Copy an audio CD with cdrdao

Very important note: In some countries and or regions it is illegal to copy a CD, even if it is for backup purposes. So please check before copying an audio CD as described below.

To directly record an audio CD (or a data CD) using one device and employing cdrdao, the simplest command is:

#cdrdao copy

Obviously, when you want to create a copy (a backup) of an audio CD, the easiest way to do this is by using one of the GUI applications (shown when you insert an audio CD; for example K3b). This works quite well, unless you have an audio CD of say a live concert where one track flows over into the next one without a gap. If you rip a CD track-by-track and then burn it, the copy will have audible gaps between the tracks.

While you can’t create an ISO of an audio CD, luckily there is way to make a perfect copy without getting any gaps between the tracks.

  • Insert the audio CD — when the Daemon comes up, hit Cancel
  • Open a terminal: Pisi Linux Menu -> System -> Konsole
  • Optionally, create a new directory and change into it:

#mkdir audio-CD

#cd audio-CD

To create the backup, type:

#cdrdao read-cd –device /dev/cdrom –driver generic-mmc –paranoia-mode 3 audiocd.toc

This will create 2 files:



  • Remove the audio CD and put a blank CD in the optical drive
  • Then, to create the CD, type:

#cdrdao write –device /dev/cdrom –driver generic-mmc –buffers 128 –speed 8 audiocd.toc

  • Remove the backup files:

#rm audiocd.toc data.bin

When you play this newly created CD in a stand-alone CD-player there will be no audible gaps when the tracks change — just like your original CD.


  • The man-page for cdrdao states that the default paranoia-mode is already 3, but this can be overridden if a config-file exists for cdrdao. That’s why I specified it to make sure the audio tracks are copied as best as possible.
  • If your computer has 2 optical drives and you want to use the second drive for ripping and writing, replace “/dev/cdrom” with “/dev/sr1”.
  • Each buffers in “–buffers” equals 1 second of audio — increase or decrease the value as you see fit.
  • The “–speed 8” parameter limits the write speed to 8x. Many sources say audio CDs should always be created at a low speed for best results. If you don’t care, leave out this parameter and the CD will be written at the highest speed possible. BTW, if you specify a number larger than the drive/medium combination supports, cdrdao will automatically switch down to the highest speed supported.