View Full Version : Computer burner vs music burner
05-12-2002, 12:40 PM
What is the difference between burning a music CD with a computer CD burner on a data disc vs burning a music disc with an audio CD recorder??? Would using one of the music disc's on a computer burner offer any improvement? I'm very confused.
05-12-2002, 01:02 PM
I use a computer cd burner and have found it to mkae exact copies of cd I burn, no sound difference at all.
The computer burner is cheaper and you can do more with it.
05-12-2002, 02:01 PM
What is the difference between burning a music CD with a computer CD burner on a data disc vs burning a music disc with an audio CD recorder?
OK, first of all there's no such thing as a "music disc" or "data disc." They're both the same discs. What you burn onto them is what makes them music or data discs. They're both actually data discs, just with different file structures. I think the "music disc" thing came about when set top recorders came onto the market; it's basically a sham so they can charge you a couple dollars per disc.
The way I see it is this: if you have a computer, buy a computer-based recorder. They're cheaper, faster, and far more flexible. I guess the one exception would be if you plan to record from multiple sources onto it like from a DAT, Minidisc, phono, etc. Still, this can all be done with a computer as well.
05-12-2002, 07:47 PM
Depending on the Sound card.
05-12-2002, 11:10 PM
So there is a file structure difference. I guess that structure is set up before recording ever begins? I did already decide on a burner for the laptop rather than a music one. The thing that is really bugging me at this point is that I can read and burn a cd in a total of 6 min since I got one of the faster ones but when I start burning data files from the pc it seems slow as can be. It never screams along like it does when I copy a music cd. Thanks for the info and if anyone has any good info sites in mind please post them.
05-13-2002, 09:56 AM
So there is a file structure difference. I guess that structure is set up before recording ever begins?
Yes. The file structures are set by ISO (Internation Standards Organiztion) and are called Redbook (audio) and Yellow Book (data).
The thing that is really bugging me at this point is that I can read and burn a cd in a total of 6 min since I got one of the faster ones but when I start burning data files from the pc it seems slow as can be.
My guess is because when you burn a data CD it has a lot more files. See, it's much faster to burn one 650MB file rather than a couple thousand files that total 650MB. With an audio CD, each track is treated roughly like a file, I believe. So for a given CD you might only be burning 12 files or so.
05-14-2002, 01:09 PM
If you're using EasyCD, you can go to Tools--> System Tests--> click on the cdr, it will show what your transfer rates are. Usually the audio extraction rate (like cd to cd) will be slower than standard data transfers. Also, one more thing that can affect speed with mucic cd's, is if you're burning mp3's on the fly to audio cd, then the processor has to do the decoding of the mp3 to wav, then burn it.
Mucho Info (http://www.cdrfaq.org/faq.html)
quality should be the same (computer dirve or deck) as long as you don't use any compression method... better quality drive or deck may help a little to prevent skip in the future...
05-18-2002, 05:35 PM
Usually the audio extraction rate (like cd to cd) will be slower than standard data transfers.
Because the hard drive is faster than the rom drive.
05-19-2002, 01:54 AM
OK, here are the rules:
There are two ways to burn a disc -- on a computer or on a unit designed to link up with your stero/HT system. I have both: A burner on my MacIntosh G4 cube, and a JVC burner on my stereo system.
The burner on any computer system -- Mac or PC Windows -- will accept blank discs marked "music" or "computer." The burners sold as freestanding units to be wired into a stereo system will accept ONLY blank discs marked MUSIC CDR. The reason is based on differences between the two formats.
The stereo burners are more accurate, but they're slower. My JVC burner hooked up to my stereo system will dub discs at a maximum speed of 2X. Sony has just intro'd a new music-ony burner that will do 4X, but that's about as fast as you can go on a music/stereo burner right now.
By contrast, the computer burners will burn a disc much faster -- mine will 8X, and that's probably outdated -- I don't know because I really don't care.
Here's what I do: When I have an entire CD I want to make a digital copy of, I use my stereo/music CD burner. When I want to make a compilation CD of songs from various CDs or artists, I use the computer. The reason is that my stereo/music JVC burner is awkward and slower. But it's more accurate. I sometimes get problems on my computer burner.
What this boils down to is that you need to buy the right blank discs for your system. If your primary burner is stereo/music/HT burner, buy the discs marked "Music." If you're burning most of your discs on computer, you can buy the computer discs and probably save a few bucks.
