Can you make an exact copy of a hi-fi CD?

  Maughan 23:05 03 Apr 2006

I have a high-end hi-fi system which benefits greatly from better-quality recordings (ie
uncompressed original recordings and high production values).

I want to make some CD compilations (for my own use) of various tracks that bring the best out in the hi-fi, but I only want to do so if I am making and playing exact copies of the originals.

When ripping a CD track onto the hard drive of a PC (using XP Home), is it
copied exactly (i.e. a completely mirror image of exactly the same 1s and 0s)? (I am
of course not including mp3 or other compressed file formats in my question). Does the
answer depend on the software used or is it implicit from the fact that
the CD is just 1s and 0s that any copy is exact?

Also (not really a PC question, but...) is the quality of the original recording entirely dependent simply on the
arrangement of the 1s and 0s, or is there something else on/in the
recording process that affects the quality of replay?

Assuming exact copies, when those ripped tracks are then burned to a
CD-R, is that CD-R also an exact copy of the original?

Thank you!


  Stuartli 23:31 03 Apr 2006

You don't need to "rip" audio CD tracks to make a compilation as it can easily be done by using Nero in the tracks' original form.

You will have to keep copying whichever tracks you want in the compilation from each CD (inserting and removing each CD) until the disk is almost full; the bar at the bottom of the compilation menu advises the space remaining.

Remember that a CD plays from the inside out so if you want a particular tracks order you will have to work "back to front" when compiling the list i.e. last track first and so on.

An explanation of the method is readily available either in the Nero Help files or from the click here website.

  terryf 01:49 04 Apr 2006


  Maughan 13:57 04 Apr 2006

Hi Stuartli

Thanks for your post. Could you please specify which Nero product does what you describe? I cannot see anything on the Nero website that matches it.

Have you done this process yourself? Does the resulting CD-R contain a perfect mirror copy of the original CD files?

Thank you!


  Marsh Warden © ™ 14:23 04 Apr 2006

This click here claims to do what you want, and it's free (apart from the cost of a stamp). Hope it helps.

  Stuartli 17:57 04 Apr 2006

I do it with Nero 6 (although I'm sure that it was equally possible with Nero 5 and 5.5) and, yes, it's a perfect copy of the original.

The only difference, obviously, is that an audio CD and a CD-R contain the information on the disk in different ways. But the end result is the same.

  Maughan 18:04 04 Apr 2006

Thanks Stuartli

In what way do an "audio CD and a CD-R contain the information on the disk in different ways"?

The audio CD contains audio files (presumably) but does the CD-R contain data files? If so, would that not affect the "purity" of the playback (which is what I trying to preserve) on a high-end CD audio system?

What I want to achieve is to have a CD-R that contains an exact mirror image of the audio files taken from original audio CDs.


  gudgulf 18:22 04 Apr 2006

When you copy a cd with Nero what you get is as near as you can get to a perfect copy of the music cd.

The differences are that the cd copy contains it's information in a dye layer in the blank disc which is burn away by the laser when it records.

The main difference is in the durability of the duplicates wont stand anywhere near the amount of handling that a commercial music cd will.

There are writable blank cds made specifically for high quality music recording where the recording layer is encased in a protective coating (Sony make some of these) but the cost premium is quite high.

To be quite frank the best thing to do is try it........I can't hear any difference on my own hifi...and that's far from cheap.

  Maughan 18:24 04 Apr 2006

Thank you all - I will buy Nero tomorrow and give it a go.

(Which particualr Nero product do I need...?! There seem to be loads.)

  DieSse 18:32 04 Apr 2006

An audio CD contains audio files, whether it's a pressed commercial one, or a CD-R recorded in an audio format.

There are things that can affect sound quality however - apart from the actual datastream. There are many write-ups on the web - examples

click here

click here

click here (looks a good write-up)

click here

There's a forum on the cdfreaks site which would bear a trawl through to look for other useful info.

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