Placing index markers when burning CD

I’d like to burn a CD with altered index markers (so I can place some audio in the negative time of a track, e.g. a “hidden track” before track 01 of a CD). In the past I have just used iTunes. I downloaded the open source software, “Burn”, which seems to have a square you can click on to “use index points”, but doesn’t seem to have any way of placing those points in the first place. Maybe I am wrong - I just downloaded it but there isn’t a handy forum for that software (that I know of) like there is here. Does anyone know of any other free software that can do this? I can’t afford to spring for Nero or Toast at the moment.

<<<so I can place some audio in the negative time of a track, e.g. a “hidden track” before track 01 of a CD>>>

I don’t know that a standard Music CD has any provision for that. Not that you can’t do it, but some older Music CD players pay throw up and not play the disk. There is a newer technology to actually burn titles and other information into a data section of a Music CD, but then it’s not a Music CD and many of those will not play in my truck/lorry.


Keep doing that. iTunes will run on the two major OSs and I believe it’s still a free download.


Sure, I’ve seen many CDs that do it… I’m pretty sure it just uses the ordinary CD-encryption technology. You generally have around two seconds of silence in negative time before many tracks on commercial CDs. Sometimes that time is expanded and includes audio. The only thing you need to do is separate the Index 01 marker (where the track begins playing when you skip to it) from the Index 00 marker (the actual beginning of track data). I just don’t know any program that can separate those markers … iTunes can’t. You’re right about encoding data or other non-audio information, but that’s not what I need.

You can include additional data on CDs and still maintain standard audio CD compatibility, but not by inserting the audio in “negative time” or between index markers (I’ve never heard of either of those things). The usual method of adding additional data is to use “Mixed Mode”.
For Windows, CDBurnerXP is free and can make Mixed Mode CDs
For Linux, K3b or Brasero.

As a matter of interest - if tracks are “hidden” in the manner that you describe - how can they be accessed?

<<<I’m pretty sure it just uses the ordinary CD-encryption technology.>>>

Music CD aren’t encrypted. The music is a cousin of plain WAV format but stripped down to be as small as possible to get as much music on the platter as they could. They use a smaller than normal file header, etc. And no song titles.

You got me on the index marks. I always thought the gap at the front was the heads cranking back to find the first note of track 1.


It’s part of the red book specification: Minimum duration for a track is 4 seconds (including 2-second pause)

Writing a CD in TAO (track at once) mode, it is not possible to avoid a gap between tracks. Writing DAO (disk at once) the two second limitation can be overcome, though I guess that it is not strictly red book compliant. CD players can (always? very commonly?) play “gapless” CDs, but starting playback at a specific track on these disks may not reliably start at exactly the track mark location.

The Who Live at Leeds remastered edition (single CD, can’t speak for the double CD). All the between-song patter is in the “pause” regions. So if you play the CD through you get all the between-song patter, but if you skip to the start of a track you go straight to where the music starts. The patter isn’t just at the end of the previous track - you can see the time display counting down.

You can make the “pause” between tracks as long as you want using Toast (including 0 with no problems), but it takes special software to put audio in the pause region.

Hidden tracks were done in a similar fashion by putting audio in the “pause” before track 1, but as has been pointed out many CD players don’t like that very much.

– Bill

Well, if it’s Track 01, you would rewind after pressing play. If it’s any other track, you just let the CD play normally and the “hidden” audio plays in between the prior track and the track it’s on. You just wouldn’t hear it if you skipped to that track directly … like Bill said above.

Here are better explanations of what I am talking about - the first link indicates that this IS possible to do from standard CD burning programs (albeit rather expensive ones, or ones that only run on Windows - thus my question):

Again, it’s just audio - not data. Just a standard audio CD.

<<<the two second limitation can be overcome, though I guess that it is not strictly red book compliant.>>>

I think it might be. I think the two second pause is a recommended default. They knew about classical music back in 1983.


so any tracks you try to “hide” in the middle of the disc are simply difficult to seek to.

The exact opposite of what I would want for an audio CD :smiley:

I’d not heard of this “trick”, and I have doubts as to how compatible the resulting CD will be with CD players, though I guess it’s an interesting gimmick if it works at least some of the time. If you’ve got a few CDs to play with, you could try messing around with CDBurnerXP (it supports cue sheets). For Linux, try K3B. (both are free).

I’m pretty sure that having a gap at the beginning of at least 2 seconds is not optional. The other gaps may be, but without shelling out 280 Swiss Francs I guess we’ll never know for sure.

Well, I’ve at least seen it on commercial CDs that are entirely compatible. You’re right, the 2 seconds is only standard for Track 01 - it can be any length for the other tracks, and there’s no real reason for it to be silence rather than audio.

Thanks for your suggestions, I had heard of CDBurnerXP but I do have a Mac so I haven’t been able to find a program.

I would also like to hear about how to do this using a Mac. Specifically what programs

My guess would be that on Mac it’s going to cost money.