How can I improve my audio quality of burned audio cdrs?! What's your method?!


I am new to burning audio cds, but I must say that so far I am a bit disappointed with the audio quality when I burn mp3’s (always at least 192kbps quality!) with Nero to a cdr to make an audio cd to play on my hifi system. On my hifi it doesn’t sound really good. What could be the reasons for this?

1/ the used cdr media? Which cdr brand gives the best audio quality or are they all the same? Anybody ever compared this? Will Taiyo Yuden cdrs sound better then for instance MMore or other media brands?..

2/ the program and convertion. For instance, is it smart to import mp3s into Nero and let Nero convert them to audio tracks for burning. If you do it in more steps with a seperate mp3 to wav converter program, could you get better audio quality or won’t it be better then Nero?! Anybody tested this?! Which mp3 to audio conversion algorithm does Nero use? LAME, Fraunhofer?..

3/ anything else that can improve audio quality like writing speed, etc…? Does it make sense to burn as slow as possible even with modern PC’s or won’t it make a difference?!

What’s your method to get the best audio quality audio cdrs?!! Which programs do you use etc… or doesn’t it all make that much of a difference…

  1. No, you wont hear a difference although quality discs will last longer
  2. Nero works fine and probably uses the FhG DShow Filter that’s included with Windows Media Player (not sure though).
  3. 8X will be fine in most cases, higher speed will cause jitter but I doubt you’ll notice it.
  4. Higher quality? Get a better source…

Does that mean if you have a Plexwriter 24/10/40 it’s not a good idea to burn audio cds at 24x speed.

Also, why is 8x the best and does higher speeds cause jitter? Also, what does jitter have to do with writing quality? Isn’t jitter something related to digital audio extraction or am I wrong about that? Which audible effects does that give on audio quality by the way?

Thanks for the info!!

You can very well burn at 24x. 8x won’t necessarily give you better results (though it may).
The burning quality can change if you change the burning speed, if you change the CDR, and if you change the writer. However, these parameters are closely related to each other. Changing one of them will strongly affect the behaviour of the other two. For example if 8x is best with a given CDR, it might be worse than 24x with another brand.

The burning quality, if bad, will generate clicks in the audio, when the player can’t read the data properly. It can also refuse to read the CD altogether.

Jitter is a parameter of burning quality that can lead, if out of spec, to clicks, or to read errors. It must not be mistaken with jitter in an SPDIF cable, that is not related with it, nor with audio extraction jitter, that have nothing to do with the two former.

If all is within specs, no effect on sound quality should be possible. Though many audiophiles pretend that CDR have not the same quality as pressed CDRs, no rigorous blind test have ever confirmed this claim.
Keep in mind that people claiming that CDR sound bad are the same who use quantum power cleaners in order to correlate all electrons in the main 110/220 V plugs in their house, or burn-in their modulation cables in one direction, and never reverse them because they think that the direction of the music from the source to the ampli becomes inprinted into the metal after several days of use…

The weak part in your system is the MP3 file. If it was encoded with a bad encoder, it can sound bad.
If the copy of the MP3 played by the CD sounds worse that the MP3 played in the computer, it’s a whole different story.
The two main causes for sound differences are the MP3 player, that can have volume, balance, or equalization enabled. The tricky part is that these effects are not performed the same way if you listen to an MP3 file or to a wav file, or a CD.
The other cause is analog CD playback in the computer, that don’t follow the same path as digital playback.

To sort this out, decode the MP3 to wav, and burn the wav to CD, then insert the CD in the computer, and listen to the three in the computer : MP3, WAV, and CD.
If the MP3 sound different than the WAV, then you have some options (equalisation, normalisation) enabled in the MP3 playback.
If the wav sounds different than the CD, then you don’t have digital playback enabled for the CD.