Recording levels on CD-R/Distortion

I have a Pioneer Elite CD recorder that I have made some compilation recordings on. Having recorded music tracks from various original(studio)cd's directly via coax connection (without adjustment to recording levels) has created a very disturbing fluctuation in playback levels...during playback I can have a comfortable level set and the next track on the disc will wake up the neighbors.

Though I have not used them, the recording unit does have adjustable recording levels.

In making future compilation CD-R's, if I were to increase the recording level on certain tracks to "match" others, would I be inroducing unwanted disortion into the new CD-R recordings?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
Hmmmmm... That sounds like a real hassle to be fidgeting around with the recording volume while recording a cd. Most new ones come with automatic volume control to make all tracks the same volume. Manually playing with the recording volume control will just give you headaches and will never be at the perfect matched volume throughout the cd.
Apparent loudness is a function of the average signal level. A recording engineer can make a recording sound very loud by increasing the average signal level and limiting (eliminating) signal peaks. Music recorded at a lower overall level has the potential to have greater dynamic range. With this in mind, if you raise the level of the softer sounding tracks you will run the risk of clipping off the peaks from the music. It's better to lower the loud tracks to match the apparent level of the softer tracks.
The CD burners that i have played with will maintain the same appr volume as what the source produced. In fact, many of these will not even allow you to manipulate the recording levels manually when doing a direct digital disc to digital disc dub. The recording levels are there for analogue to digital recordings such as tape to cdr or vinyl to cdr, etc...

I think that what you are experiencing was mentioned above. Some tracks are recorded with a high average and then compressed. Others strive for a more natural presentation and greater dynamic range, but have a much lower average recording level. As such, the burner might be doing exactly as i mentioned above. You are simply hearing the differences in how recordings are produced. Sean
Some of the more recent pro units allow for adjusting recording level in the digital domain. You can either bring up or down the levels when making comp discs in order to more seamlessly create a balanced disc.

If yours allows this flexability go for it.

If you like to record on the fly, use a CDRW and afterwards clone it to CDR. That way if you make any mistakes in the process you can erase the last tack and burn it again.
To all you lucky people who happen to come across this. I'm into computers as well as music...there is a program called beta becker (computer program) which will even out all your recordings sound levels. The program also has an equalizer that will work miracles on badly recorded music and reproduce exactly the same quality of good recorded music that you change around also..Eva Cassidy's song bird will sound the same only the order can be changed by you without quality loss. This program and Adaptic CD are a must have if you are going to change around CD's or make one with multiple tracks from different recordings. If the recording industry continues to make the defective recordings to prevent you from making your own the way you want it, you will be scrambling for can send in an analog recording to your cd burner which will record the analog version, then put it into the beta becker program which will send it out to your computers cd writer making you the digital verson....but don't tell anyone this. The final word is that these programs will make all the tracks on one cd the same playback level and you can make all your cds the same level of playback without quality loss. You have to have a cd player, by the way, that will play computer generated cds which is almost all of the new ones but sorry not the older cd players.
Use the digital level control to stabalize volumes. This will not hurt the recording as long as you don't oversaturate it into the red zone. That is what the control is for - the music comes through just fine, I have two Pioneer units and one has this feature and one doesn't except in analog. I no longer make digital recordings on it because it makes me dizzy hearing the songs come out in different volume levels,
Barrelchief; Ligi is right on. I have a Pioneer 739 that has pretty much the same features as the Elite W37 model. Both include volume level control in the digital (or analog) domain. This is a bit tedious to use, but it works pretty well. You have to play the track you want to record, watch the level control meters and adjust the level accordingly (I wrote it down), then when you do the recording, just set the pre-determined level for that track.

I recorded a set of 4 compilation CDs with 15-17 tracks on each-- from 12-15 different blues and soul CDs per CD-- it was quite a project, but the volume level control was VERY USEFUL in getting the recordings to have reasonably close final volume levels-- and it's a dynamite set of CD-Rs:>). I discovered a range of volume levels of as much as about 12 dB (worst cases). With these consumer grade machines you will never achieve perfection because of other factors involved in the big variation(s) in CD recordings, ie some are bright, some are dull, dynamic vs soft etc. Still, the record level control helps a lot, but DON'T go into the red-- the instruction manual covers this. Good Luck and Cheers. Craig
FTM, the program that you suggest COULD compromise sound quality depending on how they arrive at an average level. Short of using some type of companding circuitry, there is NO way to get around this other than riding the recording levels. One can "somewhat" average out the levels from track to track on various discs, but there is no guarantee that some will not be louder or quieter than others. Sean
Thanks for your input...I'll give it a whirl.