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A Perfect CD Compilation

Looking to make that perfect cd mix/playlist? Follow these simple tips/steps to ensure your audience is interested and attracted!


  • Don’t always focus on a genre and a theme. Putting widely different tracks in a compilation can add compelling contrast for the listener.
  • The most important thing is to burn early drafts on a CD and to listen to the mix yourself, from beginning to end, to better imagine what your intended audience will think when they listen to it. Listen in as many different places and speakers as possible: your computer speakers, your car stereo, cheap headphones, high-quality headphones, etc. Keep a notepad with you to write down ideas to improve it.
  • With advanced CD burning software, it’s possible to merge tracks, making it easy to insert sound clips (such as quotes from movies) between tracks. Merge the sound clip to the start of the track to make the CD more interesting.
  • Making cover art or creative liner notes can make the compilation more personal. @Kinwood Multimedia can assist with this.
  • Picking a set of songs that really define a specific (possibly current) time in your life can be appreciated later when you put on the album and are reminded of days gone by.
  • It’s possible to gradually build a mix CD. While listening to MP3s, if you come across a song that would be a good fit for a compilation, copy it over to a folder reserved just for your ongoing compilation.
  • Watch your attitude! Be certain you are in the mood you wish the CD to convey when you make the mix CD – otherwise, other feelings are likely to seep into the songs you choose.
  • Avoid picking several songs from one artist. Rather, focus on a wide range of artists. Especially try to avoid including two songs by the same artist back-to-back. Of course, there are always exceptions, such as songs that are made to be played together (such as “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye” by Judas Priest, “Depths” and “Surfacing” by Chapel Club “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” by Queen, or “Brain Damage” and Eclipse” by Pink Floyd) and two songs that have special meaning to your intended audience when played together.
  • Make the compilation running time no longer than necessary – if possible, keep it under an hour.
  • Consider using software such as Ableton. It’s NOT cheating and will allow you to make your mix far more interesting by adding effects and looping sections as you see fit. It’s also a useful tool to get your head around should you decide to mix on the fly.
  • Another avenue to consider is having an actual DJ mix the songs for you. A friend that deejays, or a professional DJ can blend the songs together for you. Remember, there are many ways of compiling music to create compilation mixes, but to truly be a mix CD the music should be mixed – seamlessly blended from one song to another. You will need a DJ or music mixing software as previously mentioned. By mixing and blending your music you can usually fit many more songs onto the CD than normally possible, since you will not be playing each song in its entirety. This also makes the mix CD more exciting and is preferred when making party mixes to play for your friends.



    Listen to a wide range of songs. If you want to expand your music library before you start making playlists, check out services that can recommend new artists to you. See Sources and Citations below for some ideas.


    Consider the audience. Is this compilation for yourself? Your friends? A significant other? Select music that’s appropriate for the tastes of the listener. Your grandma might not like a compilation of your favorite death metal songs, but she may enjoy rare jazz recordings from when she was young.


    Create a message with the mix (optional). Do you want your playlist to let someone know how you feel about him or her? If so, listen carefully to the lyrics of each song that you include in the mix, and make sure they’re aligned with what you’re feeling.


    Gather a rough draft. Assemble a “rough draft” of your playlist by compiling a lot of songs you’re thinking about including. You probably won’t use all of them in the end, but this step helps you narrow down your options.


    Edit the playlist (optional). If you gathered more songs than you needed for your playlist or mix, start eliminating those that aren’t a perfect fit. Are the lyrics slightly wrong? Does the music make the song fit poorly with the other songs? Could someone use this song to misinterpret your meaning? Ask yourself these questions as you think about what to cut.


    Arrange the tracks. Think of the playlist as a prolonged listening experience – you don’t want the listener to get bored or skip songs.

    • Start out with a few tracks that grab the listener and get his or her attention.
    • Group songs of similar tempos together, and gradually move into slower or faster tunes.
    • End the mix on a high note, with one a song that you think will really stick with the listener. Tying in the last song to the theme of the compilation can make it much more effective.

    Make adjustments. Finalize your track arrangement and listen to the version a few times. Feel free to remove some tracks and add others. It’s possible that you may realize new tracks you’d like to add late in the process.


    Title your mix (optional). If your sharing your playlist electronically, give it a title that reflects the theme of the mix. Or, if you’re out of ideas, name it after the person you’re giving it to.


    Share your compilation. When you’re happy with the mix, burn the CD or share the playlist.



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Duplication vs REPLICATION

Simple Answer is YES!

Although the discs may look similar, there are  differences between Recordable CD-R discs (duplication) and Glass Mastered compact discs (replication). 

A replicated CD is manufactured with microscopic bumps (ON) and valleys (OFF) to represent the two digital letters of the digital alphabet. A Glass master is used to produce a piece of nickel that acts as the stamper for the CD. Each manufactured CD would have a unique custom nickel stamper. The stamper has all of the hills and valleys of the Master CD on it, and is used to transfer the information to the finished disc in a molding process that molds plastic pellets (polycarbonate) to the finished product. Although these discs are all the same size and similar colour and shape as a CD-R, the underlying technology and manufacturing process differs tremendously.

For a recordable disc, the digital letters ON (1) and OFF (0) are represented by holes that are burned into a layer of DYE on the CDR by a recording laser. The laser shoots this hole to represent an OFF (0) letter and leaves the DYE intact to represent an ON letter (1). This is why this process is referred to as “burning” a disc… i.e. the disc is actually being burned with holes by a laser in the photo-sensitive dye layer of the disc!

So- A “pressed” disc with music or video on it would be manufactured with the data imprinted right on the copies. A Recordable CD, DVD or Bluray disc is actually manufactured with a DYE that can be written to with a laser device. Before there were recordable discs, the original CD and DVD players were only able to PLAY discs and not WRITE to them. These players used lasers to read bumps and pits on the surface of the disc and convert the data stream to binary for a computer or a chip to translate into sounds, videos, images, etc. Recordable CD-Rs have the added ability to burn holes in the DYE of a recordable disc, thereby allowing small scale production of CDs and DVDs.

Reasons to choose Replication- A professional can tell the difference at a single glance, the discs can be tracked by radio stations (using the ISRC code system). The discs will have important identifying codes inscribed in the mirror band, which help identify counterfeits! and lastly Costs decrease with increased quantities

Reasons to choose Duplication -   You are  running smaller quanites, you need a FAST  turnaround time - Thermal, Digital or Silkcreen printed media  can offer you a professional,  personalized, unique product AND  the ability to burn smaller quantities. Fast turnaround times allow you to meet those crucial deadlines!  More Customizable Packaging and Printing options for shorter run and last, Cost Effective while still offering your project a professional image.

Whatever your needs might be – the professionals at Kinwood can assist you in meeting your deadline, creating that final  project you want and need for the most cost effective price!

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