Digital Media Options

Photo of finished compact discs

Your choices of finished media include:

Music CD:

Music CD's are the most popular choice, as they are usable in all CD players. Your CD's can be produced with or without CD Text.


mp3 or mp4 CD/DVD:

These are often used in portable music players, such as the iPod. This type of CD or DVD is referred to as a Data CD or Data DVD; a Data DVD is not the same as a Movie DVD that you would play in your TV-connected DVD player.

mp3's and mp4's are single data files that you can simply "copy" to your computer's music folder or USB memory stick, or send as an email attachment. Your choice of mp3 or mp4 (or both) depends on your intended use, and also on the capabilities of a player you might like to use. Whether your files are produced on a CD or DVD largely depends on the amount of music: Data CD's hold up to 700MB, and Data DVD's hold up to 4.3GB. Some distinctions between mp3 and mp4 follow:

mp3:

This is a proprietary compressed digital audio format. mp3's can be produced in different resolutions (higher resolutions have larger file sizes) depending on your requirements. Recently, though, mp4's have become preferable due to their improved quality.

mp4:

This compressed media format was developed by Apple, and can contain both HD video and multi-channel audio together in one file. Its audio quality is considered superior to that of the mp3 and Music CD. Audio-only mp4's are more-correctly called m4a's (mp4-audio). The mp4 format is not proprietary, and you can convert uncompressed WAV files, for example, to m4a files with Apple's inexpensive "QuickTime Pro" player. Like mp3's, mp4's can be produced in a variety of resolutions. We can provide m4a audio files on Data-CD or Data-DVD.


WMA:

This is Microsoft's digital audio format, and one of the formats used by Windows Media Player. These files are provided on Data-CD or Data-DVD.


WAV:

This is a high-quality, uncompressed digital audio format, and is suitable for archive or mastering use. We typically provide these at 96khz sampling rate with 24-bit resolution, but can also provide up to 192khz with 24-bit resolution. Since these files are large, they're usually provided on Data DVD's.


DVD-Audio:

This is a proprietary, high-definition digital audio/video format originally developed by Panasonic. It requires a DVD player specifically designed to play DVD-Audio discs; some newer DVD players called "universal" players support DVD-Audio. Many consider the DVD-Audio format superior to its competitor, Sony/Philips' SACD (Super Audio CD), but the music industry has mostly sided with SACD. DVD-Audio discs can be produced for you if you have access to a DVD-Audio player.


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