What is Indexing?
"Indexing" is what allows you to quickly jump from song to song or to anywhere on the CD.
We can only place index points accurately and consistently for the most common types of recordings:
We can not place accurate indexes for recordings that have lots of pauses or where the songs blend into each other. In these cases, each tape or record will come back as just one long track for side A, and another track for side B. For instance:
However, with certain kinds of recordings we're definitely willing to give it our best shot, we just can't guarantee it'll be perfect. If it proves to be too difficult, you'll get one track per side.
If it can't be indexed, what other options are there?
We can automate the indexing process to insert index points every five minutes or some other arbitrary number of minutes. Every five minutes is the industry standard
How are Song Separations and Indexing done?
Let me start by explaining there is no magic button that searches the recording and places track markers at all the right places. I sure wish there was.
The fact is I have to place them manually by hand. In order to do that, the track is brought up on a screen and I visually look for the separation between songs. Sometimes it is very obvious (Ilust. 1) but sometimes it is almost impossible to tell (Illust. 2).
If the recording is spoken word or is a music that has many starts and stops, I will not be able to place track separation markers at the correct places. The industry standard for situations like this is to place markers every 5 minutes. This is what I do. However, some companies do nothing. So your CD will be just one long recording with no ability to jump to different sections of the recording.
Illustration 1- an example of a recording that can be indexed properly. The space between songs is clearly visible.
Illustration 2- an example of a recording that cannot be indexed except every 5 minutes.