CD-Manufacturing and Matrix Numbers

Date: 2010-08-22 Autor: Kamil

written by Kamil Kaznowski and Maciej Stańczak
pictures by Kamil Kaznowski and Maciej Stańczak

Thanks for additional pictures to Alexey Trifonov and Voravit Roonthiva

 

Since the end of the 80's and untill mid-90's all Madonna CDs were made in USA, Japan, Canada, Germany, France and UK. Other countries used CDs which were pressed in mentioned teritories. But it's worth to notice that major part of these CDs were later re-pressed and re-released in individual countries with their own pressings. This time we try to describe the most important manufacturers for Warner Music CDs in the 80's and 90's and we show some examples of using CDs pressed in one country for selling them in the other.

 

 USA

 

Like A Prayer is the first Madonna's album which was released on CD as the main media available for customers. You Can Dance and Who's That Girl were released as regular CD albums for American market a bit earlier as well but LPs were still purchased more often in 87-88 period.

The question is: who was responsible for pressing all those first compact discs in US?

 

SRC & WEA Olyphant

Specialty Records Corporation [SRC] (located in Olyphant) was the main pressing plant for Warner-Electra-Atlantic [WEA] which produced CDs from 1987 to 2004 for Warner Music. They merged with Canadian Cinram in 2004.

In the end of this US section we will mention other pressing plants as well: Allied Recording Corporation [ARC] and Disctronics USA.

 

CD-holes from 1987 to 1990

Who's That Girl [9 25611-2] SRC [A] and Keep It Together [9 21427-2] SRC [B]

[A]      [B] 

 

1 - before catalog number - characteristic sign for the American pressings and it is just a code of publisher: in this case - Warner/Reprise.

SRC-number is the most changeable parameter on different CDs: SRC-01 or SRC-02 means that our CDs come from the 1st or the 2nd pressing.

RE-01 appears sometimes and only when something went wrong with the pressing process... If you want to understand what does it mean you have to get to know something about CDs pressing process.


When an artist (Madonna, for example) is ready to finish her recording sessions for the album, she gives a mother tape to her label (Warner Music, for example). They made copies on CD-Rs or 8 mm tapes and all these CD-Rs (8 mm tapes) are tested, checked to be approved. All commissioned CD-Rs are sent to the partners which are responsible for CD pressing process, for example: SRC (USA), Disctronics (UK), WME (Germany), etc. They prepare plastic CD-rings for pressing process. First of all, they put a special glass substance to the CD-rings. Discs which are prepared in this way are called glassmaster [MGM]. All glassmasters are signed close to CD-holes (matrix), for example: SRC-01 if it is the first pressing of this album, single or EP. MGMs are placed on a laser beam recorder which is connected to the computer. Then music is recorded by the laser and CDs should be ready for further processing. 

But, if the first glassmastering is unsuccessful, then the entire work have to be re-done! They have to prepared another series of the MGMs and all of them are signed as RE-01 SRC-01. And so on... RE means "re-make" which had to be done because of unexpected problems, mostly technical reasons...

A sign between SRC and number (for example: SRC-01, SRC+02, SRC##01, SRC@@02, SRC**03) has no meaning.

If you look closer at CD-hole, you see other (rather hard to find) information. CD-hole of Keep It Together which we presented above has another sign (M2S6). We believe that understanding of everything what you see is really unnecessary, but if you want to know what it means we can say that these are the numbers of the mothers' tapes and sons' tapes. "Mothers" are made from "fathers" and "sons" are made from "mothers", etc. But there is no need to analyze everything about pressing process in this article.

Something what is worth to notice is the font used on the CD-holes.

Two examples presented above are characteristic for CDs made between 1987 and 1989. All American promotional CD-singles from Like A Prayer album - Like A Prayer [PRO-CD-3448]Express Yourself [PRO-CD-3541]Cherish [PRO-CD-3608]Oh Father [PRO-CD-3798] which were released in 1989 have CD-holes with information written using font characteristic for CDs released since 1990 - the ring is still plain (like CDs released before) but have no all these 'bar code' graphic signs like you see below (section: CD-holes from 1990 to 1993).

