Making your own Custom CD s from out of print Vinyl, Cassettes and Other Sources

Bobberman

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As i have mentioned elsewhere on the forum. I Have some Vinyl Records and Cassettes that have never been availiable on CD or Digital Downloads and my solution has been Transcribing them to CD-R over a decade ago a Good friend of mine ( now deceased) had a computer and good music software offered to help me convert my vinyl and tape to disc. And that was 2001 and all my Herb alpert lps TJB and solo were converted along with my BMB vinyl etc. Then in 04 i purchased my first standalone CD recorder and consolidated the rest of my vinyl and tape library to CD-R and for example one project i did today just for fun was to make my own version of the BMB 1970 Greatest hits on Cd using the collectors choice best of for most of the songs and the remaining 3 songs from the clean vinyl needle drop discs. Using the sequence of the Greatest Hits album and im happy to say the results are Excellent (Remember the original Album used that dreaded HAECO-CSG Processing) my version HAS NO CSG as far as i know. Now i open this thread to The Rest of you to share your Various Customized Recording Adventures. "What kind of interesting Custom Cds Have You had the Joy of Creating"?
 

Mike Blakesley

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My very first home-made CD was a Sergio Mendes compilation. That was when blank CDs were in limited supply and cost something like $4 apiece. Since then I've made a ton of different compilations, including a few albums that had never been on CD before.

I like working with graphics too so I enjoy creating the whole CD package - booklet, inside tray card, and all. I'll put in the album credits and sometimes I'll write up "liner notes" if the package bears some explanation. Who is going to read this stuff? Probably nobody, I guess, but it's still fun for me.

I havne't done any new CDs in the last couple of years... first, I sort of ran out of ideas, plus spare time is at a premium these days, and it's just too easy to throw together an iPod playlist. But, I still think the best results come from making your own comps, especially if you're detail-oriented like me. I like to tweak segues, fiddle with edits, and that kind of thing. I have an edit of the song "Roundabout" by Yes that's way better than the "single" edit from the record company, but is not as overblown as the full length version.
 

Bobberman

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Mike it sounds like we both are thinking on the same lines. To me its fully complete when the graphics ( album art. Cover etc) are in the jewel case and i agree It's such a fun project to do and best of all you dont have to wait for the record companies to reissue your favorite stuff.
 
My H/K "CDR 2" bit the dust three years ago. It never seemed to work right with the Memorex multi-color discs (one of the few "Music Only"-format-CDRs Wal Mart still stocked) and, ultimately, the lens would just keep bobbing up and down and not prepare the time display of 79:57.
Soooo....I've gone "totally vintage" and do what people in the '60s did: record the vinyl versions of albums (I do NOT have the tape of) on 1800"ft open reels. Though, unlike the way -most- people then recorded four albums squeezed onto one reel at 3 3/4...I record one-or-two (per reel) ONLY at 7 1/2; to avoid compression and dropout.
It is the CLOSEST approach to maintaining the integrity of an all-analog chain.
 

Bobberman

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I used to have a Reel to reel player /recorder back in the early 90s it was an AKAI 4 track it was an old machine but it worked for 3 years until it finally died and i gave my reel tapes away afterwards although i regret it i admit the sound quality was excellent. But then Came Digital audio
 

Mike Blakesley

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R2R appealed mostly to the audiophile crowd, I don't think you'd ever call it mainsteam. In our store we would stock one reel machine, but only one at a time. I remember we had a really nice Technics machine for awhile, sold it, and then had an Akai one after that. Around that same time cassettes became "hi-fi" due to the Dolby system, better tape formulations and so on, so it was pretty much the end of the day for reels. After we sold the Akai machine we never had another one.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
When Cds first showed up i always used to daydream about future possibility of recording on CDs long before they made the first consumer grade units at first only recording studios and Radio stations had them to replace Tapes ( which is the reason why i converted all my audio to disc and i finally was able to obtain the means in 2004) and making my own custom CDs was a dream come true the possibilities were limitless and still are. At least today those CDs can act as vital master sources for computer audio players. And Ipods and other similar devices. So today We have many more choices and options. So all one needs to do is choose what is best and affordable for them.and Make multiple copies of your custom CD-Rs for Backups Just in case because they will always come in handy in the long term.
 

