Seeking technical directions for making a mix CD.
November 26, 2007 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What is current mix CD file format etiquette? I'm looking for technical, not musical, advice.

Should I be burning MP3s to disk, WAV files, or what? Is it good enough to know that I can play my CD on a mac and on a PC, or should I make sure it can also play on my ancient 1996 boom box? Is there a trick to making sure a CD will actually play on an old boom box, because I have never mastered this? Is there a specific "type" of CD I should look for at the store?
posted by croutonsupafreak to Technology (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Burn regular ol' Red Book audio just like you always have. Why use MP3? It will allow you to save 12 hours of music instead of 1, but who wants a 12 hour mix CD?
posted by grouse at 3:13 PM on November 26, 2007

It should be an audio ("Redbook" is the name for this format) cd, not a cd-rom full of wavs.

A 1996 boom box may have trouble with all cdrs. Playing on a 2004 car cd player is what you should be angling for, which you shouldn't have to do anything special for.
posted by aubilenon at 3:14 PM on November 26, 2007

I'd say a mix CD should play in any car or boombox. Any CD-R would work, get one that does 80min so you have some extra time. If you burn a CD in audio mode, it will work on any CD player. You will probably want to record "Disc-At-Once" and close the CD to make sure it works on any player. Which program will you use to burn? Maybe we could give some specific tips.
posted by ALongDecember at 3:14 PM on November 26, 2007

Unless your burning software automatically encodes your mp3's as wav's there is a very very good chance that older cd players will not know what to do with them. Most newer burning software will do this automatically.

The best way to make sure its going to work is to burn it and give it a go. CD's are like 5 cents now.
posted by stilgar at 3:15 PM on November 26, 2007

I agree with burning as a standard Redbook audio format, ... but thats not going to give you 100% success rate. As far as i know.. nothing will give you 100% success rate. There are simply some stereos (home, car or boombox) that wont play certain brands of CDR's.

If it was me... I'd go with this solution. (and just leave them as MP3 files)
posted by jmnugent at 3:18 PM on November 26, 2007

Seconding the "burning CD in audio mode" - don't burn it as an mp3 CD, unless you're certain that the mix you make will only ever be played on a computer and never thrown into a car or home stereo.

The other thing to do is to make sure that the sound output is level across all your tracks - there's nothing more annoying than making a CD only to find out that the track you ripped from an old CD 10 years ago on your old machine is a whole lot quieter than that song you downloaded last week at a high bitrate.

MP3gain is a handy tool to make sure all your tracks have the same volume level.
posted by pdb at 3:26 PM on November 26, 2007

Ok, so I'll correct my previous assumption that a CD-R will work on any CD player, even some say that the longer 80-minute ones don't work in ancient players. But buy some and try it, like stilgar said they're like 5 cents now. Some info from the CD-R FAQ.
posted by ALongDecember at 3:27 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: Can this be done through iTunes? I'm going to be making the CDs on my macbook, but I have the music in mp3 format to start.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:41 PM on November 26, 2007

If you make your playlist and hit "Burn Disc" in iTunes it will do exactly what you want, which is make an audio CD that should play on anything that calls itself a CD player.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:53 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: I assume I'll be marking some bests later this week. Just gotta test it out and make sure I can make it work. Thanks.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:53 PM on November 26, 2007

Make sure you go through iTunes preferences, into Advanced and into Burning to make sure iTunes is set to automatically burn your playlist as an audio cd. Also, you might want to turn off that annoying 2-second gap between songs to make your transitions sound their best.
posted by sleeping bear at 6:38 PM on November 26, 2007

« Older University tuition and crappy credit history   |   What is the best mailing list server software out... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.