Digital DJ Tips reader Nonso writes: “I have done a mixtape using Serato SL4, which I’d like to burn onto a CD. I had to convert the file to MP3, because it was too big to fit onto a CD otherwise. It is currently a continuous mix without tracks, though. I’d like to know how I can break it into individual tracks. Also what is the commonest music file format to have one’s mixtape in?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
There are two things here.
Firstly, file format. You’re confusing data CDs with audio CDs. It is possible to burn a file (MP3, WAV, whatever) onto a CD as a digital computer file, in the same way you can burn pictures, or programs onto disc. But what you end up with here are data CDs that can then only be read by other computer CD drives (or if you’ve burned MP3s or other digital audio files, sometimes by specialist CD players). This is what you have been doing, but it’s not the right way to burn an audio CD. Instead, you want to do just that – select “audio CD” rather than “data CD” on your burning software. Then, you’ll get a universally playable audio disc, and as long as your original mix was 74 minutes or shorter (or 80, depending on your CDs and burner) it will fit onto the CD just fine.
Regarding adding track markers, you can do this (as well as label the track names) using a great free program called Audacity to prepare your audio. There are a couple of hoops to jump through to make sure you have gapless audio, though, which is obviously necessary for DJ mixes.
In short, though, Audacity lets you label a great long waveform, similar to the one in your DJ software, with little flags like cue markers that mark where you want track breaks, titles and so on. The exact instructions as to how to do all of this are in the Audacity help file, but it’s simple enough once you get the hang of it.
Do you have a favourite trick or piece of software you always use when turning digital DJ mixes into CDs? Got any more advice to add for Nonso? Please feel free to do so in the comments.