With the proliferation of CD-burners in laptops and personal computers these days, you might be tempted to buy cheap store-brand blank CDs (CD-Rs) to burn your music on. This is a big mistake. DO NOT DO IT. When you are at competition, the LAST thing you want is to have all your dancers take the stage, assume their starting positions, and then…… nothing (except silence). The announcer has to say “sorry, we’re having technical difficulties with your song”, the dancer(s) shuffle off stage, and the search for the back-up CD is on, all because the cheap, off-brand CD-R was unreadable.
Instead, ONLY BUY NAME BRAND CD-Rs like Sony, Maxell, Verbatim, TDK, Philips and Memorex. There is another brand you’ve never heard of, that sells extremely high quality CD-Rs, and that is Tayio Yuden. Many professional music studios use this brand.
The difference in price between off-brand CD-Rs and name brand is about $8 (or less) per spindle of 50. In this tight economy, we all like a good bargain, but this works out to 15¢ per CD! It’s just not worth messing up your student at competition for this amount of pocket change. Save money elsewhere, but there’s no excuse to be cheap here when your student’s performance readiness is on the line.
Once you have purchased your spindle of blank CDs, don’t subject the spindle to too much vibration and movement. There is a possibility that the CD-Rs will rub on each other, causing scratches. CD-Rs are much more delicate than manufactured or “pressed” CDs, so you always want to handle them with extreme care. Always keep them in a sleeve or case after you’ve burned music on them, and always keep them on the spindle before writing them.
When burning your CDs, make sure the Verify option is selected. Also always test the CD in any ordinary CD player to makes sure you have a good, ready-to-play disc.
Another tip for burning good CDs: Don’t use the maximum speed setting possible. I find that I get fewer failed CD burns if I use a lower speed setting. Many CD burners can do 24x or higher, but I stick with an 8x write speed.
CD burning checklist:
- Start with a name-brand CD-R
- When burning, make sure Verify is on
- When burning, use 8x or slower speed
- TEST your burned CD in a regular CD player
- Keep your burned CD safe in a sleeve or case and out of direct sunlight
- Always make a back-up CD of your music and bring that too
If you follow these six guidelines, your music is COMPETITION READY!