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More Fun Things to Do with Audio Tracks

Just when you thought we were ready to move on to Chapter 4 and learn about making data CDs, I must tell that you about a few more things you can do when making audio CDs with Easy CD Creator.

Creating WAV Files from CDs

You can save tracks from your CDs on your hard disk by using Easy CD Creator to create a WAV file. This is a good way to keep audio tracks that you might expect to use frequently in one place. Start by bringing up Easy CD Creator in Audio CD mode. Insert the CD that has the track you want to copy. Select the track you want to extract by clicking it once, and then click the Extract button on the toolbar. You can also select multiple tracks, using the Shift or Ctrl keys, as we discussed earlier in the chapter.

Where's the Problem?

In addition to allowing you to gather together a large number of audio files from various sources, extracting to WAV files can be good for troubleshooting, too. If you're having problems with sound quality on burned CDs, try extracting the audio track to a WAV file and playing it from your hard drive. If you can't play the file at all or problems with the quality exist, the culprit is probably your CD-ROM drive and not your burner.

A small dialog box pops up, enabling you to enter the location and filename for the file(s) to be created. In this dialog box, the default file type is WAV. If you want to work with smaller, but somewhat lower quality files, you can change this option to MP3. The default format is PCM 44,100Hz, 16 Bit, Stereo, which is basically equivalent to the format used on an audio CD. Believe me, you won't be able to tell the difference.

If you're extracting just one track, you also can give the file a name. For multiple tracks, Easy CD Creator does the naming for you using the track titles (yet another good reason to download CD information from the Web). All you have to do to finish the job is click the Save button; the track is written to your hard disk in just a few seconds.

In addition to this simple save job, you also can be a little more choosy in how the file gets saved. If you click the Advanced button, you can see some new options that give you even more control (see Figure 3.12).

Figure 3.12 The Advanced features enable you to merge tracks into a single file, among other things.

In the Settings area, there are two check boxes that might prove useful based on your needs:

  • Merge Contiguous Tracks to One File—This feature enables you to save two audio tracks together in one file. If you have one or more songs you want to keep together, this can save time later because you'll only have to select the one WAV file when it's time to make a CD.

  • Remove Digital Silence at End of Track—This editing feature can get rid of the dead air time at the end of a track. This might be useful if you are going to use the file in an editing program and just want the WAV file to contain the audible portion of the track.

Splitting Tracks

If you've merged two tracks into a single WAV file, you can split them apart again easily. After you've saved the file, just find it using the Explorer pane and highlight it by clicking it once. Then, click the Tracks menu and select Split Tracks.

In the Selection portion at the bottom of the window, you can use the Play button to play the track(s) with which you are working. You can use the sliding time bar to move to different points in the file. If you've selected multiple tracks, use the forward and back buttons to choose the one you want to hear.

When you're finished playing around, just click the Save button!

Fade Out, Fade In!

When you created the audio CD layout, you might have noticed that in addition to showing you the tracks (or the song titles if you used the Internet service to download them), other information appeared on each line in the layout. After each track or title are some fields you can manipulate easily. These are

  • Pause—You can insert a pause before a song gets played. You can indicate how many seconds and frames (there are about 75 frames per second) to use for the length of the pause.

  • Fade In—Use this to fade in slowly when the song starts. The song will start out in dead silence and gradually fade in up to the track's normal volume, all in the amount of time you select.

  • Fade Out—This works the same way as the Fade In option, but is applied at the end of a song, starting with full volume for the track and gradually fading out to silence, over the time period you specify.

  • Cross Fade—This one's a really great feature! With this option, you can have one song fade out while another fades in. Of course, you must select two tracks to use this function.

To use the Fade In/Fade Out feature, first select the track (or tracks) to which you want to apply it. You select them in the layout pane. After you've made your selection, click the Track menu at the top of the program window and select Edit audio effects. A small dialog box will pop up to enable you to specify the seconds/frames for the pause, fade in, and fade out values. If you've selected two tracks, you can select the amount of time to use for the cross fade.

The Least You Need to Know

  • Easy CD Creator is the simplest method to create a CD using other CDs, WAV files, or MP3 files.

  • Don't use Easy CD Creator if you want to make an exact copy of a CD—use Easy CD Copier instead.

  • For making audio CDs, it's usually best to use the disc-at-once method.

  • If you might need to periodically burn new copies of a CD layout, create an image file on your hard drive instead of burning right to the disc. This enables you to create CDs from the image whenever you want, without having to find the original source CDs.

  • If you regularly get buffer underrun errors, be sure to leave your PC alone while it's burning a CD! If that doesn't help, check out Chapter 15 to find out other ways to avoid this error.

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