05-19-2002, 03:08 PM
The BS Police are placing you under arrest!
05-19-2002, 03:21 PM
Sorry, Aaron, but one of your previous posts certainly had more BS in it than anything I wrote -- in fact, I can't see that there's any misinformation in my post. You stated that there is no difference between data discs and music discs -- that the difference is what you put on them. That's true if you're using a computer. But there certainly are differences between blank CDRs sold for computer burners and those sold for audio equipment burners. I know, because when I first got my JVC burner, I tried to use some of the blank CDRs I had on hand, and it wouldn't read the disc or allow me to record on it. The ONLY blank discs that machine will accept are those marked MUSIC CD-R. It may indeed be a scam to take more of our money, but if you know a way around it, I'd sure like to know about it.
05-19-2002, 03:39 PM
I guess set top recorders do require the mystical "music" discs. I'd love to hear a real explanation for this, though. I suppose I could search the internet for an answer, but I'm feeling pretty lazy right now.
The stereo burners are more accurate
I really have a hard time with this statement, though.
05-19-2002, 04:10 PM
First of all, sorry if I sounded like a jerk on that last post. Anyway, I, too, don't have any idea why it is that the set top or stereo burners require the music discs. It's a royal pain in the ass, if you ask me. And if there's a difference between the music discs I've burned on my stereo burner vs. my computer burner, my ears aren't good enough to hear it.
As for the statement I made that you have a problem with -- in which I said the stereo burners are more accurate -- well, all I can tell you that it's based on long experience.
I've owned two PCs with built-in burners and now have a Mac with an external burner, plus I've got the stereo JVC burner, as I posted previously. Not one -- not ONE -- of my computer burners has ever performed adequately, UNLESS I extract the audio from the source disc first, place it on the computer hard drive, THEN burn the destination disc. I'd say at least 25 percent of the time, if I'm trying to spin the source and destination discs simultaneously, I get disc errors, buffer underruns, or some kind of problem. Even using audio extraction, I still have trouble sometimes, though not very often. I've talked to friends with computer burners, too, and many of them have had the same experiences -- and that's true even with those of us whose computers have a ton of memory. My Mac has half a gig of RAM, I've made sure the RAM cache for the burner is very large, and this crap still happens. I've set the burner speed from 8X to 4X and finally to 2X, and it still happens.
But I've owned the JVC stereo unit for about two years now, have burned dozens and dozens if not hundreds of discs on it -- and have had exactly ONE bad one. That's what I mean by accuracy. Of course, it's slower, too -- 2X max speed -- but at least I'm not trying to burn discs and tossing them into the trash instead.
Why should I have to use audio extraction on the computer when the burners were clearly designed so that two discs could be spun simultaneously? Why should I have to go to the bother of taking that extra step? Because the computer industry, IMHO, owes the American public a huge apology when it comes to audio issues. I do think Macs are a bit better in that respect -- my G4 Cube even has a set of harman/kardon speakers and subwoofer that don't sound completely wretched, although of course I had to pay extra to get them -- but in general, audio products for use with computers are shoddy, overpriced and underwhelming. With the computer system and software I have now, I'm supposed to be able to burn discs in the background while doing tasks like answering and sending email or whatever. Nope. Can't do that, either -- that will almost GUARANTEE a bad disc. At least it's not a PC -- with my last one, a real piece of junk from Dell, the sound card software would corrupt itself and start glitching every time the computer was turned off and booted up again. They never could figure out how to fix it.
05-19-2002, 04:19 PM
I bought a component CDR/RW. It was cheaper than the computer upgrades I would need. It's also easier to record from other sources (vinyl, cassette, etc) with-out considerable signal-loss and/or relocating my computer. My receiver has a front USB input if I ever felt the need.
I'm pretty dog-gone sure that I can only used "music" discs. It's probably something as simple as a formatting issue, but the fact remains.
I have always been of the belief that the component recorders sound better. I've also heard the difference but this may just be from 8x speed copying.
05-19-2002, 04:21 PM
This may be a clue. After going through some of the help stuff that came with my CD burner (PC) I ran across a test mode that determines how well your particular CD burner will burn music. It has a group of waveforms you burn on the CD and read back. The help text said that PC CD burners range from not useable to great performance depending on the amount of jitter introduced. It also said this does not affect data modes. They said something about this not being the same type of jitter an audio DAC has. (sorry but I cannot quote this directly because I don't have it here in front of me) Very vague but it sounds like some are better than others in the PC world. I bet the music-only burners have some of this stuff optimized?
