Creating Red Book Standard CD Audio Files Using iTunes

While it’s good that many clients are feeling empowered enough to supply their own Audio CD files and Masters, the inexperience of many DIY'ers (ie: do-it-yourself’ers) can lead to some real problems when trying to produce replicated discs.

One increasingly common problem is the supply of off-spec CD Audio files from computers using iTunes. It seems that Mac computers and iTunes default to settings that do not comply to the CD replication Red Book Standard.

The Philips “Red Book Standard” for CD Audio replication is as follows:

  • Sample Rate: 44.1 khz
  • Sample Size: 16 bit
  • Channels: Stereo
  • Maximum Duration: 74 minutes

Here are the steps for creating on-spec CD Audio files using iTunes:

  • In the Menu Bar…. Click on “Edit” then click on “Preferences”
  • Under the “General” tab there’s a title that reads “When You Insert A CD”. Select “Ask to Import CD” from the menu.
  • Next to the menu you just selected from there’s a button that reads “Import Settings”. Click on the button and a new window pops up.
  • Where it reads “Import Using” … select either “AIFF encoder” or “WAV encoder”
  • Where it reads “Setting” … select “Custom” and a new window pops up.
  • Where it reads “Sample Rate” … select “44.1”
  • Where it reads “Sample Size” … select “16 bit”
  • Where it reads “Channels” … select “Stereo”

Click “OK” on each window to get back to the main iTunes window – now you will be ready to create your Red Book Standard CD Audio files.

As always, for best results when creating a Master use quality blank media, use the slowest possible burn speed, and ensure you are created an Audio/Music disc and not a Data/ROM disc. Always keep the Master Copy yourself for safety/backup purposes.

When you have made your Master and copies you should listen to each disc from beginning to end (every single minute) to make sure there are no glitches or errors of any type. Once satisfied that your Master and copies are perfect (both the audio and the meta data) you are ready to submit your Master copy for replication.