Like A Prayer [PRO-CD-3448] SRC:

 

CD-holes from 1990 to 1993

New font (what was mentioned above) showed up for the first time when Vogue single was released in 1990 (paper cover, not jewel case). Singles and albums with this font will appear until Bad Girl maxi CD single which was released in 1993.

 

Vogue [9 21513-2] SRC [A] and Bad Girl [9 40793-2] SRC [B] (it was pressed in 1992, but released in 1993):

[A]      [B] 

 

 

CD-holes from 1993 to 1996

The look of CD-holes was changed in 1993. Every CD-hole had different font and small logo S (picture below) which means SRC (Specialty Records Corporation) since Rain [9 40988-2] maxi CD single. You see below Deeper And Deeper maxi CD single which were pressed in two different years. Look at the differences carefully.

 

Deeper And Deeper [9 18639-2] SRC (card sleeve) and Deeper And Deeper [9 40722-2] SRC (digipak):

[A]      [B] 

Card sleeve - 1 18639-2 / SRC 03 / old font / without S logo: it is the third pressing made in 1992 or early 1993.

Digipak - 1 40722-2 / SRC 02 / new font / with S logo on the left: it is the second pressing made in late 1993 or after that, but not later than 1996 when a look of CD-holes was changed again.

 

SRC and S logo appeared the very last time on Love Don't Live Here Anymore [9 17714-2] CD-hole.

 

CD-holes from 1996 to 2003

Another change in a look of CD-holes appeared when You Must Love Me [9 17495-2] CD single was released in 1996. SRC (and S) disappered but it did not mean that CDs were no longer pressed in Olyphant! Specialty Records Corporation renamed for WEA Manufacturing Olyphant and WEA mfg. Olyphant logo was placed istead of the SRC (and S).

 

Details: S logo (1993-1996) [A] and WEA Mfg. Olyphant logo (1996-2003) [B]:

 

[A]      [B] 

 

Die Another Day [9 42492-2]:

WEA mfg. Olyphant / Z12465 / 1 42492-2 01 / M1S3: Z12465 - WEA introduced the additional system of numbering in 1996; numbers were preceded by the letters W, X, Y, Z; 1 42492-2 01 - catalog number with "1" which encodes Warner/Reprise, and "01" which means the first pressing of the single; additional - M1S3 - mothers/stamper number system.

 

 

Every genuine CD is signed by IFPI codes which were introduced by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in 1996. IFPI represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. IFPI codes had already appeared several years earlier but there was no obligation to put them on the regular CDs.

IFPI codes (also known as SID codes, Source Identification Code) tell us where CDs were pressed. Unfortunately they are very small and sometimes they are hard to find. Take a lokk at CD-hole below - American Life [42614-2] - it shows two IFPI codes:

* the first one (LBR) is under WEA mfg. Olyphant logo, there is ifpi L909 and it encodes a place where main copy from the mother tape was pressed;

* the second one (Mould Code) is on the plastic part of the CD-hole - IFPI 2U3H - it encodes a place where the whole batch of CDs was pressed from the main copy.

Usually it is the same place, but there are exceptions!

If the main copy of CD was made by WEA mfg. Olyphant you should find one from the set of four possible ifpi codes: L901, L902, L903 or L909. CDs pressed in Olyphant should have IFPI code with "2U**". If there is "2V**" CDs were pressed in Commerce in California.

Table with the IFPI codes you can find here on our site.

 

American Life [42614-2] [A] and Hollywood [42638-2] [B] were the very last singles with WEA mfg. Olyphant logo:

[A]      [B] 

 

 

CD-holes from 2003 to 2007

Changes which occurred in late 2003 were caused by the merger of WEA mfg. Olyphant with Canadian CinramCinram was responsible for pressing of Canadian CDs since the first Canadian CD-single, Justify My Love single released in 1990. And this time nothing, except the name, was changed. CDs were still pressed in Olyphant but WEA mfg. Olyphant logo disappeared from the CD-holes, starting with Nothing Fails [42682-2].

