Once More Into The Fire

Fun Time

Congratulations, you’ve survived the lecturers. Now it’s time to have some fun. In this section, allow me to introduce to you some of the amazing possibilities available to you by using a CDR:

  • Mix your own music CDs. In fact, you can create hidden tracks and sub track markers using CDRWIN scripts.
  • Create your own data CDs. Not only can you create data CDs that can be read on a PC, you can create a Hybrid CD that’s readable on both PCs and Macs.
  • Create an enhanced CD that contains music and data
  • Create an MPEG Video CD (VCD)
  • Create a bootable CD
  • Create an audio CD with 5.1 surround encoding
  • Creating regular audio CDs from MP3s.
  • Overburning, which means squeezing more than 74 Minutes of audio or 650MB on to a disc.

Be Your Own DJ

First, a very quick review of the major points covered in the beginner’s guide:

  • CD Audio tracks are just PCM files, which are converted from WAV files.
  • Writing an audio CD involves extracting the tracks from an existing audio CD and writing it as an WAV.
  • DO NOT play the CD and record it through your sound card. The extra D-A-D conversion lowers quality.
  • Burn from a hard drive partition to avoid buffer underrun.
  • Use Disc-At-Once mode to avoid the 2 second gap.

If you are unsure of any of the above points mentioned, feel free to read the appropriate section in the beginner’s guide before moving on. Otherwise, let’s get started. Since we will be doing some advanced stuff in this article, Easy CD Creator will no longer suit our needs, at least not for this particular section. Instead, we will be using a program called CDRWIN by Golden Hawk. First, let’s familiarize ourselves with the basic CDRWIN interface.

This is definitely not your typical program interface. But underneath this unusual interface is a very powerful program. Before I go on, I would just like to say that this program has many features. Thus, it is impractical for me to cover them all here. Since this section is focused on audio, I will only cover the features having to do with audio extraction and writing. With that said, let’s have a look:

As you can notice from the screen capture above, the main interface of CDRWIN is divided into 2 row of 5 buttons, each of which correspond to a feature. If the button images are insufficiently telling, hover your mouse over a button to get a description of its function.

Since we are concerned with burning audio discs, let’s first take a look at the audio extraction feature in CDRWIN. Click on the third button in the top row. Wow! What a nasty looking interface.

But don’t worry, it’s really not as bad as it looks. Let me just point out a few of the main features. If you look at the screen cap above, you will notice that the important features have been circled and labeled A, B, C, so on.

First, direct your attention to the part of the screen cap labeled as A. This is where you can choose how the audio extraction will take place. You can extract an entire CD into an image file and automatically create a Cuesheet (I will get to that later). You can also do a standard extraction by selecting the tracks (best suited for Audio CD). If you want, you can even extract by specifying the precise sectors to read and copy. And the last option is to simply read the disc. For now, let’s choose Select Tracks.

With that selected, take a look at the part on the screen cap labeled B. This is where you can choose which CD-ROM drive to use for the extraction. This is also where you specify the output file for the extraction. To specify the output file (image filename as labeled), you need only to specify the first image filename and location. The rest will be named based on the track number and written to the same directory as the first.

Now you are ready to choose the tracks you want to burn (look at section C of the screen cap). Simply click on the tracks you need. As you do that, the red circle representing the selected track will have a black circled put around it. Also notice the color codes for each of the tracks – Mode 1 (Data tracks), Mode 2 (Multimedia data), CDI and Audio. If you inserted an audio CD, you should only see red circles. You may have noticed that a check box labeled name tracks sequentially. Why didn’t I have you check that before? The truth is, it’s really not necessary. If it is unchecked, then the tracks will be labeled based on the track that’s being copied. For example, if the first image filename you specified was 98Deg, then track 1 extracted would be named 98Deg01, track 4 would be named 98Deg04, so on. If name files sequentially were checked, then track 1 would be 98Deg01 and track 4 would be 98Deg02, assuming it was the second track copied.

Before we click on start, let me call your attention to some of the advanced settings available. It is the section labeled D on the screen cap:

  • Reading Options. RAW is what you need for audio discs.
  • Error Recovery. Abort is self explanatory. Ignore means that any unreadable sector will be replaced with some unreadable data that is generated by the program. Don’t ask me why this is in there. It sound pointless. Replace will replace unreadable data with some generated readable data.
  • Jitter correction will compensate for the vibration of the disc as it is spinning.
  • Sub Code Analysis. Don’t worry about this one. It’s a little beyond the scope of the discussion.
  • Read Retry Count. This tells the system how many times to retry a failed read operation before giving up. CD-ROM drives do not support this option.

Now you are ready to extract. Click on Start to begin. After the extraction, cancel out of the audio extraction window. Click on the first button in row one. This will bring you to the CD writing screen.

  • From the CD-ROM Recorder option you can choose which drive to use.
  • The Recording Information section displays data about the currently loaded Cue Sheet.
  • Now, look at the recording options. From there you can control the speed of the copy process. You can also choose to use test mode. In test mode, the recording laser is turned off so the disc isn’t actually written to. It’s a debug mode to ensure that there are no problems with the disc. The open new session option opens a new session after the current one is written. This keeps the disc open, allowing for more data to be added later.

There are two ways to tell the program what to write. The first is to load tracks. This allows you to select which files to write to the disc. If you extracted WAV files from an audio CD, this is what you would use. The second is to load a cue sheet. A Cue Sheet is like a script. Contained in it are a list of files to be written to the disc. After you choose the method you want, click on start recording.

Now you are probably thinking “I’m going to use load track.” You may wonder why anyone would use load cue sheet. In fact, why even use this program? If I wanted to do a track by track recording, I’d just go back to Easy CD Creator. The answer is, cue sheets provide for a powerful way to control how the data is copied to the disc. In the next section, we will take a look at how cue sheets are written and what they can do.

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