How Macs ‘see’ audio CDs.
I was messing around with an audio CD on my Mac last night and I noticed something rather interesting (well, interesting to me, but then I am a nerd).
On Windows, if you ‘explore’ an audio CD all you see are ‘.cda’ files which can’t be read or played as such. If you try to copy/paste them to a folder on your PC, you don’t get anything which can be read or played either (least not on my XP laptop, not tried on wifey’s Win7). I can appreciate why this is, because while Red Book is definitely not my specialist, I do understand at least the rudiments of how audio CDs are created and why they need to be ‘ripped’ to get audio off them in a data-format like WAV.
On my Mac, things are completely different. Open an audio CD on a Mac and you get a window of ‘.AIFF’ files which not only can be played in-situ with QuickView but can even be copied/pasted to another folder, just as if they were files on a data CD. Once copied, these too can be played and even edited.
I was wondering why Macs can do this, and what difference there would be between ripping the audio from the CD in a conventional way and just copying/pasting directly from the CD to a folder, other than the latter method won’t create any tags.
In fact I can see an experiment coming up later. I’ll rip a track from a CD losslessly, first using iTunes then using XLD, then just via a simple copy/paste, and we’ll see what differences there are.