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Why Do My Burned CDs Not Play In My CD Player?
So you just burned a mix CD of your favorite tunes for a road trip you and your friends are going on. You play the disc back on your computer, everything works like a charm. You might have even tried playing it back on your new home stereo, and just like on your computer, it plays fine. You head out, pop the CD into your car stereo you bought in 1998, and………nothing. The disc just spins and you get no playback. I’ve had this happen to me on numerous occasions. And have always wondered, why does my CD play on some players yet not on others? There are a few different things that factor into this.
1. CD-R vs. CD-RW.
You should be burning your audio CDs to CD-R media, not CD-RW media (CD re-writable). Some newer players will play CD-RW discs. But for the most part, the majority of audio CD players will only play CD-R discs.
2. Burn speed.
Each brand of CD-R has a certified maximum burn speed, which is expressed as a multiple of the audio playback speed. So, a disc certified at 24x can be burnt at 24 times faster than the audio CD will be spinning when it is played. You must set the burn rate in your CD duplication software according to the disc’s specification, or the data will not be written reliably. This can result in skips, or CD-Rs that will play to a certain point and then just stop. Ideally you want to burn your CD lower than the certified speed, to take into account manufacturing defects in your burner or the disc.
3. Brand of CD-R
If you have been burning CDs for a while, you probably have noticed that some brands of CD-Rs work well in some players, and some do not. CD-R discs are said to be “burned”. When you burn a CD-R disc, a focused laser beam darkens the chemical dye on your disc to mimic the bumps and flat spots that are generated on a replicated disc. (For more info on the differences between burning (CD duplication) and pressing (CD replication), please read my last article.
Unfortunately, sometimes the mimicry is not perfect. And if you have an older CD player that was not designed to play CD-Rs, it will not always play them reliably.
By all means this is not a complete guide for troubleshooting your CD burning problems. But it should at least give you a little more insight into why those darn mix CDs you burned will not play in your home or car stereo! My best advice is that you burn your CDs according to the certified maximum burn speed (lower if possible), and try out different brands of CD media until you find one that works best in your player.
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