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ATPM 6.12
December 2000


How To



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How To

by Gregory Tetrault,

Buying a CD Burner


I’m ready to purchase a CD drive for burning music CDs. I already have fifty CD-R disks that apparently are not as good as CD-RW, but I don’t foresee needing to overwrite these. So, what things do I look for? I have a Blue & White G3, so I think I have a FireWire port but I don’t know for sure.

I don’t understand what those 4x4x12 numbers really mean in the real world. I just want to be able to combine some of my favorite songs from separate CDs onto a few good ones, for traveling music or whatever. Advice welcome. Thanks.


For burning music CDs you need CD-R disks. (They don’t have to be special audio CD-R disks—any good quality CD-R disks will work.) CD-RW disks mostly are used for computer data. Audio CD players can’t read CD-RW disks even when they contain only CD audio tracks. I use CD-RW disks for backups. To get the equipment that best meets your needs, you should consider all the following items:

First, you should decide whether you want both CD-R and CD-RW capabilities. If all you want to do is create music CDs, only CD-R is necessary. However, if you don’t already have a good, high-capacity backup system (like a DAT tape drive), then I recommend you get a CD-R/CD-RW drive.

Second, you should decide whether you want an internal or external drive. The external drives cost a bit more and take up more space, but they have two advantages: you can use them with a different computer (like an iMac), and you don’t have to bring in or disassemble your tower if they need service. Also, there aren’t many Mac-compatible internal CD-R/CD-RW drives.

Third, you need to decide which is more important to you: higher speed or lower cost. You’ll pay a premium for getting faster drives. The three speed numbers represent how fast a drive (1) records CD-R disks, (2) records CD-RW disks, and (3) plays CD-ROM disks. Today, a low-end drive would have speed ratings of 4x4x12. What does that mean? Well, a full CD of music lasts 74 minutes. A 4x CD-R drive could record all that music in less than 19 minutes. (A 4x CD-RW could write the equivalent amount of data in the same time.) So what about getting a really fast drive like a 16x12x32? Well, for music recording it turns out that you can’t reliably use speeds greater than 4x. (The technical reason for this is that at high rotation speeds there’s not enough time for the CD burner’s laser burst to create good microscopic bubbles on the disk.) I generally burn my music CDs at 2x. At 4x I end up with CD-sized coasters about one time in five.

Fourth, if you decide to buy an internal CD-R/CD-RW drive, you won’t need to worry about FireWire versus USB. The connection will be SCSI or IDE. (Note from Evan Trent: The newer G4 towers contain internal FireWire connections, so you can install an internal FireWire CD burner.) If you go with an external drive, you actually have three choices: SCSI, FireWire, or USB. I would avoid USB drives because the USB connection is slow. Since the Blue & White G3 towers don’t have a SCSI port (unless they contain a PCI SCSI card), you should opt for a FireWire drive.

Fifth, you should try to get a drive that includes good software for recording. I use Adaptec Toast Deluxe. Many drives come with Adaptec Toast. I recommend paying to upgrade to the Deluxe version. It includes CD Spin Doctor, a good program for recording and cleaning up music from phonographs or tapes. The main Toast program has a feature you will like: Toast’s Greatest Hits. Suppose you want to put selected tracks from four CDs onto a single audio CD. You load each CD into your Macintosh and drag the desired tracks onto Toast’s window. You can arrange the tracks in any order. When you start recording, Toast will tell you when to insert each CD and will record the tracks in the order you picked. Neat, huh? If you’ll be using your drive to make backups, you’ll need good software that works with CD-R and CD-RW media. Toast can do backups, but dedicated programs make backups easier. I recommend Retrospect Express (see my ATPM review).

For my beige G3 tower I selected an external 4x4x16 ClubMac (with a Yamaha-built drive). The Yamaha- and Plextor-built drives perform well and generally receive good reviews. I’m not as familiar with the Sony or LaCie CD-RW drives.

You can download a specification sheet for a FireWire Yamaha drive. FireWiremax and allFireWire sell FireWire drives, including CD-R/CD-RW. You can also try the usual mail-order and Web stores. MacReviewZone features CD burner reviews and links.

I’ll end by listing a few CD recording tips:

I strongly recommend creating at least one 700-800 MB hard drive partition that you can use for files you will transfer to CD-ROM or for creating a CD image file. For example, when I convert phonograph records to audio CDs, I first record the phonograph music onto my special partition using CD Spin Doctor. Once the CD is burned, I erase the partition to get it ready for the next time. Erasing the partition prevents disk and file fragmentation that can slow down data transfer.

I also recommend giving your CD recording application plenty of RAM. Finally, make sure that you don’t have background tasks running when burning a CD. Turn off your screen savers, e-mail programs (that might check for mail on a schedule), and reminders. I wrecked one CD because Toast didn’t like my screen saver, and another when my Now Up-to-Date program decided to remind me about a relative’s birthday in the middle of a CD burning session.

—Gregory Tetrault, Contributing Editor/Reviews


Thanks for all the suggestions and advice. I ordered a 4x4x32 EZQuest from your sponsor Small Dog. Now I just gotta figure out which port is the FireWire. Probably the one with nothing plugged into it. :-)

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (172)

Michael McDonnell · December 15, 2000 - 01:01 EST #1
Since you mentioned not getting a USB CD burner, what do you do if you only have an iMac Rev A. and want to buy an external CD burner for music?
Tom Meade · December 15, 2000 - 01:01 EST #2
Thanks for the overview - would have saved me time several months ago when I waded in here. I finally got a 8x4x24 SCSI unit (LaCie) for my beige G3 DT. This is solid for music on 80 min. 700MB disks running a 8X. "Hardware" errors usually turn out to be media errors and will often run fine the 2nd or 3rd time inserted for a recording session. Problems with RW though - I've thrown out all my Imation CD/RW disks (8) at considerable expense - but can't isolate the freezes and spinning balls and interminable searches for the device to anything but media. Now looking for a better quality supplier. All this to do sequential backups/ ovewrites with Retrospect Express - very frustrating so far. Tom
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 15, 2000 - 01:01 EST #3
USB CD-R/RW devices will work for creating data or audio CDs with an iMac. The user in question had a tower with Firewire, so it made little sense to recommend a USB CD burner. The lack of RCA audio in ports on iMacs makes them poor platforms for recording audio CDs from phonograph albums, tapes, or radio. They will easily copy audio CD tracks to a CD burner.
Al Egrias · December 16, 2000 - 01:01 EST #4
This article is nice but has a couple of overgeneralizations that should be corrected.

It is not true that CD-RWs shouldn't be used for music. While that is a good rule if you're sending CDs to friends with typical CD players, some audio CD players are available which read CD-RW as well, which is great for those of us who like to reuse CD-RWs the way we used to "tape over" cassettes. I and a few others I know have a $70 Philips portable CD player which advertises its CD-RW compatibility on the box.

I don't think it's true that all G4 towers have internal Firewire. I remember reading an overview of some of the newer G4 towers where the internal FireWire is no longer present. Not sure if this is because of cost cutting or whatver.

The article's tip about making a partition is nice. But another cool thing to do is to make and mount a disk image with DiskCopy and burn from that, particularly if you are trying to make a startup volume or something where your CD writing software wants to see a volume and not a folder. Could save you the trouble of reformatting to add a partition.

