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Burning Audio CDs
Wazaawolf
post Apr 25 2013, 13:18
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Hello,

I decided to back up all of my CDs, because some of them are getting old or scratched. I'm a newbie to ripping and burning Audio CDs, so some advice will be helpful.

- Which is the best format to use? Will mp3 320kbps do fine? Or can I use 16-bit FLAC or WAV too? Can Audio CDs consisting of FLAC or WAV files be read by CD players?

- I know high speeds increase the probability of errors, but does it affect sound quality?

- What is the difference between cheap, off-brand CD-Rs and more expensive CD-Rs? Is there a difference in chance of errors only, or is there a difference in sound quality too?

- On the internet I read something about Gold, Blue, Black and White CD-Rs. What does this mean, and what is the difference between those different types?

I've searched a lot on the internet to find information, but I this things remained unclear to me. Any answer or a link to an answer would be great!

Thanks in advance!
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pdq
post Apr 25 2013, 13:40
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The first step is to use a secure ripper with AccurateRip confirmation.

Some players will only play audio CDs, but many will also play CDs with mp3 files. I suspect that very few will play other file types like FLAC, but of course computers will play any of these. Is your interest to produce playable discs or to simply archive your music?

Don't believe everything you hear about recording speed and quality. It's not that simple, and you may want to experiment with your particular recorder and discs.

Whenever you record a disc, verify its contents. You may find that cheap discs fail to verify more often than expensive ones, but any brand can have an occasional failure.

I always use the cheapest discs that I can find, but I am not using them for archival storage, and if a disc goes bad I just make another.

Your best bet for archival storage is two separate hard drives, kept at two separate locations. Periodically check each for integrity.
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Wazaawolf
post Apr 25 2013, 16:40
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Thanks very much for your reply! It answers all my questions. cool.gif
My music is already saved on an external hard disk, so the CDs are for playback. Most people don't seem to have problems with cheap CDs, so I will give them a try.
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DonP
post Apr 25 2013, 17:00
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QUOTE (Wazaawolf @ Apr 25 2013, 07:18) *
- Which is the best format to use? Will mp3 320kbps do fine? Or can I use 16-bit FLAC or WAV too? Can Audio CDs consisting of FLAC or WAV files be read by CD players?


As previously mentioned, the best backup medium would be hard drives. If you use 2 external hard drives (somewhat safer with 2 copies) then for about $200 you could get 2 drives each able to hold about 6000 albums (compressed with FLAC). You could also go with just 1 hard drive and put a "safety backup" on some cloud service like Google Music (which would be high rate mp3)

WAV will use 2 or more times the space, and doesn't do tags as well (track and album names etc)

High rate mp3 could be ok, but is lossy so no optimal if you want to make smaller files (mp3, aac, etc) from that to go on a portable player.

CDR's hold so little compared to a hard drive that at this point I would only consider them if you want to use them in a CD player, not as an backup format. If your cd/DVD player can play mp3's you can fit about 4 albums at 320 kb/s, or 10 at 128 kb/s VBR (depending on album length). If it can only play audio disks, then of course you only get one album per CD.
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db1989
post Apr 25 2013, 18:50
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QUOTE (Wazaawolf @ Apr 25 2013, 13:18) *
Which is the best format to use? Will mp3 320kbps do fine? Or can I use 16-bit FLAC or WAV too? Can Audio CDs consisting of FLAC or WAV files be read by CD players?

The “best format” is whatever meets your needs according to personal preference, psychoacoustics, and the uses to which you will be putting the files. All of these are addressed by various previous discussions here.

However, that might be a moot point as the format is largely irrelevant for burning back to a standard audio CD: the input files must be decoded to 16-bit and 44.1 kHz PCM in any case, and there are burning programs to handle almost any format. As pdq implied, there is a type of data CD that stores tracks as MP3 files, but that decreases the number of devices on which the CD will work as it is a less supported format. Other formats would just be written as data files, if at all, and that would limit compatibility even further to devices capable of reading the particular format from a generic volume. From your recent reply, I presume you already have your files encoded and are just wanting to decode them to standard audio CDs for the sake of compatibility, in which case, you needn’t worry about formats for these same reasons.

QUOTE
I know high speeds increase the probability of errors, but does it affect sound quality?
For ripping, the question is moot if you follow recommendations and rip in a verifiable manner using AccurateRip or a secure ripping mode. For burning, I imagine using the maximal speed listed on the CD-R is optimal unless something is wrong with the disc or your drive; there’s certainly no evidence of a systemic relationship between speed and quality.

QUOTE
What is the difference between cheap, off-brand CD-Rs and more expensive CD-Rs? Is there a difference in chance of errors only, or is there a difference in sound quality too?
I’ll quote greynol’s signature here: “Everything sounds the same until it is proven otherwise.” In other words, don’t believe the hype unless hard evidence is provided! tongue.gif
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Wazaawolf
post Apr 25 2013, 19:59
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Thanks again for you replies! It helps a lot.
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