Mac cd-burning (iTunes vs Finder vs Toast)

Today I burned a few CD-Rs with iTunes 4 (on an external LiteOn-52246S with FireWire) – it was easy and everything went well; the burned CD-Rs work on my Mac (reading with both the LiteOn and in the Mac’s internal CD/DVD reader) and on a Windows-PC on campus.
(I made a Data disk, not Audio or MP3)

A limitation of iTunes, though, is that it doesn’t seem to be able to cope with folders. In the playlist-window, it takes everything from a folder (and subfolders within this folder,…) and puts everything on the same level. I assume it also does this for a disc-burn, although (oops) I didn’t try this yet. For some CDs “everything in one folder” will be fine, but for others a folder structure will be essential and iTunes will be useless.

Two limitations on burning with the Finder are:

  1. a much lower capacity; on a 700 MB disk, with iTunes I burned 697 MB (and might have been able to “push it” even further beyond 700 MB) but with the Finder, when I double-clicked the CD’s icon it said “661 MB available” – wow, that’s a lot of wasted space, from 700 (with iTunes) down to 661. And when I tried to put in 670 MB (which would have worked in iTunes) it said “not enough space.”
  2. slow speed; evidently it copies everything onto the hard disk, and then transfers information (all collected into one place) onto the CD. Very clumsy.

Two years ago I used Toast 5 (on campus) and it worked very smoothly, combining the best of both (iTunes and Finder); it didn’t seem to waste any space (no 700-down-to-661 loss) and it was fast (with no copying to the hard disk; it just found where the files were on the hard disk and copied them from there, very fast and efficient). And, unlike iTunes (apparently; I wish I had tried putting some folders into it, to see what would happen), it could work with folders and the CD it produced was WYSIWYG – I made one immense folder with lots of folders and folders-within-folders, dragged this immense folder into Toast, burned it, and the CD looked exactly like the original folder, including all of the spatial relationships – with no “snapping to a square grid” movements of things)

my questions:
a) Can the combination of iTunes and Finder match what Toast (or Toast Lite) does? (maybe I just don’t know how to use them)
b) Why is there so much wasted CD-space (700–>661) with Finder?
c) In the context of burning CD-Rs, what does “Disk Copy” (the third option, in addition to iTunes & Finder) do?
d) Are there any good FAQ-type pages with a good overview/introduction for all of the questions I’m asking?

It seems that this forum is mainly Windows-oriented, and getting Mac-info is very difficult. For example, in the “starting at the very bottom” thread, three experts (with a combined 16,000 posts!) said “I know nothing of Apple software” and “Don’t know any Mac software either” and “No Mac knowledge here either.” Therefore, any Mac-help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


oops! crucial information is missing

Mainly, I’m using OS 10.2.4 on a G4/400.
I also have a G3/400 PowerBook running OS 9.2.2, and occasionally will want to use the CD-burner with it. (making it more likely that Toast will be useful?)


Don’t think too hard, you’ll hurt yourself. Just install Toast Lite and be done with. I have it installed on my G4 400 running OS 9.2 and Dual G4 1.25 running OS X 10.2.5.

Damn, 10.2.6 update just came out.

Just install Toast Lite
But I don’t have it, that’s why I’m asking about the comparisons, re: what’s different about each burning program. My main question now is about the loss in capacity (700 --> 661) with using the Finder’s CD-burner. If the capacity is 700 MB (maybe more) with iTunes and 661 MB with Finder (why does it lose 39 MB??), what is it with DiskCopy or Toast?