Captain Bacardi

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I also did a ton of compilation CDs. I'm sure I've talked about a lot of them the past dozen+ years. One of my favorites was doing a comp of the Horizon series - taking the best track from each album. I did the same thing with the CTi series.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
I also did a ton of compilation CDs. I'm sure I've talked about a lot of them the past dozen+ years. One of my favorites was doing a comp of the Horizon series - taking the best track from each album. I did the same thing with the CTi series.
That sounds like A Dream collection there. I always Loved The CTI and Horizon Jazz music that was my gateway into the world of jazz beginning with Wes Montgomery's 1970 Greatest hits Lp which i Bought back in august of 1981 and Trumpeter/Flugelhornist Jimmy owens 1976 Horizon debut. And from there i started digging deeper. And im happy to say i still have everything i sought out in one form or another.
 

Rudy

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"What kind of interesting Custom Cds Have You had the Joy of Creating"?
On another site dedicated to vinyl, the topic of "mixtapes" came up, and I was reminiscing about some of the tapes I made back in the early to mid 80s. It wasn't uncommon to put favorites together on a cassette, but after a few years I rigged up a set of cables so I could use the front "Mic" inputs on my Harman/Kardon deck and segue or cross-fade between the two turntables. (I had what would be called a DJ mixer, but it made the sound worse.) So I would run a tape 45 or 50 minutes non-stop, mixing as I went. One mistake, and I'd have to rewind and start over!

I still have those cassettes somewhere.

As for CDs, I first got a SCSI CD burner for the computer in 1996, followed by a digital input card for the computer (which were rare and not exactly cheap back then). The idea was to dub the vinyl to DAT, then take the digital output of the DAT deck into the digital input card to transfer it to the computer. It was such a hassle that I didn't bother making many CDs from vinyl--half a dozen at most. (The needle drops were primarily to DAT, so I just listened to those instead.) Instead, I made CD-R compilations from ripped CDs, primarily for car use, but also for home playback in the changers so I'd have a variety. Usually they were artist best-ofs.

In the mid 2000s I had a USB A/D and D/A converter that recorded at 24-bit/96kHz, and did a few more needle drops since it was now a little easier to work with.

I also bought a CD recorder but found that to be way too clunky to use for needle drops, unless they would be played back without any editing or track splitting (as I never trusted the decks to properly insert track markers--they invariably got it wrong on music that had dynamics to it). I ended up using it either to duplicate CDs, or to do quick needle drops where I didn't intend to do any digital editing (since editing at 16-bit/44.1kHz sounds rough with all the rounding errors, which also explains why my early needle drops never sounded right).

These days I use a TASCAM digital recorder for transferring analog to digital at 24/96.

When I made CD compilations from the early 2000s onward, I used a program called CD Architect. Most useful was the dual timeline feature, so I could overlay and nudge adjacent files slightly in either direction to create perfect cross-fades or segues. That was fun. Can't recall any titles I did to be honest (haven't played them in a decade or more). But it was nice to make a 75-80 minute "program" that played almost non-stop.
 

Mike Blakesley

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In 1976 when we started our mobile-DJ service, I felt like I needed to practice, so a friend and I decided to make a tape with me DJing so I could critique myself. At that time, our town was about to get its own radio station so we decided it would be even more fun to pretend we were DJing on the station. So we used the same call letters the station had, grabbed a couple sixpacks of beer, and made a couple of tapes. We had such a good time doing that that we continued to do it for years afterward -- different friends would assist over the years. We made about 100 tapes in all from '76 until the last one we made, which was in around 2005. Anytime the store would get a lot of new music (or if we were bored), we'd make a Radio Show tape. I converted about 50 of the tapes to CD about 15 years ago. The coolest thing about those tapes is, I was pretty good at picking out the best songs from new albums, so a lot of those tapes contain more hits today than they did when they were first made!

