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Why did the first track of my newly burned audio CD not play properly?

I recently tried to burn an audio CD using Windows Media Player. I used a
CDR. When I tried to play it back, all of the tracks played perfectly on both
computers and CD players, except for the first one. When I burned the album
again to the new disc, all of the tracks worked. Any ideas why this might have
happened?

CD audio is actually quite a different format than that used on data CDs.
Nonetheless, it’s just as susceptible to recording and playback errors.

In this audio segment from an Ask Leo! webinar, I’ll discuss what
kinds of things can lead to a CD having problems – even if it’s just a single
track on an audio CD.

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Transcript

I recently tried to burn an audio CD using Windows Media Player. I used a CDR. When I tried to play it back, all of the tracks played perfectly on both computers and CD players (Well, that’s good. You got over the first hurdle) – except for the first one. When I burned the album again to the new disc, all of the tracks worked. Any ideas why this might have happened?

So, when you say the first one, I’m assuming it didn’t play on any of those media. It’s hard to say. I mean the audio CD format is amazingly … what’s the word … simple, I guess is the way I’ll put it.

When you’re dealing with a data CD, you’ve got all this interesting stuff on the CD that checks for errors, it’s done in blocks, in sectors. Each sector is error checked and checksum is included so you can tell if there’s an error in the data and so forth. Audio CDs are actually not like that. A data CD is very much like a bunch of concentric circles with all this data broken up into blocks. An audio CD is much more like a single spiral of data that’s streamed out to the disc without a whole lot of overhead.

So the only thing I can surmise – the only thing I can guess and it’s a semi-educated guess – is that there was simply a problem on the disc. Either a write problem for that track or literally a bad area on that CD, on the media that the writer (because it’s writing an audio CD) couldn’t really tell you that something had gone wrong because the error checking isn’t happening and it just had a problem.

For the record (there’s an interesting pun for those of us who have been around long enough to remember vinyl records), vinyl records played from the outside in. CDs play from the inside out so the audio track that is the first one that you were having a problem with is actually the one that’s closest to the center of the disc; so if you’re looking for physical deformities or physical issues, a scratch or something else like that, that’s the place to look.

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4 comments on “Why did the first track of my newly burned audio CD not play properly?”

  1. I hate Windows Media Player (for various reasons), so I use different programs (all free) to do different things…Google K-lite codec for a player that (so far) plays ANYTHING. It’s not fancy, but it plays ANYTHING…seriously.

    Burning w/ WMP has never gone well with me, either, so I use Ashampoo 6 (FREE) and so far it has never failed me.

    Thanks again, Leo, for all the advice and help!

    Reply
  2. I have found that CD-R discs with music I have recorded using my PC and Windows Media Player do not always play on my car CD immediately but may do after several tries inserting the disc. They always play on my PC. I now use only CD discs and they work on both systems with no problems.

    Reply
  3. Two things you might try to get a better result burning music:
    1. Burn at a slower speed e.g. 16x or slower if your burner drive allows it. You did not mention the speed that you used but when burning music but when I burn music (and I burn a lot of music) I always burn at the slowest speed that my burner drive will allow. When burning music on a CD-R my LG burner only allows 16x or faster. So I burn music at speed 16x.
    2. Try using “Verbatim” CD-R discs. If you look on Amazon 315 people reviewed the “Verbatim” brand and it received an overall rating of 4 out 5 stars.
    Mike W.

    Reply

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