I have mp3 songs of audio quality 320 kbps. The total size of the songs is around 200 MBs with a total playing time of around 150 minutes.

Can I write these songs to an audio CD, whose specs are following:

  • 52x top recording speed on a CD-R/RW burner
  • 700 MB storage capacity equals 80 min music recording time

6 Answers 6


You can write 200MB to the 700MB disk if the disk remains a data disk.

If you want the CD to play in home audio systems/stereos then the MP3 files will be decoded to raw PCM (like a WAV file) during the writing process and the disk will be written using a "time-based" calculation and your 150mins won't fit.

  • 143
    Note that many (but by no means all) modern CD players are capable of playing data CDs containing MP3 files.
    – psmears
    Aug 9, 2017 at 10:10
  • 15
    The majority that offer this capability are, generally, the upper-market ones that advertise as being able to play MP3 and some other formats. Entry-level devices, usually, don't have this because of the more complex processing of the data.
    – Kinnectus
    Aug 9, 2017 at 10:11
  • 43
    it is not only about more complex processing of data, but in past, some cost included license fee to use mp3 codec from Fraunhofer institute
    – rkosegi
    Aug 9, 2017 at 10:49
  • 25
    Strictly speaking, the MP3 streams will be converted to CD-DA, not WAV. Aug 9, 2017 at 16:15
  • 33
    @Kinnectus My economy car from six years ago had MP3 CD support, so I don't think it's that upmarket a feature anymore.
    – Casey
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:52

700 MB is calculated to 80 minute in CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) format. What you asked is a little bit ambiguous so, here's a break down of what you may have asked:

  • You can burn 80 minutes of music (where MP3 is reformatted to CDDA, which you can listen to on most CD players lying around)

  • You can burn 700 MB of music (where MP3 is recorded as such - as data, not as audio - and you can only play it on CD players that recognize MP3 format, remember, as data, not as audio)

But you definitely and absolutely cannot burn 700 MB and 80 minutes of MP3. The 700 MB (digital format) equals the amount of "analog" (audio) minutes.

You must remember that MP3 is an audio digital format where 320 kbps (or 128 kbps, or 256 kbps and such) is the sample for every "x" MB from the original master (mostly, CDDA format) and is used nowadays to stream.

So, you should choose which format will you use. If you have too many files to burn, use MP3 (burn as data) but you will be limited to PCs, car radios, or CD players with compatible format, but if you have a few files (totaling no more than 80 minutes of total play time), you can burn it as audio so you can have more compatibility with standard players.

Additional FYI: the fact that you may record an MP3 into a CD, doesn't mean your MP3 file "masters" by itself. You will get the same audio quality on your audio CD as was recorded in your original MP3 source (whether your library or other library).

  • 37
    Actually, it's not stored in WAV format, but CD-DA, and that's also why you can store more than 700 MB of WAV files on a 80 minute CDR. CD's can store audio and data, the difference being that data sectors have more error correction bits. Hence, when you convert the WAV to CD-DA format, you can store more bits per sector, and you need less sectors per song. (about 15%).
    – MSalters
    Aug 9, 2017 at 12:16
  • yes indeed! my mistake!
    – michaelfOe
    Aug 9, 2017 at 13:42
  • 1
    See also electronics.howstuffworks.com/cd1.htm . Also, this is not true: "700MB is calculated to 80 minute in WAV format" Look at the calculations at the bottom of audiomountain.com/tech/audio-file-size.html and you'll note that an hour long stereo PCM file @ 16 bit, 44.1 KHz (= audio CD standard) is 635.04 MB; thus a 700 MB file = approx. 66 minutes.
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 9, 2017 at 14:30
  • 2
    It's worth noting that the 44.1 KHz uncompressed audio as used by both CD-DA and most WAV is 1411.2 kbps for comparison. Aug 9, 2017 at 17:41
  • 7
    700 mb is 700 millibits or 0.7 bits.
    – Dennis
    Aug 10, 2017 at 14:14

The "700 MB / 80 Min" label is describing two very different way of burning a CD.

A CD can be burned as a "Data" disc or as an "Audio" disc.

700 MB is for data version. 80 Min is for audio version.

When you burn a CD as an Audio CD, it will fit 80 minutes of music. This limitation is standardized and you cannot really mess around with the music to change this. It'll fit that much and no more, regardless of what you do with your music quality.

If you burn the disc as a Data CD, the limitation then becomes only 700 MB. Duration has no meaning. If you encode your own MP3 for talk shows or audio books, you can easily do a 1 hour/10 MB compression, giving your 700 MB disc a whopping 4200 minute (70 hours) duration.

