Constructing a Disc (Tracks)

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Two concepts are important in understanding how to create a disc: Tracks and Sessions.


Data is written to DVD/CD in tracks and each track contains a separate set of data. For example, a track on a CD-ROM usually consists of different files while an audio track will always contains one single audio file.

NOTE: The maximum number of tracks a CD-R can contain is 99, regardless of the number of sessions or the type of tracks on the disc. DVD media only support one track.

Track types in GEAR

For the multiple CD-formats that GEAR supports, a few basic track types are used:

ISO - A track type suited for recording computer data (CDROM) with the ISO-9660 file system, optionally extended with Microsoft Joliet and/or Unix Rock Ridge. This format will consist of a single track unless you record in a multisession mode. ISO-9660 was the first disc file system used for data storage, and it is the most universally supported by computers of all types.

UDF - A track type suited for recording computer data (CD-ROM/ DVD-ROM) in Universal Disc Format. This format will consist of a single track unless you record in a multisession mode. UDF supports possibilities for Incremental Packet Writing. UDF is a modern file system designed to replace ISO-9660.

ISO/UDF - A combination of ISO and UDF in one track, suited for recording computer data (CD-ROM/DVD-ROM) as well a DVD Video & DVD Audio. A computer or player that reads a track using both ISO and UDF file systems will read and use the UDF file system if it is capable, or use the ISO file system if it does not support UDF. Therefore, using both ISO and UDF provides maximum feature support while insuring maximum backward compatibility.

XA - A track type used for CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD and multi-media applications. For Data this format will consist of a single track unless you record in a multisession mode. For Video CD, multple tracks are allowed, and track 2 and higher may be used for MPEG streams.

DA - A track type for digital audio. This format can accommodate anywhere from 1 - 99 tracks. Please note that if audio tracks are combined on a disc with either an ISO or XA track, a maximum of 98 audio tracks can be used (see Combining Track Types below).

Combining Track Types

When are using a CD medium (not DVD) and you combine different track types in one recording session, you are creating a Mixed Mode disc. The following combinations are possible:

1 ISO, ISO/UDF or UDF track and up to 98 Audio tracks 1 XA track and up to 98 Audio tracks 1 - 99 Audio tracks (a pure CD-Audio format disc) The first and second combinations above can be repeated in multiple recording sessions on a multi-volume or multi-session discs, although the total number of tracks for an entire disc still cannot exceed 99.

About audio tracks

When recording only audio tracks do not create a multi-session disc. If you add an audio track to a multi-session disc, only a multi-session player can play the track. Most conventional audio CD players cannot handle multisession audio discs. To circumvent this problem, you can use a hybrid disc structure called Extended CD or CD Plus. The first session of such discs have multiple audio tracks while subsequent sessions are used exclusively for data. An audio player can only recognizes the first session of such a disc (i.e. the audio tracks) whereas a multi-session CD-ROM player will recognize both the audio and data tracks.

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