24 bit downloads: Why are HD tracks saying WAV files are not recommended?*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by gazatthebop, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. gazatthebop

    gazatthebop Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    manchester
    Two things.
    Why are HD tracks saying WAV files are not recommended if you want to hear the best sound quality and recommending FLAC format.

    Second, what is DSD 2.8MHz sample rate? Higher than 24/96 or just different?

    cheers
     
  2. Steve Martin

    Steve Martin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Where are they saying that? I checked their FAQ and couldn't find it.

    DSD 2.8Mhz is different than PCM and roughly equates to 24/88.2. It is the SACD format. You will need to convert it to PCM to play on many players but Pono and a few others support DSD.
     
  3. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    From the FAQ:

    "Q: What is an AIFF, an ALAC, a FLAC, and a WAV file? Which one should I choose?

    A: AIFF is a studio-quality digital-audio format. It is an uncompressed studio-quality file that is compatible with several players, including iTunes.
    Wav is also an uncompressed studio-quality file, compatible with different players like Windows Media Player and Winamp.
    ALAC and FLAC are studio-quality lossless digital-audio format. This means that they does not lose data like other types of compressed audio files. Lossless compression still retains low-level resolution of a standard CD. The advantage of ALAC and FLAC is that it takes up less room on your computer than an AIFF or WAV. Additionally, FLAC will play gapless audio, an advantage for albums and playlists which feature segueing between tracks. Several players are compatible with FLAC, including Winamp, Media Monkey and Songbird. ALAC is compatible with iTunes, Amarra, and other players, and is the recommended lossless format for iTunes."

    So FLAC/ALAC are recommended for the usual reasons.
     
    Vidiot likes this.
  4. Steve Martin

    Steve Martin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, TX
    I saw that, but the OP suggested that HDTracks was claiming inferior sound quality for WAV and I don't believe they say that anywhere.
     
  5. Where does it say that HDTracks does not recommend WAV files? I can't see that anywhere.
     
  6. 16/44.1

    16/44.1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Netherlands.
    FLAC contains also crc.
    So you can check if it's corrupted or not.
     
    mj_patrick and uzn007 like this.
  7. I still use WAV for my HDTracks downloads. I prefer them.
     
    fuse999 and Beech like this.
  8. funkydude

    funkydude Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    The only reason I could see is that WAV-files are larger compared to FLAC. That has nothing to do with sound quality though.
     
    Laservampire likes this.
  9. gazatthebop

    gazatthebop Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    manchester
    sorry I misread the context of the comment...it was referring to compatibility with iTunes. But the previous comment is "If getting the very best sound is important to you, you'll want to choose FLAC audio files for your purchase."
     
  10. jkauff

    jkauff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Doylestown, PA
    Some people on this forum--particularly Barry Diament--claim they can hear a difference between WAV/AIFF and FLAC/ALAC. Most people can't, and tag support for WAV/AIFF is non-standard and inconsistent among players. ALAC, being an Apple creation, has its own tagging scheme. FLAC tagging is much more widely supported, unless you're using iTunes as your player (it only plays ALAC).

    Tagging and player support are the best reasons for choosing FLAC, as the HDTracks FAQ says. Your ears are what matter, so do your own blind test of WAV and FLAC files.
     
    klockwerk and Vidiot like this.
  11. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    It's not so much that there is a difference between a wav and a flac file converted to wav, as much as there is a difference in the way players play flac files on the fly . I don't think anybody will say that a flac file reconstituted as a wav file will sound any different than a file that started out as a wav file.
     
  12. jkauff

    jkauff Forum Resident

    Location:
    Doylestown, PA
    Decompressing a FLAC file, on the fly or otherwise, generates PCM data. If you're transcoding FLAC to WAV, the transcoding software has to take the PCM data and put it in a WAV container.

    The player has to either convert the FLAC file to streaming PCM, or the WAV file to streaming PCM. Playing the FLAC file requires more CPU power because of the decompression, but in either case you end up with a PCM stream fed to the player. Which should be bit-identical coming from any PCM container.

