Linux Mint Converts CDA to WAV

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Linux Mint Converts CDA to WAV

Post by Caltrop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:29 pm

When I look at an Audio CD it shows as WAV, not CDA.
Other systems like Windows show CDA, why not Linux?

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Re: Linux Mint Converts CDA to WAV

Post by MintBean » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:55 pm

CDA files are a windows representation of what's actually on the disc. The disc contains raw audio samples, i.e. it is the equivalent format of a wav file.

Linux is not intended to be a free Windows clone. You will find many differences.

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Re: Linux Mint Converts CDA to WAV

Post by rene » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:41 pm

And slightly more expansive...

Both presentations of an audio CD (a CD-DA), as consisting of "CDA files" or of WAV files, are software fictions only. A CD-DA is basically just a stream of uncompressed 44100 samples/second, 16-bit, stereo samples with as additional high-level structure only a minimal table of contents (the TOC) to allow a CD player to jump to a specific track.

The CD-DA is from a time when computers and certainly computer CD drives were not widely available to the general public; putting actual file system structure on it was not considered. When a number of years later CD-ROM came into being it adopted the CD-DA format as its lower-level format, with its own format on top of that (specifically, used 2048 bytes of the 2352-byte CD-DA data-sector as its own data-sector with the remainder employed for additional error-correction) and introduced the file-system as an additional abstraction/layer living between the medium and the content.

CD-ROM became widely deployed and consumers got used to the file-based presentation of CD-ROM. At that point, but that point only, was it by some considered a good idea to backport the CD-ROM experience to CD-DA; to use the TOC to present a CD-DA to the user as if it were a CD-ROM with individual files corresponding to individual tracks.

As to your question then: nothing is being converted from anything to anything by either system. Both Windows and modern-day Linux systems indeed present a CD-DA in graphical file managers as if it were a CD-ROM with files consisting of tracks but in both cases these files are nothing but presentations of the actual data; of the very same bunch of samples. The .CDA and the .WAV names are fully made up by Windows resp. Linux; Linux additionally makes up a .WAV header for its presentation of said bunch of samples, Windows probably does the same for .CDA, but nothing is being converted.

Note that the file-based presentation allows you to copy the tracks off of a CD-DA simply AS IF they were files in both Linux and Windows but that this needs to employ error-correction behind the scenes due to as explained CD-DA not having own (on cheap computer-drives effective) error-correction. Both systems also automatically will do so, but its still a good idea to use specialized software such as EAC on Windows or cdparanoia or asunder or Sound Juicer or ... on Linux, even if only to have more control over the process.

[EDIT] Edited a few details so as to get this correct enough to simply link to next time it comes up...

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