Ken Cohen · December 16, 2000 - 01:01 EST #5
I wanted to mention that it is possible to record audio CDs at speeds higher than 4X. The potential problem is that recording at higher speeds can be more error prone, which can then lead to a higher rate of errors. However, the newer CDR/CDRW drives seem to be better at minimizing errors. I currently write audio CDs at 12x using a Sony firewire 12x/8x/32x drive ($315 with rebates at have had no coasters. I copy audio files to the HD before burning my CDs. Using Sony's Discribe (not as good as Toast but not bad) I don't need to make a disc partition on the HD. It takes about 5 min. to burn a full CD.
Jerry Moore · February 6, 2001 - 01:01 EST #6
What kind of disk do I need to buy in order to copy a Playstation game? What speed of the burner would I need?
anonymous · April 19, 2001 - 01:49 EST #7
Would you tell me if the burnproof technology allows one to burn high quality music CD's at a faster rate than you do them. Also, does anybody but Plextor have such a technology. Yamaha uses a mb buffer instead of stopping the lazer. I can't get a straight ans. re Sanyo or Teac re their "burnproof" Thank you.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · April 19, 2001 - 22:56 EST #8
Plextor seems to have made "Burnproof" a trademark. It supports good CD burning at higher speeds (such as 12x and 16x). Reviews support Plextor's claims. I don't know if any other vendors have equivalent technology. If vendors want to give me drives to test, I would be happy to perform comparisons!
anonymous · May 1, 2001 - 15:03 EST #9
I too am interested in recording music on a laptop CD-R. Since you made your inquiry have you had any feedback? If so, perhaps you wouldn't mind sharing? I wonder if recording from cassette tape and vinyl records is possible in a laptop CD Burner? If so what kind of software, if any, is reqired and also how do you physically connect the tape deck or record player to the laptop; and is that connection made in stereo? Also, is it possible to get a laptop with RCA audio-in plugs? Appreciate any help, Woods PS. Are there any Web sites that can help in learning more about recording music from tapes and records? Also, any sites out there that deal with video production?
Robert · May 7, 2001 - 21:50 EST #10
I just borrowed a friend's external CD burner and have made a couple of discs with no adverse results. However, when I played the disc on my portable Walkman it would occasionally stop cold in the middle of a song. The LCD on the display would read "sorry." I would then play the song again and it would play all the way through. I didn't have this problem with my home system, just the Walkman. I would like to know if this is just the nature of the beast or just a fluke? Has anyone else had problems ? Thanks Robert
Sarah · May 22, 2001 - 13:26 EST #11
If I were to purchase a 4x4x32 or a 8x4x32 CD burner, could I still lay down the tracks at 2x, to prevent making coasters?
Daniel Chvatik (ATPM Staff) · May 22, 2001 - 13:46 EST #12
Yes Sarah, the CD authoring software (such as Toast) should let you set the speed of the recording, so with an 8x4x32 burner, you can record at 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x. To minimize coasters, also make sure to use quality blank CD-R(W)s which are rated for at least the speed you want to record at. Also, many newer CD burners offer "burn-proof" technology, which minimizes coasters by making sure that enough data is available to write onto the CD-R(W) and suspending the burn process if necessary.
anonymous · June 12, 2001 - 17:29 EST #13
I found that Toast will not support a USB card that was installed after market. What is the best software that will work with a "self installed" USB card?
anonymous · June 21, 2001 - 02:11 EST #14
If I wanted to purchase a very low-priced CD burner online where could I find one?
Oliver Junker · June 22, 2001 - 22:12 EST #15
I'm looking for authoring software for fire wire burners that will allow one to write multiple track starts within a single sound file. Think of a pre recorded DJ mix with all the tracks crossfaded. Both CDMaster list and Wave Burner Pro have these editing functions, but only support SCSI burners. I'm using OS9 with a Yamaha CRW8824IX
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · June 23, 2001 - 21:49 EST #16
Y222mm: CD burners are available from many vendors. Try Small Dog Electronics, ClubMac, or Other World Computing. Oliver Junker: I am not familiar with the high-end audio software you are using. You might want to look at Jam from Roxio. It's lighter cousin, Toast, might even be able to do what you want, since it can write a disk at once with no gaps between tracks. I'm reviewing version 5 of Toast for the next issue of ATPM.
Ali · July 9, 2001 - 12:04 EST #17
What if I want to be able to edit the tracks, so that I can segue between audio tracks? When making a mixed tape, I can rewind a bit, find the perfect in point, and then lay down the next track. I can also cross fade between tracks. I have a G3 tower - no USB port. Is there anything I can buy that will allow me to do this? Is it additional software? Any help would be great!
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · July 10, 2001 - 19:31 EST #18
Ali, check out Jam from Roxio: It can handle your mixing, segue, and cross-fade needs. The older G3 towers (like mine) can work with SCSI or ATAPE/IDE internal or external CD-R/RW burners. You can also add a Firewire card and then a Firewire CD burner, if you wish.
Nick · July 11, 2001 - 19:21 EST #19
Hey, I was wondering if there was such a thing as a CD burner that you would NOT need a computer for. Like it'd be just a burner by itself to record music onto blank CDs. If there is such thing will you please email me back and let me know, and give me a Web Site or something to let me know where I could buy it, or a magazine that would help me out to purchase one of these. Thank you, appreciate it.
Daniel Chvatik (ATPM Staff) · July 15, 2001 - 11:02 EST #20
Nick, there are a couple of CD burners that don't need a computer input. How exactly do you want to get the music into them? Do you just want to copy CDs directly? Let me know what exactly you are looking for and I can point you in the right direction.
Boyd Davis · July 15, 2001 - 18:25 EST #21
I have a set of interviews on analog audiotapes, and I'd like to be able to go directly (ok, with a connector of some kind) from the analog taperecorder to a portable cd- burner. Is this possible?
Daniel Chvatik (ATPM Staff) · July 16, 2001 - 10:15 EST #22
Mr. Davis, Nick: What you want is indeed possible. You are looking for a "standalone CD burner." One possible device is: TDK Standabloe Home Audio CD deck Other manufacturers (like Phillips) make similar devices, so it pays to look around.
FG. · July 20, 2001 - 11:45 EST #23
Hi, I'm looking for low prices on external CD burners for my laptop....can somebody explain me what Firewire is??? Please e-mail me, thank you.
RJV in NYC · July 24, 2001 - 15:26 EST #24
Re stand-alone CD Recorder/Players, beware of the Onkyo DX-RD511. I have had nothing but problems with it since my Feb. '01 purchase. It's been in the repair shop twice now and Onkyo refuses to give me a refund or a new machine. I've been on the web looking at these dual tray models from other manufacturers and according to other "burned" (pardon the pun) consumers, the Philips CDR775 seems to have alot of the same problems as my Onkyo; one of the most annoying being having the unit stop in the middle of recording and claiming "Disc Error"! The Onkyo unit also skips frequently during playback (on brand-spanking-new CDs), ruining anything you might be trying to burn. The reason I went for a stand-alone is that I had purchased a Yamaha unit for my G3 Mac (beige tower) and was having problems with little bits of static popping up on the burnt CDs. I don't think the Yamaha unit is the culprit because the original CD will PLAY just fine thru my Apple CD Audio Player but will give me static when played through SoundJam, Ultra Recorder, Toast or any other program I try to use. So methinks there's some kind of internal problem going on that the Yamaha picks up while it's burning. Any suggestions for righting this? Thanks much!
Helen Brunner · July 25, 2001 - 16:27 EST #25
I just purchased a factory refurbished Yamaha CDW8824EZ E-IDE CD/RW Dive kit with Adaptec PC and Mac software as a gift for someone with an iBook that's about 2 years old and doesn't have a FireWire. Will this unit work for recording music--MP3 and from CDs? I got it becuase it was Mac-compatible, but now realize it's more complicated than that. Thank you.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · July 25, 2001 - 19:13 EST #26
Helen: If the Yamaha CD-RW drive can be installed successfully in place of the iBook's CD-ROM drive, then the iBook can burn CDs. Your friend can extract selected tracks from audio CDs and store them on the hard drive. Extracted tracks can be written to a new CD using Toast. MP3 files need to be converted to AIFF (audio CD format) to burn standard audio CDs. There are new CD and DVD players that can play MP3 music from data CDs, and Toast can burn those types, too. The iBook/Yamaha CDW8824 combination should reliably burn audio CDs at 4x speed. 8x speed is possible, but unlikely. Toast works best with lots of RAM, so your friend may also want to add more RAM while the iBook is open.
Helen Brunner · July 25, 2001 - 22:27 EST #27
Thank you for your prompt response. You mentioned that the CDW8824 will work if it can be installed into the iBook. Do you know if this is definitely possible? If not, then could I hook it up externally even though it is an internal drive? Also, will the drive work through USB or only through FireWire? With regard to programs: how do I get Toast if it didn't come with the package? And what about other programs like Apple's iTunes--what is your opinion about them? Thanks for your suggestion about the RAM; his machine may have a hard time burning without an upgrade. Thanks!
anonymous · July 31, 2001 - 18:38 EST #28
How do you tell if you have a Firewire connection, IDE, etc.? I've got USB ports.
Steve · August 2, 2001 - 10:58 EST #29
Hi, I bought an external CD burner that is designed to plug into a stereo via a digital input/output wire. However, the stereo was recently broken and I want to connect it to my computer instead, (so have the CD-ROM drive play the original CDs). I am unsure how to connect it up as there is no digital connection socket. Can anyone help? Thanks
Paul Williams · August 7, 2001 - 20:50 EST #30
How do I record tracks from a tape source to my computer? The track are crossfaded on the tape and I would like to record them to my computer and have them numbered as they have been crossfaded.
Mark Stein · August 8, 2001 - 23:01 EST #31
I have a stand-alone CD burner and I find that the brand of CD-R I use makes a big difference in the sound. My favorite brand (so far) is Sony. I find that Memorex and Maxell sound too bright. Do other people (with computer CD burners or stand-alone machines) have opinions or experience about CD-R brands? Mark
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · August 9, 2001 - 17:31 EST #32
To Steve: I do not know of any way to directly connect a Mac to an audio CD player via the digital connection. Perhaps there is an adapter somewhere, but I don't know of any. To Paul Williams: I believe that the combination of Toast and CD Spin Doctor will meet your needs. See my Toast 5 Titanium review in ATPM issue 7.07. To Mark Stein: I am not an expert on CD media, which changes continually. I have used Fuji and TDK CD-Rs for data and audio with good success. I don't see how audio "brightness" variations can correlate with CD media brand. The bubble is either present or absent. Variations in brightness should not occur if you are copying audio CDs. If you are digitizing analog music (from phonographs, for example), then the variations would be due to the quality of the sound input and the digitizing software.
Simon · August 17, 2001 - 05:43 EST #33
I bought a Mac Powerbook G4 Titanium. Looking to buy a CD burner to record CDs. What should I look for?
meg · August 18, 2001 - 22:33 EST #34
Question: If I have a G3 Tower and want to purchase a CD burner for image storage, what is the best option in terms of both quality and a reasonably priced burner?