 

CD-holes from 2007 to 2010

Nothing was changed. TEXT was put between catalog number and number of pressing. It means that the CD has the CD-Text data which can be read by DVD-players (tracklisting, album name, artist name, etc.).

 

Hollywood [42638-2] [A] - the second pressing (released between 2003 and 2007) and Celebration [521295-2] [B] - the first pressing (2009):

[A]      [B] 

 

Allied Recording Corporation

Allied Recording Corporation [ARC] was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles as the independed record label, but many years later became a part of SRC (Specialty Records Corporation, take a look above). In the beginning of their activities they occupy only gospel and blues music, but soon after that the scope of label had been expanded to R&B, rock & roll and early rock artists. They had their own vinyl pressing plant called Allied Record Manufacturing Co., Inc. located in California which was bought out by Warner Bros. (probably) in the early 80's. ARC made vinyl for Warner untill 1986 when the factory was reorganized and adapted to CDs production. Since then, SRC and their smaller partner, ARC, produced in parallel CDs for Warner Music.

There are some pressings which contain both, SRC and ARC, close to CD-hole. This is due to the fact that both pressing plants, ARC and SRC, used the same CD matrices which were delivered to the ARC pressing plant in Los Angeles. When CD was manufactured in LA at glass master provided by SRCARC shortcut was stamped into the matrix.

Bedtime Stories [9 45767-2] ARC [A] and Bedtime Stories [9 45767-2] SRC/ARC [B]

[A]       [B] 

 

Disctronics USA

Disctronics is a British company (it will be mentioned in the UK section below) which has branches all over the world.

 

The Immaculate Collection [9 26440-2] DISCTRONICS USA:

 

 CANADA

 

Cinram (established in 1969 in Montreal by Isidore Philosophe and Samuel Sokoloff) was responsible for pressing Madonna albums and singles for over 20 years. It merged with WEA Manufacturing, Time Warner and Warner Music Group in 2003. 

Canadian CD-holes provide information about production details and dates of manufacturing. Since the beginning the look of CD-holes were changed many times (font, numbers, information).

 

Like A Prayer [CD 25844] You Must Love Me [CD 17495] Music [CD 44898]

#890516CC CD-25844 MFG BY CINRAM

Production date: 16th May 1989

#961015LL CD-17495 L382 MFG BY CINRAM

Production date: 15th October 1996

#00810W03 CD-44898 L382 MFG BY CINRAM

Production date: 10th August 2000

   
The look of CD-hole since 1987 The look of CD-hole since 1996 The look of CD-hole since 2000

 

The most important difference is the way how CD-holes look like: 0 - 2000, 1 - 2001, 2 - 2002, 3 - 2003, etc.

Also, there is Cinram logo instead of Mfg by Cinram. Cinram logo disappeared in 2009.

 

Die Another Day [CD 16681] Celebration 1CD [2-289404]

logo CINRAM LT36 CD-16681 #21015Z30

Production date: 15th October 2002
IFPI LT36 - Manufactured by Cinram

L387 2 289404 #90903Y05

Production date: 3rd September 2009
IFPI L387 - Manufactured by Cinram

 
 The look of CD-hole since 2002  The look of CD-hole since 2009

  

 GERMANY

 

More information can be found here: CD Singles - Review of German Catalog Numbers

 

PDO Langenhagen

Philips & DuPont Optical [PDO] was established as a colaboration between N.V Philips (Holland) and chemical concern - DuPont Optical (US). They had their departments in Germany and UK and UK branch of PDO will be mentioned a bit later in this article.

PDO Langenhagen was the biggest and the most modern CD-manufacturing plant in the mid-80's. Characteristic Made in West Germany by PDO usually causes enthusiasm in many collectors. This, the first German CD-manufacturing plant (located near Hanover) originally owned by PolyGram, became a history. They started to produce the very first CDs signed with PDO logo in early 1986. So far, all released CDs were come out with Made in West Germany by PolyGram or Made in West Germany. Inner side of disc remained unmarked with any PDO information.

