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What Are CDA Files

CDA files are small files found on audio CDs that act as shortcuts, but don’t actually contain audio data themselves.

Purpose of CDA Files

Track Markers: Each .cda file on an audio CD corresponds to a single track. They tell the CD player where each track begins and ends.

Windows Shortcut: When you see CD tracks displayed in Windows, those aren’t the actual audio files. The CDA files simply point to the locations on the CD.

Why They Exist

User Convenience: CDA files make audio CDs work properly in operating systems like Windows, allowing for individual track listing without needing complex file formats.

Data vs. Audio: CD players are designed to read raw audio data, not complex file formats. CDA files provide the necessary track navigation information.

You Cannot Play CDA Files Alone

No Audio Data: CDA files contain no music or audio themselves. They are merely instructional shortcuts.

Ripping Required: To play audio CD tracks on a computer or portable devices, you need to “rip” them into a usable audio format like MP3, WAV or FLAC.

Handling CDA files

Ripping Software: Software like Windows Media Player, iTunes or dedicated ripping tools can convert the audio tracks into common file formats using the CDA files as guides.

Opening in Media Player: Double clicking a CDA file will usually open the CD in a compatible media player if one is installed.

Important Things

CD ROM vs. Audio CD: CDA files are specifically designed for audio CDs. Data CD ROMs use a regular file system.

File Size: CDA files are tiny, around 44 bytes because they only contain basic track information.

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