Julia Otto · September 5, 2001 - 07:35 EST #35
Well...Hidy-Ho! I am getting my son a CD RW burner for Christmas, BUT (and that's a big "BUT") I don't know anything about them. From what I can tell, the Plextor 12/10/32A is the best one and does not have noise filtering like the 16/10/40A, although it is faster. I've looked and searched the 'net for the best one, but there's so many to choose from. So, which one is the best? If saving money is important, what's the best, and if money is no object, what's the best? Any info would be appreciated. Julia
Idjit Carumba · September 23, 2001 - 17:17 EST #36
Julia Otto, I purchased a Plextor 12/10/32 over a year ago and have put it through 500-600 burning sessions, almost all of them on top speed. The only thing that makes me slow down the burning speed is thew quality of the CD-R media. If you stick with TDK or equivelant, you should have no problems. The software that comes with the Plextor is very simple and very reliable. I have a friend that is I.T. director at a payroll company [they burn *staggering* amounts of data daily] and when he started there he had them retrofit the entire company with Plextor. TDK also makes very good CD-R drives. The reason is that TDK uses Plextor units and rebrands them as a Yamaha. So getting a TDK or a Plextor should be your best bet. I have gotten the occasional *coaster*, but that is due to me pushing my system too hard by downloading from the web, emailing, and generally doing my best to kill my CPU so I can justify replacing it with a newer model. :) Let us know what you decide! Michael
Matt · October 6, 2001 - 20:40 EST #37
Hi, I want a 2-4-8 speed CD-RW burner. I have no idea where they hook up to in the computer because I want an external unit. I would like a price on a fairly good burner.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 8, 2001 - 17:32 EST #38
Matt - if you have an older Macintosh (pre blue/white G3), you'll have to find a SCSI CD-RW burner and use that port. For the newer Macs, you use either the USB or FireWire port. My suggestion--prefer FireWire if you can afford the fact that the FireWire burners generally cost a bit more than the USB burners. Price? Two steps, 1) find 3-4 models that have features you like best, then 2) go to DealMac to search for those models and see who has the lowest price on them.
Dennis Dixon · October 9, 2001 - 14:18 EST #39
I have Memorex 700mb CD-Rs. Am I limited from using the full 700 megs? - by the burning software? - by the burning hardware? - by the eventual CD reader? Thanks.
John · October 12, 2001 - 23:27 EST #40
I've got a Mac G3 Beige and just bought a used APS CD burner. It says I should get SCSI Manager 4.3. Where do I get that? Or do I already have it? Thanks, John.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · October 13, 2001 - 10:13 EST #41
John: SCSI Manager 4.3 was a separate extension in System 7.5 and 7.6. You do not need SCSI Manager 4.3 if you are using Mac OS 8 or later.
John · October 13, 2001 - 15:17 EST #42
Thanks Gregory, I'm having lots of problems with this used APS Burner. It's a CD-R 4X and I'm making a lot of coasters. I'm trying to figure out if it's me, a bum burner, or the computer setup. Some error messages have been : Sense Key=HARDWARE ERROR Sense Code=0x09, 0x01 Tracking Servo Failure / This disk is unreadable by this computer. Do you want to initialize the disk? Format ProDOS OK / Lead in or Lead out failed to be written / Sense Key = HARDWARE ERROR Sense Code = 0x09 TRACK FOLLOWING ERROR. I'm using G3 Mac 8.6. I more or less successfully burned a simple data CD. It still showed error messages but seems to read O.K. in the CD ROM. Haven't been able to burn an audio CD yet. I ran a "simulation mode" check beforehand and showed no problems but the thing got stuck on "filling RAM cache" and I terminated the process. Any insight into these problems is very welcome. Thanks, John
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · October 13, 2001 - 22:37 EST #43
John: I am not a hardware expert, but I am guessing that the laser might not be correctly aligned. If so, then your burner isn't worth repairing. If your APS burner is an external SCSI device, then a second possibility is a problem with the SCSI chain. Try connecting it as the sole external SCSI device with a SCSI cable that you feel is in good shape. (You may need to add a terminator to the burner.) If the problems go away, then reconnect your other SCSI devices one at a time. This problem affected me at work (where I have a used APS CD-R 4x drive!). I solved it by using a different SCSI cable.
John Doe · October 17, 2001 - 00:54 EST #44
I would like to know how to burn Playstation games. I have a CD burner, but I don't know what to do or what to download to burn Playstation games. If you know, will you e-mail me back ASAP. I will list everything I have below: CD BURNER SOFTWARE AND TYPE Hotburn version 2.1.6 (build 144 )
Copyright 1998-2001
anonymous · October 20, 2001 - 21:53 EST #45
How do you know if you computer is compatible for an internal CD burner?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 21, 2001 - 02:34 EST #46
There's likely to be a few exceptions (you'll need to check with the particular CD burner manufacturer's tech info), but it's a fairly safe assumption that any Power Macintosh, G3, and G4 can have internal burners.
John · October 23, 2001 - 12:34 EST #47
I just bought a LaCie CD-RW and I want to burn CDs of tapes and records. The burner came with Toast 4.1.2. Is there a version of Spin Doctor I can get or do I have to buy Toast 5? I guess Toast 4 Deluxe is not available? I have a Mac I get the tape and LP sound into the computer through the microphone jack? Thanks for your help. John
John · October 23, 2001 - 14:28 EST #48
One more.....I had an old version of Toast that had a command for creating a temporary partition on the hard drive to store "to be written" files. Toast 4.1.2 doesn't have this. Is that what Silverlining is for? Thanks again, John
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · October 23, 2001 - 17:44 EST #49
John: Spin Doctor was included with Toast Deluxe 4 and is included in Toast Titanium 5. There are also freeware and shareware programs for recording analog audio. Try these web sites:
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · October 23, 2001 - 17:47 EST #50
John: You do not need to create a temporary partition to store files to be written to CD. You just need a hard drive with an adequate amount of free disk space. To make things go better, I recommend creation of a 650-900 MB drive partition for burning CDs. You can erase the partition between uses and avoid having fragmented files that might cause problems when you try to burn a CD at high speed.
John · October 23, 2001 - 18:48 EST #51
Gregory: Thanks for help. Did you have to initialize your hard drive to create a new partition?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · October 23, 2001 - 22:19 EST #52
John: Yes, you need to reformat hard drives to create new partitions. You can avoid this and avoid file fragmentation problems by running a disk optimizer utility such as Alsoft's Disk Express or Norton Utilities' Speed Disk. However, if you have the ability to backup and restore your hard drive, I recommend creating the extra partition. I have found mine to be extremely convenient.
Bubba · October 27, 2001 - 14:30 EST #53
I want to buy a 24x CD burner, but is it true that the faster you burn, the more problems you may have? My buddy has a 24x and says that he has never had a problem. Do you recomend 24x burners?
Stargazer · October 27, 2001 - 18:34 EST #54
Hi there/ Yes, you are right, Bubba :( The fast you burn, the more errors you might get. There's a nice article at It helped me to choose the right media also. Definitely the MUST HAVE is CD Speed 99. There was nearly "scientific" research on how different CD-Rs read/write data. Some of them produce a lot of errors. The best starting point to explore the results is at the web address above. I like the old version better since it performs media analysis. Good luck :)
anonymous · November 23, 2001 - 11:45 EST #55
I have an iMac and want to make CDs to back up files. My other half probably will want to record music. What burner should I get? CLZ
Julian · November 27, 2001 - 23:23 EST #56
I have an iBook (Mac OS 9.0.4). I want to purchase a CD burner and I want the best one possible. It would be nice if there was one I could get that would insert right where the CD player is. I would like to burn music CDs and burn Playstation 2 CDs. You mentioned that I should use 2x instead of 4x and I have 16x CDs. What's up with that? How many megabytes does it take to completely burn a CD? Thanks.
Lindsay · November 28, 2001 - 12:17 EST #57
I am looking for a CD-RW external burner. Are there any models that give you the option to work standalone and connected to a computer?
Scott Thomas · December 4, 2001 - 00:57 EST #58
I'm looking to buy a CD-RW burner for my laptop computer. I already have a CD/DVD player installed. I'm looking to use it for recording music from my 700+ CD collection. Is there a difference for buying for laptops vs. PCs? Feel free to suggest any make/model (that has all the software/hardware I need). Thanks for your time. Keep the peace!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 4, 2001 - 18:46 EST #59
Scott - Some laptops will allow you to obtain a module that would replace your CD/DVD drive with the CD-RW. VST Technologies has such modules, but they certainly aren't the only vendor. Otherwise, you would need an external drive, and there is no difference for using externals on a laptop than on a desktop, with the exception of making sure your laptop has the correct connections. If your laptop has USB ports, then buy an external USB CD-RW drive. If you're lucky enough to have Firewire ports, you should definitely consider buying a Firewire drive.
Ian F. · December 9, 2001 - 04:40 EST #60
Dear Gregory, Thank you for your articles which have cleared up a number of the mysteries surrounding CD burners. I have two questions. I want to purchase a burner to make as near perfect copies of CDs as possible. I am not fussed about the speed of recording - I am happy to listen as I record - nor in gadgetry. Is there any added value in terms of quality of recording in spending (in France) over 1500FF on, say, a Sony CRX200, or 1300FF on a Yamaha CRW2200 (20x10x40) rather than 825FF on a Sony CRX1611 16x10x40), 690 FF on a Samsung SW216 (16x10x32) or 790 on a Philips Pcrw1610 (16x10x40). If speed is not an issue, can one get even cheaper, say, 4x burners - I haven't seen them in the shops. Can you provide any advice on the best model for my needs? Second, is the difference in price between the external and internal burners mainly attributed to the more expensive external packaging on the external burner? With thanks, Ian F.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 9, 2001 - 18:00 EST #61
Ian: Sony and Yamaha both make reliable CD burners. I don't know anything about Samsung or Philips CD burners. Speed costs money, so if speed is not a concern choose a less expensive but slower model. External drives always cost more than equivalent internal drives because of the case, the power supply (in the case), the power cord, and the external cable connection (SCSI or USB or FireWire).
Melissa K · December 9, 2001 - 18:02 EST #62
Is there a Mac alternative to the Sony EZ Audio and Transfer Kit?
Lyndon Ramsaran · December 10, 2001 - 11:39 EST #63
Hi! I wanted to buy a Phillips CD burner (16x). Do you think it is a good brand and a good burner?
Susan Duren · December 10, 2001 - 14:43 EST #64
I would like to know if a CD burner can be connected to a turntable to burn CDs from some old vinyl albums and, if so, what does it take.
Colleen · December 10, 2001 - 15:40 EST #65
My son has a 3-year-old NEC 440 laptop. I'd like to get him an external CD burner. Can you recommend several which are compatible and priced reasonably @ $150-160?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 10, 2001 - 17:32 EST #66
Melissa: I have never heard of Sony EZ Audio and Transfer Kit, and I could find no references to it when I searched the web. Can you provide more specific information?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 10, 2001 - 17:34 EST #67
