What is a Production Master?
A Production Master is what is given to a manufacturing plant or distribution company to mass replicate, duplicate, and/or upload. A stereo Production Master is typically delivered in the form of a HiRes WAV file, a 44.1kHz/16bit WAV file, an audio image file (referred to as a DDP) or a Red Book audio CD (referred to as a PMCD). Consulting with your manufacturing plant and/or distributor is best to determine which format(s) they prefer to receive.
The difference between a Production Master and a reference is the addition of metadata and the amount of quality control that goes into making a Production Master. A Production Master can have metadata encoded on it and will go through several stages of quality control including digital error tests, checking the accuracy of all metadata, and a qualified engineer listening from start to finish on headphones to ensure audio is correct before delivery.
Embedded metadata options include ISRC codes, UPC codes, and CD Text (format dependent). If you are unfamiliar with ISRC codes, we recommend visiting www.usisrc.org – many distributors have the ability to assign ISRC codes, or we can assign them for a flat $60 per project fee. To learn more about UPC codes, check out www.gs1us.org/
If you have any further questions on production masters please feel free to contact us!