PDO became a part of PMDC (PolyGram Music Distribution Co.) in the end of the 80's and in the mid-90's they was acquired by Universal Music (Universal Manufacturing & Logistics) and in 2004 acquired again by EDC (Entertainment Distribution Company) and since then they make CDs signed with Made in Germany by EDC.

 

Madonna [9 23867-2] Made in West Germany by Polygram [A] and The First Album [9 23867-2] Made in West Germany by PDO [B]: 

[A]   [B]  

 

Record Service Alsdorf - RSA

Record Service GmbH Alsdorf [RSA] is a part of Cinram which created a German department of the company in 1975. RSA was responsible for making CDs for Warner Music since 1988. More information and pictures can be found here [CD Singles: Review Of German Catalog Numbers].

 

Warner Music Manufacturing Europe - WME

Warner Music Manufacturing Europe GmbH [WME or WMME] was responsible for making CDs for Warner Music from 1992 to 1998. More information and pictures can be found here [CD Singles: Review Of German Catalog Numbers].

 

Sonopress

Sonopress is the company is a part of Bertelsmann (Arvato Digital Services) which makes records for more than 50 years (Sonopress Bertelsmann Productions Gesellschaft / Sonopress Arvato).

 

Nothing Really Matters [9362-44621-2] Sonopress [A] and Celebration 2CDs [9362-49729-6] Sonopress [B]:

[A]      [B] 

 

Optimal Media Production

Optimal Media Production was established in 1990 in Röbel in Germany. They made CDs only in the beginning, but in the mid-90's their scope of work was expanded and they make CD-ROMs, vinyl records, DVDs. They have international branches of in London (UK) and Stockholm (Sweden).

 

HOFA

HOFA is one of the largest suppliers of music on CD in Germany. The company was established in 1988 in Kalsdorf in Germany as the recording studio, but they changed its profile and become a full service CD-manufacturer.

 

GHV2 [9362-48000-2] OMP [A] and American Pie [9362-44840-2] HOFA [B]:

[A]      [B] 

 

 

 UNITED KINGDOM

 


PDO (Philips & DuPont Optical) known as Blackburn PDO

UK branch of PDO (Philips & DuPont Optical) called Blackburn PDO was established in 1980. They started to produce CD format in 1986.

Most of CDs which were made by Blackburn PDO had inscription located on the inner side of disc which says Made in the UK by PDO. Unfortunately, not every CD had this inscription - those which are the oldest today usually are not marked.
One of the most known CD single made by PDO in UK is Papa Don't Preach released as VCD single. Probably this is one of those CDs which become more and more brown every year (lacquer which was used to cover an outer shell of disc was not resistant to sulfur compounds contained in the paper booklet; also, another problem was using an aluminium paint, instead of standard gold).

 

Papa Don't Preach [925 681-2] Made in UK by PDO:

 

NIMBUS

NIMBUS or NIMBUS RECORDS was the first in UK and the third in the whole world CD-manufacturing plant. They have a branch which was established in USA. NIMBUS hallmark is an inscription on the inner side of the disc which says MASTERED BY NIMBUS. Early discs were signed as NIMBUS ENGLAND. Early discs from NIMBUS had problems with becoming more and more brown. Besides, first discs had problems with protective layers, which were sticky and impossible to clean (layer was removed after cleaning by water). Those discs were produced for several years.

Collectors who have early CDs which were pressed by NIMBUS have to take care of their CDs, especially for the outer layers, which are very sensitive. CDs should not be touched because fingers leave traces which can not be cleaned. Using water for cleaning cause permanent damage of disc.

 

Like A Virgin [925 181-2] NIMBUS ENGLAND [A] and Justify My Love [W9000CD] MASTERED BY NIMBUS [B]:

[A]  [B] 

 


DISCTRONICS

DISCTRONICS is one of the most recognizable UK manufacturer which merged with DISCTEC and Blacburn PDO in 90’s. DISCTRONICS became part of EDC Blackburn in 2004.