I still use CD Architect occasionally. The most recent thing was to create a soundtrack for a fireworks display put on by my friend Keith and I for the 4th of July. The "split" function of CD-A can't be beat for making quick edits that are seamless.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Its interesting i got started in radio DJing just making fake radio shows on tapes myself ( back then everyone thought i was weird but i knew somehow i wasn't the only one trying to start a career that way) But oh What fun it is though!
 

Mike Blakesley

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Heck I still do it once in a while if I'm listening on "shuffle" and I'm by myself, I'll DJ between the songs for fun. (Yes, I've embraced my weirdness in my old age.)
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Heck I still do it once in a while if I'm listening on "shuffle" and I'm by myself, I'll DJ between the songs for fun. (Yes, I've embraced my weirdness in my old age.)
You know it brother. Im glad i still have my home studio with microphones mixers cd players. laptop audio player etc hooked into my c crane transmitter going over my own radios in my place.its more exciting and fun for me that way ive been doing it for 32 years now and i was 17 when i started that.
 

Mike Blakesley

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I think the most recent full-blown CD package I made was for the Herb Alpert/Lani Hall concert that was broadcast on XM Radio.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
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In 1976 when we started our mobile-DJ service, I felt like I needed to practice, so a friend and I decided to make a tape with me DJing so I could critique myself.

Its interesting i got started in radio DJing just making fake radio shows on tapes myself ( back then everyone thought i was weird but i knew somehow i wasn't the only one trying to start a career that way)

Some veterans in radio today even went to the extent of having small broadcasting rigs in their homes as kids, and would broadcast their show to the neighborhood. (That is, until the FCC came knocking on the door. :laugh: ) Our high school had a broadcast class, as we had our own FM radio station. If I weren't loaded up on electronics and music courses, I would have added that one also. One of my classmates is a well known local DJ on the hard rock station in town, in fact, a direct result of being in that class. We also have the Specs Howard broadcasting school here as well. Many broadcast locals received their education there.
 

Bobberman

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It just goes to show if one wants to achieve something all they need is the desire and committment and then do whatever they can to do it.
 

Harry

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There must be something in the "A&M" water cooler as all of the stuff in this thread applies pretty much to me too. Back in my reel-to-reel days, a buddy and I decided we'd do a radio show and put it on tape. First, we decided we'd do a countdown of our favorite 100 songs from 1974 as a sort of year-end special. I used to tape a lot of pop stuff from the radio on my reel-to-reel, plus I'd bought a good number of records that year, so we set about filtering those songs down into our countdown.

We'd compare two songs and rate each one against the other, ultimately sorting out our favorites of the year. I can recall that "Wishing You Were Here" by Chicago was number one, and very near the top was "I Honestly Love You" by Olivia Newton-John. So now we had the order. Next up we needed a radio station ID. I'd just started working in radio and got to see how the professional's did it. At that time, the real station used an instrumental record with a short hook and the announcer recorded liners/slogans over the music bed.

So I began searching for a jingle bed for liners among my records and came up with a short piece from Cat Stevens' very long "Foreigner Suite". The pieces I used were from about the 6:50 point in, beginning with the start of the synth melody and terminating with the drums fading. We made up the station call letters and called our program "Survey '74 on FM 94".

We set the whole thing up to do the show in real time with headquarters in the basement of my parent's house, where all of my equipment was. I remember using two stereo amplifiers hooked up so that the one stereo feed was on the left channel of the two stereos, independently, and the other stereo feed went into the two right channels. This allowed us to use the two balance knobs to accomplish segueing by throwing the balances as one song ended and the next began.

