I often get asked the question: I bought Ableton, I’ve just recorded a sweet as mix and exported it to a WAV file, now how do I burn it to an Audio CD with track markers?
There are many paths you could take, considering the amount of software options available but the one I’ll share with you is FREE and Crossplatform so will work for everyone! How good is that!
Audacity is a nifty little freeware recording program that works on Mac, Windows, Linux and well pretty much anything. Its by no means the ‘best’ solution for your audio-editing needs, but its Free, its Easy, and it will work for anyone.
Once you’ve recorded and exported your mix, you will need to open the WAV file in Audacity (assuming you’ve already downloaded and installed the freeware). Once the mix has been loaded you can play or “scrub” through the mix, and, using the blue “pause” buttons, not the yellow “stop” button, you can hold the play marker at the exact place you want to set the next track at.
We are going to use “labels” to make our track markers. You can name each marker also and choose to export the tracks by label name or numbering consecutively.
First, set a label at the start of the mix by going to the menu option: “Project” > “Add Label at Selection” (Hotkey Windows: “CTRL + B” Mac: “APPLEKEY + B”)
Navigate to the next place you want a cd marker and repeat this process, all the way until you are at the last track in the mix. Once you’ve finished labelling each track, go to menu: “File” > “Export Multiple”.
Audacity will now export all your mix into the separate tracks, labels as you like, into the format and folder of your choosing. How easy was that!
The final stage requires putting the new tracks on a CD and setting it to play without little annoying gaps between each track.
To copy your music to an audio CD you are going to need software to ‘burn’ it with in the first place. iTunes will do it for you, as will Windows Media Player, both are free, but I prefer to use Toast (on Mac) and Nero (on windows). If you need to burn Red Book standard then I suggest using Toast on Mac, for Windows you can burn Red Book with Wavelab (which would negate the need for Audacity). There are other Red Book compliant burning softwares out there for PC but I’ll let you find what suits your needs.
For gapless playback, you need to import all your files into the burning software (by dragging them into the project window or importing from the menu), and change the default pause between each track from the standard 2 seconds to zero. The first track requires a mandatory 2 seconds but that will not affect the change from track 1 to 2. Each burning software does this differently so a little discovery might be inorder for you. After removing the 2 second gaps, you will want to choose the option to burn “Disc-At-Once” to prevent any subtle clicks in the playback.
That’s about it really. There is an alternative option in Audacity which requires exporting a “cue-sheet” for the lables you’ve made in the single file mix. You can read about it and the rest of this process in much finer detail on the Audacity site here.