Wait, so it turns out my Mazda 6 can play burnt CDs? It’s been close to four months of ownership but why I am only finding out this now? Oh god what new life and possibility this has now breathed into the 6 CD stacker! Time to head back to technology from the early 2000s baby!
Almost 4 months but of road time
Seriously, how good is having reliable transport that doesn’t eat it’s own head gasket every 100,000 kms and with working icy cold air conditioning during a red hot Australian summer? Bliss I tell you, absolute bliss. And Samurai (named after the Silver Samurai because it’s a silver Mazda so why not?) absolutely soaked up the miles in a round trip from Albury to Adelaide and then back again via Mildura over the Christmas holidays.
And the only thing missing from cruising through small town after small town along the way was a place to put a loaded USB stick choc a block full of road going songs for all the family.
But now that I’ve discovered it can play burnt cds, well that’s pretty much the next best thing of course isn’t it?
Burnt CDs – I used to have mountains of them..
Oh god did I ever, burnt CDs for everything. Tones of music, backed up games, ISOs, roms, files, you name it, once upon a time I burnt it all to CD (and then later to DVD). Firstly using a housemates killer computer (thanks Doc!) and then investing in my very first Ricoh RW+/- unit from Harvey Norman when I bought my first computer way back when. From then on there were burnt CDs everywhere with every CD spindle recycled to hold even more burnt media (once all my disc folders were full.)
And most of the time I labelled them, most. Although it was fun on occasion to find a bunch of burnt CD’s somewhere and then popping in the computer to see if I’d stumbled over some hidden previously downloaded treasure.
But over time discs got scratched and binned (because media like that was pretty cheap) and as hard drive capacity increased, the need to backup things to burnt CD’s waned. And when portable terabyte hard drives arrived on scene courtesy of Western Digital and Seagate? Suddenly there was space for everything! I fondly remember the work hard drive parties too – bring your massive drive to work and trade files and bits and pieces with everyone in the building quickly and easily – couldn’t do that with a bunch of burnt CDs now could you?
Which also meant as I eventually upgraded my home PC setup that unless I bought an used PC case with either a CD or DVD burner in it, there really wasn’t much of a need to rush out to buy one. The disc pile shrank, the collection of USB sticks grew, the Google Drives and Dropbox’s of the world started to fill and over time the multi-disk installation of just about everything I ever had moved to a game or software download or streaming service. Seriously, with all this advanced technology in play in 2024, who needs burnt CDs anymore?
Turns out my Mazda 6 does and I for one am thrilled with that! More music options!
The signs were there, I just didn’t look close enough
Although I’m not sure you could make it any clearer than the symbol on the in car entertainment itself that yes, mp3 files are no stranger to it’s stereo system.
(Although to my defence I will admit that the first time I saw this, I thought it was part of a USB system that I could never find..)
But a quick Google search confirmed that some Mazda 6 models could and some could not play burnt CDs. Given the markings on the stereo, I was fairly certain I was one of the lucky ones. And if I scrounged around my collection of computer parts and bits, I was sure I could find a burnt CD or five with minor scratches that might do okay in this thing.
But what if I wanted to create a new one? I mean the computer I built myself and the one I built for my son Jackson doesn’t even have the provision for a CD/DVD unit to begin with. The one in the old laptop on the shelf had one but the kids broke it. And amazingly the PC my wife uses has a disc drive…but it can’t even burn anything.
(Not even the work laptops have provisions for a CD slot anymore – welcome to the future!)
Enter the boss and another of his crazy computer deals.
‘So I have this case..’
As blogged previously, I recently picked up a whole heap of computer stuff from my boss in trade for some…golf shorts. No that isn’t a misprint, he bundled up a whole heap of computer parts so I could build my daughter her own computer for homework and he told me I could pay him cash, or buy him some golf shorts.
And so over post show coffee one morning, he showed me the shorts he wanted and I bought them. A few days later I drove to his house to pick up the haul. I have no idea how the shorts went but I’ve had a tonne of enjoyment building her a computer (save for the Gigabyte motherboard dramas linked above.)
And even better? Deep in the massive dreadnought sized case was just what I needed – an Asus EGreen M Disc CD optical disc drive!
Thankfully this model is way past the SPIDF or whatever it was called cord of old that plugged into a specific port on your motherboard, no it just needs a Sata connection and to be hooked up with a bit of juice and so that’s what I did. Yes because there’s no room in my small case for this blocky boi, I did what I needed to do to test my new burning CD capability, namely taking one side of the case off, plugging things in where I could and having the Asus drive on the ground. Didn’t look pretty obviously but hey, this is merely a test after all.
And after a quick burn at 16x speed..
(Yes the Asus drive can burn faster but I remember the old rules of burning anything, the slower you go the less dramas you’ll have. Not that I would’ve had too many dramas with this unit but some things are hard to forget.)
-The blank disc was an blue HP CD-R capable of a whopping 700mb of data or 80 mins of music. Now I can’t remember ever going out and buying these things so I’m going suggest it came into my junk haul courtesy of our recent radio station clear out. Basically a lot of stuff was about to hit the skip bin but not before I had a look through and commandeered anything I thought might be useful. Like blank cds it seems!
-It’s 2024 and with windows 10, there’s no drivers needed to get this drive to work and even better, no software needed! Oh glory days, does this mean I don’t have to whip out my backed up (probably on a burnt cd somewhere) copy of Nero Burning Rom or Alcohol 120%? Nope, just load up the mp3s onto the recognised blank disc and away you go.
-Remember, for these burnt cds it’s a case of burning data cds and not audio cds. Audio versions will give you 80 mins of music (if using the same media as I did) but data cds are limited on the size of your mp3s. Not realising it was 700mb of lovely blank space to play with, I stopped just short of 650mb before the final burn. At that stage the Mazda’s possibly first ever burnt cd (it’s doubtful the previous owner even knew what one was) had a whopping 101 songs on it.
-And finally, it worked! It took a few seconds for the stereo to work out what was going on here but suddenly there was the Imagine Dragons singing a song about hushing darlings or something (my daughter loves that song for some reason). Followed by 100 more incredible choices that you’ll only get to here if I ever give you a lift.
But trust me, they are amazing!
And now that I can play burnt CDs as an extra mode of entertainment in here..
I really don’t need this thing from the Subaru anymore do I?
Yes if you’re keen for some JVC head unit goodness, it is for sale currently through Facebook Marketplace. Even better, you don’t have to ask if it plays burnt CDs, because USB’s fit into it perfectly and away you go! Buy now so I can burn even more road sountracks!