Your Questions: How Can I Split The Tracks On My Mix CD?

Audacity is great for preparing DJ mixes for burning to CD, and it's also free.

Audacity is great for preparing DJ mixes for burning to CD, and it's also free.

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.

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Comments

  1. DJ Squared says:

    There is another way to split your file into tracks called a cue sheet. I used a free program called Burrrn to create the CD. There is a great break down of how to do this at http://www.djforums.com/forums/showthread.php?956-How-to-make-a-demo. Although I would suggest going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cue_sheet_%28computing%29 and copying that cue sheet and using that one as your template. Anyways…this method worked out great for me.

    oh and (shameless plug)here is the mix I chopped up: http://soundcloud.com/djhighline/caution-may-contain-pop

  2. Hi. Nonso sounds like a Nigerian name to me. Anyways, as dj tips already said, Audacity works quite well both for recording and for splitting the mix up into seperate tracks for cds. You might also want to get Nero for finally burning and properly tagging it for cd players that can read the cd text:-)

  3. sameoldsong says:

    if you decide on doing this using audacity (which isn’t too bad an option even though i don’t use it for this), make sure you split into CDDA frames. (enable snap to CDDA frames in the selection toolbar.)

    obviously, you can split only 80min or so on an audio CD. (you shouldn’t convert to MP3 when creating an audio CD, as has been mentioned.)

    a problem of working with mp3s is that it’s relatively hard to get gapless playback with them. furthermore, not all audio players support gapless playback with mp3s.

    As for Phil’s comment “But what you end up with here are data CDs that can then only be read by other computer CD drives”

    That’s a gross exaggeration. The vast majority of CD players produced within the last 6-8 years support MP3 playback from data CDs. Even bargain-basement car stereos, boomboxes, Discmen, etc. can do it.

    And besides, who still listens to CDs anyway? Most people under 40 will probably rip a CD anyway in order to make it useable for their smartphone, MP3 players, home network and so on.

  4. Hi there, it’s also possible to do in Nero,you can split the file up in as many tracks as you want. After splitting you can give each track the info you want. Take note that you set the pause between tracs to zero seconds….

  5. I used to chop up my finished recording into separate wav files named 01.wav, 02.wav, and so on. Then when I burn discs, I use the “disc at once” function do there won’t be any gaps.

    Just curious, do patrons even want CDs anymore? I can understand it for demos, but I tend to think fans just want mp3s

    I do wish we could track mp3s for iPods. Just so one can skip tracks.

    • You can use Garage Band on any mac to chapterize your mixes as an enhanced podcast. The result is a single .m4a file where you can tap the fast forward button or rewind button to quickly scan through the mix to your desired location on any iOS device. Not only do I do this for my mixes, but I also include the track listing and date of the recording in the lyrics section meta data of the mix. This way if I am listening to an old mix and I hear a track I have forgotten I can quickly check the track listing on the spot by tapping the album art of the current mix being played.

  6. You can also use garage band if you have a mac

  7. Not my intention to make publicity, but I use mysel Goldwave for year now.
    You can manual que points in the file (MP3 or whatever) at each starting track. Or as I do, automated quepoints every x minutes (I do 4).
    In the que points windows is an option to split the file into parts numbering them (so thy stay in order) and make the splitted files an audio cd compatible.
    It works very well.
    Here’s the faq
    http://goldwave.com/faq.php#cdtracks

  8. I use acoustica mp3 audio mixer the best and super easy to use

  9. I put my entire mix from serato recording into ableton or acid pro. Slice the tracks where I want it. Then render each split file as a mp3. Tag them correctly. Export the files into nero or whatever with 0 seconds between tracks.

    DjGmani.com

  10. DJ Gerard says:

    +1 on Nero I used it for years. I didn’t know Audacity did it. WOW I haven’t made a mixCD in almost a year because I got my Macbook Pro last October and haven’t come across this. Nero is not for Mac if I am correct but IDK. I will consider Garage Band as mentioned above for the saved data options.
    There has to be an iTunes plug-in of a sort no??

  11. I would definatly recommend Audacity…..used it for a couple of years now, it’s so simple to split your mix into tracks…oh and it’s 100% free, which is always a bonus !

  12. Kent Sandvik says:

    Another cool things is the new Fission 2 for Mac just released. You could even non-destructively edit MP3 files! Pretty cheap, available from the Mac App store.

  13. I use Acoustica Mixcraft. I have been using it for years. Makes it a breeze to add track markers to a long mixed file. I usually use the track markers when I am burning a mix to a cd. I have noticed that if I try to place MP3’s in a file with track markers I am unable to avoid the slight millisecond of silence between the tracks. My tendency is to place mixed cd’s as one long MP3 file in iTunes or WediaMonkey.

  14. I wrote a small program that creates a CUE file from a Traktor NML Playlist & MP3/WAV recording. The beauty of it is that it parses the Track Name and Artist Names from the Traktor Playlist so all you need to enter is the timestamp of the beginning of each track in the mix to create the CUE file. It will then create the CUE with all track info for CD text. Then use any CD recording software with the CUE file to burn the mix to CD. Here’s where you can download it from.

    http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178321&highlight=cue+file

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