Teach me about CD burners.

cafink

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
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Real Name
Carl Fink
Hi all!

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about computers and technology and such, but I've somehow managed to avoid ever coming in contact with a CD burner all these years since they've become so popular.

Anway, we (me and my family) have switched from film over to a digital camera recently, and we'd like to buy a CD burner, mainly to have a place to store all those pictures we're taking. I'd also like to be able to take some music from my CD collection and make a CD or two with MP3s of my most-listened-to songs. I've got kind of strange taste in music, and it seems no CD ever has more than a single song or two that I think is really worth listening to. It'd be great to have a collection of all of my favorite music, all in one place, now that I have an Apex DVD player that can play MP3s from a CD.

And yes, I legally own a CD copy of all the music about which I'm talking and will rip all of these MP3s myself. I know the HTF isn't big on piracy, and on that point I agree. My friends think I'm weird because I refuse to download songs from the 'net. Instead, I'll go buy a whole album for just a song or two. Even if it didn't bother me on an ethical level, I'm just too anal retentive to listen to songs collected from random places on-line anyway. I'd need to know I've got a quality copy of a song, and to know where it came from!

Anyway, what do I need to know? What are the best brands out there? What should I avoid? What software would I need to burn files to a disc? What about burning music to a disc? Does this software come with the burner?

Thanks in advance for any tips.
 

Kevin P

Screenwriter
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Jan 18, 1999
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1,439
Most burners come with Roxio (formerly Adaptec's) EZ CD Creator. It works pretty well, but a lot of people swear by Nero software and claim it works much better (I don't know, I've never tried it).

As for brands, Plextor is generally considered to be the best. I hear good things about Teac and Yamaha, and I've had Sony burners in several systems and have had good luck with them.

One thing to look for in a new burner is "Burnproof". This is a feature that prevents buffer underruns from causing the CD creation to abort (which results in creating what's called a "coaster", or a wasted CD). Burnproof drives have the ability to pause and resume burning if the computer can't keep the drive's buffer full.

When shopping for drives, you'll see numbers like "12/8/32" in the specs. The numbers are write speed/rewrite speed/read speed, measured in multiples of X (2X being twice as fast as a standard CD). A 12/8/32 drive can burn a full 74-minute CD-R at 12X (a little over 6 minutes); it can write to a CD-RW (Rewritable, these are discs that can be erased and reused) at 8X (under 10 minutes), and reads discs at 32X (equivalent to a 32X CD-ROM drive).

KJP
 

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 30, 1999
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39,354
I don't think you can go wrong with a Liteon 24x10x40 (or whatever the current speed is nowadays), it comes with Nero 5.5, and has worked well in my setup.
 

Bruce Hedtke

Senior HTF Member
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Jul 11, 1999
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Nero is a great software to use. It's easy to use and comes with Burnproof technology.

Also, are you converting the songs to MP3 simply for space reasons? If you are doing direct copying from your CD for one song, why not just do a straight copy without ripping it to MP3? I know that you can store a huge number of MP3 songs on one CD but I'd rather have the CD to CD .wav copy.

Bruce
 

cafink

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Apr 19, 1999
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Carl Fink
Thanks for the tips, guys.

How much would it cost me to get some software other than that with which the CD-R drive comes? Is there a place from which I could download a free trial or anything?

And yes, Bruce, I was planning on using MP3s just to have a great number of songs all on one disc. I'm not much of an audiophile, and I can't tell the difference, quality-wise. Since the quality doesn't bother me, there's really no other reason to use a direct copy instead of MP3s, is there?
 

Bruce Hedtke

Senior HTF Member
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Jul 11, 1999
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Since the quality doesn't bother me, there's really no other reason to use a direct copy instead of MP3s, is there
Nope. That's the beauty of the MP3 format. I've never burned an MP3 disc, so I don't know the exact number, but I do know that you can put a ton of music on one disc.

Bruce
 

Ken Seeber

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 5, 1999
Messages
787
How much would it cost me to get some software other than that with which the CD-R drive comes? Is there a place from which I could download a free trial or anything?
You can download a demo of the latest version of Nero (5.5.8) from the Ahead Web site. If you want to keep using it, the license is $49.
Nero is the software to use these days and it's well worth the money. Be sure to download the PDF manual and print it out, though. It'll be a big help if you've never done any burning.
An alternative software that a lot of people seem to like is MusicMatch Jukebox, which should cost $20-$30. It'll rip songs to MP3 format for you.
 

Travis Hedger

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 24, 1998
Messages
695
Get the best of both worlds.
Go to www.newegg.com and navigate to their CD-RW section. Right now they have LiteOn 40x drives for $86 bux. 700MB will burn in about 2.5 minutes and it comes with Nero 5.5.7.8 and you simply update it via their website to the latest version.
It comes with 1 40x CD-R and a 12X CD-RW disc.
You cannot beat the performance for the price, and on newegg the price has come down 10 dollars in the last 2 weeks.
 

Grant B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2000
Messages
3,209
Carl

I bought a new computer at xmas with a cdburner and have spent countless hours trying to get it to work, the latest Nero. They do not support you if you have a demo, I won't buy it till I can get it too work....catch 22!]

The 3 other 'cdburning' programs that came on the pc are now trashed after countless hours of misery.

I think the OS XP is part of the problem which I hate with a passion.

May you will be luckier than me (and many other 'experts' that thought they could get my burner working)

Best

Grant
 

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