Lyndon: I have never used a Philips CD burner, and I don't even have second-hand knowledge of their reliability. I have only used Yamaha burners, which are good but not great. Plextor burners have the best reputation.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 10, 2001 - 17:44 EST #68
Susan: You can convert phonograph albums to audio CDs. I did this with dozens of old albums. What you need depends on your Macintosh model. The best setup is when your Macintosh has RCA-type audio ports. You connect your phonograph to an amplifier or receiver, then use audio cables to connect the amplifier to the audio-in ports on your Mac. Use software like CD Spin Doctor (comes with Toast Titanium) or Coaster (freeware) to capture audio and convert it to AIFF files. If your Mac doesn't support RCA-type audio-in, you will need to use the microphone port. You will need to purchase an adapter to go from a quarter-inch headphone port on your amplifier to the mini-plug of the microphone port. Sound quality will not be as good as with RCA-type audio ports, but it should be acceptable. If your amplifier doesn't have a headphone port, you can get an adapter that converts RCA out to mini-plug in. Radio Shack or similar stores usually carry those types of adapters.
Melissa K. · December 13, 2001 - 17:56 EST #69
The EZ Audio Transfer and Restoration Kit was featured in the tech section of the New York Times last week. It is a complete kit for transferring sound from cassette or LPs to CD. The program allows you to clean the audio as well. It can be found on Sony's site for about $50. It is only compatible with PCs. I am looking for a Mac version.
Dave Regan · December 14, 2001 - 03:38 EST #70
Christmas Gift Alert!!! I am looking to get a CD burner for my roommate, who's an audiophile and has a few thousand CDs in his collection, but I'm not technically adept enough to make a good choice. He has a Mac G4 which was bought last year with lots of memory. His list of music in iTunes is enormous. Money is not to much of a factor, since I would like to get the best and all the peripherals that may be needed to make it a great system. I would appreciate any and all help. Thanks.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 14, 2001 - 17:32 EST #71
Dave: We're envious of your friend. If money isn't a concern, I recommend buying a FireWire external CD-R/RW burner based on a Plextor mechanism (often advertised as "Burn Proof"). Burn and read speeds should be fast: at least 16X CD-R burn, 10X CD-RW burn, and 24X CD-ROM read. ClubMac offers a 24X/10X/40X external FireWire drive for $215 (available with clear, graphite, or blueberry cases) that received a 4-mouse rating from MacWorld.
Brenda · December 15, 2001 - 13:09 EST #72
I want to put family photos on CDs. I have an Epson Perfection 610 scanner. What do I need to get photos on the CD? Thank you for any help.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 15, 2001 - 13:36 EST #73
Brenda - you already have 3/5 of what you need ... the photos, a computer, and a scanner. All that's left is to choose a CD burner that's best for your needs and budget, and pick up a pack of blank CD-Rs and you should be good to go.
Jurine · December 15, 2001 - 19:07 EST #74
I have a G3 desktop, so my only options to connect to an external CD-RW are SCSI or USB (Add-on, 1.1 version). Which is more accurate or faster? Or is Firewire so much more worth it that I should add on a Firewire board? Thanks!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 15, 2001 - 19:16 EST #75
Jurine - choosing between SCSI or USB, definitely SCSI. SCSI is faster than USB. The only reason I can think of to add on and use Firewire instead of SCSI would be the convenience of hot-swap capability and not having to worry about SCSI termination, as well as knowing you have compatibility to use the Firewire drive in a newer Macintosh. I don't have the hard data as to which is faster, but I do know that both are plenty fast to stay ahead of the speed today's CD-Rs can burn.
anonymous · December 16, 2001 - 20:26 EST #76
Hi! I want to buy a CD burner for my daughter for Christmas and I'm really not sure what all I need to buy. She wants to burn music onto CDs. Any information will be very helpful. Thanks a lot!
anonymous · December 16, 2001 - 21:45 EST #77
How slow is a USB drive versus FireWire? The "How To" indicated a 74 minute music CD can be recorded in less than 19 minutes. Is that for FireWire? If so, how long for USB? Is there any difference in sound fidelity between the two?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 16, 2001 - 22:02 EST #78
Fidelity is not affected in any way by what type of connection is used to operate the CD recorder. In addition, the time it takes to burn a CD is also not dependent on the connection. An 8X burn is an 8X burn, period. Where the connection factors is being able to send data to the CD recorder fast enough to keep up with the burn. If it doesn't keep up, the recorder has to pause the burn process and that is sure to guarantee you a frisbee or drink coaster. Supposedly, USB is plenty fast enough to keep up, but that's not a set-in-stone statement. Perhaps it can slow down if you have a lot of other USB devices demanding the port's attention. If you must use a USB CD recorder and are getting dud discs all the time, the first thing I'd try is removing the other USB devices.
anonymous · December 17, 2001 - 07:41 EST #79
Can you tell me if there is a difference between a CD Burner and a CD Reader/Writer? We are shopping for one and were wondering what the difference might be.
Marla Zamora · December 17, 2001 - 19:14 EST #80
Where I can a CD burner for my 13-year-old's iMac that would be fairly easy for her to copy CDs or make a CD with music from the internet? I am computer illiterate. All I know is how to use WordPerfect
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 17, 2001 - 19:29 EST #81 - absolutely no difference. A "burner" is a synonym for a "writer." You can use the words interchangably. Marla - The real question is, where can you not buy a CD burner for your iMac! You can pick them up almost anywhere. Local stores include Best Buy, CompUSA, and Circuit City. Mail order stores include MacMall, MacConnection, CDW, Amazon, ad infinitum.
Joe · December 26, 2001 - 10:29 EST #82
I have a Mac 6115CD Performa with a Newer Technology accelerator (G3 300 MHz), 72 megs RAM, running OS 8.6. It has SCSI connections and I already have a scanner, external HD and 2 Zip drives. I want to get a CD burner. What would you recommend?
Berliner · December 27, 2001 - 09:04 EST #83
A friend of mine is selling his CD burner, a Yamaha (I can't find a model number, but it says MAD Logix on it), so he brought it over, we hooked it up to my G4 tower (running OS 9.1), installed Toast 4.1 from the CD that came with it, launched Toast, and started to burn a CD. It sucked the contents up into the RAM, as it was supposed to, then it started writing. One track. Then it hung. We had to force restart. I've now made two one-track coasters. What do you suppose I'm doing wrong?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 27, 2001 - 10:26 EST #84
Berliner - I was initially thinking perhaps Toast 4.x isn't compatible with the newest Macs and operating systems, but the last update says it included support for FireWire and OS 9. If you're not willing to purchase Toast 5 Titanium (I just got it for Christmas and if you're serious about burning CDs, you should upgrade) go to this Roxio updates page and download the Toast 4.1.3 updater. You say the CD was bundled with the recorder, so you'll want to download the OEM version and not the Deluxe version. If this doesn't solve your problem, here's the FAQ page you can look through to see if there are any known issues. There's also a link you can contact Roxio support if you grab the software's serial number.
Berliner · December 27, 2001 - 14:08 EST #85
Agggh. I think it's the box itself that's bad. I updated all the way and tried the burn in simulation mode, only to have the software misidentify the (Yamaha) burner as a TEAC. Maybe I should just think about buying a new machine--and a copy of Titanium, on your recommendation!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 27, 2001 - 16:39 EST #86
Try Titanium first. That's a good upgrade to make no matter what solution you ultimately settle on, and it may be the solution in and of itself. I have a VST CD-RW module for my PowerBook and the Toast 4 that was bundled with it would not successfully burn a disc. I couldn't believe it. They actually bundled software for a product which would not work! But I was planning to try out Toast 5 Titanium anyway ... and it worked (and still works) like a charm. I've not burned a drink coaster once yet.
Travis Belton · January 1, 2002 - 12:28 EST #87
I have an EZQuest Boa CDR/W 4x4x32 USB burner hooked to my older iMac. Lots of little problems (have to unplug all other USB devices to burn, iMac won't startup when burner is powered on, Retrospect is not compatable with the drive mechanism, etc), but I have been able to burn audio and data CD's by being careful. Now I am getting an error trying to do a copy of a data CD. The error is: "Sense Key = ILLEGAL REQUEST Sense Code = 0x72,0x04 EMPTY OR PARTIALLY WRITTEN RESERVED TRACK". Any ideas on what this means and how to overcome it? I should note that when using simulation mode, it says it will burn fine. I have tried 1x, 2x and 4x burn speeds, all producing coasters. Thanks, Travis
Berliner · January 3, 2002 - 14:56 EST #88
Hmmm. Okay, I've installed Toast Titanium, updated it, been impressed by all the cool stuff it does that the other Toast doesn't simulation mode, it still only gets two or three tracks into the album I'm trying to copy and then it just stops. I'm thinking it's the hardware or maybe, just maybe, an extension conflict. Any thoughts? (And thanks for the Titanium suggestion).
Dave · January 8, 2002 - 10:59 EST #89
I have Toast Titanium 5,0 and a Powerbook G3. I use CD Spin Doctor, but it is impossible to reset the time of recording. (I've tried to delete the file, but nothing happens). How can I do this? Thanks, Dave
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · January 8, 2002 - 14:54 EST #90
Dave: I do not know what mean by "reset the time of recording" in CD Spin Doctor. If you are referring to changing the starting and ending times for tracks and deleting unwanted tracs, the instructions are on pages 171-173 of the Toast 5 Titanium User's Guide.
Adam Scicchitano · January 17, 2002 - 13:59 EST #91
How do I burn a Playstation 1 game to a 80-minute blank CD.
J. Anderson · January 20, 2002 - 08:42 EST #92
I am looking for a standalone CD burner that doesn't require the use of a computer (preferably with 5 drives or more). It seems to be pretty hard to locate these, but they do exist. Any tips on where to go? Also, does anyone know what equipment is needed to burn a Dreamcast game?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 20, 2002 - 20:47 EST #93
J. Anderson - it sounds like what you're looking for is a device to duplicate a CD to multiple copies at the same time. You're right. These do exist. However, they are extremely expensive. I found them at CDW. Click Hardware, then CD-ROM drives, then multidrives.
Lukasz Mazur · February 3, 2002 - 06:30 EST #94
I have a Yamaha CD-RW 4416s (SCSI) external drive and a Powerbook G3. Question 1: Do I need for this small SCSI chain a terminator (active/passive)? Question 2: Is it possible to burn with disk burner and iTunes?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 3, 2002 - 11:39 EST #95
Lukasz - I have the same drive, though it's waiting to be sold with my old laptop since I now have a CD-RW module for my newer laptop. Yes, you do need a terminator with this drive unless you have another device on your chain that is doing the terminating. One should have been bundled with the drive. Mine had one. As for question 2, sorry I had my new computer system before I ever knew much of Disk Burner and have never tried it. I always used Toast. My understanding is that you'd be hard pressed to find a drive that Disk Burner didn't support.
Derek · February 4, 2002 - 14:58 EST #96
I have an older $700 Lacie CD/R/RW on a G4 500 which has never worked properly from day one, and iTunes does not recognize it. That's what you get for needing to be an early adopter. Can anyone suggest a good, inexpensive Firewire burner recognized by iTunes? Thanks.

