CD recording : CD recording has become increasingly popular for a number of reasons. For one, they are extremely cheap. With a mail in rebate it’s possible to get them for ten cents a disk. A lot of that is due to the simplicity in design. They’re slim. Which means they can be carried easily. A CD can store a vast amount of data. You could put the same information on one CD that it would take hundreds of floppies to hold. CD’s can be used in a wide variety of components. You can play them in your car stereo, on your home stereo, on your computer, in your DVD player, or even game consoles. This site was designed to help clear up some of the confusion that has to do with recording CD’s. We are going to look at some CD formats, different types of recording software, choosing media, and storage options. CD Formats With all of the different type of CDs available there are many formats. A good thing about recording software is it will handle all of the formatting details for you. But it still is an interesting topic to know. A quick summary of standards: Red Book physical format for audio CDs (aka CD- DA) Yellow Book physical format for data CDs Green Book physical format for CD-i Orange Book physical format for recordable CDs Part I CD-MO (Magneto-Optical) Part II CD-WO (Write-Once; includes hybrid spec for PhotoCD) Part III CD-RW (ReWritable) White Book format for VideoCD (often written VCD) Blue Book CD Extra (occasionally used to refer to LaserDisc format) CD Extra a two-session CD, 1st is CD-DA, 2nd is data (a/k/a CD Plus) CD-ROM/XA eXtended Architecture, a bridge between Yellow Book and CD-i MODE-1 standard Yellow Book sectors MODE-2 may be of form-1 or form-2 FORM-1 2048 bytes of data, with error correction, for data FORM-2 2324 bytes of data, no ecc, for audio/video ISO-9660 file layout standard (evolved from High Sierra format) Rock Ridge extensions allowing long filenames and UNIX-style symlinks CD-RFS Sony's incremental packet- writing filesystem CD-UDF industry-standard incremental packet-writing filesystem CD-Text Philips' std for encoding disc and track data on audio CDs One way to identify the type of CD is to look at the logo. To find out if a component can utilize the special features on a certain type of CD you can look at logo on the front of the component. A good example is the CD-Text CDs and players. Many of the new car and home CD players have the CD-Text label on the front of them. This means the player is capable of displaying text such as title, artist, and song, if the CD uses CD-Text. Software Without recording software your CD-R/CD-RW drive is just as good as a CD-rom drive. Software should have a good set of tools that allows you to create custom CDs without a lot of hassle. Good software also incorporates useful help menus. It should be able to display compatibility with your hardware. The software should tell you your hardware features. There is no perfect recording software. Some people are satisfied with the recording features of particular software. While more advanced users like to use a variety of software for different applications. When you bought your CD-R/CD-RW drive, it most likely came with some recording software. This is often a basic version. If you like the software and it performs to your needs then you should stick with it. Otherwise you can look into purchasing the more advanced version or purchasing other software. If you’re considering to upgrade your recording software make sure that it’s compatible with your system requirements and that it’s compatible with your CD recorder. Often, people find out a lot of software isn’t compatible with their system or recorder. A good software package should have a website that provides user support. The site should offer regular updates to make sure the software works correctly. If you’re not satisfied with your current software, you should try some demo versions of other recording software. Demo versions are always good to try, even if you like your current software. You might find out you like something better. Below are some of my software reviews: Easy CD Creator: This is what I started out using. It’s a great package for beginners. The Project Selector is a nice feature that allows you to select the type of project you want to do. The projects you can choose from are music CD, Data CD, photo or video CD, and CD copier. It also has a web check, CD label creator, and help menu. There are three types of music CDs you can make. The first one uses Sound Stream application. It’s good for making CDs from various sources like tape and records. There are a lot of sound editing features to use like pop and hiss removal. That can be very useful if you’re making a CD from an old record. The feature I like the most is the normalize feature. This allows you to set the sound levels of songs that may be recorded from different albums to the same level. So, none of the songs will sound louder than others. The second type is a normal music CD. This is used if you don’t want to do any editing. And the third type of music CD is the mp3 CD. It’s great if you want to compress your music and put about a hundred songs in mp3 format onto a CD. You need to have an mp3 player in order to use it though. There are three types of Data CD