This page last modified on December 28th, 2000.
Frequently Asked Questions about CD-R
FAQ: I've got my stereo hooked
up to my computer's Sound Card but I don't get any sound when I try to
record, why not?
Don't Panic! (A very important rule in any situation!)
The first thing to do is find the "mixer" application that came with your
sound card. Usually you can access it through an icon on your task tray
that looks like a small speaker. Double click it, and it should bring up
a set of volume controls. Look for a recording level control and a line-in,
or Auxiliary volume control. Make sure they're not set to zero. Also look
for a "mute" checkbox for either or both of those controls and make sure
it's NOT checked. If you don't see an Auxiliary, or Line-In control,
click the "Options" menu, and you should be able to tell the mixer to display
that control. If all that seems good, once again go to the "Options"
menu, and select the "Recording" radio button. Make sure that the
"line-in" or "Aux" input is selected for recording, and try again.
FAQ: How can I get a set of files
for ECDC 5's system tests?
Here's a handy little utility that'll create a set of files
for both the large and small file tests, on whatever drive you want. And then you
can run it again to delete the files. Heck, you could even burn them to CD and
have it ready to run against your CD-ROM drive! testfils.exe
FAQ: How do I get Take Two to
write the image to my Hard Drive?
I've answered this question so many times, I finally
decided to put it here. The process is really pretty simple....
1) Select the drive(s) you want to backup
2) With your CD-R(W) drive empty, start the backup.
Now when Take Two asks for a blank CD, click the "Advanced" button, and
select whatever HD you want to write to.
3) Tell T2 to limit the file size to 650MB. (This
assumes you want to eventually write the image to CD.) And don't
worry, T2 will write multiple files if it needs to.
4) Let it run. If your image requires multiple
files, you'll have to keep pressing the "Advanced" button, and telling
T2 what to name the "next" file.
FAQ: If Audio takes up 10 Meg
per minute, how can I put 74 minutes of music onto a 650 Meg blank CD?
Good question! The answer has to do with the way the
data is stored on the CD. Each block on a CD holds 2352 bytes. When you
are putting data onto the CD, 2048 (2K) bytes of data are put into each
block, and the other 304 bytes are used for Error Correction Code (ECC)
data. Audio CD's don't get that level of ECC, and so you get a full 2352
bytes of music (1/75th second) in each block, almost 15% more "information".
There is a level of error correction applied to Audio CD's, but it has
to do with the way the bits are physically stored on the CD, not by adding
FAQ: Why do I get clicks and
pops when I make a copy of my Audio CD?
I'm assuming you have a good legal reason to make a copy
of your Audio CD. As you might have read above, audio CD's (CD-DA) don't
have as much ECC on them. Trying to read the data straight from a CD-DA
is called Digital Audio Extraction, or, DAE. Without the ECC of a data
CD, it becomes much more difficult to accurately read the data of a CD-DA,
and many drives simply don't do it well. Most CD-R drives do DAE reasonably
well, and some drives behave much better when slowed down to 1X. The 24X
and 32X Panasonic drives have a good reputation for doing good, fast DAE.
By far the drives with the best reputation for good, fast DAE are Plextor
drives. These are more expensive, and only support SCSI interfaces, but
if you'll be doing a lot of DAE work, they're a good investment. The drives
that do accurate and fast DAE implement something called, "Stream Is Accurate"
reading, which has also been called, "jitter correction". Beyond the name,
I can't tell you how it works.
FAQ: How do I make a Video CD
Important: a Video CD is not, repeat
a DVD disc! Some DVD players specify that they will play Video CD's.
A lot of them will not be able to read a CD-R disc. Check
your player to see if it specifies whether it will or won't. Video
CD is not the same high quality of the DVD format. To be more specific,
the "White Book" specification states that the bit-rate of the data being
read from a VCD will be the same as that for an Audio CD! So, with
an audio CD, you've got good quality music coming at you at 176,000 bytes/second.
Now imagine squeezing an audio track
and video data into that same
176,000 bytes/second! The actual image size captured is 352x240 pixels.
Of course, that means that you get an hour of video onto a standard CD.
But enough about that... obviously, you'll need to start
with some way of capturing the video. There are a number of video
capture options available, some capture various formats of .AVI file (Motion
JPEG is one of those formats), some do hardware compression and capture
directly to .MPG file. In the end, you need a .MPG file (or a set
of them) to create a Video CD. I have an Iomega BUZ card,
which is a combination Ultra SCSI and Video Capture card in one.
It captures in Motion JPEG format. (Adaptec makes the VideOh! capture
"card". It actually plugs into your parallel port, and does hardware
compression directly to .MPG format, so you're not limited to the .AVI
file size. And there are other cards/options available too.)
From there, I run the .AVI file through the Xing (www.xingtech.com) MPEG
Encoder, using the Video CD settings, to create the .MPG file(s).
One limitation of the .AVI file is you can only capture about 15 minutes
before you hit the file size limit. So, having some way of editing
together multiple .MPG files is a feature, though not essential.
Once you've got your collection of .MPG files (or one
big one, whatever...) you're ready to start putting your VCD layout together.
At this point, you've got a choice, a "Simple Video Sequence", or a "One
Level Menu Structure." The first is just as it's name implies.
You put one or more .MPG files into the layout, and they get played in
the order you specify. The "One Level Menu Structure" is a bit more
complex. You start with a "Start Sequence". This gets played
when the disc is first loaded. Then you have to create a menu, which
is displayed after the "Start Sequence", and should indicate what sequences
are available when you press a certain number. For example, if you've
put together a bunch of short home movie scenes, you can use the index
numbers to go directly to a certain scene. Once that video is played,
the menu is redisplayed.
With your layout created, you're ready to burn your disc.