For maximum compatibility, an Audio CD will basically work in any player that is compatible with CD-R media, which means most players built in the 21st century. MP3 playback is not necessarily present in all systems, even brand new ones.

  • Note, "It'll fit that much and no more, regardless of what you do with your music quality." isnt 100% true... YOu can overburn CDs a little, theoretically up to 99 minutes, though I have never seen more than about 82 be reliable.
    – Vality
    Aug 9, 2017 at 19:04
  • 6
    Last ten years? Should work in an ordinary CD player from the 1980s. (At least high-quality CD-R should; -RW may not). I've personally used them in players from the 90s.
    – derobert
    Aug 9, 2017 at 19:07
  • @derobert To be honest, beyond 10 years, the player itself is probably not working. The rubber that provides traction to spin the disc would not even grip the disc anymore at that age, so it is not likely to work, even though it isn't the disc's fault.
    – Nelson
    Aug 10, 2017 at 6:05
  • 5
    @Nelson that depends on how the player was built. Last I tried it (this year) my parent's CD changer, which I think is 90s, still works. And I have a Plextor CD drive from the early 2000s that still works last I checked (probably a year ago). But a working CD player from '82 ought to play a CD-R. Your answer though makes it sound like a CD-R is an incompatible format, only working in newer players.
    – derobert
    Aug 10, 2017 at 6:26
  • 1
    The exact details are tricky, and it really depends on how much tolerance the players can handle. I wasn't going to do a broad "It'll work in anything in the past 30 years" because I don't have that much experience with the format. The tricky part is that the 700 MB / 80 Min density was not specified 30 years ago. The fact that the players can handle it is simply a testament to the engineering quality of said player. They're playing a disc that's outside specification.
    – Nelson
    Aug 10, 2017 at 6:53

Yes, it can be done. But it's not likely something you would want to do.

A CD carries 80 minutes of stereo sound. But stereo means there are two channels. If you wanted to get creative, you could encode half of your collection as mono in one channel, and half the collection as mono in the other channel. Then, in your CD player, pan all the way left to listen to one channel, and all the way right to listen to the other channel.

This is, of course, quite complicated. I presume you will want to have each file as a separate track, so you'll need to match up similar length tracks, and likely put up with some silence one side as the song on the other channel is completing. You might be able to play around with having more than one track per song/file, if you use the "disk at once" option in your CD burner to eliminate any gap between the tracks.

There won't be any software to help you do this, either. You'll just have to use an audio editor to make the tracks mono, and then put them together in a single file per track, and then burn that file as audio to your disk.

So, while it technically can be done, it is complicated to do and produces an inferior result that has only mono sound and requires a CD-player with panning controls (or disconnecting a speaker).

Your best bet is to see if an MP3 CD (i.e. just burn the MP3s as files, rather than as audio) works on your player, or to just make two CDs.

  • 14
    "It's possible, but not something any normal person would do" - fits perfectly on "superuser.SE" then!
    – AndyT
    Aug 10, 2017 at 10:41

Depends of the way you want to burn it.

There are 2 ways to do it:

  1. If you want to write it as an classic Audio CD, with a single session, that you can play in ALL the stereos with a CD driver, you will not be able to burn it, because this way the audio duration will be considered and 150 mins of audio doesn't fit on it.
  2. If you want to write the mp3 file (the file itself) inside the disc, you will be able to do it! It will turns a CD-ROM with a 200 MB .mp3 file burned inside it. Older systems ARE NOT ABLE to play mp3 files CDs, but nowadays all the systems are able to play it.

So, if you're sure the system is a modern device, write the mp3 file in the CD. It will depend of the burning software you're using, but on Windows you can simply copy and paste the file inside the CD unit via "My Computer" and burn it.

  • 1
    Changed "single track" to "single session". CD Red Book standard allowed one session, 100 tracks. This is clearly what was intended. CD Orange Book allowed multiple sessions, data files such as MP3, and indeed requires new hardware.
    – MSalters
    Aug 9, 2017 at 12:18
  • My 1992 CAMRY was not able to play MP3 CDs.
    – abhi
    Aug 9, 2017 at 15:05

You may fit 150 minutes of mono music on one audio CD if you put the first 75 minutes in the left channel and the other 75 on the right side to fake it into 75 minutes of stereo.

Very inconvenient for listening, as you need to mute one of your speakers. And you'd lose stereo. And not pleasant on headphones, unless you listen with a friend who has a different taste in music, so you can both listen to the same CD but to different music, albeit with a single side of the headphone. Or use a splitter.

Depending on the music, it may actually be an improvement on the end result ;)

(The standard for CD is stereo - no way to circumvent that)


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