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 5, 2002 - 01:43 EST #97
Derek - repeat after me, "DealMac is my friend."

Use them to find the best price on Mac-compatible stuff. I just typed "firewire cd rw" in the search box and it came back with drives such as an Alina Micro for $139. Of course I, personally, haven't heard of this brand--but I am naturally familiar with Yamaha, and I'm also looking at one of those for $199 with a $50 rebate offer.
David · February 12, 2002 - 16:34 EST #98
Is there a external CD burner that also plays CDs and can plug into your TV and let you to look at your pictures? My digital camera has a cord that allows me to view my pictures on the TV.
Paul Kelley · February 17, 2002 - 14:41 EST #99
I've purchsed a Boss BR-532 digital recording studio that uses Smart Media cards to record on. I want to be able to take the music I record and put it on a CD. My problem is, I know very little about what I will need to do this. The Smart Media cards capacity is very small when 4 tracks are recorded. Only 1 to 3 songs can be recorded depending on the card storage. I use 32 MB, 64 MB, and 128 MB cards. I want to be able to fill up a CD.

The studio has an optical digital out, an RCA type out, and a MIDI out. My understanding is that burning a CD is not like making a tape in that once I start burning a CD, I can't record a song, stop, erase the Smart Media card, record new songs, and put them on the CD where the other songs stop. Can you tell me what I will need to fill CD with the recorder I have? I have not bought a burner yet. Is there a standalone burner that will do what I want to do or would I need to use my computer some way? As you can tell by reading this, I know nothing about what I want to do. Any help is appreciated, but preferably the cheapest way.

Thanks very much.

anonymous · February 18, 2002 - 14:27 EST #100
I want to buy a CD burner. Where is the best place to buy one? Do they have a good deals at places other than Best Buy or Circuit City?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 18, 2002 - 15:42 EST #101
J. William - if you're not against making purchases online (and there's really no reason to be against it), search for the model you want on DealMac. You'll probably do best for prices there.

Paul - I won't say there's no such thing as a standalone CD burner that lets you burn a partial music CD and continue burning more on it later. I've never heard of one. As for the computer method, my understanding is that you actually can record a session of audio and record more later, but not too many regular audio CD players will like the disc after you've burned another session (or, perhaps they'll only be able to play the first burn).

The thing you'll probably need to do is, obtain a Smart Media adapter to transfer the songs to your computer in however many batches you need, and then burn an entire CD worth of music all at once.
Mardonald · March 13, 2002 - 14:01 EST #102
I want to buy a CD writer, but I don't know which one to buy or whether a CD-R is preferable or a CD-RW. Also, please tell me what the advantages and disadvantages are for both of these. Thank you.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · March 13, 2002 - 15:40 EST #103
Mardonald: This column is nearly 2 years old now, and is almost amusingly outdated. Nearly all burners sold today are CD-R/RW. There are no disadvantages to CD-R/RW burners (in the past, they cost substantially more than CD-R burners). The advantage of CD-RW is that you can reuse disks. This is useful in some circumstances (such as rotating backup disks), but has become less useful as the cost of blank CD-R media has fallen. You can now obtain blank CD-R disks for <$0.30 each when bought in 50 or 100 disk packs. Since reformatting a previously used CD-RW takes over an hour on most burners, it's often not worth the trouble. It's now easier to use just CD-R disks that you throw out (or use in school art projects) when no longer needed.
Hue Jazz · March 24, 2002 - 20:12 EST #104
What would be the best numbers for the last 2 digits of the speed? Help would be appreciated.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · March 24, 2002 - 20:22 EST #105
Hue - the higher, the better. But it's kind of ambiguous to say "the last two numbers" because I've never seen a concrete rule as to the order of those numbers. I generally think of them as the first one being the read speed, the second being the write speed, and the third being the rewrite speed. But the article on this page seems to use the reverse.

