This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (email@example.com) with numerous contributions by others.
There are a few possibilities. First and foremost is media compatibility.
Not all players get along with all brands of CD-R media. You need to find
a combination of recorder, media, and player that get along. Read section
(7-2) to learn more. A CD-R media identifier (like the one listed in
section (6-2-9)) can help you be sure that you're trying discs from
different manufacturers, but they aren't 100% reliable (section (2-33)).
If you're trying to use CD-RW media, your odds of success are worse than
with CD-R. CD-RW discs simply won't play on most CD players.
Another common problem is failing to close the disc at the end of writing.
You can't play an audio CD on a common CD player until the session has been
closed. You may be able to play it back with the CD recorder though.
Also, don't forget that you have to write all of the audio data into the
first session of a multisession CD. CD players don't know how to find the
later sessions, so tracks written there won't get played.
Sometimes the CD player will spin the disc up but won't start playing it.
Sometimes it will have no problem playing the tracks, but will have a great
deal of difficulty seeking between tracks or moving fast-forward. Using a
different brand of media or a different CD player may produce better results.
If you're getting skips and jumps, make sure that you don't have anti-skip
protection enabled. This is usually only available on portable or car
players, and you may not be able to disable it on car players. Car CD
players are notoriously picky about media. See also section (4-40).
One user with a Jensen car CD stereo was unable to use blanks immediately
after recording them. After a couple of days, the discs suddenly started
working. This "delayed finalizing" behavior appears consistently repeatable,
not a one-time event. Recording at 1x instead of 4x resulted in discs
that were immediately usable.
Some media works better at 1x, 2x, or 4x than it does at other speeds. You
may find that slowing down or speeding up the recorder helps.
If the disc plays okay at first and starts sounding bad later, or it
sounds okay on the first few tracks but gets noisy toward the end of
the disc, see section (4-47).
One reader reported that many CD players have a laser power adjustment that
can be tweaked to improve things. Fiddling with the insides of devices
you don't have manuals for is generally unwise, so don't go looking unless
Finally, remember that you have to write the disc in CD-DA format! If you
just write a bunch of .WAV files to a disc in CD-ROM format, it's not going
to work in your home stereo.