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Playing MP3’s

6. Playing MP3s on your

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MP3 to .wav conversion Decode with Winamp Other Decoders Burning CDs Burning Problems


[6.0] I've got all these great MP3s and a CD-recorder; is there any way that I can play these songs on my home CD player?Yes and No.  You can't play MP3s (in that format) on a regular CD player.  What you can do, however, is to change the MP3s back into .wav files and burn them as an audio CD (redbook) format.  You, of course, lose the size compression that you get with the MP3 format and will only be able to burn 73 to 74 minutes of music.


[6.1] So there's no way to just play my MP3s on a CD player, a Walkman or anything like that?The technology is changing almost daily in this area. There are now MP3 Walkman-style players, built-in dashboard MP3 players for your car, mini-players that have headphones and port in to your home and car stereo AND your computer, and on and on. More info on current technology is at


[6.2] How do I make a normal music CD from these MP3 files?Some older burner software will want you to first decompress your MP3 files into .wav files before creating an audio CD with your burner.  With newer software you can burn an audio CD without the intermediate step of creating a .wav file.  Software packages that do direct MP3 to CD-R are: Nero, Roxio Easy CD Creator,  WinOnCD,  and AudioCD MP3 Studio (shareware). Some swear that using the MAD plug-in or some high-quality decoder to convert first to .wav is the best way to go. Try it yourself:
[6.3] How do I decompress my MP3s into .wav files for burning a CD?A number of software packages will do this, and are often referred to as "decoders".  A good free one can be found at  You can look for "players" or "all in one packages" at  Click the links at the left for your operating system or platform.  They also highlight only a few, so click the "complete list of..." for a more detailed listing.
(NOTE: Not all players will decode MP3s into .wav files; read the individual descriptions for more details).
[6.4] How do I use Winamp to make .wav files?For whatever reason the creators of Winamp change its decoding function relatively frequently.  Therefore, the following information may not be precisely accurate for the version of Winamp that you have, but it should be similar.

Start Winamp and hit Ctrl+P.  This should open Win Amp's "Preferences" window.  Now select the "Audio I/O" tab.  Go down to the "Output Plug-ins" section and select "Nullsoft Disk Writer Plug-In"

Now when you "Play" your MP3 files, they will actually be converted to .wav files. (this information refers specifically to Winamp version 2.09).

DON'T forget to put your settings back to normal.  You need to select an output of Nullsoft WaveOut Plug-In to be able to hear MP3s in Winamp again.

NOTE: If you use the EQ provided with Winamp, you might want to disable the EQ *before* decoding the songs to .wav.  If you decode with the EQ enabled, the resulting .wav is NOT a clean decode of the MP3.  It is a decode that has been EQed by your EQ settings.  Perhaps this is what sounds best to you on your computer speakers, but if you're going to burn the resulting .wav to a CD for playing on a normal CD-Player, you might be disappointed by the 'tweaked' results.


[6.5] Is WinAMP the only/best decoder?No and no.  WinAMP is very popular as a decoder because of its popularity as a player, but the links in [6.3] will take you to some other decoders.  CoolPlayer is a popular freeware option for decoding.


[6.6] I've got my .wav files; how do I burn a CD?That question is beyond the scope and relevancy of this FAQ.  The first thing that you should do is read the instructions or the help files for your CD-R software.  You can also try the newsgroups: comp.publish.cdrom.hardware,alt.comp.periphs.cdr or alt.cdrom.

There is also some information available on the WWW.  There is a good CD-R FAQ at: and the comp.publish.cdrom FAQ is available at:


[6.7] I burned a CD and there are pops between each track; what gives?You should burn your music CDs disk-at-once, not track-at-once.  Most popular CD-burning software offer this option.  Take a look under preferences or options or consult the help file for your particular software package.


[6.8] I was trying to record a live music CD, but there are pauses between each track.  What can I do?You should burn your music CDs disk-at-once, not track-at-once.  Most popular CD-burning software offer this option. Take a look under preferences or options, or consult the help file for your particular software package.  When you burn a music CD track-at-once, a 2-second gap is inserted between each track.

Also, apparently when you take a .wav file --> mp3 --> .wav file, there is a bit of silence inserted at the beginning of the final .wav that wasn't present in the original .wav.  In order to make a truly seamless series of songs, some manipulation of the .wav files is necessary.  Many audio software packages, like CoolEdit and SoundForge, will allow you to delete the silence.  

In addition, MP3Cutter is a Win9x/NT program that allows you to chop up (and paste parts of) your MP3s without having to decode them to .wav.  It is available at:

Some people just combine every track into one large .wav file before burning it to their CD.  However, if you do this you will have to edit your cuesheet to reflect a distinction between one song and the next. Also check out MusicCutter:


[6.9] What is the best software to use if I want to decode and/or burn a CD?Best is subjective; take a look at the LINKS and Utilities sections of this FAQ for sites that might help.


[6.10] Don't CDs commonly hold more than 74 minutes of music these days? Where can I get those?Just about anywhere. Also check out: