Recording CDs

I’m looking into buying a CD recorder as a stereo component. Some claim they record onto “audio CDs”, not the CD-Rs that are for “computers”. What’s the difference?Which is more permanent and long lasting?

They have to be some sort of CD-R, maybe blue or gold or whatever. Probably 80 minutes long, but not necessarily, otherwise 74 minutes is normal.

As you already have a PC, buy a CDRW drive which writes to CD-R(ecordables) as well as CD R(e)W(ritable) media.
Cheaper, more flexible and have heaps of easy to use S/w to choose from. Plus you don’t have to copy the whole CD, you can master your own from selected tracks from several.

But to answer your question, they package and label them as recordable audio CDs so that they can jack up the price by giving people an impresssion that they are ‘different’.

Either way you can violate some copyright laws.

They are different. They are of a slightly higher quality which gives you a better chance of generating a CD that will work in all players.

I agree. However, I don’t think you were advocating this, but I don’t recommend recording CDA (conventional CD tracks) onto CDRW media. Many, many people have told me that the CDs rarely play nicely with all CD players. I tried it once and found that conventional wisdom seemed to hold - my CD wouldn’t play on my home stereo. CDR seems to be a lot more reliable… and cheaper.

Again, I’m not sure what you’re advocating, but don’t record tracks in multiple sessions. Few CD players will handle CDs mastered in this way. If you’re planning on making a CD with audio tracks from several different CDs, it’s best to consolidate all the tunes you want onto your hard disk and write them all in one go.
sunbear asks:

They both will have the same shelf life. The only difference that you might notice is that CDs mastered onto standard quality CDR media might have very subtle errors that cause them not to play on some CD playback units. That said, I always buy 8x CDR media (not audio grade) and have never had a problem. I think the 8x capable implies the same or similar quality to the audio grade and is usually a bit cheaper.

The search functionality may not be great, but it was good enough for me to find the last thread where this topic was discussed - with information, rather than just opinions as we have this time round.


The Audio CD recorders that connect to your stereo (as opposed to your PC) only copy audio tracks (can’t make copies of data CDs) and most only work with the pricey Audio CDs which have no difference in sound quality from CDRs. Audio CDs = $5, CDRs = $1. There is not much difference in “permanence”. If possible, I would go with a computer CD burner. If this is not a feasable option, you may want to go with a minidisc recorder as they’re currently about the same price for the unit as well as media and the media is re-recordable.

Although not in the OP, JoeyBlades is right- CDRW (media) are not reliable for making Audio CDs that play in most (if not all) CD players. Audio CDs I make with my PC onto CDRs I’ve found play in 90%+ of CD players I’ve tried.

One problem is that a lot of the stuff i will put on Cd is now on vinyl. There must be audio blank CDs cheaper than $5 somewhere. I will look for the most flexible model.

thanks all

Consider the overall cost if you have a lot of vinyl to record. With a PC based solution a good sound card can take line input from your reciever. Some CD mastering software will also allow you to edit and clean scratch and dust noise form your LPs.

To write an audio CD, you need the right software. Some make it easy, like Adaptec EZ cd creator. Why not use a regular cd? A cd is a cd. The better ones I think you can’t see thru.

IIRC, the higher price of “music” CD’s is part of a deal between the record companies and the manufacturers of the stereo-component to recoup some of the potential losses incurred when consumers copy CD’s for private use. The extra cash goes in part direct to the record companies.

JeyBlades mentioned copying CD audio tracks to a hard drive… So far I can only copy a shortcut “Audio Track” file. Is there a special trick or program necessary to copy audio tracks from a CD onto a local disk? I work on Mac, is it a platform problem?

You need to use a program know as a “Ripper”. I’m not sure if this applies to Macs, but for the PC I use Audiograbber. This “rips” the track from the CD and places it on your hard drive in the form of a .WAV file. Burning .WAV files to a CD (using the “Audio CD” setting on your software) creates an audio CD playable in most any CD player.

