Audacity: Free Sound Editor and Recording Software

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How do I save my recording on an audio CD?

After making a recording or editing a file in Audacity, follow these steps to save your work on an audio CD:

  1. At the bottom left of the Audacity window, set the Project Rate to 44100 Hz
  2. Go to the "File Formats" tab of Preferences, and in the "Uncompressed Export Format" drop-down, choose WAV (Microsoft 16-bit PCM) or AIFF (Apple/SGI 16-bit PCM) (in Audacity 1.3.3 onwards, skip this step)
  3. If your Project does not already contain a stereo track, click Project > New Stereo Track (Tracks > Add New... > Stereo Track in 1.3.2 onwards) to ensure Audacity exports your recording as a stereo file - this step may not be needed if burning to CD with iTunes)
  4. Choose File > Export As... > WAV or File > Export As... AIFF to export your recording to an audio file (in 1.3.3 or later, choose File > Export... then choose WAV or AIFF in the "Export File" dialog that appears)
  5. Use any CD-recording software (for example, iTunes or Nero) to burn this file to a CD.

To make a disc you can play in normal CD players, ensure you create a "music" or "audio" CD (not a "data" or "MP3 CD"). Use CD-R discs, because some players cannot read CD-RW. You can burn only 74 minutes or so onto an audio CD - this is a limitation of the audio CD format.

It is also possible to burn longer material to "data" CDs which are playable on computers and most DVD players or MP3 CD players, but not in standalone CD players. For example, if you were to choose a 64 kbps MP3 bit rate, about 23 hours of music would fit on the CD, although the penalty of reducing the bit rate is lower sound quality (especially so for music, less so for speech). Or you can burn a "data" DVD. A single layer 4.7 GB data DVD can accommodate nearly 80 hours of 128 kbps MP3 audio. Computers having a DVD-R drive will play data DVDs though some older DVD players won't do so, or will only play those containing certain audio or video formats.

By default, most CD burners add an appropriate two-second gap between CD tracks. However sometimes you may have a continuous mix or live concert where you want to play the CD without gaps but still want the ability to skip from one CD track to the next using the player controls. To achieve this you can try turning off the setting in the burning software to add a gap, and/or set the burning software to Disc-At-Once (DAO) mode (if the CD burner and burning software support this). Be sure to use lossless WAV or AIFF files because most lossy formats like MP3 add silence padding. If a gap is still heard, export a single file for the entire recording, then burn the CD with DAO using a cue sheet. The cue sheet can be generated from exported Audacity labels and specifies the start times of each CD track.

See also: How can I split a long recording into multiple tracks?

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