    That's why I don't understand why a WAV file should sound any different on playback than a FLAC file. Maybe someone else can give a reason.
     
  13. qrysdonnell

    qrysdonnell Member

    Claiming that there is an audible difference between WAV and FLAC is a pretty extraordinary claim.

    All of the formats represent no loss or change of data. The reason one is recommended over the other would relate to space used and compability vs features. They're just picking the one that is most likely to work for a not fully educated customer.
     
    ubertrout, crispi and funkydude like this.
  14. Lynd8

    Lynd8 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    While on this topic...

    A couple years ago I converted about 100 CDs into wav files on my iTunes and replaced some of my favorite stuff that previously been in there as mp3's. Then, due to a problem, the PC needed a reformat. I backed up the PC and did the reformat. When I loaded the wav files back in, they lost some info in their tags. I had to go in an fix these over a long period. I was wondering if you load CDs into iTunes using the AIFF format do you have the same tag problem?
     
  15. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    What a weird thread! The title asserts something that isn't true (no way to go back now) and never mind, we're off to the tagging and nutty which-lossless-format-is-less-lossy races.

    The audiophile ramble ain't restful.
     
    bluemooze, robertzombie and funkydude like this.
  16. Olias of Sunhill

    Olias of Sunhill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Jim Creek, CO, USA
    I've yet to see where HDTracks is actually making that claim. They seem to be referencing the convenience of the format (size, metadata, gapless) and not the sound quality.
     
    Grant likes this.
  17. funkydude

    funkydude Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    I think qrysdonnell was referring to jkauff's post saying that some people claim to hear a difference.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  18. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    I'm going to be slightly controversial here..For me when comparing a 24/96 HD downloads to a versions i have ripped from CD in 16bit/44 format..I prefer my ripped version.Maybe the process of aquiring the the digital date over the internet rather than a direct rip conversion is the reason? I think HD downloads are a bit of misnomer anyway.In my view the quality of initial recording,producing and mastering has so much more of an influence on sound quality that whether it is 24 or 16 bit.
    Also i can tell the difference between WAV and FLAC and have carried out numerous blind listening tests in this regard.Its not a big difference but WAV to my ears has better timing and 'air'.
    So if a SACD version is not available for an album,then the best sollution in regards to sound quality(for myself) is to rip the albums off CD via EAC in WAV format.
     
  19. gazatthebop

    gazatthebop Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    manchester
    Qobuz 24/96 are wav format not flac
     
  20. ubertrout

    ubertrout Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The tags were probably being stored in the program you made them in, not in the wav files themselves (foobar, for instance, does this, where a format does not support tagging).
     
    Vidiot likes this.
  21. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    WAV just wastes data when downloading and doesn't contain tags normally. Purchase the FLAC version and if you want WAV files extract them from the FLAC file after the fact.

    If you think the WAV file directly downloaded sounds different than the WAV files extracted from a FLAC file, psychiatric help is needed.
     
  22. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Qobuz gives a choice for 24/96-
    WMA Lossless
    FLAC
    AIFF
    ALAC
    WAV
    The nice thing about using their store, you can re-download your purchases at any time
     
  23. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Forum Resident

    Just do the test I did some time ago: take a DTS CD (I did it with the DTS CD for the Titanic Soundtrack) ripp it to to FLAC and try to play the resulting FLAC files on your A/V receiver, and you'll get DTS perfectly decoded. You can also decompress the DTS ripped to FLAC files back to WAV, burn a CD with the resulting files and play this CD, again, perfectly decoded DTS sound. The same can be done with an HDCD disc, and you'll get the same result.
     
  24. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    FLAC is a compressed format.Its supporters argue that it only removes inaudiable sections of data,so it must sound identical to uncompressed files.Music is not though all about science or rationale.Its emotion and feel.And i can tell a slight difference between WAV and FLAC.
     
    Dave likes this.
  25. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    Are you seriously suggesting buying a compressed format and then extract it to WAV.Rather than purchasing the uncompressed WAV format originally.I don't need embedded Tags that badly.Or the slight space saving that FLAC provides.
     
    fuse999 likes this.

Share This Page