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Making an Audio CD from MP3


MP3s are great... But when you are on the move, unless you get one of those new MP3 players, they can be a great hassle. Even if you have a laptop computer, generally, batteries will not last more than 2 to 3 hours, and laptop computers generally have low quality speakers that does not do MP3s justice. So, what do you do now? Since many modern cars are equipped with CD Players, and since everyone now has a Discman, why not make a CD with your favorite songs?


Before you start, you need to make sure you have the following things. First, you need MP3s that you want to put on the CD. You also need a CDR (or CDRW) Drive, and a blank CDR. Most Audio CD Players cannot read CDRW, so try to stick to basic CDRs and save yourself money and hassle. Most CDR Drives come with software that lets you write to CDs, and I will use Adaptec Easy CD Creator that comes with most Hewlett Packard CDRW Drives in this guide. You'd also need a hard drive with at least 650 Megabytes, preferably about 1 gigabyte or more, of free space. Last, but not least, you need a MP3 to Wav Converter (known as decoders). I will use WinAmp as an example in this review.

Making an Audio CD isn't all that hard as some people believe it to be. First, you need to turn MP3s into Wav files (thus the big hard drive requirement). Once you have the Wav files, you can start up your favorite CD Burning software and just burn them on the CD. In 30 minutes (give or take 20 minutes. I know that some CDRs are S-L-O-W :), you will have in your hands a nice and hot, freshly burned Audio CD that is ready to be played in your favorite CD Player.

Decoding the MP3 to WAV

So, are you ready? Then let's start!

First, you need to pick the MP3s that you want to put on the CD. Once you have decided, put them on the WinAmp Playlist. Do make sure that the total running time is under 74 minutes, which is the limit for blank CDRs. Once you have the playlist finished, make sure the Shuffle, and Repeat functions are turned off in WinAmp. Once you are ready, go and make a directory where your WAVs will reside temporarily. This isn't too hard, is it? Once you have the directory, go back to WinAmp, then go to Preferences [CTRL+P]. Choose Plug-ins -> Output -> Nullsoft Disk Writer plug-in v1.0 [OUT_DISK.DLL] then click on Configure. Pick the directory that you've set aside for the wav files, then click OK. Once that's done, click on Close button to close Winamp Preference window, then click on the Play button, and watch your MP3s decompress to Wavs. You are not going to hear anything, and it's normal.
You've just done the first half! Congratulations!

Once WinAmp finishes decompressing, you'd want to go back to preferences, and change the Output Plug in back to Nullsoft waveOut plug-in if you want to use WinAmp to listen to music again.

Burning the CD

Now that that's done, startup your CD Writing software. Adaptec Easy CD Creator software comes with a Wizard that takes you step by step through the making of an Audio CD. You'd select the Wav files that you've created, then add them to the list by clicking on the 'Add Now' button. Once you are satisfied with the order and the listing, click Next, then enter the Disc Title and Artist Name. The Adaptec Easy CD Creator Wizard will ask you whether you want to close the Session or not. By closing the Session, you are finalizing the CD by not allowing anything else to be written on the blank space. You'd mostly like want to close the session because extra sessions might not be recognized by CD Players. The last question the wizard asks is whether you want to Test before Writing. If you've been using your CDR drive for a while, and is confident that your blank CDR will not be ruined, go ahead and skip the test. If you are not sure, I'd advise you to do the test just for peace of mind. Click next, then next again to start creating the CD.

Now, go and make yourself a nice hot chocolate and a sandwich (or whatever you'd like), kick back, and wait until the CDR finishes recording. I'd recommend against using the computer while the CDR is being burnt as hard drive usage may interfere with the recording and ruin the disc. Just don't go and try to play Quake while the disc is being written to, okay? :)

When the CD pops out, there you go! You've got yourself a new CD that is ready to be played anywhere!


There is once more thing you can do with Adaptec Easy CD Creator, and that is creation of the Jewel case inserts. After you've finished burning, and when you are back at the Easy CD Creator screen, click on "Jewel Case Layout" (View - Jewel Case Layout) type whatever you want, and now you've got a jewel case inserts with list of songs all ready for you to insert in the Jewel case.

That's It! Now, pop them in your favorite CD player, sit back, and enjoy the music!

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