Monday, August 07, 2006

Free CD utilities

While applications like Nero Burning ROM and Sonic Easy CD Creator are the Swiss army knives of CD burning and reading, here's a list of small utilities which do only a few things each but do them well.

Burrrn burns audio CDs. That's all it does but does it so well that it deserves a download. It can decode mp3, aac, ogg and more, it has built in support for ReplayGain so you can burn CDs that will not fluctuate wildly in volume from one track to the next and it creates CDs with CD-Text so that you can see the track details on most modern CD players.

Exact Audio Copy
Exact Audio Copy is a well-respected program which can rip audio from damaged CDs which other CD rippers like iTunes and Winamp can't handle. While the interface isn't quite as intuitive as the competition, the startup configuration wizard is pretty good. The HydrogenAudio wiki page has some great documentation on how to correctly configure and use it. If you really want to be geeky and ensure that you are getting perfectly copied CDs you can download the AccurateRip dll and compare your results with hundreds of other geeks who submit their results to the AccurateRip site.

ImgBurn burns CD or DVD images. While this might seem a trivial ability as most other CD burning software can do this, ImgBurn can handle many possible disk image formats apart from the usual ISO and has many other advanced features especially for DVD video burning. The recently released version 2.0 also has the capability of creating disk images from files stored on disk.

Isobuster is to data CDs what Exact Audio Copy is to audio CDs. This program can successfully recover data from scratched, incorrectly burned and otherwise defective CDs. As an added bonus you can also use it to mount disk images and extract data from them. Quite useful if you need just a few specific files from a disk image and don't want to waste a CD burning it. Isobuster has a shareware pro-version ($25) which adds data recovery from UDF CDs.

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