 

Rescue Me [W0024CD] DISCTRONICS [A] and Love Profusion [W634CD1 & CD2] DISCTRONICS [B]:

[A]  [B] 

 


EDC Blackburn

EDC Blackburn [Entertaiment Distribution Company] made CDs untill 2009. Today, Blackburn belongs to Universal Music Group which belongs to CINRAM Canada.

 

4 Minutes [PRO17108] EDC Blackburn:

 

 


MAYKING RECORDS / DOCdata

MAYKING RECORDS was bought by DOCdata in 1997.

 

Erotica [W0138CD] Mayking Records [A], Take A Bow [W0278CD] Mastered by Mayking [B] and Frozen [W0433CD] Mastered by DOCdata [C]:

[A]  [B]  [C] 

 

 

DAMONT / CD Plant UK Limited

Damont was transformed into CD Plant UK Limited in 1996, which was transformed again into SDC GB Limited in 2000.

 

Fever [W0168CD] DAMONT [A] and Don't Cry For Me Argentina [W0384CD] CD Plant UK [B]:

[A]  [B] 

 

Another Suitcase In Another Hall [W0388CDX] CDP UK LTD [C] and Music [W537CD1] SDC GB LTD [D]:

[C]  [D] 

 

Other pressing plants:

Deluxe Media Services UK, 3BC Ltd., Sony DADC UK, TSDC:

 

Hung Up [W695CD2] Deluxe - Deluxe Media Services UK [A] and Jump [W744CD1] 3BC Ltd. [B]:

[A]  [B] 

 

Celebration [W819CD2] Sony DADC UK [C] and Sorry [W703CD2] TSDC [D]:

[C]  [D] 

 

 

 FRANCE

 

More information can be found here: CD Singles - Review of European Card Sleeves 

 

MPO and SNA

MPO (Moulages Plastiques l'Ouest) - one of the leading CD-manufacturers in Europe - was established in 1957 by Monique et Pierre de Poix. In the beginning the company produced 45rpm vinyle at founder's home. In subsequent years the production company focused on 33rpm vinyl as well, and later on tapes and CDs.

SNA - the Parisian company established in 1980 as Société Coopérative de Production (SCOP). In the late 80's, as SNA, the company's productions had been extended to the CDs mastering.

 

Fever [9362 40846-9] MPO [A], Celebration [5439 19853-7] MPO [B] and 4 Minutes [5439 19939-4] SNA [C]:

[A]  [B]  [C] 

 

 

 AUSTRALIA

 

In the 80's manufacturing of CDs expanded rapidly in USA, Japan and Germany and these three countries became major suppliers of CDs to different markets. It was nothing unusual that CDs available in Autstralian stores were made on German or US stampers with characteristic sign of the plant in Alsdorf in Germany (RSA or WME) or SRC in USA: German or US matrix number close to CD-hole and Australian print on the front of CD.

 

Erotica [9362406572] CD pressed by WME, D.A.T.A. on CD [A]:

 

 

Take A Bow [9362418872] CD pressed by SRC, D.A.T.A. on CD [B]:

 

 

DISCTRONICS AUSTRALIA

The very first Australian singles were Rain (1993), Bye Bye Baby (1993) and I'll Remember (1994) - all pressed by DISCTRONICS. Between 1993 and 1994 Warner Music Australia re-issued 7 Japanese EPs with new (Australian) catalog numbers. DISCTRONICS was resposible for pressing all of these CDs.

 

D.A.T.A. (Digital Audio Technologies Australia)

All Australian singles since Bedtime Stories period untill 2005 were pressed by D.A.T.A., including EPs mentioned above which were re-released after 1994. In 2005 comapny was bought out by SM Summit Holdings Limited.

 

Bye Bye Baby [9362411962] DISCTRONICS [A] and Secret [9362417852] D.A.T.A. [B]:

[A]  [B] 

 

Other pressing plants:

SM SUMMIT TECHNOLOGY AUSTRALIA, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and Southern Star Duplitek (SSD):


Jump [9362430422] SM [A], Die Another Day [9362424922] Sony Music Entertaiment Australia [B] and Frozen [9362439902] SSD [C]:

[A]  [B]  [C] 



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