Creating an audio CD with crossfading tracks
If you just want to listen to your music using crossfaded digital files from your PC, you only need a modern player, such as Winamp or Windows Media Player. They offer a crossfading option themselves without the help of any plugin. Things become complicated if you want also to burn a CD with crossfading. So far as I know, there is no free CD Burner that will apply crossfading or other fading effects during a CD burning process. Nero can do that, not in a way that would allow the most accurate possible results, yet satisfactorily enough.
If you are determined to use only freeware, you can have your crossfades, if you sacrifice some time. A nice way would be the combination of a free CD Burner able to burn without gaps between tracks, like CDBurnerXP, along with the SqrSoft Advanced Crossfading Disk Writer for Winamp. This plugin will let you mix your tracks in various modes and then produce of them a single mixed audio file, or, even better, multiple files (cut to the mixing point), so that you will be able to skip a track during CD playback.
Since SqrSoft Advanced Crossfading Disk Writer won’t let you define but only global options, timings that will be used for each and every track in your playlist, you must divide your tracks to groups and load them separately in Winamp, according to the crossfading options you are going to use for each group. Such a solution is complicated and time consuming compared with Nero, but it is free.
You can also take advantage of the multi-track capabilities of audio editors such as Audacity, but this would be even more complicated and time consuming, although resulting to the most accurate possible mixing. I am surprised that makers of free CD burning software are not interested in crossfading. If you happen to discover a free CD burner with such capabilities, please drop me a note.