Audio file formats (AFFs) are designed for storing and playing digital audio data on a computer, smart device or any other player. The bit layout of the audio data (not including the metadata present on the file) is called the audio coding format. File sizes may be compressed for size reduction or alternately left uncompressed to ensure high-quality reproduction of the music.
Today there are many different audio file formats that can be used to convert music CDs to digital files. For instance, if you have low space on your drive and are used to listening to low-quality MP3 audio files, you might be blown away by the experience of listening to a hi-res audio track in FLAC or WAV formats. Alternatively, you can also opt for a middle-range AAC file format.
Let us take a quick look at a few of the more popular audio file formats so that you will know which one would be the most suitable for your digital music library.
This is Apple’s answer to MP3. It offers significant levels of music compression to ensure smaller file size, but it sounds a lot better than its MP3 counterpart. It is used for downloading iTunes as well as Apple Music streaming.
This is also Apple’s own version of the WAV file format. It does not offer compression, so the file sizes are as big as WAV files. However, it offers considerably better metadata support in comparison to most other uncompressed audio file formats available today.
This is the format most popularly used in Super Audio CDs (SACDs). It offers the best quality audio experience due to multiple channels and very high bit rates. However, the massive size of the files makes it an impractical option for converting CDs into a manageable digital audio library.
This is the standard format in which your CD collection has been encoded. In fact, this is the key reason due to which your CDs sound so much better than your MP3 files. However, the total lack of compression leads to huge file sizes that can quickly fill up your memory stick or hard drive. Furthermore, this format offers poor metadata support.
This is a lossless compression format that also supports hi-res sample rates. Moreover, it takes only half the space of an average WAV file while simultaneously storing metadata information for ease of retrieval. This is the option most commonly used by top-end professionals and audiophiles who want to convert their CDs to a digital library. The hi-res FLAC format is royalty-free, and it can be used to both download and store hi-res albums so that you can enjoy CD quality audio on your digital media player.
This is the most popular audio file format in use today. It compresses the file to a fraction of its original size. Unfortunately, this leads to a reduction in sound quality, which is why most music lovers tend to avoid converting their CDs to this format.
If you are interested in converting your CD-based music library to a file-based one, you can contact us here.