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Microphone Month 5

Burning CDs – How long?

Q: “How long does it take to burn a CD?”

A: While CDs have been around for a few decades, and recording CDs in studios (or in homes) are now commonplace, this is a question that still comes up from time to time. So, how long does it take to burn a CD? Well, that largely depends on how much data or audio you need to burn to the CD, and your hardware. As music is sampled at a continuous rate for recording to CD, a typical CD (650 MB) can contain 74 minutes of Audio. Even though many recordable CDs are used for data-type purposes, most people measure record speed in multiples of ‘real time’. 1x record speed means that it takes 74 minutes to record (“burn”) 74 minutes of audio. 12x speed means: 74 minutes / 12 = 6.166… minutes.

There are some exceptions to this rule: Old CD-Rs were 63 minutes, and you may occasionally come across these. There is a ‘Type 80’ disc available, which contains almost 80 minutes. Since you do not have to put 74 minutes of audio on a CD-R, The record time can be significantly decreased if you have a shorter recording.

In summary: The number of minutes of audio or megabytes of data is directly proportional to the time required to record.

Note: Besides the record speed, a few variables can affect the record time positively or negatively:

  • Lead in and Lead out time, also known as writing the Index or Title.
  • Feeding the machine, whether automated or manual.
  • Amount of data or audio written to the CD.

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