Tutorial: Creating an audio CD from a Pristine Classical MP3
MP3+CUE - Pristine Classical's download solution
Each of our full-length MP3s has a CUE file associated with it. You'll find these bundled in ZIP downloads, or on the download page of our MP3 downloads. These provide all the timing and titles information for our recordings. With MP3+CUE you can listen without annoying track breaks, create seamless CDs, and pull out individual tracks from a long MP3 using free software. This tutorial shows you how to make a seamless CD using both free and commercial CD writing software.
Pristine Classical - the only site that offers gap-less MP3 replay and CD transfer of classical music!
do we use CUE sheets rather than individual MP3s?
asked this a number of times, so here's the answer, in two short clips:
hear from playing the second of these clips, there's a short gap between the movements
- a shortcoming of the MP3 format, which inserts digital silences at the
start and finish of each file. Brief it may be, but you'll soon find it
incredibly off-putting. What's worse, some MP3 players exaggerate this
further, with maybe up to a half-second gap between tracks - they're designed
for pop music, after all.
MP3+CUE system the recording will offer seamless continuitybetween movements. The laternative - a series
of short MP3s - might mean you'd have nasty interruptions many times
over the playing of a CD, each one a needless source of distraction and
sheet system is a simple and elegant way to avoid this. It does require
compatible CD-writing software (most PC-based software can handle our
cue-sheets directly, some requires a small work-around, and nobody's yet
written a suitable utility for the Mac, though a cue
splitter program may help). But once you've mastered the simple procedure
to write discs using cue sheets it's a far better option - in our view
- than cobbling together lots of individual MP3 files and hearing those
gaps at the start and end of each track.
Burrrn - The free solution for CD burning
This tutorial was originally written for Ahead's Nero software. Since then a new piece of free software which supports our MP3+CUE system has become available called Burrrn, which is simple and easy to operate. The Nero tutorial is below, as is help for those with other CD writing software, but if you're in need of a simple, free solution we're happy to offer these instructions for use with Burrrn:
- Click the Add button and select the CUE file (which must be in the same folder as your MP3)
- Select the highest writing speed of your CD writer and insert a blank disc
- Press the Burrrn button
There's more on how to use Burrrn here.
Burrrn is a free software download from burrrn.net and can be downloaded here - note that we cannot offer direct support for this software!
The NERO Tutorial - What's Needed:
To follow this example, you will
need the following:
- A copy
of the MP3 "This Is High Fidelity", saved as PAXX001.mp3
- A copy
of the associated cue file, saved as PAXX001.cue (here)
in the same folder as the MP3
- A blank
- A copy
of Ahead Nero* (trial copy and online software purchase available
tutorial is based on Ahead Nero software. Other software may be used instead,
but note that of the most common software, Roxio does not handle MP3 and
cue files together. A workaround solution to this problem is addressed here.
If you use Nero Express it's very easy:
When you open Nero Express you need to select the option marked "Disc Image or Saved Project" and select the Cue file. There will then be a delay of up to a minute, depending on your PC's speed, as Nero Express checks the validity of the MP3 file against the cue sheet. You should then be able to proceed to burning the CD. (N.B. Make sure the cue sheet and MP3 file are in the same folder on your PC.) Good luck!
For the full Nero program (version 6 illustrated):
Select Nero Burning ROM from the programs menu. Nero is a large,
complex program and from its basic start screen it may not recognise your
In the New Compilation dialogue select the Open... button in the
bottom right hand corner of the box:
Navigate to your CUE file and select it - in this case it's PAXX001.cue and it should be in the same folder as PAXX001.mp3. Note that it's
normal at this stage for there to be a delay of anything up to a minute
while Nero scans the MP3 file. Be patient and await the next dialogue.
is important that these files are not renamed either by you or by your
browser - in some cases you might find you have PAXX001.cue.txt - if so,
select the file with your right hand mouse button, click on rename,
and edit the filename to remove the .txt extension.
When the Burn Compilation box appears, simply click on the Burn button as shown:
Your CD will now be written, with all the track points inserted
automatically. Once the write process has finished you can pop it into
any audio CD player for replay.
can now download and print out CD covers, ready for cutting to fit a standard
jewel case. Our covers are offered as .pdf files, which use the
free Adobe Reader program to display and print. Make sure when you do
print covers out that they are not being re-sized by Adobe Reader to fit
your paper as this may stretch or squash the image, making it too big
or too small for the CD case. See our cover printing guide for more information
Workaround for Roxio (and other CD-writing software)
the people who write Roxio software see fit to include all sorts of superfluous
features in their software, but not the rather useful one of using CUE
files to split MP3s when burning to CD. You can use a freeware cue
splitter to convert the MP3 into a series of MP3 files and burn these
to disc, or use the workaround detailed below.
software does recognise CUE files for WAV audio files, and here we explain
the extra steps required to achieve this when starting with a long MP3
Convert the MP3 to a WAV file:
recommend the free program Exact Audio Copy (available here)
- a very useful utility generally, and with the ability to process MP3s.
(It's also well worth installing the LAME
MP3 encoder and decoder if you're likely to get much use out of MP3s
to use in conjunction with Exact Audio Copy.)
Decompress... from the Tools menu and save the WAV file
into the same directory as the MP3.
Edit the CUE file:
cue file is set up for use with your MP3 and needs to be modified so that
it looks instead for the WAV file you've just created. Fortunately it's
a simple text file which can be quickly altered:
Notepad in Windows (in the Programs/Accessories folder), open PAXX001.cue
and alter the highlighted text to replace mp3 with wav.
In other words replace the line:
FILE "PAXX001.mp3" MP3
FILE "PAXX001.wav" WAV
then save the file.
Make the audio CD with Roxio:
should now be able to open Roxio's CD writing program and select the CUE
file to work in conjunction with your WAV file and produce a finished
CD in a similar way to the method shown above for Ahead's Nero software.
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