Burning 100 CDs
March 21, 2005 7:27 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to burn roughly 100 CDs? Banjo and I are going to be giving mix CDs as wedding favors and would like to know the best method of going about this. Burn at home, or get someone else to do it? How much would that cost?

We have at least one computer with a theoretically functional CD burner on hand. The mix CD itself will be 12-14 songs in length of material taken from our collections and iTunes. Thanks!
posted by robocop is bleeding to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I doubt that a CD pressing service will do this for you unless you can demonstrate that you have copyright permission for the songs.
posted by winston at 7:32 AM on March 21, 2005

I'd outsource, and ask one or two close friends (bridesmaid/best man?) if they can do this for you. Give them the blanks/jewel cases, maybe.
posted by carter at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2005

Given the copyright issues, friends are going to be the only way. I'd create the ISO (or CIF for those with EasyCD) yourself so there is absolutely no room for error.

Provide them with 10 or so blank discs and your "master" and give them several weekends to do it. The last thing people want to do is be burning them all in one (invariably late-night) session. Plus, not everyone has super fast burners so you need to take account of the poor soul with the 4x writer.

Make sure you label them so that they really do look like you did them yourself.

Finally, make sure you normalise all the tracks before you make the image (on Windows use MP3Gain) otherwise anyone playing the CD will have to fiddle with the volume control every time a new song comes on.
posted by ralawrence at 8:04 AM on March 21, 2005

I'd say for this size run your best bet is to burn them yourself. If your theoretically functional CD burner is old it could take quite a while. You might want to invest in a new burner - you can get a swift 52x burner for around $25. With a fast burner it should take less than 2 minutes per.

Also, if you are burning MP3 to audio, the process will go faster if you do one conversion, then copy the other discs from the audio copy.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:07 AM on March 21, 2005

It really depends on the investment you're willing to make (from cheap, simple, to complex/expensive):

Burning at home using a single burner, you could hope to do 5 - 10 in a day once you have the hang of it. Biggest trick here is not to have enough days left to do it. You just have to remember to insert a blank every time you walk by and see the CD door open.

Some CD writing software (Nero comes to mind) will allow you to burn the same disk out to multiple CD writers. So you could get another burner of similar speed fairly cheep and go 2x faster than the above method.

outsource or distributed model with friends is also somewhat cheap, but you might have mixed results.

You might be able to find somebody that will press copies and not ask copyright questions, but given that you are not pressing anything more than 100 or so, I doubt you'll get a great bulk discount.

My suggestion is get your list knocked into shape with the best quality mp3's available (iTunes store if you have something of questionable quality). Once this is done make a test master. Listen to it to make sure the volume + quality is what you are looking for. This becomes you're "Golden Master" which you should make an ISO of. After that you just need to pick your poison. I have enough patience to burn 5-10 a day for 10 days or so. This can be done in the background while you do stuff on the web, like read mefi. I mean, I spend enough time in a day putzing around the web, that I could probably do 500 CD's in a week or two and I would almost not notice.
posted by Numenorian at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2005

Be careful about how you label them - if you do them yourself, you may be tempted to use the adhesive labels that you can print yourself through a regular (inkjet or laser) printer, but I've read that these can damage the CD over time and render it unplayable. Though it might take years to happen, for a wedding memento, that would be important.

There are special CD printers that seem to be available for not much money that look like a good idea.
posted by amtho at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2005

This is a longshot, but you never know. I did this a few years ago for our wedding. My brother-in-law worked in the IT department of his company, and they had a CD burner stack that could do 15 at one time. We went in one Sunday afternoon and rattled off 150 CDs in about 2 hours. We ran the labels off on a color laser printer at the same time. It ruled.

So, if you have any techie friends who are either the boss or are up for some adventure, ask them if they have some fancy equipment at their work that can help you.
posted by AgentRocket at 9:26 AM on March 21, 2005

I'd consider buying a good, fast, inexpensive burner like this Lite-On. With a burner like this, you're looking at 2 or 3 hours of swapping CDs then clicking 'burn the next one'. Tedious, but relatively inexpensive in both time and money.

Alternately, maybe you have a geek friend who would be willing to do the burning for you, in return for a fast new burner and some beer, thus eliminating the time cost.
posted by mosch at 9:28 AM on March 21, 2005

If you do it youself, aside from the MP3Gain suggestion above, make sure you write to an image first and then burn the image repeatedly, lest crappy software do the MP3 decoding anew each time.

if you don't want to do it yourself because of poor hardware I'd suggest posting to the 'gigs' section in your local (or perhaps even non-local) craigslist.org section and offer someone $20 to $40 plus materials to do it. There's some poor chump who would like the money, doesn't care about your copyright issue and who has to sit in front of a computer all day anyway who can drop-click-repeat all day long while s/he does something else...
posted by phearlez at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2005

I would think that you should be able to find a replication service that would do the job for you even without copyright clearances. There are a lot of small operators that would be happy to have the work. Make some calls.
posted by wsg at 10:07 AM on March 21, 2005

I agree with the ask a techie sentiment. I've got an 8-CD duper collecting dust in my office and, if you lived in the SF Bay Area, would be happy to do the duping for you.
posted by pmbuko at 2:20 PM on March 21, 2005

I have a friend who'll do small cdr runs and do printing on the cd - he's got one of those burners with an arm - email me if you're interested. He's local too.
posted by soplerfo at 3:10 PM on March 21, 2005

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