Basically, what I'm asking you is, what exactly do you want to
leave here with at the end of the session or end of the project? Compact disc? MP3's? WAV files? All
the individual tracks/files? USB flash drive? Or just upload them to the
Quite often I get blank stares and puzzled looks when I ask the question. So let
me explain the options and that should give you a general idea. I cover some of
these topics in more detail here.
Optical media. Recordable type compact discs. Playable
(hopefully) in any CD audio player.
For the longest time, this was the standard. Everyone wanted a CD. Everybody had
a CD player. That's not necessarily true anymore. Optical media has been fading
away for a few years now. Everything is kinda heading towards digital downloads.
Less than half of my clients are asking for CD's now. Most are going direct to
the internet with MP3's and/or WAV files.
More and more clients want only MP3 files. MP3 is the standard for Internet audio distribution. The files can be uploaded/downloaded and shared easily on the internet.
They can also be sent from person to person via normal
email channels. I can burn the MP3's onto a CD-R data disc, or electronically send
them to you over the internet (usually via my studio server, standard email or Hightail/Dropbox),
or saved to your USB flash memory drive. Whichever you
WAV files are the larger, and generally better sounding, audio files that are created
directly from the recording application. Everything I record here starts out in WAV format.
That's the industry standard for PC based audio files (Apple has it's own format
called AIFF which is similar to WAV). This would be the thing to request if
you're planning on burning your own CD duplicates or making MP3s to upload to
the various internet radio or streaming services. Some services require that you
upload only WAV files (Bandcamp for example).
USB flash drives
These are the small keychain devices
you can buy at Best Buy or Walmart or OfficeMax or many other convenience
stores. They typically come in different
flavors and with varying amounts of memory storage capability. You plug it
into your PC's USB port and you can store data on it. The typical storage
capacity is 8-256 GB. The 16GB models can be had for less than ten bucks. You'll
have to decide if you want a USB 2 or USB 3 model. The USB 2/3 reference makes a
difference. USB 3 is generally faster in terms of data speed (both read and
write) but not all USB ports support USB 3 (my 2012 Nissan Sentra doesn't). If
you're not sure, pick USB 2. It's fast enough for storing small amounts of files
Portable hard drives
You can also bring in a portable USB
hard drive (an actual hard drive in
an electronic enclosure). Most people would have something like this for backing
up their home or laptop PC's. Make sure the drive is formatted for a PC (not an
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