fact that the goal is to achieve a professional design with which you are 100% happy with and which will greatly enhance the quality of your production and, therefore, attract even more attention.

Engaging us to do your graphic design doesn’t just give you access to decades of experience and creativity at the very highest level – we’ll even throw in a bundle of goodies to cut down on your paperwork, help to promote your release and ensure that your discs arrive ready to go on sale in shops or at online stores worldwide.

For details of the Design Package Goodies please click here.

Can I provide my own artwork files?

If you are intending to supply your own, print-ready artwork, please refer to our reference guide which can be accessed here.

Please contact us to acquire the artwork specs for your selected packaging option.

Packaging & Quotes

Please use the buttons below to access our various packaging options and request a quote for your project.

Artwork & Masters

Please use the buttons below to upload your masters and artwork, and to access our artwork reference guide.