Recorded CD will not play in player or car.

In the past when using Windows XP and Pinnacle software, for experimental reasons before committing to CD-R, I recorded on CD-RW’s which I could play on a none digital radio and in my car.
I am now new to iMac Mountain Lion and Audacity 2 with which I have just recorded one of my old vinyls to CD-RW (WAV format). The CD will play in the iMac’s Superdrive but not in my player or car.
I can’t see any obvious reason for this nor find a previous similar question asked. Can anyone therfeore please offer a solution?

Stop recording Data CDs and stop using CD-RW.

CD-RW can sometimes be forced to work on some players if you do everything else absolutely correct, but single-use CD-R disks were designed for this task.

Audio CDs can be made with a Music CD Authoring Program such as iTunes or Windows Media, not by dragging and dropping sound files into a CD.

After collecting your music in the program, choose “Burn Audio CD” from the burn dialog, not any of the other options. You should be offered options for gap or silent spaces between songs – the standard one is two seconds. Straight data recording (the wrong one) offers no such options.

Note that Audio CDs have a limit of around 78 minutes of music and that’s another way to tell you’re doing it right.


In the case of a Mac, create an iTunes playlist with your desired songs in it. Then from the file dialog, Burn Playlist to a CD and follow the instructions. Newer Macs have been making this burn dialog harder to find, but it’s still there (assuming your Mac has access to a CD burner).

One other common mistake. Only put the blank CD in the burner when iTunes asks for it. If you put it in first by accident, select “Ignore” from the mount dialog. Koz

Hello Koz. Many thanks for your replies. I did adopt the procedures you mention and tried again. To my amazement, it worked fine that time and I was able to play on both devices with a CD-RW. Using the CD-RW has always worked for me in the past which I felt enabled me to ensure the recording was not faulty then I would add it to a CD-R. I think I may have put the blank CD in the burner first like you mentioned, so that might have been the problem. I notice that the recording automatically popped into iTunes Albums so creating the Playlist is easy and might be the better option. My Mac doesn’t have an integral burner but the Mac Superdrive is a USB burner. I’ll try again now noting all your comments. So, thank you again. Regards. Brian

Incidentally Kos, I notice in the Audacity Preferences Quality section, the Default Sample Format shows as 32 bit. Should that be altered to 16 bit?

That’s a little messy. Audacity always works internally at 32-bit floating. If your show equipment also runs at 32-floating, then there is zero conversion damage when you manage and edit your show. If you start out life at 16-bit, then Audacity has to convert twice, once in and once out. As good as Audacity is, there is always a tiny conversion error.

This brings us to a common mistake. Audacity is a show or production editor, not a WAV editor. Scientists regularly complain bitterly that the sound data arithmetic never comes out exactly even.

Yes. That’s correct. It doesn’t. But the show sounds grand, doesn’t it?


To be clear, there is zero damage when converting from 16 bit to 32 bit.
There is some loss when converting from 32 bit to 16 bit because there’s only half the number of bits available.

It’s a bit like, writing 16 words on a piece of paper that has room for 32 words is no problem, but if you need to write 32 words on a piece of paper that only has room for 16, then you’ll need to abbreviate.

It is generally recommended to leave Audacity at the default 32 bit float, and convert to 16 bit as the last step (which happens automatically when you export as 16 bit WAV).

Ok. Thank you both for that. I’ll leave it at 32 in the Preferences.