Mixed Mode CD (data track + redbook audio)

What Format should be picked for these?

Some examples:

  1. Release “Magic & Mayhem” by Afro Celt Sound System - MusicBrainz is currently marked as a Data CD.
  2. Release “Extreme Assault Game CD” by Chris Hülsbeck & Fabian Del Priore - MusicBrainz is currently marked as a (Audio) CD.

Should a dedicated “mixed mode” format be added?


Doesn’t this kinda overlap the Enhanced CD world? A music CD with video tracks in a data session?


No. Enhanced CD requires the data track be at the end, not the first.


I’d always thought this would also be an Enhanced CD. But reading the Wikipedia article makes it rather clear that both should be distinct. So I think we need the media type “Mixed Mode CD” as a separate entry.


How would a normal person know the layout of their CD? I get the technical difference, but in the average CD player in a PC is this not going to just show up as “music bit” and “data bit”?

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They key technical point of blue book CDs is that they are indistinguishable from an audio-only CD in an ordinary CD player. Multisession discs are not part of the original CD specification and are therefore not typically implemented by CD players. Only the first TOC, containing audio tracks exclusively, will be used.

In mixed mode, there are a mixture of audio and data tracks within a single TOC. Normally track 1 is a data track and the rest are audio. Both audio and data tracks will show up in a CD player, and you may need to manually skip over the data track.


I know how the discs work (I am old technical person), just wondering how we would help normal people know what they have in their hands. If MB is to separate Red book and Blue book there needs to be a simple way to spot them.

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If the type of disc is not obviously marked on the packaging the only way will be to put it in a CD-ROM drive and inspect the contents of the disc (since you will not be able to identify the existence of multiple sessions in a normal CD player).

Most examples of blue book CDs in my collection have one of the CD-EXTRA, CD+ or Enhanced CD logos printed somewhere on the packaging.

Edited to add: the cd-info utility included in the GNU libcdio package can be used to identify what’s on each session and will clearly distinguish these different types of data+audio CDs.

Sample output from single-session mixed-mode CD-ROM:

CD Analysis Report
No CD-TEXT on Disc.
mixed mode CD

Sample output from blue-book “enhanced CD”:

CD Analysis Report
No CD-TEXT on Disc.


Anyone got a GUI tool for the Windows world? I am trying to think of the average editor.

Also I would love to get my hands on these tools again as I used to have them in the 90s when I first burnt CDs.

Maybe we don’t really need software.
Or maybe I missed an important info. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

If you see a data track first, followed by audio track(s), then it’s this kind, old fashion mixed mode.

But if you see audio track(s) first, followed by a data track, then it’s the now more common CD Extra, Enhanced CD, CDDA+ thing.

But in fact, unfortunately, these terms are interchangeable, it’s just a habit to call data first = mixed mode and audio first = Enhanced CD Extra.


True for the official Enhanced CD terms, but colloquially:

Blue Book (CD standard) - Wikipedia
The term “enhanced CD” is also an umbrella term and a certification mark used to refer to different CD formats that support audio and data content, including mixed mode CDs, CD-i and CD-i Ready.

FWIW, I expect most non-CD-expert users will just use “CD” anyway for all three of these, so I’m not sure how much it matters how easy it is to tell which one is which if you don’t know about them…


So we can maybe keep what we have now?
For user friendliness sake.

Does your audio CD contain data?

Yes? Then:

Enhanced CD

If it’s data track first, we have to make a [data track] appear in the tracklist at position 1, because of how disc ID is computed.

If it’s audio track(s) first, we don’t have to shouldn’t append a [data track] at the end of the tracklist.

In both cases, regardless the data track position in the CD, if it contains musical stuff (video or audio files), we add one special track for each, at the end of the tracklist, thanks to the dedicated data track checkbox of the release tracklist editor.

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Can you explain a good reason not to add Mixed Mode CD as a separate medium type?

I can provide a reason why I’d want it - being able to automatically decrement the total track count by 1 in Picard if the medium is Mixed Mode CD.

Or can you provide an alternative userscript that decrements the total track count for the entire medium if the first track on that medium is named “[data track]”? (Because that’s what a Mixed Mode CD is in practice - the first track is a “[data track]”, as required by Disc ID, which isn’t audio.)


Not really, except maybe people won’t know how to choose type?
It doesn’t seem like an urgent change to me.
Maybe because I don’t understand the problem with the track number in Picard Tagger.

But it would be an interesting fact about releases.

But if we get a mixed mode type, maybe first track (data track) should not be visible or editable?
And if we add the data track content (music and video files) to the MB release, they could be shown at the top for mixed mode and still at the top for Enhanced CD Extra?

It doesn’t seem like this is supposed to be that complicated to me?

  1. CD = pure CD Digital Audio - 100% audio tracks, no data tracks at either end.
  2. Enhanced CD = data track at the end, which can be split out into individual files. All tracks before the data section are audio tracks.
  3. Mixed Mode CD = data track is the first track (which cannot be split out into individual files due to Disc ID), and all remaining tracks are audio tracks.

For actually more complicated things:

  • Copy Control CDs sometimes look like Enhanced CDs, but I assume everyone still wants them to go under Copy Control CD.

Using the first example Release “Magic & Mayhem” by Afro Celt Sound System - MusicBrainz, Picard will see it as a 13-track release, with 13 total tracks. Someone trying to put this in their music library will only be expecting 12 total tracks, not 13. If Mixed Mode CD is available as the medium format to scripting, then the user can just decrement the tracknumber and the totaltracks by 1, so it makes sense in their music library.

Using the Persistent Variables plugin, you might be able to do it with a tagging script something like (Untested Code Warning):


This should set an album-level persistent variable _first_track_is_data that can be tested in the file naming script to adjust the track numbers. Something like:


If you want to change the actual %tracknumber% and %totaltracks% tags, then you should use another tagging script which would be triggered manually just prior to saving the release (and not make the changes in your file naming script):


EDIT: If you try this and find that it works for you, please let me know and I’ll add it as a better real-world example to the plugin documentation. Thanks.


Why not adding individual files, if any, with the data section checkbox?

If you’re making an improvement suggestion, it should make this section appear in place of the first track of mixed mode CD, currently hand titled [data track], instead of at the end.

That sounds like a schema change, and by definition will require all of the Disc ID code in both the server and the clients to be rewritten, which is far beyond the act of adding a new CD sub-format that has no further consequences on either.


I do think we should add it, I just haven’t gotten to it yet and I was checking whether someone here had a good reason not to :slight_smile: my post was specifically about how I don’t feel the confusing the newbies thing is a big deal


Added this now. Apparently Collection “Mixed Mode CD-ROMs” - MusicBrainz is ripe for editing now :wink: