Medium Write Error for CDs

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  DaveT 3 years, 9 months ago.

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    I posted the following message on the Apple Forums since I didn’t know what happened to this site for a while. Now that it and I am back, I’m posting it below to see if anyone here can help. Since the post, I did try a CD brush cleaner, which seemed to help in reading CDs which suddenly didn’t want to read [which hadn’t happened until just recently], but made no difference in burning. Is it possible that “full” CDs is an issue, as all of the ones I am trying to burn 75 minutes [Whoops! Said 115 minutes when I meant 1:15 in my orig post 🙂 ] or so of music? [I burned them previously.] I tried downloading RealPlayer only to find out that the Mac version doesn’t write CDs!!

    I have recently encountered a serious problem with “medium write error” when creating Audio CDs out of iTunes. It had happened sporadically in the past, and I reduced write speed, which seemed to fix it. But now, I can seldom create a CD with iTunes.

    I have searched this forum and the web for help, and seen numerous threads. I have tried reducing write speed to 1x, reduce time between songs to 2 seconds, bought brand new Verbatim CDs, reset PRAM, reset Language prefs, etc., etc. Some seemed to help for a while; I got a couple of fast burns after going to new blank CDs, but it always reverts to CD coasters.

    It seems to be iTunes only! I can record files on CD and DVD from a Burn Folder, and can read both, though I don’t do that very often. The iTunes burn seems to always stop at a time remaining of about 4 minutes. The files total time is right around 74 minutes; my CDs are supposed to hold 80 minutes. I did read one post that said that almost full CDs were a problem.

    I tried cleaning the lens by the screen cleaning cloth wrapped around a business card method, but don’t know where or how deep the lens is. I haven’t tried compressed air, but have the same question. Where is the lens so that I am sure I am getting it? [My computer is an iMac 21.5]

    Is it possible that the serious problem arose with iTunes 11.0.3 being run on OS 10.6.8? The timing is about right. I have been going to upgrade to 10.8, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Might that help? What about another program to make the burn? RealPlayer/Toast/etc. Can they work with from iTunes playlist?

    Any/all help is appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  DaveT.


    Some CDs don’t like slow speeds either so the optimum write speed maybe more in the middle, maybe try 4, 8 or 16x? I would also try a different CD brand if you’ve only been using Verbatim. Switching brands seems to have resolved it for some people. Also try burning one with less than the full 115 minutes as maybe it’s writing too close to the edge of the disk.

    Here’s an alternative audio CD writer to try in case it’s an iTunes issue.

    I would stay far away from RealPlayer. I has a reputation for being one of the worst pieces of freeware ever made.



    Christian, Thanks for the hints. I had been using TDK, but they were several – make that MANY – years old, so I tried Verbatim, but with the same results. It is so consistent in stopping at just over 4 minutes of burn time left that it seems like a software issue to me, but quite possibly tied to my total music length. So, I will try reducing the # of songs; I have been reluctant to do that for no good reason other than not creating more coasters. I was looking for encouragement. I have tried multiple speed choices along the way, but will follow your suggestion of an in-between speed.

    And thanks for the lead on an alternate, and warning on RealPlayer. Does yours, by chance, work from an iTunes playlist? Or must I export the song files? I will check into it. I don’t burn CD often any more, so can live with something less friendly than iTunes just to get the job done.

    PS: I’m so glad this forum is back up; it has been the most useful to me over the years.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  DaveT.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  DaveT.


    Dave, I’ve created many coasters over the years. Most of the time I never figured out what went wrong. Thank goodness CDs are so cheap! A while back I bought a giant thing of CD-Rs and it doesn’t look like I’ll ever end up using them. I don’t create many CDs anymore either. The one music CD I do listen to a lot is actually a rewritable CD. The program I used (Brasero on Linux) gave me a warning that some music players won’t handle a rewritable CD but my car seems to have no problem with it. I’ve erased and rewritten it several times now to add and remove tracks. You might try a rewritable CD so if the burning fails you won’t end up with more coasters. I haven’t tried the program called “Burn” myself. I don’t think it can work with playlists, iTunes or other. Does whatever player you’re using work with MP3 disks? The player in my car does but I still made a traditional audio CD out of habit.

    I was going to suggest generating an ISO file instead of an actual disk and then if that works OK, using Disk Utility to burn the ISO. It turns out that you can’t make an ISO file for an audio CD. There may be other options but I’ve reached the end of my knowledge about audio CDs.



    I haven’t had time to do much along these lines in the past couple of weeks, but did try burning a shortened playlist, about 1/2 of max, and got the same result. I got an abort at about the same time into the burn, which leads me to think that there is some hardware “bind” that causes it at the same location on the CD. So far, I have been able to read CDs, but sometimes they don’t load properly @ first try. And I can still burn regular files, but don’t know whether I am reaching the same point on the CD. I can play Audio CDs in full.

    What about this? I have an ancient iBook G4 that has been sitting in a closet – I used it as a backup for while. It runs OS 10.3.9 and has iTunes 7. I assume that I cannot copy my current Music folder to that laptop and burn the CD on it – because the current Music Library file is certainly incompatible? Or can I? But what about somehow connecting the laptop to my iMac, telling the iMac to access the laptop CD drive, and burning on the laptop from the iMac?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  DaveT. Reason: Added play Audio CD in full comment


    Sorry the latest experiment didn’t work out. That is strange that the data CD creation works fine. That the drive doesn’t read the CD correctly each time sounds like a hardware issue but I’m guessing a bit. So a half full audio CD stops half-way? That means it is getting stuck 1/4 way through the CD?

    I found this called “DVD / CD Sharing” but it says you need at least 10.4.11 on both machines. You might be able to copy the music files over. Are they from iTunes or elsewhere? If they’re from iTunes, will it let you re-download them from the internet (iTunes store?) directly to the older computer? If it’s music from elsewhere, they could be in some universal format (like mp3 or aac) which the older computer could also read.




    I haven’t had time to do much more and get frustrated again, but I need to clarify what happens. First, mounting Audio CDs may just SEEM to take longer than before; the drive sometimes churns more than I thought it used to. Mounting other CDs seems to be fine. Eventually, all but a few do mount, and as I recall, the ones that don’t mount are ones that I burned “successfully” recently, not purchased ones [they mount & play fine]. Even ones I burned successfully a while ago will play completely. If I try to mount an audio CD that aborted, I forget exactly what happens, so won’t confuse the issue; I know it actually hangs the player, but I don’t recall if when mounting or when attempting to play beyond the abort point, or either one. If I burn a non-audio CD, I have never had one fail, but I am not really sure how full they were.

    When burning unsuccessfully, if the audio CD is full @ 30 songs [about 74 minutes], it always stops around song 15. If I reduce the playlist to 20 songs [50 minutes], it STILL aborts at song 15. It does not abort halfways through any playlist; it aborts halfways through a full list, so at the same point on the CD.

    All of this points me every time to the hardware, but why do non-audio CDs not have any problems? Which then leads me back to the audio CD burning software more so than hardware, except for the repeatability of the abort. ????

    As I read the link above, it says that it does not support audio CDs.

    Thanks very much for your interest and attempts to help.

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