FLAC vs. AIFF: Any Difference?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Audiophile65, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    Is this recently? My experience is that iTunes hasn’t appropriately ripped CDs with PE for years.
     
  2. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Yes, a few months ago, with iTunes 12.8.2 on my Mac.
     
  3. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    Crazy. My 12.8.2.3 iTunes on my iMac does not. Enjoy it while you got it, good sir! :)
     
  4. jeffreybh

    jeffreybh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas
    devil is in the detail, it may depend on how PE was flagged (or not flagged) on the disc. It's possible it may recognize one flag but not another.
     
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  5. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    CDs with pre-emphasis should have it flagged both in the Table of Contents and in the subcode. But some only have it flagged in one or the other.
     
  6. William Kucharski

    William Kucharski Forum Resident

    That's just laziness on their part; ALAC is an open standard that anyone is free to implement.
     
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  7. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    The actual laziness is on Apple's part by that logic.
     
  8. Why, I don't understand. Is ALAC open standard and free or not? I use dBPoweramp that can rip and compress files to ALAC but I've never tried it on my Sony X-800 UHD BD/Multidisc player that is what I use to play my music.
    Does ALAC compress more than FLAC or the compression ratio is about the same?
     
  9. Catfish Stevens

    Catfish Stevens Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anoka, MN
    The uncompressed and lossless file types are all interchangeable and inter-convertable, be it WAV AIFF FLAC ALAC APE (monkeys audio) SHN (shorten) WV (wavpack). I have all mentioned types in my collection except AIFF. I am happy with them all. They all produce the same identical PCM audio stream that gets sent to my DAC sending identical analog wave forms to my speakers that send identical sound waves to my ears.

    The only kind of audio that would not send identical audio to my ears is a lossy format like MP3 and AAC.
     
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  10. gregorya

    gregorya Forum Resident

    Why? How?... ;)

    I couldn't resist, at least I waited a year to ask you...
     
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  11. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex UK
    It's all theory and conjecture..Maybe some of us just think WAV sounds better when in reality it doesn't.

    Alternatively the process of compression /decompression that is intrinsic in FLAC files may somehow effect the minute timings of the the music (in the nano seconds) even though the 0's and 1's are reproduced perfectly..Not proven though as little research has been done on the subject.
     
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  12. gregorya

    gregorya Forum Resident

    Certainly it is possible that specific computer hardware, DAPs and especially decoders (whether software or firmware-based) can introduce their own issues.... and equally conceivable that the issues could manifest themselves in decoding any Codec, non-compressed and compressed.

    But mainly I asked "how and why" because you asked us not to ask... :):)
     
    enfield likes this.
  13. Grant

    Grant Senior Member

    Location:
    United States
    Maybe it's psychological. They see a wave as a bigger file so they have it in their minds that bigger means no funny business. What it really amounts to is ignorance of how data packing is done.
     
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  14. Sevoflurane

    Sevoflurane Forum Resident

    Apple Lossless was made open source by Apple in 2011, having previously been one of Apple's proprietary standards, though I believe it was reverse engineered before being made open source.

    Compression vs. FLAC is similar. I rip CDs with dBPoweramp to both FLAC [my backup] and ALAC [for iTunes].

    Taking the 40th Anniversary release of Permanent Waves by Rush, the last CD I ripped as an example, Natural Science weighs in at 55348KB in FLAC compression level 5 [the default] vs. 56047KB in ALAC. Seems to be a trend of FLAC files being 1-2% smaller.

    I've never tried increasing the compression levels on FLAC, but I believe it is possible to achieve marginally smaller file sizes. I have read that doing so greatly increases encoding time for relatively little benefit, so I just stick to the default settings.
     
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  15. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex UK
    Psychological / Bigger File /Ignorance of how data works
    Very much like those that believe 24 bit sounds better than 16 bit ? ;)
     
  16. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    You have a point and I would never go hard to defend the merits of 24 bit vs. 16 bit, but at the same time a very different claim is being made in 24 bit vs. 16 bit then with lossless compression. The former argument involves things such as what our ears and brains can distinguish along with whether or not the source material can even benefit from a 24 bit container. The latter is merely about writing better software.
     
  17. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Beat me to it, but yes, FLAC compression is slightly more efficient than ALAC

    I originally used AIFF compression level 5. Having personally heard no difference between my AIFF files to a friend's FLAC files also at compression level 5 through a system way more revealing than mine, I now use FLAC at compression level 8.

    A friend who has admitted he can hear no difference, has gone from FLAC compression level 5 to FLAC uncompressed. :shrug:
     
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  18. Sevoflurane

    Sevoflurane Forum Resident

    How much difference does it make to encoding time and file size?

    Bizarre, but hard drive space is cheap. Micro SD card space isn’t cheap, though, so being able to squeeze a few more albums on my DAP would be useful.
     
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  19. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    So he rips CDs to WAV and then performs a completely arbitrary file type change? I guess I can't be surprised at anything I learn in this thread, but.......
     
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  20. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    To be honest, after hearing absolutely no difference between AIFF and FLAC through a well regarded £16K digital player playing into a full range fully active system, I just went the whole hog and used level 8 and haven't compared file size, or ripping / encoding time. Even through an old Celeron laptop, the increase didn't seem particularly noticeable

    Why not give a couple of discs a go and see the time increase on your ripping computer and see how much smaller the files are?
     
    Sevoflurane likes this.
  21. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    No, dBpoweramp's CD Ripper now offers FLAC uncompressed on top of compression levels 1-8. He always used FLAC, but used to use the default setting of 5.
     
  22. Sevoflurane

    Sevoflurane Forum Resident

    :cool:
    I was hoping I’d get a definitive answer from you so I didn’t have to do any work.:cool:

    Next CD to arrive is the new Sparks album. I’ll see what happens. I could re encode my 500GB FLAC library and see if it sets my PC on fire.
     
    Randoms likes this.
  23. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    "Uncompressed FLAC" (compression level 0) is just standard WAV audio put into a FLAC file wrapper. It does have one benefit, allowing the use of full ID tags (artist, title, album art, etc.), just like AIFF, whereas WAV generally does not.
     
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  24. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Mine has minimal Ram, a slow processor, only two cores and hasn't melted - yet!
     
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  25. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Raleigh, N.C.
    I think FLAC would allow him to tag his files, etc., so I guess there's some benefit there? Still, count me in the crowd who would use some compression to save space.
     
    Sevoflurane likes this.

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