These days, CDs are retro-tech, provoking feelings of nostalgia for the days when music and software came on them. But even today, there might be times when you need to burn a CD with your Mac. If you’re making a simple audio CD or backing up files to a disc, you don’t need any special CD burning software. This is because both abilities are built into macOS (formerly OS X).
To make an audio CD on your Mac, all you need to do is make a playlist in iTunes with the songs you want to burn. Then right-click on it and select “Burn Playlist to Disc.” A few minutes later you’ll have a brand-new audio disc that you can use in any CD player. Making a data disc is equally simple. Just put the files you want to burn into a special folder, right-click and select “Burn Folder to Disc” from the side menu.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your Mac has an optical drive that’s capable of burning discs to take advantage of these native features. Since new Macs no longer come with these drives, it’s likely that you’ll have to purchase an external unit and connect it to your machine before you can burn a CD.
These tools are good as far as they go. However, if you want to do more than simply burn a music album or back up files to a disc, you’ll need to invest in more advanced Mac CD burning software. The best Mac CD burners go far beyond simple audio and data discs. They can also rip content off CDs and DVDs, convert audio files, burn disc images, create menus, and much more.
The Best CD Burning Software for Mac
We evaluated the best Mac CD burning software available on the market today. At the end of our analysis, we determined the following products are the best you can buy.
This software is a full-bodied disc authoring program that goes far beyond burning music albums and files to CDs. It enables you to capture content from almost any source. In addition to capturing audio from microphones, you can get rip, copy and capture sound from records, cassette tapes or online audio streams.
It also has editing tools such as Toast Audio Assistant and Toast Slice, which enable you to customize, edit and enhance your clips before you burn them onto a disc. You can use the program to convert audio and video into almost any format or optimize it for playback on the iPad or iPhone.
And it does more than CDs. The software also has tools for authoring, copying and burning DVDs and Blu-ray discs. You can use this program to build custom movie discs, complete with menus, or copy ones you already own. You’re not limited to making discs either; this program can also optimize your projects for and upload them to sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. If you need a heavy-duty authoring program, it’s hard to go wrong with Roxio Toast.
If you’re looking for a simple Mac CD burning application, NTI Dragon Burn is probably what you want to buy. It’s not as comprehensive as Roxio Toast, but it’s much more straightforward, and you can easily burn both audio and data CDs and DVDs. All of its tools are accessible from the main screen of the interface, and it’s so simple that anyone can use it.
Making audio and MP3 CDs with this program only takes a few clicks. You can easily drag and drop any audio files you have into the interface, click the Burn Disc button and have a new music CD in about 15 minutes that will work in any CD player. Making a data disc is equally simple and follows the same workflow as making a music CD.
This software is available in the Mac App Store. But if you want to try it out before you pay for it, go to NTI’s website and download the free trial that you can use 10 times to see if it’s worth the price tag.
This software isn’t limited to burning CDs. When you launch the program, the first thing you do is select what kind of disc you want to make. You can create discs from audio and MP3 CDs to data CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. You can also create video DVDs and Blu-rays. Additionally, you can copy discs that aren’t encrypted and create disc images to store on your hard drive.
Express Burn sits in the Goldilocks zone between Toast and Dragon Burn. It’s not as straightforward as Dragon Burn but not as complex as Toast. You can do more than you can with Dragon Burn but less than you can with Toast. It falls right in the middle ground when it comes to functionality and usability.
This software also has a free version that you can download from NCH Software’s website. The free version may meet all your needs without you having to upgrade to the full paid version.
Burning a CD with your Mac is simple once you know how. If you’re creating simple audio or data discs, you don’t even need special software, since those abilities are already built into macOS. However, there are Mac CD burning programs you can buy that do more than that. You can even get free versions or trials to see if they’re worth paying for.