The Musician's Room: A Nice CD labeling System

I recently discovered something the hard way: If you label your home-made CDROMs with a permanent Sharpie pen, the ink can eventually seep through and corrupt the data on your disk, making it unplayable.

So, as I recently prepared to start a recording project, I decided to familiarize myself with the CD labeling system we have at the studio, “CD Stomper Pro”. The system comes with a large mechanical label applicator, Windows and Mac software and art on a CDROM, a supply of CD labels and jewel case inserts, and printed quick-start instructions.

The software is both flexible and intuitive and the online help will answer most questions. For anything else, full documentation is supplied on disk. I was able to dive right in and begin designing labels for my CD without too much hassle. The program comes configured to provide several example templates and variants of those templates which you can use as the basis for your work. It also comes with hundreds of pieces of art with which to customize your design. I imported my own pics as JPEGs to use as backgrounds and used the fonts on my computer to customize the project to my taste. The program allows you to stretch text around the label of a CD in several ways and provides enough tools to make just about anything possible. It is flexible enough that a quick tour through the menus before you start will really reward you. The program outputs to Epson Stylus 850 and Epson Stylus 600 ink-jet printers very neatly, with no registration or adjustment necessary. The designs are easy to save to hard-drive. Any art files associated with the project can be integrated so that the project becomes one file. I successfully transferred my designs via email.

How did it do? It performed wonderfully! My project came out pretty much as I desired. If you follow the instructions, the applicator centers and applies the labels very well and the process is pretty easy. The results look professional and can be just as fancy as you wish. The j-card products easily detach from their sheets and fit nicely. I ended up liking it well enough to buy a copy for myself at home. I bought my copy on sale at CompUSA for $19.99 and it came with A $10 off coupon. Not bad! Any caveats or tips? Sure:

1. Like most of these systems, the program is set up to use the company’s proprietary label products. No surprise there. You can create custom layouts to go with others, but the onboard printing templates are designed for their own products, which, like everyone else’s, are not cheap. Example: Refills on jewel card inserts run $19.99 for fifty, or forty cents apiece. You can cut your costs by printing all your proofs on regular printer paper. Mars Music runs sales on these products.

2. Though the program is configured to allow double-sided printing, the current templates are only configured to print a single-panel, one-sided, front-of-case card. I do wish a single-fold card was offered but here’s a little tip: You can create a separate inside design project. After printing the outside, turn the sheet over, load your inside design, and print it as a second run.

3. The system comes with matte-finish CD labels. If you want a really professional-looking CD label, pony-up the extra bucks for the gloss-finish CD labels.

Well there you go. Have fun making your own!

CD Stomper Pro Website