Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A little bit about burning audio CD's

I could fill a novel about all the vagueries about burning CD's, but here's a fairly quick tip on the subject. If you're burning audio CD's, there are three key rules to follow, and you'll get a good burn every time:
  1. Never burn at faster than 16x. Burns done faster than 16x will have errors. Data CD's can usually be safely burned as fast as 52x because CD-ROM drives have lots of error correction built-in. Audio CD players don't have that error correction, and they'll make a bad burn play audio that sounds like it's underwater...if it plays at all.
  2. Always use high quality CD blanks. There are varying options, but Taiyo Yuden blanks have been consistently good quality. They can be hard to find, and sometimes they're re-branded and sold under another name. But I've found that Taiyo blanks are consistently the best. Try searching for 'em on Amazon.com. One caveat, Taiyo's can't be burned slower than 8x. It's odd but true...use the Taiyo's, but burn somewhere between 8x and 16x.
  3. What burner you use DOES matter. Like the CD blanks, makes & models tend to vary...and what's the best today may change tomorrow. But Plextor tends to make very good CD burners. Equally important is that CD burners do eventually wear out, too. If you burn a lot of CD's, you can expect to start seeing bad burns when the drive is starting to die; time to order a new one...they're usually under $100.
I routinely have to burn 50-100 audio CD's every week, using a automated duplicator/printer. Over the past two years, that means thousands of CD's. After I started following those three rules, I've had maybe a half-dozen (only a half dozen) bad burns. Hard to argue with that success rate! :-)

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