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

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

  1. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    You better research what FLAC is. There is no changes in audio information just binary compression to save space.

    When you take a wave file convert it to FLAC and then extract the wave file again, the wave file that went in is identical to the one that comes out.

    FLAC = Free LOSSLESS Audio Codec
     
  2. beppe

    beppe Active Member

    Location:
    Venice, Italy
    Years ago I was used to play my lossless files using winamp and I've noticed that .shn files sounds better than .flac. Subtle difference but audible
    Shn were not taggable so I've converted all my library to flac by myself without any psychiatric help :D
     
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  3. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    That is not how FLAC compression works at all. "Zipping" (ZIP/RAR/7Z/etc) a text document doesn't delete letters, words, punctuation, or anything else from the original file. When you "unzip" your letter, manuscript, novel, text document, or whatever, then everything that was originally there is still there. It's lossless, just like FLAC.

    If a certain piece of software can't playback an unmodified FLAC file that sounds identical to the original WAV file, then that is a problem with that particular software. It's not a problem with FLAC. Find another player or decompress the FLAC file into a WAV and play that instead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  4. Steve Martin

    Steve Martin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, TX
    That is like arguing that a zip file compresses a word document by removing parts that you can't read.

    If you "decompress" a flac file back to WAV you end up with EXACTLY the same WAV file you started with. Not one bit different. It doesn't remove anything, audible or inaudible.
     
  5. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    I'd rather not compress or decompress any digital signal.If you did the same to a doughnut,it would still be the same doughnut with the same ingredients once compressed and decompressed and should taste the same.But more people in a blind test would prefer the unmolested version,even though nothing was missing from the compressed one.:)

    The majority of people find no difference in sound between flac and uncompressed files.(Maybe the fact that flac is so convenient for people who require tagging or smaller file sizes means they will argue that fact all day and night).I would say that through internet experience on discussions on the subject that of the 10-15 percent of people who say they can tell the difference between FLAC and WAV.Invariably they slightly favour the sound of WAV.

    Have not personally heard a 24/96 downloaded FLAC file of an album sound as good as a EAC CD ripped 16/44.1 WAV file of that same album
     
    Dave likes this.
  6. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    This is your idea of slightly controversial?
     
  7. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    And now you are on a completely different subject. FLAC vs WAV sound quality. :rolleyes:
     
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  8. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Different masterings?
     
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  9. crispi

    crispi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin
    That is false. I know you probably didn't mean it that way, but your choice of words puts this in the wrong perspective and people less computer-savvy might interpret it the wrong way – that is why I think it's important to be more accurate here. It doesn't remove inaudible data (that would make it more like mp3), in fact it doesn't remove any audio data at all. What it basically does is being like a ZIP file optimised for audio. Makes the contents smaller, but the data is exactly the same when extracted/played back.
     
  10. BlueGangsta

    BlueGangsta Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    That is by far, the strangest, most unrelatable analogy I've ever heard.
     
  11. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    I don't think he knows what binary compression is, and he truly believes that somehow the audio data is still being changed from his doughnut analogy.
     
  12. rbbert

    rbbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    Reno, NV, USA
    When you buy a WAV or AIFF file from HDTracks, they actually send you a FLAC file which is then automatically converted to WAV or AIFF on your computer by the HDTracks downloader program. If you watch your download in real time you can see this happen, or you can ask HDTracks and they will confirm this is what happens.
     
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  13. crispi

    crispi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin
    ...Thanks for having the courage to use the correct terminology; I was afraid that the word "compression" might open up another can o' worms :shh:
     
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  14. crispi

    crispi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin
    But I'm sure it still sounds better when he buys the WAV. Something to do with the weight of the files.
     
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  15. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I do prefer the midrange smoothness and bass authority of my 180gm FLACs
     
  16. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Specialist In Yngwie & Ambient Worship

    Location:
    Austin, TX
  17. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    You'll be telling me next that all CD seperates players must and do sound the same because the same data is read and ultimately extracted without any loss?

    Look,my head is not stuck in the sand on this one.I will accept that what i can hear as a clear preference in the sound quality of WAV over FLAC may be down to other factors rather than just the binary data..It may be that Ripping over downloading is partly the answer.The fact that my FLAC files were made with dBpoweramp,whilst my WAV files were made with EAC.ect..But the fact remains that i will trust my ears with regard to sound quality rather than those saying i must be wrong.
     
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  18. robertzombie

    robertzombie Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Love these threads :-popcorn:
     
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  19. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    No, but the exact same CD will sound the same whether you store it in a big cardboard box or a small paper sleeve.
     
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  20. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    I give up. First he says that a wav used to create a flac would not be same wav extracted from it. Then backs it up by saying that wav files sound better than flac. 2 different topics.


    Sigh!!!
     
  21. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I wish I could trust anyone as well as you trust your ears :rolleyes:
     
  22. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I feel that I need to intercede here. While I can find some logical reasons to support your conclusion (the sonic differences), your facts are very mixed-up here.

    You do not appear to understand the difference between lossless and lossy compression schemes. FLAC is lossless. MP3 (and many others) are lossy, and do exactly what you describe above. But FLAC does not do this, and in fact perfectly preserves the original bits. This is why everybody is jumping on your posts.

    However, despite what I have just said above, there is actually a controversial way in which a FLAC file has the potential to sound different from an otherwise identical wave file. This potential difference is only because a computer has to go to more effort to decode a flac file than it does ot play a wave file. This additional effort that the CPU spends decoding such a file has the potential to generate more power supply noise, and this noise has the potential to result in a noisier signal with slightly more jitter.

    Assuming that all of this is true, then there is at least a somewhat plausible means for FLAC to potentially sound different from an otherwise identical WAV file when logic would otherwise dictate that no differences can possibly exist.

    And for the record I'm not claiming that I can necessarily hear this difference. I'm only looking for a potential cause behind many people's claims that they do.
     
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  23. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    And any of this potential will be completely eliminated if you simply decompress the FLACs back into WAVs before playing them. If you're not concerned about certain tags and you have the room on your hard drive, then the larger file size of the WAVs won't matter.
     
  24. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Specialist In Yngwie & Ambient Worship

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Why would someone go through the trouble of creating a digital media center and not want tag-rich files? Half the fun of having a big library is all the crazy organizing I'm able to do by filtering tags.
     
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  25. Archimago

    Archimago Well-Known Member

    Great post TarnishedEar.

    One small change I would make to the comment is that yes, you could (but unlikely) "excite" a bit more noise with the extra processing but not jitter these days; especially with any decent asynchronous interfaces (USB, ethernet). Jitter results from variation in the clock feeding the DAC and I have yet to run into a situation where CPU decoding will cause a problem. An extremely slow or multitasking and overloaded computer may not keep up in realtime and result in buffer-underruns resulting is gaps or stuttering, but this is not jitter.
     

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