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WMA lossless versus WAV for CD burning

Last response: in Home Audio
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January 21, 2010 6:22:51 PM

In terms of sound quality only, which file (ripped at the highest possible bit rate) is best for burning onto a CD using the Windows Media Player: WAV or WMA lossless?
Anonymous
January 21, 2010 7:15:45 PM

If you are trying to produce an audio CD (for playing on a hifi cd player) I think WAV is the only way to go because the WAV file is very similar to the native file format used on commercial CD albums (cda?).

The WMA files I'm aware of offer better compression than MP3 and possibly better sound quality than MP3 but not better than WAV. However, you may be referring to a different WMA.

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January 21, 2010 7:37:13 PM

Thanks for the response! I am referring specifically to the newest "WMA Lossless" files...which are similar to WAV in that they are both "lossless" files unlike MP3s and older WMA files which are "lossy" and sacrifice some of the original data (sound quality) for better compression rates...The "WMA Lossless" files have a lower max bit rate then WAV...which makes me think that WAV is the way to go...but I am not sure which is ideal for burning on a CD in terms of sound quality...I cannot find much info on the subject...
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Anonymous
January 21, 2010 7:42:17 PM

Try both. I have a concern that only the WAV will actually work -- but CDr discs are pretty cheap.
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January 21, 2010 10:13:04 PM

Sound quality wise, they are identical. Most CD players won't play WMA lossless files though. If you use an audio CD burning program (such as windows media player or itunes), it will automatically convert the files to WAV when burning to avoid this. Both file types are lossless though, which means that both of them keep all sound information and therefore have no quality loss. WMA (non-lossless) and MP3 files, among others, are lossy, which means that they actually degrade the file quality. They do achieve much higher compression and smaller filesizes because of this fact though.
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January 28, 2010 11:29:49 PM

I did not realize that they were identical as far as sound quality. It seems like the general consensus is that WAV is the way to go. I will always sacrifice disk space for files with complete audio information and higher sound quality. The difference between lossless and lossy files is clear to my ears even while using portable and cheaper equipment. Thanks for all of the info and help!

- Jay
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