How to Record an MP3 to a CD-R

By Erica Dreisbach

MP3 is a common compressed format for music, podcasts, audiobooks and other audio. To burn an MP3 file onto a CD-R, you can create either an audio CD of uncompressed audio that can be played on all CD players and stereos, or a data disc that contains the MP3 files as compressed audio and can only be played on MP3 players and computers. A typical audio CD will have higher-quality sound than an MP3 CD and can hold around 80 minutes of music, or approximately 20 songs. An MP3 CD stores files in their compressed form and can hold around 700 MB of music, or approximately 250 songs.

Create an Audio CD

Step 1

Create a playlist for your audio CD using a music application like iTunes or Winamp, available free from their respective websites. In iTunes, select "New Playlist" from the "File" menu. In Winamp, click the "Manage Playlists" button in the "Playlist" editor and select "New Playlist."

Step 2

Drag your desired songs into the playlist. In the playlist, drag songs up or down to modify the order.

Insert a blank CD-R into your computer's CD drive and burn your MP3s. In iTunes, click the "Burn Disc" icon in the lower-right corner of the playlist window. In Winamp, click the "Send-To" button at the bottom of the playlist window and select "CD Burner."

Create an MP3 or Data CD

Step 1

Load your desired MP3s into a new folder on your computer. Make sure that the folder size does not exceed the size of the CD. On a Mac, right-click the folder and select "Get Info" to check the folder size. On a PC, right-click the folder and select "Properties."

Step 2

Drag the folder of music onto the CD burner or CD drive. On a Mac, use Finder to open one window with your playlist folder and one for your recordable disc drive. On a PC, click "Start" and "Computer" to open one window with your playlist folder and one for your recordable disc drive.

Insert a blank CD-R into your computer's CD drive and burn your MP3s by dragging the music folder into the recordable disc drive folder.

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