Macintosh Toast includes a utility called Toast Audio Extractor that can pull whole audio tracks off a CD and make an AIFF audio file on your hard disk. Because there’s no compression of the audio, the files are large; a full CD will take up around 700 megs of HD space.

Another big issue: with these expensive new “audio cd” recorders, you generally only have analog inputs. With a cdr, you can make exact digital duplications.

stolichnaya asks:

As with nearly everything in life, there’s more than one way to do it. The best way is to get “Toast” for for your Macintosh. You can usually get Toast bundled with your drive, if you have not purchased one yet. Toast will let you accumulate audio tracks for compilation fairly seamlessly. I recommend using Toast because it can write your CDs in a mode called “Disk At Once”. This is important for maximum compatibility with all audio CD players. The technical details are probably beyond the scope of practicality on this board… you’re gonna just hav’ta trust me - Disk At Once is a good thing.

If you’ve already got a drive and it came with limited software and you don’t want to spend big bucks for a comercial package like Toast, you’re not out of luck. Apple’s own (free) MoviePlayer can “Import” (under the File menu) the audio tracks from a CD to a QuickTime format and can then “Export” to AIFF. There are tools that can then convert AIFF to CDA. One freeware one is SoundApp and it’s available from the SoundApp homepage:

Even if you have Toast, SoundApp is a pretty useful tool, well worth the cost… [wink]… it’s free!

Never appologize for making the intelligent choice. I use my Mac for most of my digital audio and video processing. My PC, though being newer and supposedly faster, falls short in the real world.

It’s strange because data cds must be much much higher quality than music cd’s because every little byte of a data cd is important, but not for a music cd. If you think that a music cd is higher quality than a data cd, this can’t be so.


If your CDR drive came with Adaptec Easy CD Creator software, you should be able to drag and drop the actual CD audio tracks to your hard drive and then write them using disk-at-once onto your CDR. Nothing special is really needed here. If you are trying to make MP3s into CD autio tracks, you will need to find ripping software to do the job (WinAmp, for instance.).

“It’s only common sense,
There are no accidents 'round here.”

Data CD’s have to be better made than music cds. Every single byte counts. Not the same with music.


Your right every single byte (actually bit) counts. In both data and audio formats all the data is critical for the accurate transfer of information. The CDA format is designed to be fault tolerant and there are more bits per useful piece of information. The difference is that most single bit errors in audio usually only causes some distortion that may not even be detectable to the human ear, whereas a missing bit in a data stream could give your computer the wrong instruction.

If it sounds like I’m agreeing with you, that’s because I do… up to a point. The problem is that many audio CD players use much cheaper laser diodes and detectors such that they are more sensitive to partially programmed bits. This is actually the root of the problem with CDRW media, BTW. What looks fine for your CDROM drive on your computer can look like garbage on your audio CD player.

I can see tapes are’t going to disappear as fast as 8 Track did! I’m not getting a new tape recorder, that’s for sure. But we do have some boom boxes that play CDs and tape tapes. Younger kids will use this, they barely have their own computer. Actually, I share my PC with my 8 year old. He hasn’t taken over it yet.

I have to disagree about your explanation of why CDR/W media isn’t readable on most audio CD players. It’s not really the laser diodes or transport mechanisms that cause problems, but the actual media and format method used. Rewritable CDs are formatted as multi-session discs which, unfortunately, aren’t readable by most audio players. In addition, most older model CD players have difficulty reading CD media that isn’t the familiar silver color associated with standard audio CDs. These players are only able to read a very narrow portion of the spectrum, and would have extreme difficulty reading anything that didn’t have the same refractive properties of a standard silver CD.

For more information on CDR and CDR/W media recording visit the Adaptec web site:

“It’s only common sense,
There are no accidents 'round here.”

Sdrew it! Get a Md player and recorder. They’re much more versatile, and have a better interface (especially with Sony models), they’re also much more durable. Though if you want to copy data, get a cdrw. That’s all the imput I have.