So, I'll say this. The read speed should be the most you can put money into. Generally, write (and rewrite) speeds are about 4x but 8x is becoming quite common. If you buy an 8x burner, you should be sure the CD-R media you buy supports 8x burning.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · March 24, 2002 - 22:37 EST #106
There is a standard convention for describing the speeds of CD burners. The first number is the speed of burning write-once CD-R disks. The second number is the speed of burning already formatted CD-RW disks. The third number is the speed of reading CD-ROM disks. A very high read speed is useful when you have to copy CD files onto your hard drive or when you have to read lots of data from a CD. A 40X read speed means that you can copy data from a completely filled CD-ROM disk or a standard audio CD in less than 2 minutes (under optimal conditions).
Arnaud Fleury · March 26, 2002 - 11:36 EST #107
What do I need to burn a Playstation CD?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · March 26, 2002 - 21:50 EST #108
Arnaud: You will need a (legally acquired, I hope) Playstation CD, a reliable CD burner, CD burner software such as Toast, and a blank CD-R disk (some brands are said to work better than others, but I have no specific information on this). Playstation CDs use a crude copy protection method involving bad "blocks" in specific locations. Since most CD burners won't reproduce bad blocks, you cannot do a disk to disk copy for your Playstation. You have a two choices: have a modifier chip installed that bypasses both the CD copy protection and the geographic region protection or use a disk image copying program and then apply modifications and patches to the disk image before burning it onto a CD-R disk. Information on this can be found at this site.

Note: The above procedures will not work for Playstation 2 games. You need a DVD burner to copy them.

All of this seems like a lot of trouble for old Playstation games. It might be worth the trouble to back up a heavily played game you really love. As a method of pirating games, it makes little sense. Since the original Playstation is outdated, games such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid can be bought used for $5-15.
Noelle · April 19, 2002 - 17:30 EST #109
Gregory, I read your response to Arnaud regarding Playstation games. I am wondering if your answer will also apply to XBox games. My son is very hard on his games and I would like to make backups of all of them. Thanks!
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · April 19, 2002 - 19:29 EST #110
Noelle: I know nothing about XBox games, but I do know about Microsoft and its belief in strong copy protection. I checked a well-informed web site (Xbox-scene) that confirms my suspicions. There is no known way to make backups of XBox game disks. If a disk fails, your best bet is to contact the distributor and ask to exchange your damaged disk for a new one. Some will do this for a fee that is substantially less that buying a new game. Some will probably say tough luck.
Esther · May 2, 2002 - 12:42 EST #111
I have a 12-track Akai recorder, and I want to mix my original compositions onto a standalone CD burner, rather than a DAT. (I must work with this primitive equipment right now, as finances are limited)

I heard it can be done. Which CD burner would you recommend? Can you record multiple mixes and adjust levels, etc.? Is there anywhere I could trade my DAT for a standalone? Please help...thanks!
Jack · May 2, 2002 - 17:50 EST #112
Can you explain how a CD burner works? Also, I have a laptop that doesn't have a lot of memory and I am not looking to buy a new computer. I know of 2 burners, one that hooks up to a computer where you burn songs I can download from the internet, and one that is free standing that, I think, has an adapter for the internet. My question is, if I purchase the one that hooks up to the computer, will it use up all the memory? Also, can you explain which brand is most efficient? One I have heard of is TDK. Do you know anything about it?
Gregory Tetrault · May 2, 2002 - 22:03 EST #113
Jack: A CD burner allows you to write data (computer programs, music, video, etc.) to blank CDs. A small laser is used to heat a microscopic section of the disk, which creates a bubble. CD players shine a laser at the spinning disk. The smooth spots reflect the laser light back. The bubbles scatter the laser light. A detector senses whether light was scattered or reflected and converts the signal to binary (1s and 0s). The binary signals are interpreted by the computer or the audio CD player and generate music or video or computer data.

CD burners do not require a great deal of computer memory. The CD driver and the application for organizing data or music for burning take up only a few megabytes of RAM. CD burners usually require some additional RAM (at least 2 MB) as a "buffer" while burning. If you have at least 10 MB of memory available for running applications, your computer can handle a CD burner.

There are many brands of CD burners, although some use identical innards. My experience is that Plextor devices are the most reliable. Sony and Yamaha are good. I've heard that Panasonic burners are good, but I have no direct experience. I don't know anything about TDK burners (although their blank media has worked well for me).
David Ozab (ATPM Staff) · May 3, 2002 - 13:14 EST #114
Esther: There are a number of stand-alone real-time CD burners. The two I'm familiar with are made by Sony and Tascam. Low end models run around $400, so you may be able to trade in a used DAT for most (or possibly all) of the cost. As for your other question: yes, these recorders function very much like DATs, so you will be able to control levels, record multiple takes, etc.
Muanfan · May 15, 2002 - 20:08 EST #115
I really want to buy a CD burner but I'm not sure whether external or internal would be better. If I get the internal one, I'll have to replace it with my old drive and that will make things more complicated. But the internal ones are far cheaper. I can't make my mind up. Also, how long does it take to burn an 80-minute CD-R in a 4x4x6x burner. I want a really fast burner (like 32x12x40x) but I'm also considering whether I need that much. I saw that most blank CD-Rs are only rated up to 24x. And what is a coaster?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · May 15, 2002 - 21:24 EST #116
Muanfan: If you plan to copy existing CDs, then I strongly recommend buying an external burner. That way you won't have to create a CD image file before burning.

A 4x 4x 6x burner can burn an 80 minute CD in just over 20 minutes. Most new burners are much faster than that.

A "coaster" is when your burn fails and you have a nonreadable CD. The only use for such a CD is as a drink coaster for your coffee table or desk.
atease · June 6, 2002 - 12:22 EST #117
I am getting a CD-RW. Which brand is better, and what is firewire?

I have no knowledge of CD-RWs. I wanted to save important data and wondered which is better, external or internal. I don't mind spending more money, and I think I prefer an external one.

How can I know which connection works for my computer?
Mary Ellen Suggs · September 9, 2002 - 11:14 EST #118
My question is: I have an iBook laptop and need either a burner, or Zip drive. The programs that I use are Photoshop and Illustrator. I usually go to "other" places such as my school to print off the images, so I wanted to get the most universal drive, too. Do you have any recommendations on which drive I should get?
Daisy · September 12, 2002 - 02:51 EST #119
Mary Ellen Suggs- if you want to archive your artwork, you should use a CD burner. It's probably the most reliable (and inexpensive) way. If you don't have very much to archive but need a transport medium, you'd better buy a Zip drive. There are two drive sizes: 100 MByte and 250 MByte. Check your files -- Photoshop documents can easily exceed the 100 MB size limit.
If you have large files to transport and want to archive your things, you should get a CD-RW drive. You can use the cheap CDs to archive and the CD-RWs for transport.
Sue Franklin · October 31, 2002 - 23:35 EST #120
A question on features of CD burners: I frequently have to edit music--either by making a piece shorter by taking out a repetitive verse, etc. or to lengthen a piece of music by carefully adding a part on another cut (usually on the same disc) in the body or at the beginning or end of the song. Can you recommend a CD burner (or is it the software or both) that would be the best choice for my needs?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 31, 2002 - 23:46 EST #121
Sue - it has nothing to do with the burner. Burning music to a CD is done entirely after the tune is completed.

That much, I can answer assuredly. The other part (which software) is highly subjective to opinion and someone who has used audio editing software will have to pipe in here. Nevertheless, I've heard good things about the free version of ProTools and intend to try it out some day. Go to the ProTools web site and click the "Pro Tools FREE" link at the bottom. There's either the 40MB Macintosh download, or you can have a CD sent to you for $9.95 S&H.
Helen Bennett · December 15, 2002 - 22:47 EST #122
I need some advice. I bought an APS product at a thrift store, however I do not know what it is. Its features are as follows: there is a CD-ROM and a floppy disk. It also has two interfaces, the size of a printer. Can you tell me what this product is and what it is used for?

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 15, 2002 - 23:28 EST #123
Helen - telling us the model name/number that is probably printed somewhere on the front of the product would undoubtedly help us out a lot.