projects to choose from. They are direct CD, data CD, and take two. I love to use direct CD. What this does is use packet writing. Basically what that means is that you can format your CD and use it just like you would a floppy. But you won’t be able to rewrite unless you use a CD-RW. You can still delete data on a CD-R but the space will be wasted if you do that. The data CD project is useful if you have enough data to fill up an entire CD. Otherwise the CD will have a lot of empty space. The take two project is used if you want to back up your hard drive. It will copy everything on your hard drive onto one CD or more. The web check will see if there are any updates you need. Easy CD has a very useful help, filled with a lot of information. The CD label creator is fantastic. You can make custom labels for your CDs and for their cases. One great thing is it allows you to print to labels manufactured by many different companies. Not like other label makers that only let you print to their brand of labels. Overall, it’s still a good program but I won’t use the music CD or CD copier projects. The reason for this is because they’re not as reliable as other programs that I’ve discovered. Clone CD: I started using this to make complete copies of disks. Mainly because I kept getting errors when I use Easy CDs copier. It’s supposed to make the best copies of a CD. If you’re going to alter a CD you should use something else. I won’t use it for audio because I started using EAC(Exact Audio Copy). EAC: What a great program. It’s the only one out that’s able to extract audio data from a CD perfectly. It accomplishes this by using error and offset correction. If it encounters an error it will reread up to 82 times. If the error is not correctable you will at least know. The offset correction is another wonderful feature other programs don’t use. Basically all drives start to read and write at different places. So if you had a drive with a different offset then mine and we used another program to extract a song, the files wouldn’t be the same. But, if we used EAC and set up the offset correction correctly they would. The only problem I have with EAC is that my drive isn’t compatible with its write feature. So, I use it to extract .WAV files and CDRWIN to burn them. CDRWIN: I started using this program to install patches into PSX games. It does a great job doing that. I also use it to make audio CDs. Either from .WAV that I used EAC to extract or from downloaded mp3’s. That sums up my software reviews. Choosing Media Blank CDs are generally cheap and easy to find. The hard part is finding the ones that suit your needs. Here are some choices you have when you buy blank CD’s · Recording speed · Disc colors · Buying in bulk · Protective coatings · Cases · Storage capacity You should buy CDs that are compatible with the recording speed of the drive you use. Also you might want to record at your drives highest speed. So it’s better to be safe and buy CDs with higher recording speeds. If you like different disc colors you should get them. But one thing you should know is they cost a lot more. In my opinion it’s a waste of money. Buy in bulk. When you get your CDs in spindles it’s a lot cheaper. Get CDs with protective coatings if you want extra insurance against damage to your data. The top layer of the CD only has a very thin coating to protect the data. This makes it very easy to damage your CDs. If you use cases you can buy them with the CD or without. This adds a lot of money to the cost though. You also have a choice of the storage capacity of the CD. There are basically two choices, 650 MB and 700 MB. If you like to have a little more storage than go for the 700 MB CDs. They don’t cost much more. I’ve used quite a few different brands. They include PNY, Sony, TDK, Imation, Fuji, and Digital Media. The only ones that I had problems with were the Digital Media CDs from Circuit City. I left them in them in car. At first they would skip when I played them. Now they don’t work at all. I guess it was the heat but I never had that problem with the other brands. CD storage As your CD collection gets big, storage options become an important issue. You can buy CD sleeves or a type of shelf that holds your CDs in cases. If you want to have the least amount of scratches you should leave them in their cases. The problem with this is it takes up a lot more space than sleeves. A good thing about sleeve books is that they can hold hundreds of CDs and they can easily be carried from place to place. One of the bad things is that more surface area of the CD is being touched. I use the sleeves because I have over a thousand CDs. There is just no place to put them if I left them in cases. I also find that I listen to my music more because it’s easier to locate what album I want to hear. My opinion is, if you by the books get the name brand like Case Logic. I’ve had bad experience with other brands because of poor design. An example of this is CD Projects. They had a plastic lip that is supposed to hold the CD in better. I found out that this lip scratches the CD each time I took a CD out. Also, it was almost impossible to put the lip over the CD. You should just go ahead and pay the little extra money and get a good quality book.