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Burning a CD

Burning your finished CD
Ok, you're ready to render your masterpiece in preparation for burning to CD. CDs are 44.1k and 16-bit. If you've been working in anything other than 44.1k/16-bit, you'll need to convert your master before burning to CD. Your recording software can do this process for you. When rendering your final WAV file, you'll need to select 16-bit file format and 44.1k sampling frequency. Other advanced options are Dither and Noise Shaping.

Should I dither? What's dither? Converting from 24- to 16-bit, or from 48-96k to 44.1k sampling rate, introduces mathematical errors which result in noise. Dithering and Noise Shaping help minimize the negative effects of the conversion process. The PDFOzone Dithering Guide does a great job of explaining the complex process of dithering in easy to understand terms, so we won't delve into it here. Suffice to say that most of us at AudioMinds use both Dithering and Noise Shaping, but ONLY on the final rendering.

There are many good products for bit depth and sampling rate conversions. Here are a couple freebies:
  • dBpowerAMP - Use to convert bit depth and/or sampling frequency. Also does WAV to MP3 conversions.
  • r8brain - Another good free file conversion utility.

CDs that you buy in stores are encoded using the Redbook Standard. But the home hobbyist can burn audio CDs using whatever software they choose (many of us use Nero or Feurio). Be sure to burn your CDs slowly! Speeds of 4x and lower seem to give the best results.

Many of us choose to render all songs belonging to a CD to a single WAV file. Once that is done, we use Nero (or other CD burning software) to break the single WAV into separate tracks (this allows playback with no pause between tracks). See How It's Done (thanks, Willy!).

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