Although I imagine the best advice, if it is truly an APS product, would be to visit the APS home page and inquire directly with the manufacturer.
Rick · January 13, 2003 - 14:14 EST #124
I have an older Mac Performa 6400 at 180 MHz. Is there a compatible CD burner that will allow me to burn text (I am not using it for music, but for PDF files) to CDs, or is this system incompatible with today's burners? Thank you for your help.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · January 13, 2003 - 16:26 EST #125
Rick: Any Macintosh that has a CD drive can handle a CD burner. You just need to find one with the proper connections. You have two choices: add an external SCSI CD burner or replace the internal CD-ROM drive with a CD burner with an internal SCSI connector. I recommend the former. You will have to hunt around to find a CD burner with a 50- or 25-pin SCSI connection.
Wendy · January 21, 2003 - 12:31 EST #126
I have a Yamaha CRW4416S external hooked up to a Mac 8500. It was working fine burning CD-RWs (same media always used). All of the sudden, errors started appearing. So far, I have updated the Firmware, took it off the SCSI daisy chain and hooked directly to the computer, and blew and cleaned as much as possible. Now it will simply stall in mid process of burning and I'm really confused. I know it may be a misaligned laser. Is there anything else I should check before trashing it?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · January 21, 2003 - 16:20 EST #127
Wendy: You are describing a problem similar to one I had with exactly the same Yamaha device. It's dead and needs to be replaced. Fortunately, you can keep the case and replace just the drive. I put a Yamaha 8824S into my ClubMac case two years ago and it has worked well. You may have to hunt around to find an internal CD-RW with SCSI (not SCSI-2 or Ultra), but they are still out there. This site has Plextor and TEAC drives that would work. The Plextor is best quality, but it costs much more than the TEAC. A little more hunting will give you more choices.
Big Bad Al · March 31, 2003 - 09:19 EST #128
I have a LaCie USB CD Writer, model K525-U-CD-704919, hooked up to an Apple iMac running OS 8.6. I am using Roxio Toast Titanium 5.1.2.

The only problem I have is with the 900 MB CD-R media I purchased, (700 MB CD-Rs work fine). I need to burn a 738.1 MB file and Toast tells me that there is not enough space on the 900 MB CD to do this.

Is the problem with the CD Writer or with the software, and how can I fix it?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · March 31, 2003 - 10:25 EST #129
Al - honestly, I've never heard of 900mb CD-R media. That's not to say it doesn't exist, but my assured guess would be that you would need a CD Writer that supported those discs. It seems to me that most of today's burners will only handle the 650 and 700mb media. Your burner is probably not recognizing the 900mb media for what it is and is only going to burn it at its maximum of 700mb...thus the message that you don't have enough space for that additional 38.1mb.
Michelle · April 23, 2003 - 13:23 EST #130
I have an iMac G4 running on Mac OS 9.2 at work. It came with iTunes. I convert MP3s to AIFF files and, when I go to burn them to CD, it asks how to I want to format the disc. Standard, for iTunes, or something else (can't remember). I chose standard, but when I went to play it in the car, nothing happened. What am I doing wrong? What do I need to do?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · April 23, 2003 - 14:42 EST #131
Michelle: You need to burn audio CDs, not standard CDs. You can do this from within iTunes. Choose "Preferences..." from the Edit menu, then click on the "CD Burning" tab. Choose Audio CD as the disc format. Select whatever song gap you prefer. Select a burn speed appropriate for your CD burner and blank media. Click the OK button to close the preference window. Select the AIFF files in iTunes and click on the button in the upper right to burn the audio CD.
Trig · April 28, 2003 - 00:29 EST #132
How are some people able to put up to forty and fifty songs on one mixed CD?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · April 28, 2003 - 11:34 EST #133
Trig: They probably are burning data CDs with music in the MP3 format. They can play those CDs on their computers or on newer CD or DVD players that support standard audio CDs (AIFF) and data CDs with MP3-formatted music.

Remember that MP3 and the new AAC (advanced audio coding format which is part of the MPEG-4 system) are "lossy" compression techniques: some of the sound quality is lost when audio is converted to these formats. If you have a good ear and a good sound system, you may notice the difference.
Gareth Higham · May 26, 2003 - 20:22 EST #134
I have recently purchased an HP SCSI CD burner that doesn't have a Macintosh driver at all. Does this mean that I won't be able to use it?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · May 27, 2003 - 12:45 EST #135
Gareth Higham: If you have the right cable to connect the CD burner to your SCSI chain, then you can probably use it without a special Hewlett-Packard driver. The Apple CD/DVD driver may not recognize your new CD burner. However, if you have third-party burner software such as Toast, it includes a driver that works with nearly all CD burners.
Lydia Howatt · July 23, 2003 - 23:35 EST #136

I just bought my CD burner. The brand is Sony. Why is it that I couldn't play burned CDs in my stereo in the bedroom, but they would play in my other stereo? I had a CD burner before that was a Phillips, and I don't have a problem those CDs play in any stereo.

Thank you.

Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · July 25, 2003 - 18:06 EST #137
Ms. Howatt:

Try burning your CDs at a slower speed. Your newer Sony may have a faster burn speed than the Phillips it replaced. At faster burn speeds, the tiny bubbles created by the laser may not be clear enough for some CD players to read.
J · December 1, 2003 - 12:53 EST #138
Can someone please give me advice on getting a CD burner that hooks up to a stereo instead of using a computer? Thanks! :-)
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 1, 2003 - 14:20 EST #139
J - advice on where to look for them is simple. Just go to any electronic shop (even and look up CD Players/Recorders in the home audio section. As for which to get, that's a little tougher since they're all so similar any more. My advice is to look at brands you've been familiar/comfortable with in the past (i.e. Sony, Pioneer, etc.) and just compare features to find one that fits your budget and does what you want it to do.
Tom · December 8, 2003 - 03:42 EST #140
I have a PowerBook G4 that is 2+ yrs old. It came with I Tunes and I'm looking to buy an external fire wire CD burner that would be compatible with it. I've been told Plextor is a good brand, but I'm not certain what features I should be looking for.
Jon · January 21, 2004 - 21:25 EST #141
I have a QPS Que! QPCDRW241040I cd burner that will not work in my G4 tower. It's internal and when I install it as soon as the little black spin wheel comes up during the boot up process the power to it cuts out. I've tried every jumper configuration and some allow it to keep power but the computer ignores the drive completly. can someone please help me. Or recomend a cheap drive that WILL work?
leilani keali'i · May 28, 2004 - 02:25 EST #142
everytime i put any type of CD into my Mac osx, it gets rejected. how can i fix this?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 29, 2004 - 01:21 EST #143
Leilani - what, exactly, happens when you insert the disc? Does it immediately pop back out or do you hear it spin for just a moment before coming back out? Will it go into the drive at all? Do you hear any noises from the drive that sound out of the ordinary.

Please be descriptive, and we'll do what we can. :-)
beth A. · June 10, 2004 - 11:34 EST #144
Recently accquired a G3 ibook OSX 10.2.3 (all white) with hardly any memory.(Must be a couple of years old? I am completely out of touch with this whole MAC thing)- only has CDROM. Has firewire and USB 2.0 Seems like to burn cd's I could get just about any external CDR/RW with a mac platform - is this true? Has itunes, imovie... But, DVD's...I don't understand what exactly you have to do when buying a burner to make sure that you have the right software to support video stream - I.E. so you could actually burn a copy of a licensed DVD (movie).
Do you have to buy idvd or something?
Does anyone have any recommendations or basic info. that would help me out? I would settle for copying CD's, but would go all the way with DVD's if possible...
Also : can I just get external memory to make this ibook more usable? I don't know how that would work with downloading things to copy...
Please start at square one and speak in monosyllables - I'm really in the infant stage...
Joe Willis · October 26, 2004 - 17:39 EST #145
I have some old 78s, 33 1/3s and 45 rpm phonograph records I'd like to put on CD. The record player is an old Magnavox console but doesn't have rca out puts. Only speaker wire connections for outside speakers. Would it be better if I purchased a new turntable that had these speeds and also had modern stereo audio outputs? Also what is recommended for CD recorder, and how do I get rid of the "Pops", "crackles", "scratching sounds" and Phonograph needle sounds" for a professional sound on CDs
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 26, 2004 - 20:20 EST #146
Joe - you should review our Got Vinyl series for suggestions. If that still doesn't help, posting a comment on one of those pages may be better-suited to draw a response from someone knowledgeable. As for the CD recorder, any modern recorder should be fine—especially a burner that comes with nearly every Macintosh computer nowadays.
mel brown · January 17, 2005 - 16:02 EST #147

I have a g3 powerbook (black) running OS 10.3. I am in the market for an internal CD burner and have two questions. Where should I look for decent hardware if I'm on a budget? Also, I read on your site about adding firewire for the burner. What does that mean? I know that my laptop doesn't have firewire, but if I need it for a burner, what is it, where do I get it, and ballpark for cost? Thanks.
ATPM Staff · January 17, 2005 - 18:03 EST #148
Mel - the reference to firewire means that there are external CD burners that attach to your computer via the firewire port. If your laptop does not have a firewire port, this option isn't for you.

And, since your laptop does not have firewire, it's obviously not the Pismo model, meaning you have either a Lombard or Wallstreet model. Visit for help in figuring out which one you have. Once you know, run some searches for an expansion bay module that burns CDs and one that supports your model laptop. That'll be the simplest way to add a CD burner to your computer.

Take care regarding modules that burn DVDs as well. I suspect that's what you'll find most often, but the older G3 laptops may not be able to utilize the DVD functions--or the entire drive.

