Making a copy of an audio CD on my iBook.

Posted on July 26, 2004

Today, for the first time, I had to duplicate an audio CD on my iBook.
My server’s CD writer has been shot for quite some time now and I haven’t yet had the need to do this kind of thing so I had no idea how to go about it.
Well, obviously I knew I could use cdda2wav and cdrecord just like on the Linux server, but I knew there had to be a way to do it which was more Mac-oriented (i.e. a mouse-engineering approach).
It turns out there is such a way but, contrary to what I’ve come to expect from this platform, it is not all that obvious, it doesn’t even involve the Disk Utility, but instead iTunes and some preferences tweaking.
I guess they don’t like people duplicating disks, but I don’t like using my original discs on the car stereo either…

So I googled for it and I came up with one page that explained how to do it in several ways, including the good old-fashioned mouse-engineering way.

Since the page is rather long and contains loads of other stuff I’ll summarize it here for future reference:

  • Insert the original disk on the drive and either wait for iTunes to open automatically or fire it up yourself;
  • Open the preferences page of iTunes and on the Importing pane choose “Import Using: AIFF Encoder”;
  • Still in the preferences go to the Burning pane and choose “Disk Format: Audio CD”, “Gap Between Songs: none” and de-select “Use Sound Check”;
  • Import the CD in the usual way;
  • Insert the blank CD on the drive;
  • Burn the CD on the usual way;
  • Delete the songs from iTunes and if you really want them on your Mac import them again with your preferred encoder which probably compresses them and doesn’t waste so much space.

This procedure is a bit more detailed than the one on the page I mentioned earlier and it does work for me.
You get an identical copy of the CD that’s even recognizable on CDDB.