05-19-2002, 08:46 PM
No harm done, man.
05-19-2002, 09:01 PM
I still fail to see why a set top recorder would sound any better (or different, for that matter) from a computer recorder. I don't see how jitter, if it even occurs when copying, would affect an audio CD. The burner can't differentiate between the content of the disk (audio or data; it's just bits), so I don't see how there could be jitter for an audio disc and not for a data disc. With a data disc, the copy must be exact or the program won't work, and this doesn't seem to pose any problem. As much as I'd hate to suggest this, maybe the "music" CDR discs sound better? Even though the copy may be the same, perhaps CD players have an easier time reading these music discs due to better reflectivity or some such property of the music disc. Has anyone compared a music CDR burned on a computer burner to one on a set top burner?
I don't know why you guys are having so many problems burning discs on your computer. With the latest crop of burners it's almost impossible to ruin a disc. I think the biggest problem with doing disc-to-disc copying is the audio extraction rate of the source CD-ROM. Most drives seem to hover somewhere in the 4-8X range, so it's easy to see why you can get into trouble. Still, my old roommate's source drive extracted audio at 5X and he could reliably burn at 4X all day on his modest Dell system. My Plextor, on the other hand, extracts audio at around 18X, more than enough to keep up with most burners.
05-20-2002, 04:54 PM
Actually, there is not really a difference between the two types of discs. It is assumed that all material you will be recording on "music" cdr's is pirated and therefore you must pay extra an extra royalty fee. The reason that you cannot use standalone burners to burn computer discs is that the music cdr's have something written at the beginning that tells the burner that the royalty fee has been payed. You can read more about it at:
As for the accuray of the two types of burners, if you are recording "on the fly" with your computer burner, the standalone will probably be better because that is all it is meant to do. The nice thing about computer burners is the ability to copy to the hard drive first where you can use programs to correct the errors that occur before you burn them onto the new cd. This obviously takes longer but will result in fewer errors.
05-20-2002, 05:24 PM
I don't understand how there can be errors. There obviously aren't any errors when copying data CD's, so why does it supposedly happen with audio CD's?
05-20-2002, 05:27 PM
Thanks for the info regarding the SCMS. That's very interesting.
05-20-2002, 11:51 PM
My guess is that the errors on music discs burned on computers is at least in part the result of conflicts between programs, both in the Windows environment and to a lesser extent in Macintosh. I talked to a programmer recently who does PC-based software and asked him if his ilk did much in the way of checking whether their individual, third-party programs might conflict with other individual, third-party programs -- that is, not programs created by Microsoft itself. His answer: "We don't give a DAMN what other software programmers are doing."
05-24-2002, 12:41 PM
If you really wanted the best of both worlds, many companies (Marantz, Denon, etc.) offer "professional-level" component burners (as oppossed to "consumer-level" like other component burners) that bypass SCMS and thus allow you to make digital copies of a digital copy. They cost a little more, but if SCMS is a concern it may be worth it. Plus they are usually rackmountable and built like tanks. Some allow you only to bypass SCMS; with others you can set the level of copy-protection yourself (i.e., unlimited generations of digital copies allowed, 1 generation allowed, etc.). I personally went for the Sony consumer-level deck because it was inexpensive and appeared to have good reviews- it has been great so far, only 2 disc errors out of over 100 copies made, both of which due to visible disc defects on the blank disc.
Oh yeah- 4x speed on digital copying and no audible difference between high-speed dubs and normal-speed versions.
05-24-2002, 08:51 PM
if you have a comp and want to mix your cd or make cd out of your mp3 then go for a comp burner if you dont have a comp get one and get a burner for it i just think that cd are 2 expencive. and most of the money goes to the reccrd company that is just my thoughts
06-01-2002, 01:04 AM
Marantz makes one hell of a burner that actually operates the way tape recorders did. Very precise controls, for example, and all kinds of extras that most burners, computer or standalone, don't have. One thing that really irritates me is that my JVC burner doesn't split analog input. So if you have a source in which there's a problem with L or R channel, you can't correct it. I mess around with a lot of musician demos and the like, and sometimes the only solution is to make a DAT, correct for low input, then burn DAT to CD. Marantz unit costs a mint, though. I've finally figure out that what I need to do is just win one of those danged Powerballs when it's up around 120 million.
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