Bottom line, determine which G3 PowerBook you have and search for an expansion bay module that supports your model.
Cecil Thomas · February 23, 2005 - 20:16 EST #149
I bought my computer from my friend, which has alot of useless file that is taking up space and now i want to wipe the hard drive and do a clean install.I recently started backing up my computer and burnt some application on CD-R and now it is telling me that the device is not accessible. some file like Microsoft Office so that i don't lose it if i did the backup wrong.
Carrie · June 3, 2005 - 11:55 EST #150
I really need some help!!!! I have a imac G3 with 10.3.5 panther system installed. As a cdrw i am using the Lacie Branded Mitsumi 4804-TE External USB CD-R/RW Drive (got this name from ebay as mine just says the model number K525-U-CD-704919. I did the system update from and now i can no longer use it as my system does not find the driver!

Are there any drivers/update out ther for this cdrw?

I have been looking everywhere and cant find nothing for this cd writer PLEASE SOMEONE HELP!!!!!

Please I would be eternally grateful so would my pocket as i'm not up to buying a new one!
Noura · June 18, 2005 - 18:46 EST #151
Hi! Can ya plz tell me dat is it possible to burn anythin at 4x on a 52x speed Cd-R. If it is can ya tell me how?
ATPM Staff · June 20, 2005 - 01:25 EST #152
I'm not sure Apple OS' built-in CD burning software has an option to change the speed. It's normal operation is to select the ideal speed based on your system, the media, and your CD-R drive.

If you're using Toast, an options box appears after you click the burn button and you'll see a small pull-down menu where you can select a different speed.
Daniel Waldron · June 29, 2005 - 16:02 EST #153
I found your article very informative. Then I would suppose that a 52-32-52 unit like mine would be best used for data recording. The drives claims to be great for music, etcetera, but after reading your article I cannot help but doubt. I also get a lot of CD disk vibration on playback of compressed data. Normal? For now I will just pack foam rubber around the drive to kill the sound. All I record on this computer are compressed system backups and programs, and erase CD-RW disks. Yet I get an overcomplicated software suite that came with the drive.
High quality and brand name, but it does not meet my needs.

Best Regards,

Daniel Waldron
Lewis Carlino · July 5, 2005 - 18:09 EST #154
I'm going outta my gourd! I have a Ezquest external CDR/W. But inside that case is a Yamaha 8824. It has two big SCSI ports in the back. I am trying to find a driver for it to hook it up to a Starmax 3000/180mhz Mac clone, and for the life o me I can not find a driver. All the drivers I find are for windows. I know there should be a driver for it, because it was hooked up to a mac 9600.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Lewis Carlino · July 5, 2005 - 18:15 EST #155
Hi again,
By the way... I found a Yamaha CRW 8424 driver, but it says I must have Adaptec Toast 3.5. Strange.

Leah in CA · October 13, 2005 - 14:40 EST #156
Hi there I am attempting to burn a Double Layer (DL) DVD with a Plextor Writer (PX-716UF) DL Writer. Once the tasks gets going it will get as far as 1% left, right before finishing the disc and then stops, providing error message : "Sense Key = ILLEGAL REQUEST Sense Code = 0x72,0x04 EMPTY OR PARTIALLY WRITTEN RESERVED TRACK" I have tried different rips and still have the same problem. I am using blank Verbatim brand DVD+R DL discs. I have a G5 (mac) running OS 10.2.8, and the programs that I am using are Mac The Ripper followed by Toast Titanium 6. Any suggestions?
marsy · February 1, 2006 - 15:31 EST #157
I would like to know if this is an ideal item to purchase? I would like to copy music files back up data and rewrite disks..
52X CD-R
I have your usual computer. with 52x max cd rom .. as you can probably tell I know nothing about the guts of computers, I have an opportunity to acquire this at a low price and am considering doing so.. what say you? many thanks marsy
ATPM Staff · February 1, 2006 - 17:20 EST #158
Marsy - looks fine to me. Might help if you told us specifically which model it is, but considering it's a Memorex brand, I suspect it's perfectly fine. You may wish to check the packaging/documentation for Macintosh compatibility. It would say so, and most burners are compatible these days.
Adi Di · March 2, 2006 - 14:23 EST #159
Hi ... I'm having the same problem as above with the above question. I'm using iBook G4 12" and would like to burn a 900Mb CD and when I try to burn it, it said there is not enough space. Please help with this Thank you very much. (I can use Nero to do this but now I'm using Mac please help me .. I'm very new with Mac.) Thank you
ATPM Staff · March 2, 2006 - 16:10 EST #160
Adi - 900MB media is something that never fully got off the ground. According to a CD Media World page I found, 900MB discs do not comply with the Red Book standard.

Ultimately, since it is a hack of sorts that apparently isn't compatible on Macintosh systems, give it this consideration: is it really worth it to lower the tolerances and risk incompatibility and reliability for the little bit of extra space?

Our advice, don't use them.
Adi Di · March 6, 2006 - 14:19 EST #161
Thank you very much for your suggestion, then it brings me a few more questions. First of all, I'm having an important file which its size is around 840 Mb then how can I put it in a disk or two disks, I try to use stufflt prog. but it's not so compressed. And the next question is that now I'm considering to buy a DVD burner do you think will it help solving this problem? and can DVD burner burn a common CD?
ATPM Staff · March 6, 2006 - 15:07 EST #162
Adi - you may wish to look into segmenting your file after compressing it. Stuffit Deluxe has segmenting tools as part of the package.

But a DVD burner might be a simpler solution. Yes a DVD can solve the problem since a standard DVD-R can hold more than 4 gigabytes of data (many CDs worth). The dual-layer drives that are shipping in Apple's desktop towers can burn nearly 9 gigabytes onto special dual-layer media.

And yes, pretty much any DVD burner you find these days can also burn standard CDs. To be most compatible, you'll want to find a burner that can handle DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW (yes, there is a difference between - and + media, and a difference between write once and rewritable media). The burner will also state that it can burn CDs either as data or audio.

Keep in mind that a single drive can burn all the different types of media, but a CD-only burner that cannot burn DVDs will burn CDs faster. That's the trade-off. It may be able to read DVDs, but not burn them.
Adi Di · March 7, 2006 - 13:32 EST #163
Just want to say thank you very much :)
Joe Chyun · March 30, 2006 - 16:54 EST #164
I am having trouble playing music cds (that was burned with my cdr drive) on my old cd players. My newer cd players plays fine. I don't what it is. My home stereo is about 10 years old and my car is about 15 years old. They both won't play.
What should I do?
ATPM Staff · March 31, 2006 - 08:57 EST #165
Joe - upgrade your CD players.

It's a widely known fact that many of the original audio CD players that were made are not compatible with recordable CD media.
brian epstein · April 25, 2006 - 20:12 EST #166
someone gave me a mac g3 computer with a Que! Fire cd burner, and the adaptec toast program already on the computer. the only problem is that i can't get toast to recognize the burner. the computer knows it's there but not toast. i tried contacting the respective companies who make these products, but got no response. does anybody know how i could get this burner to work, or who i can contact to get this information?
thanks, brian epstein
Mark Bell · October 8, 2006 - 16:35 EST #167
I have a 9600 Mac running 8.6 OS. What external CD Burners are available to me. Does anyone have a clue? I am really married to 8.6 at the moment.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 8, 2006 - 18:16 EST #168
Mark - Married to OS 8.6 eh?

Get a divorce. :-)

The SCSI port is really the only interface on that machine to which you can connect something like an external CD burner. Unfortunately, the choices are getting almost nonexistent since virtually all current products use USB or FireWire. The best advice I can think of is to do web searches for CD burners that use a SCSI interface and also have Macintosh software available. Finding one with Mac software is going to be hard enough for Classic—let alone OS 8.x. You might find that it requires OS 9 or X.
david cook · June 29, 2007 - 12:44 EST #169
Help anyone! I have an old Phillips CD Burner stand alone component for my LP's. It requires a special CD and CD-RW that I can't seem to find anywhere. Even CD's that say "for Music" do not work anymore. Does anyone know where I can get the CD's and CD-RW's for this Burner???? Thanks, David
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · June 29, 2007 - 13:36 EST #170
David - special CDs? All CDs are supposed to adhere to a standard and the only incompatibility should be related to the burning speed (e.g. high speed discs may not always work in slower burners, and vice versa).

This being a Macintosh computing forum and not a CD burning forum (especially not a Philips forum), you would be best advised to go to Philips directly to ask.

Even better, as cheap as CD burners are these days, it sounds like it's time to just chuck the thing and get one that works with today's readily available discs.
Gary Abrass · November 14, 2007 - 18:25 EST #171
I have a Yamaha C3 Disclavier grand piano that has the capacity to record, I think in records in a midi format. I want to be able to download from the piano onto a CD. tried to download directly to my Mac PoweeBook G4 unsuccessfully. I've been told I should initially download onto a floppy disc and understand there maybe then some kind of CD burner that will allow me to transfer from "midi" to "wave" format. I'm at the limits of my knowledge and don't know if this is possible or what I need.
Thank you
Derek D · August 29, 2009 - 14:39 EST #172
Does anyone here know where I can buy a new or used SCSI Cd Burner?

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