What do you want to take with you at the end of the session? 

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 internet?

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.

MP3 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 prefer.

WAV files

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 temporarily. 

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 Apple computer).  



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