The audio CD format
is typically referred to as a CDA file (.cda).
In truth there are no such things as CDA files as
they are just created by the operating system to
show representations of the audio tracks on a CD,
however for convenience sake we will refer to CDA
files in this help article.
CDA files can only
be played from a CD and the files must be converted
to WAV or MP3 files for storage on a computer hard
disc or DVD disc. The CDA format is an industry standard
(referred to as the Red Book audio standard) that
is used for encoding music on CDs and audio CDs bought
in the high street will use this format.
When creating an
audio CD the best source format to use is a WAV file
(MP3s may not work in the conversion to CDA files
by all mastering software). Converting a 44.1
kHz WAV file to CDA introduces no noise, distortion
or coloration to the sound.
CD audio uses
a sample rate of 44.1 kHz and for stereo audio this
requires 176,400 bytes per second (or 1,411,200 bits
per second - there are 8 bits per byte) of data storage.
This equates to about 10.09MB per minute of audio
in CDA format.
So how do 700MB
CD-R discs that you buy in the shops claim that you
can store 80 minutes of CDA audio on them if over
10MB is required per minute of audio? The truth is
that the capacity of a 700MB disc is actually much
higher (over 804MB), but that the extra 14.915% of
capacity is used by error correction code that is
used to compensate for scratches and marks on the
discs. This error correction space is essential on
data discs where a single incorrect bit of data could
corrupt the whole file. However on audio CDs this
error correction space can be used as additional
storage as any errors in the audio file will only
appear as minor sound defects that probably wouldn't
be noticed by human ears and would not crash the
CD player or computer that it was playing on.
CD-DA stands for Compact
Disc-Digital Audio and was developed by
Sony and Philips in the 1980s and is defined
in the Red Book standard. It is exactly
the same format as CDA, it is just that
CDA is a more succinct abbreviation than
CD-DA and so is more commonly used.
View other CD
and DVD production FAQs.
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