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15 Import a CD with Joined Tracks

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9.gif Import a Music CD into iTunes

70.gif Customize Importing Options

Most CDs are designed so that you can play individual songs out of order, select them at random, mix them in with tracks from other discs, and so on. However, that’s not the case with all CDs. Some discs—for example, CDs of live performances (in which audience applause carries over from one track to the next) or spoken-word renditions of popular books—don’t sound very good when their tracks are shuffled around. Also, the technically inevitable “hiccup” that occurs between tracks (particularly on the iPod) can disrupt the flow of these unified streams of audio enjoyment.

iTunes provides a solution for this problem: You can import groups of CD tracks as joined tracks, meaning that several tracks are merged into a single unbroken digital audio file with no “hiccups” or internal breaks of any kind.

s1.gif Insert an Audio CD

Select an audio CD that you want to add to your iTunes Library. Insert it into the computer’s CD drive and close the drive door. Wait for iTunes to populate the CD’s track listing; if you’re connected to the Internet, the correct track names should be downloaded automatically from Gracenote and applied to the tracks.

s2.gif Select Tracks to Join

In the iTunes song listing, select two or more consecutive tracks on the CD. (Hold down Shift as you click.) Note that the tracks must be listed according to the track numbers (the first column) for the purpose of this task.

s3.gif Join CD Tracks

Choose Advanced, Join CD Tracks. This command creates what is effectively a single long track from the selected tracks. When you import the CD, only one audio file is created from the joined tracks, taking on the name and other track info of the first track in the selection. (The individual track names and numbers are no longer available, although the imported album retains the original number of total tracks, and nonjoined tracks are not renumbered.) A “bracket” appears next to the joined tracks, indicating their joined status.

To unjoin a set of joined tracks, first select one or more of the joined tracks; then choose Advanced, Unjoin CD Tracks. However, note that this approach applies only to tracks you haven’t yet imported; once the tracks are imported as a single joined file, you can’t split them up again without painstaking manual editing in a specialized audio program.

s4.gif Import the CD

Click the Import button to begin importing the CD into your iTunes Library. Examine the resulting songs in your Library when the process is done. You should see only a single long track in place of the set of joined tracks you selected, and their flow will be uninterrupted when you play back the track.

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