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Suppose I have foo.flac, a FLAC format audio file. What's best?
(a) To write foo.flac as-is to an optical media (iso filesystem).
(b) Create a cd translating FLAC format to cdda. I.e.,
I end up with a cdda cd.
In both cases I've got a disk playable by stand-alone cd/dvd players,
provided the player decodes FLAC. But in case (a) there is only one
source of error: namely, that made by the player when playing (I'll
assume there are errors in the decoding process). Besides,
this is a data disc. As such, all information extracted is an exact
replica of the original foo.flac file. While in case
(b) there are two sources of error: one in the process of burning a
cdda disk, cdda lacking some of the layers of error correction data
a Mode-1 CD-ROM has. The other being the same as in case (a).
So, am I right if I say it's best to follow method (a) as preffered to
method (b)? However, these .flac files, when downloaded from a site,
and because they generally are the result of ripped cd's, come in sets
which just fill a cd. They seem thought to recover the original audio
cd. This puts me to think. But being so many people well versed in
these matters, I recurre to the forum. Thanks for reading.
I'd say the real question is, do you want a music cd, or a collection of music files on a cd-rom? Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. But in the end they both contain the same PCM audio. It's up to you to decide which is best for you.
As for the error question, I think you're worrying too much about it. These days, most programs and hardware are very reliable when duplicating data, and any failure small enough to slip through the error-correction systems will likely be imperceptible during playback. You'd have to make copies of copies of copies before the errors build up enough to become a serious problem. And if you're really paranoid you can always use checksumming to ensure that the copies come out right.
I personally use flac mostly for archiving lossless original backups onto dvd-rom, after converting the audio to ogg vorbis files that I use for general listening on both my computer and portable player.