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How to Convert CDA to MP3/WAV

Roger W.
BY Roger W.   
LAST UPDATED: Oct. 20, 2016

To convert CDA to MP3, the first thing you must know is .cda files are not audio files. They are just a way that your computer lets you access an Audio CD index. So when it comes to changing CDA to MP3, it means converting or ripping CD to MP3.

There are many ways for you to convert CDA to MP3. Here I'll mainly focus on two of the most-used ways. On is using a CD Ripper and the other is taking advantage of Windows Media Player. Follow the passage below to see the details of how to convert CDA to MP3/WAV/AC3.

Part 1 What is CDA Format

If you view the contents of a music CD from Windows, you'll see that it contains a number of .CDA files each corresponding to a song track. (CDA stands for Compact Disk Audio)

CDA is a file extension for a CD Audio shortcut file format. Used by Microsoft Windows to refer to audio tracks on a CD, a CDA file doesn't contain audio but is simply a shortcut to the tracks on an audio disc. Each .CDA file is a kind of a pointer to the location of a specific track on the CD and contains no musical information. CDA files are all 44 bytes in length and each contain track times plus a special Windows shortcut that allows users to access the specific audio tracks.

So if .CDA files contain no musical information, what happens if you "copy" a .CDA from an audio CD to your hard drive and then double click it? Nothing happens. And this is why you need to extract audio tracks from an Audio CD and convert CDA files to MP3.

CDA Files

Part 2 Convert CDA to MP3 with CD Ripper

First of all, we need a CD Ripper called Streaming Audio Recorder. Sounds strange? Actually, Streaming Audio Recorder whose main function is recording online music, is also an excellent CD Ripper and CD Burner. This program lets you extract digital audio tracks directly from audio CDs to MP3 or WAV audio files. It can also automatically link to an online database to obtain track and album name information of all your CD tracks.

Streaming Audio Recorder - A CD Ripper to Convert CDA to MP3

This CD Ripper allows you to extract and save audio files from CDs to your hard disk and mobile devices with ease.

Step 1. Add CD

First of all, run Streaming Audio Recorder and put your audio CD into your computer's CD drive. Then, click the "Menu" icon of the program and choose "CD Ripper".

Note: If you copied some .cda file to your hard drive or to a different media.... sorry, you can't convert them to MP3 format. You will need to find the original CD and rip its tracks with this program and to convert CDA files to MP3.

Select CD Ripper

Step 2. Select CD Drive and Get Tracks' Info

After inserting your CD, select the CD Drive. Now you will see the CD tracks. To get the tracks' information, such as the name and artist of the song, click the "CD" icon on the top right side. The program will automatically link to an online database to obtain track and album name information of all your CD tracks.

Get CD Info

Step 3. Set Output Format

Tick those tracks you want to convert. Then, choose MP3 or WAV as the output format.

Convert CD to MP3

You can also choose the audio quality from "low", "standard" to "high".

Choose Audio Quality

Step 4. Convert CDA to MP3

Change the output folder to the location you prefer. Then, click "Start" to change CDA files to MP3. By default, this program will rip each selected track into an individual file.

Start Ripping CD

Part 3Convert CDA to MP3 with Windows Media Player

In a process known as ripping, Windows Media Player in Windows 10 can copy your CDs/CDA files to your PC as MP3 files. In this article I will show you how to convert CDA to MP3 format using Windows Media Player 12.

Step 1. Open Windows Media Player, insert a music CD, and should see "Rip CD" and "RIP Settings" at the top menu.

Note: Before you rip a CD, make sure you are connected to the Internet because WMP will look up information on the album and track and add that metadata to the file.

Convert CDA to MP3 with Windows Media Player

Step 2. In "Rip Settings", choose MP3 as the format. You can also choose the audio quality. If you are ripping a lot of CDs and don’t want to change these settings for every CD, click on "More options" and then change the defaults.

Rip CDA to MP3

Step 3. When you click Rip CD, the process will begin and the amount of time to rip the CD depends on your CD/DVD drive speed and CPU speed. Windows Media Player automatically places your ripped CDs into your Music folder.


Nowadays, converting CDA to MP3/WAV or ripping a CD is really easy. If you have a lot of old music CDs, go ahead to convert CDA/CD to MP3 before you lose them. If you want to save your music to a CD, Streaming Audio Recorder allows you to burn music to CD.



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