How to Create an Audio CD
The process to create an Audio/Music CD involves the following steps;
- Select the disc compilation as an Audio CD
- Add the audio/music files to the List View
- Edit the audio/music files (optional)
- Normalize volume levels (optional)
- Arrange the files in the desired order
- Adjust CD_TEXT information
- Burn the CD
Each of these steps are detailed below.
Select disc Compilation
The CD type can be selected by using the toolbar (the row of icons at the top of the main window), selecting the 'Audio' tab, and selecting 'Audio CD' button, or type Ctrl+U. Additionally you can click on the New disc button on the toolbar, or use This disc menu, disc Type and select Audio CD.
Please note that if you were in a Data CD (or DVD, Blu-ray) mode and files had been added, all non audio/music files will be lost from the compilation, even if you change back to the Data type compilation. The original files will still be present on your computer but they have been removed from Express Burn's filelist view.
Adding and Removing Files
To add your audio files to the CD click the "Add File" or "Add Folder" button or go to the menu item File -> Add. A Browse window will open and from here you can locate, view and select the following types of audio file formats:
.WAV .MP3 .OGG .WMA .AIF .AIFF .AU .RA .RAM
.FLAC .GSM .AAC .VOX .RAW .SND .DSS .DCT
Some of these formats will automatically download a plugin to decode the selected format. If an internet connection is not available they can be downloaded separately from the NCH website and then installed on the PC in question. Additionally some formats need to be decoded to be added and on slower computers this can take a minute or two.
Many other formats can also be handled but they require the installation of DirectShow codecs. Many come preinstalled with Windows so please try loading the file. You may need to select 'All Files' to see the particular file.
The minimum length of an audio track is 4 seconds so any files shorter than that will be padded with silence to a length of 4 seconds. There is also a mandatory gap between tracks so some media players will list any track as 2 seconds longer than their actual length. This means any padded track will be listed with a length of 6 seconds. The mandatory gap can be overridden when you burn the disc by choosing a different track pause. Please see the burn settings dialogue for more details.
Any files not of these formats will be ignored by Express Burn when creating an Audio CD. You will need to create a Data CD for any other types.
Once your files have been added, if you wish to remove any of them, simply select the files and either click the "Remove" button, or select File ->Remove from the menu. To select multiple files at once, press the Ctrl key and left-click on the files you want to select. To remove all the files, select the option Remove All from the file menu, or press Ctrl + Delete.
Dragging and Dropping and the System Tray
You may also add files by dragging and dropping an audio file onto the main filelist window. The file will be automatically added. Similarly if you drag and drop the file onto the Express Burn desktop icon it will be added to the CD. If you are not already running Express Burn it will be started automatically and an icon will appear in the system tray.
To play a file, select the desired file and either click the "Play" button at the bottom of the main interface, or select File -> Play from the menu. If you press the Play button when selecting multiple files, the first selected file will be played.
Edit Audio/Music Files
Using the File menu --> Edit option you can edit any audio file using the WavePad Sound Editor application also made by NCH Software. This can also be accessed using Ctrl+E.
Normalize Volume Levels
You can normalize the volumes levels of the audio tracks added to Express Burn. This means the volume of the tracks will be adjusted so that the loudest part of the song will be at a certain percentage of the maximum possible volume. By default volume levels are not normalized.
You can normalize the volumes levels of all tracks added using This Disc menu, Normalize Level, and select a level you want, or through the Normalization pull down list. All tracks will be normalized when you add them to Express Burn.
The order of the files in the filelist window will be the order of the tracks on the CD once it has been burnt. You may re-arrange files before burning by dragging the track and dropping to the required position.
Adjust CD-TEXT Information
You can specify the track title, artist information and album details that will be displayed by most CD Players. This information is called CD-TEXT data and is written on to the disc in a hidden location (in the lead-in for the technical). You can alter this information from the defaults given by Express Burn by clicking on the 'CD-TEXT' button.
For this information to be written to the disc you must write the disc using Session-At-Once recording. To do this select 'Customize Track Pause' on the Burn Settings dialogue. When you click on the CD-TEXT button it will detect if this option is selected and ask you if your wish it enabled for you when you click Ok.
Burning a CD
Once you have a list of audio files in your desired order, place a CD-R or CD-RW in your CD Burner drive. You should then click on the "Burn CD" button, or select Burner->Burn CD from the menu, or press F3.
You will then be prompted for the Burn Settings. If you are unsure of which settings to choose leave them set to the default selection. If you have more knowledge of what you would like to do select the appropriate settings. Any changes made to the settings are saved for future burning sessions.
The inserted CD will then be checked and you will be prompted if there are any issues (for instance the wrong type of disc is in the drive or there is not enough space on the disc etc)
The Write process can be quite slow, taking up to 20 minutes depending on media and drive. Please note there is a slow process at the end of the write called "Writing Lead-in/Lead-out". This takes a minute or two depending on drive and media.