File integrity

Does converting your audio files around from lossless to wav to lossless corrupt the file in any way? What is the chance for errors in doing so?

Also, when a computer crashes, freezing, blue screen etc… when playing a track, and it’s forced to restart, does it change the original file in any way?


For what I know, there is no change, providing that the codec used was lossless.

If the crash was during a file read, there should be no modification. The problem is when a file is in writing. Or if the disc becomes damaged in some way during the crash of course.

If the disk was damaged, I would know about it right? Like I will get a warning windows saying that the file was corrupted? Instead of just getting a decrease in audio quality without me knowing?

So if it’s damaged, it would be apparent right?

If the hard disc becomes damaged (indeed this could be a cause of the computer crash), I doubt that the computer will start again, and anyway in the event viewer you will notice a lot of errors.

If a file becomes corrupt because of a damaged hard disc, the audio file will be degraded for sure, but I’m not sure that it’s possible to notice audio degradation with ears only. Maybe with a dedicated software it’s possible, but I’m not able to answer about this :frowning:

Philips issued a white paper years ago claiming there would be some distortion, but that distortion would be inaudible for a limited number of conversions.

If a computer crashes during playback, there should be no change to the audio file because the drive head was in the read mode and not creating enough magnetic flux to change anything. However, if the head actually hit the drive and caused some physical damage, it’s possible that the actual data could be damaged enough for error correction schemes to attempt to correct the damage from the interleaved data parts. That kind of “crash,” however is not subtle; and damage in those cases wipes out a lot of information. In the best case you would hear clicks in the audio file. In the worst case your computer would not be able to boot up.