Copying Audio CDs on the iBook

by Peter Wiggin

Copying an audio CD on OS X seems like it should be as easy as drag and drop, but it appears to be just a drag...Maybe this is something completely obvious, but I'm apparently missing it. I'm trying to find a simple way of copying an audio CD using the CD-R drive on my iBook.

I know I can copy a CD by importing the tracks into iTunes as AIFF or WAV files to preserve the original audio quality, creating a playlist in iTunes and then burning a CD with that playlist.

The problem I have with that method is that I end up importing the files twice. Once as huge, high-quality files in order to copy the CD, and once again as MP3 files for playback in iTunes and elsewhere. If I have multiple copies if the tracks in the iTunes library, it isn't very easy to distinguish between the two versions.

I've tried copying the CDDA files from the audio CD to the hard disk, then copying them back again. There are two problems I found there. First, the Mac OS enlarges the CDDA files when it copies them to the hard disk, so you can't copy all the files back to the CD without running into space limitations.

The second, and more difficult problem is that if you do copy these files back to a CD, it doesn't create an Audio CD, instead, it creates a data CD with CDDA files on it. I didn't know there was a difference, but apparently there is.

I can get around the first problem by copying the files from a networked Windows CD drive directly to a blank CD on the iBook, but that doesn't solve the second problem.

It appears that the only way to create an audio CD is with iTunes, and until you burn audio to that CD, it doesn't appear as a drive in Finder. Argh.

Am I stuck with the dual-import thing? or is there a better way...

Do you have a better way to copy an audio CD in OS X?


2002-01-04 17:58:03
What's the problem, Peter?
What's the problem, Peter? Stick a CD in your drive. Open iTunes. Click "Import." The CD will be ripped to MP3s. Click on your Library. Enter the CD's name in the Search bar and drag the resulting found files into a new playlist. Click on the playlist. Click "Burn." Voila. Sure, you burn a CD from the MP3s, so there's some quality loss, but unless you're the kind of loony who's car stereo is worth more than your car... Whoops! Forgot who I was talking to!
2002-01-04 21:46:33
How about Disk Copy in Utilities?
Have you tried using Disk Copy in /Applications/Utilities? Of course you have to wait the extra time to make an image and then burn that image onto a disk.I don't know if there's some sort of copy protection on the CD that might defeat it, but it's worth a try.
2002-01-05 04:00:11
Not a solution but a few tips
Just thought I'd comment on a few points. First, while not avoiding having to make dual copies, it's really easy to trash the high quality types by selecting to display the file types in view options. Then just sort by type and you have all your aiff's together.
The problem with the cdda's is that, whereas they're really only raw data on the CD, they have to be incorporated in a file for the mac to be able to store them on disk, which means they grow slightly, and while it would seem to be convenient to have disk burner automatically create an audio CD from them, you have two problems: no meta data indicating track#, pauses and so on to generate the CD with, and the fact that, well, what happens if you want to burn a data CD with backed up audio files for later editing?
Anyway, something that tells me apple hasn't included a direct copying function is so as to not incur the wrath of the media producers (see iPod's music file storage) but it would be nice!
Oh, and Disk Copy will not create images from audio CD's, just data.
2002-01-06 10:05:25
You're a SENIOR WEB DEVELOPER, and this is giving you trouble?

One of the really easy solutions is to go to a forum and see if anybody else is having trouble with the same thing. If not, simply post a 'I'm having trouble burning a cd with an ibook' message and wait for a response.

it's pretty easy.


2002-01-06 12:42:22
If it were easy...
...I wouldn't have posted what I did to this forum. Before I posted, I checked all the usual sources, and tried many, many things myself. From all the other responses, and a number I've gotten via email, its apparent that this is an issue that others are facing as well. I've gotten alot of suggestions, but none that gets around the need to import the tracks twice.

I think you missed the point of my post. Importing and burning a CD is pretty easy, you are right. The issue I have a problem is is that you have to import it twice, once as AIFF or WAV files in order to copy the audio CD, and another time to store the tracks as more efficient MP3s on the hard disk. I believe iTunes should make this much easier than it does, which is why I posted my message.

If you have a solution to this problem, I'd be very interested in hearing it.

2002-06-09 08:47:21
yes, that should work
A Disk Copy image, followed by a burn, should definitely work and keep all the little bits intact.
2002-08-07 13:21:58
Have you read this Apple doc...
Not sure if this describes what you currently are having to do, but it doesn't seem to mention TWO imports...


2002-10-12 08:31:28
but it doesn't...
you can't make a disk image (via any means that I know) of an audio cd using disk copy.

The options are grayed out for audio cd's. I can do this fine with data cd's, but I get an "operation not allowed" error if I try any way to make a disk image of an audio cd.

2003-04-12 12:59:42
thank heaven
I'm not the only one trying and looking around. And I thought Mac's were easy ;-)

Thanks for the iTunes tip; I did not know that.

I use a demo version of a program called "Dragonburn X", so I could burn photographs from iPhoto in a format that my old man would understand on his Windows PC. (another strange thing, iPhoto makes a sundirectory mess on the CD when burning). Despite the hidious logo of the demo software it works really well.

2003-10-30 09:18:07
What's the problem, Peter?
Ignoring the loss in sound quality, the other problem with your "solution" is that when you do this, you lose the spacing between tracks. I've had this problem with classical CDs where some tracks should have gaps between them, but others should be continuous.

My old OS 9 version of Toast will duplicate audio CDs. I'm sure the current version does as well, but I've never tried it.