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iTunes-burned CDs not playable on all players?

iTunes-burned CDs not playable on all players?

Those who have burned a significant number of audio CDs, on any platform, know that different CD players have varying degrees of success when it comes to playing those audio CDs. However, MacFixIt reader Nancy Jalbert reports an interesting theory: that iTunes actually creates audio CDs differently than applications like Roxio's Toast, resulting in less compatible audio CDs:

"I have a Mac G5 with Jaguar loaded, and I'm using Verbatim CD-R discs to cut music CD's with iTunes. Now, I have to add that I've been through all the Apple sites forums and archives, and I'm sure that I have the iTunes preferences set correctly. I'm [burning] discs without problem. The problem is getting the newly minted discs to play back on all machines. Any disc I [burn] using either the internal SuperDrive or the external SmartDisk CD [burner] I have will play back fine on any [portable CD player], or on any computer's CD [drive], but won't play back in any car CD player, nor will it play back on the CD/DVD player in the living room. The players that reject the CD simply refuse to acknowledge that there is a disc in the player.

"Apple's solution to these problems involves cleaning the disc, cleaning the heads on the players, etc. But I suspect that there is a more basic problem. In one forum online found through Google, I found a thread where people were discussing this problem and one guy said that there is a kind of code set down at the head of the CD disc that indicates to most players that this is a music CD inserted. iTunes does not lay down this code, but Roxio's Toast does, and with Roxio the problem largely disappears."

We haven't experienced problems playing iTunes-burned audio CDs on any of our CD drives/players here at MacFixIt, but we've heard of such problems from other users. We also haven't heard of this theory of "different CD headers" before and welcome feedback from readers.

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