We had to use a bunch of different stereo reel to reels. My buddy had one that he brought over. My dad had one, and I had two turntables and a cassette deck with the pre-recorded liner/jingles. The show was then recorded on my three-head reel-to-reel. My buddy was elected to be the DJ. He had the better voice, and we set up a microphone in a nearby closet that was fill of old coats and stuff. Good acoustics in our announcer booth!

Since real music radio stations also did news, we transcribed a few recent newscasts and did one every hour, with weather and so on. I made a tape loop of my typewriter masquerading as a teletype machine to sound like it was coming from a newsroom.

Then we set aside a Saturday and Sunday, brought in another buddy to help with cueing and so forth and did our live broadcast, non-stop for several hours. We did a couple of hours one day and a couple of hours the next. It was labor-intensive cueing up those tapes, starting them on time and fading two stereos, turning on mic switches, etc. But we had a ball.

Years later, I got a car that had a cassette deck and would record many of my record albums to cassette for in-car listening. Of course mix tapes were also done with either themes or just favorites that were cherry-picked from albums. I had Herb Alpert's entire recorded output on self-made cassettes. I'd do one album after the other, usually fitting three on one 90-minute cassette. I'd do the same with Carpenters and Sergio Mendes and The Beatles.

I think it was around 1999 or so when I got my first CD-Recorder. It was the Philips model that had the "drawer trick" where you could put in an expensive "music" CD-R for validation, then pull out the drawer and substitute a cheaper regular CD-R. The caveat was that you had to finish what you were doing in one session, but it saved a lot of money on blanks.

Back then when I wanted to dub an album to CD-R, I'd "rehearse" it, marking down the label position and the number of revolutions between songs so I'd know when to hit the "Track Increment" button. I was usually pretty successful with that, occasionally hitting the track button a bit early. That was OK, but if I hit it late, the disc was a coaster. The CD-R's that worked fine were great for the car, as the later model cars had CD players in them.

I used that technique for a number of years, digitizing all of the non-CD Herb Alpert albums, the Sergio albums, the Lani Hall albums, anything I wanted a CD of that I had the vinyl for. I remember one year the program director of the AM radio station told me his wife was crazy about an obscure Sergio Mendes album that they could never find anymore. It was called PRIMAL ROOTS. I of course had it and made him a CD-R copy of it long before it ever came out in Japan.

All of those early CD-Rs contained exactly whatever was on my LPs. If it had a tick or pop, it was recorded into my CD-R version. My rationale then was that if it was OK to listen to the clicks on the vinyl, then it should be just as OK to hear it that way on a CD-R.

Slowly, I came around to appreciating how much my computer could help in this endeavor. First came the ability to properly cue up the tracks by editing wav files. Then I found Audacity and all of its wonders and have used it to do all sorts of audio editing, adjusting, cleaning, and compiling tracks to make CD-Rs. I've mostly re-done many of the old CD-Rs that are still not available on CD. In the meantime, many WERE released to proper CD.

I still regularly make CD-Rs of albums that I cannot find on CD that are worthy of being in my CD library. Bobberman started this thread talking about making a CD-R of the GREATEST HITS of the Baja Marimba Band. I've done that one too, along with some of the A&M compilations like SOMETHING FESTIVE, MILLION DOLLAR SOUND SAMPLER, MUSIC BOX, FAMILY PORTRAIT, etc. I've also taken songs from artists that I never bought CDs for but have on vinyl and compiled my own favorite selections from various vinyl albums.

My biggest recent compilation was a three-CD set of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass' single a- and b-sides. I had acquired a near-perfect set of the 45s and thought they were worthy of being compiled. I've also placed on CD-R, all of the mono versions of the Tijuana Brass albums. Those will never be officially released, so I thought they were worth preserving. Another TjB disc I've done is the wet version of WHAT NOW MY LOVE. Sometimes, I just want to listen to that album the way I remember it.

