"Audio only" CD-Rs

What’s the deal with these “audio only” CD-Rs? They cost more than the regular CD-R discs and they con only be recorded on with special audio only drives which cost A LOT more than the normal CD-R drives.

I’m now hearing rumors that it’s all part of a sinister plot, presumably by the record industry, to force us to pay the equivalent of the “cassette tax”, and that the CD players now being made won’t play CD-Rs unless they are the audio only variety.

Anyone have any solid information about it?


Here’s what I’ve heard:

“Audio only” CD-R’s have a special code burned on them to tell the CD burner that audio is allowed on it. As far as I know, only consumer audio CD recorders won’t let you use a normal (or “data” CD-R). CD burners in PCs will burn either one, but they aren’t as easy to use as a standalone CD recorder.

The purpose of this was to price blank “audio” CD’s higher so the record industry wouldn’t lose as much money from people copying commericial audio CD’s.

However it got burned, though, any CD player should be able to play a CD with audio tracks on it, regardless of whether it was an “audio CD-R” or a regular CD-R.


This post brings up a request:

Can anyone recommend good, inexpensive (or even share/freeware) PC software to assist with burning CDs? The software that came packaged with my computer (Dell) is terrible for making “mixed” audio CDs. Gracias.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

I have had great success with Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator.

  • Rick

I was wondering about the special audio CD-Rs as well, thanks for saving me money. FWIW I use the Adaptec software but it isn’t free. The basic version is included with a lot of drives and more complte retail version costs about $100. A friend gave me some links you might want to check out.


Hmm, looks like I deleted the other links. Sorry.

“Popeye? Hm? He’s not much of a judge of women!” King Blozo

I have used the software from Golden Hawk for years- it works great for me. In fact, I am still using their ancient DOS version, which I bought for about $50 several years ago. I got the impression at the time (about 1995) that it was a one-man company. The software worked great, and had frequent updates as new burners came on the market.

It looks like the company has grown quite a bit since then, so I don’t know how relevant my experiences are now, but they’d probably be my first choice if I wanted the latest stuff.