Direct copying is OK for CD-As as an errors most likely won't be heard.
Reading errors? burning errors?
The quality of a CD burned will be the same if the source is a hard disk or a CD-ROM, except for the fact that the CD-ROM is slower and there are more possibilities of buffer underrun or BurnProof activation.
Manufacturers say that stopping to wait for more data (that's BurnProof) doesn't affect quality, but I wouldn't be so sure. Maybe every time BurnProof is activated the gaps make the quality lower.
However, for burning data out to CDs for backup, I only burn from images as any errors at all are unacceptable.
A CD-ROM can't be read with errors. I mean the drive stops until the data is readable.
well, I'm seeing that Nero allows to "ignore read errors" !!!!
That's really stupid (unless you're copying a protected CD).
The point is: if there are errors in the source CD, you can't know it until you read it.
That's why I use image, usually.
If you do it on the fly, there are two options with data discs if there are errors:
- Burn is aborted.
- Burned disc has errors. (If you choose to ignore read errors).
I don't copy data discs (only mastering), so maybe I'm wrong.
Audio discs (unlike data discs) can be read incorrectly without warning.
I suppose this is what you meant before, CowboySlim.
CD-ROMs with jitter problems will have a lot more of problems with "on the fly" copies, because the target is much slower than reading to hard disk.
Fortunately, most modern drives don't have problems with jitter.
http://www.feurio.de/English/faq/faq_wr ... efly.shtml
http://www.feurio.de/English/faq/faq_vo ... copy.shtml
Newbies should always make an image until they learn how it works.
And people who know how it works usually make an image simply because it's safer.