Tech Tip:What Do I Need To Record A CD with My Computer?
We can list only the most basic components here. The following items can get you started.
First, of course, you need a computer and a CD Burning program. There are a number of good programs for both Macs and PCs.
There are two types of computer-based CD-recording (CD-R) units, SCSI and IDE. A SCSI CD-R is preferable because it's significantly faster, and it's less likely to fail due to inability to transfer information with sufficient speed. IDE devices are usually, but not always, fast enough, so get a SCSI device if you can.
If you don't already have a SCSI interface on your computer, you'll also need a SCSI adapter card. Preferably, get an adapter that converts a PCI slot to SCSI; adapters that convert ISA slots are much slower.
You'll need a hard drive with at least a gigabyte of usable space. CDs hold about 650Mb of data, but more is needed to handle the buffers in the recording software. Actually, two gigs of usable space are better, because you may want room for some audio processing software plug-ins. Ideally, use a separate hard drive for your CD recording.
An audio interface is needed to get the audio into and out of the computer. Some audio interfaces have analog inputs/outputs (I/Os), some have digital, and others have both. Digital I/Os transfer the highest quality sound, by far. You may want both analog and digital I/Os - the digital I/O to record DAT tapes and CDs, the analog I/O for LPs and live recording. Also, PCI cards are superior to ISA cards, because they are faster and susceptible to fewer hardware conflicts. Many audio interfaces also include CD Recording software.
CDs sample at 44.1kHz. If your audio source was recorded digitally at 32 or 48kHz, you'll need to convert the sample rate to 44.1. Some soundcards can resample in realtime, a fast and efficient solution. Some recording software can convert the sample rate by resampling the data that was recorded onto the hard drive. This can be time-consuming, depending on the speed of the computer. Outboard resamplers are quick and effective, but more expensive. Obviously, if your source was recorded at 44.1kHz, you don't have to convert the sample rate.
One more item is needed - a blank recordable WORM CD. WORM stands for Write Once, Read Multiple. It works just like a standard CD, and you can play it in any CD player.
We haven't even scratched the surface of CD recording here, but we hope you now have an idea of what you'll need.