Fun stuff, this hobby.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
I Too Have the Mono Albums of Herb and also The BMB needledropped to CD myself ( i agree Harry They Will NEVER BE REISSUED.) I Even made my own Mono Version Of Herb's first TJB 1970 Greatest hits album for CD-R and that was So Easy to do since i have the proper mono LPS volume 2 was a little harder as i didnt have the true mono singles of Last Tango in paris. My favorite things. Or Zazueira i did a foldown to mono using my mixer using the.stereo vinyl albums. So when you cant access the true mono track at Least you can Improvise. And Like Harry I Too Committed my wet mix stereo and mono What now my love vinyl to CD thats how i remember them too its only right to preserve my investments
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Recently ive been listening to some of my many needledrop cds of albums that either never made it to cd or were only on cd briefly and disappeared quickly among them are The First Herb & Hugh album. Herb Alpert presents Pete Jolly. Chuck Mangione's Main Squeeze. And the mono version of Herb Alperts tijuana Brass volume 2 as well as the rare 1976 Nadia's Theme compilation. just to name a few. And they still stand up very well. Im so glad i was able to preserve my irreplaceable audio gems to Disc and of course My Homemade BMB Foursider (That for me was easy to do since i have the entire BMB album discography.) As Harry said it best " Fun stuff This Hobby is Indeed".
 

Bobberman

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Here is an idea for those who seen the notorious bootleg cds of "The Lonely bull" albums in stereo and mono ( or so they claim) This is my solution that particular issue. i recently made a custom copy 2 fer of the stereo cd version tracks 1 to 12 and added my clean mono needledrop cd for tracks 13 to 24 i wonder If Any of You fellow cornerites have done this particular experiment for yourself?
 

Harry

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I have made the individual mono CD for myself, but not one with both. I generally don't care for two-fers, because the one you DON'T want to listen to always seems to be in the way. With CD-R discs being so cheap, it's just easier to give each iteration its own separate disc. I've done that with each of the TjB albums that have mono pressings. My method for instant recognition on the shelf is to make a black & white version of the cover for the mono versions.
 

Bobberman

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I have made the individual mono CD for myself, but not one with both. I generally don't care for two-fers, because the one you DON'T want to listen to always seems to be in the way. With CD-R discs being so cheap, it's just easier to give each iteration its own separate disc. I've done that with each of the TjB albums that have mono pressings. My method for instant recognition on the shelf is to make a black & white version of the cover for the mono versions.
I agree although there are a few instances where i make two-fers most often i do seperate For my mono versions and i too make black and white versions of the covers too since i dont own a printer i simply took pictures of the cover images then email the images to my email site then i go to the public library and use their computer to access my email page and size them & print them on paper for 10 ¢ a piece then afterwards i get them home and simply cut the images to CD jewel case size and put the finishing touch on them it really gives the CD-Rs some visual
integrity
 
Funny thing...in the "old days": a blank, 1800ft reel of AMPEX polyester-base/standard formula recording tape was $2.50 (in 1966 money!), and -- you got a leatherette binder sticker *with* a 23k gold leaf transfer decal to write on it and stick on the box. MANY a people dubbed their TJB records onto their Roberts 770X recorders to make three hour "party tapes".
 

Rudy

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While I don't burn CDs anymore, I do want to do some high-res needledrops of some of the rarer albums in my collection. Or in some cases, I have 180 gram vinyl versions of some favorite albums that totally wipe the floor with any digital version out there (like the AAA 2-LP 45RPM Peter Gunn set I picked up a month or two ago, my most recent needledrop). They convert nicely to digital, although they lose a little "something" in the process. Still, if I want to take that version in the car, or share it, or play it back on my desktop system, it's there. I still primarily play the vinyl if I am using my main system, but there are times I just throw together a playlist and include a needledrop or two among them.
 
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