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It really is easy (to make your own CDs)

by Andrew McIntyre

After writing my previous article “Rolling Your own Audio CDs”, I received a lot of user feedback. Apparently my steps in the audio CD recording process were not as easy as I had hoped that they would be.

To solve this problem, I have two software recommendations to make burning your own CDs as easy as pie. The software that I’m talking about is HyCD Play&Record and PTS-Audio CD MP3 Studio. With these software titles, anyone can directly burn audio CDs from their MP3 files. It takes no experience with CD Recorders (CDR or CDRW), decoding files, or anything beyond the basics of the average user’s computer knowledge.  I now think that if you can download or encode and play MP3 files, you have enough computer know-how to put them on a CD that will play in your home stereo, using a CD burner. The idea behind both these software titles is simple, taking the hassle out of making audio CDs from your MP3 collection.
 

HyCD Play&Record

A trial version of Play & Record is available at www.HyCD.com.  

Play & Record tries to be an MP3/Sound Editing/Audio CD burning program. It succeeds at all 3. But even just as an Audio CD suite I found that HyCD was up to par with any burning software out there.
MP3 support is just the great addition that puts it ahead of the other audio burning Suites. HyCD Play&Record uses a great system, that most people are familiar with from word processing, to record CDs.
When burning an Audio CD you use a right mouse click to select the HyCD Copy option to select your files in indows explorer. To record the CD, you only have to press the HyCD Paste option on the drive of your CD recorder. 
The CDR playlist comes up with all your selections, wav files or MP3s. 

All that is left is to select the order of the desired songs and press record. HyCD’s software does all the MP3 decoding and begins the CD burn. The thing that makes this kind of software so appealing, is that it takes the work out of making audio CDs. HyCD Play&Record’s features are not exclusively limited to MP3 to CD though. Making Audio CDs from wav files and direct CD to CD copying is also included. There is also a sound editor to clean up the sound of your wav files before burning them to disc, an MP3 encoder and decoder, an MP3 player and even a data CD burning feature.

HyCD Play&Record is very user friendly and has a great tutorial and great help files. The only gripes I have are minimal interface tweaks that are being looked at as you read this. There is also the possibility of some incompatibility issues if you have an older CDR, but I have been assured that those problems are also being looked into.  Future updates will take care of any problems. If you have been considering spending some money on a MP3 or CD burning suite, I would definitely consider Play & Record. The price for the Play & Record with MP3 encoding capability is less than $60 U.S.

A better name for HyCD Play&Record would be “Everything you ever wanted in a Music/Burning program”.
In my opinion, a definite 5 out of 5 stars.
 

PTS - Audio CD MP3 Studio

Available at products.pts-shop.de

Audio CD MP3 Studio has a few of HyCD Play&Record’s features, the most prominent being, the ability to make audio CDs directly from your MP3 collection with no need to do any of the work yourself. This program is quite a bargain for only $30. It supports both MP3 and wav files and does a good job of automating the process of recording your MP3 files to an audio CD. Audio CD MP3 Studio is a good addition to your burning software but it isn’t a replacement like HyCD Play&Record. Selecting MP3 or wav files to burn is as easy as picking which songs you want in the add track menu and pressing open within the program then selecting what order you want the tracks in. A great feature of this program is the ability to save the burning playlist so that you can make the same CD over again with out too much trouble. The help files are well done and the program is pretty easy to get the hang of.

Using a special trial access code, PTS Audio CD MP3 Studio is available to download and use 20 times.
Just enter the serial number code: CSN02A-999893-0303

The only complaint with PTS - Audio CD Studio is a few little bugs and the amount of effort it takes to change the order of the songs around that you want to burn. 

In my opinion, this product deserves its MP3.com previously rated 5 out of 5 stars.

PTS - Audio CD MP3 Studio is a piece of software, with a small price tag, that makes a great addition to your library of CD burning software. Check out the PTS web site (http://products.pts-shop.de/) for more information or to register your shareware copy. 

The Gold Edition of PTS - Audio CD MP3 Studio has many more features including an Ripper/Encoder.  

Both HyCD Play&Record and PTS-Audio CD MP3 Studio save you time and make the MP3 to Audio CD recording process easier.

 


HyCD Play&Record (Proprietary, $60 U.S)
(Trial version available)
www.HyCD.com

PTS-Audio CD MP3 Studio
Special trial access
Access code (serial number): CSN02A-999893-0303 http://products.pts-shop.de

Originally published: June, 2000


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MP3 system requirements

Windows:
Win 95*, 98 or NT (*OS-R2)
200 MHz Pentium
32 MB RAM
Netscape Communicator 4.5 or better
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or better
56K modem**

Linux:
i386 or compatible hardware
CD-ROM drive capable of digital audio extraction
32 MB RAM
Netscape Communicator 4.5 or better
56K modem**

**Unless you have a cable modem or better, we recommend that you listen in Lo-Fi. Hi-Fi requires more bandwidth than standard 56K modems can handle.