WAV vs. FLAC

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Fretless
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Fretless » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:52 pm

I am hearing a difference - much as I also hear a difference between FLAC and ALAC (which is duller and less dynamic). Any processing that is carried out on the audio signal - even as minimal as in FLAC decoding - does look to have a subtle impact on audio quality.

Any form of codec encoding will be performing certain manipulations of the audio signal in both encoding and decoding the waveform data. There is a slight 'flattening' of the audio presentation, which sounds drier and somewhat brittle as FLAC in comparison to a WAV ripped from the same CD using the same Rip program (EAC)

Believe me when I say that I was not expecting to hear much, if any, change in SQ but it is there and my extremely transparent NVA setup reveals the differences very clearly.

Try it yourself and see what your ears tell you. :grin:
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Simon Hickie
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Simon Hickie » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:20 pm

Well, I've just converted the first tranche of music (covering the medieval period) from FLAC to WAV. As the system is in store due to the house move, I've been listening with a cheapo pair of Sony headphones and no DAC. Even with this basic setup, I can confirm that the WAV file seems to have a touch more air with better separation between the elements and as Fretless suggests less dry and flat than the FLAC file. And I'm listening with an i7 based laptop with 16gb ram, so no lack of processing welly. I've been listening via Foobar2000 which I also know to be a touch flatter than JRiver. Also, the better the recording, the more obvious the differences are.
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Frasernash
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Frasernash » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:00 am

CN211276 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:51 am
With reference to the opening post and the development of MP3 and digital audio, this is a very good read.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1

I can remember the day I was introduced to the early primitive device in a pub, it amazed me.
Just read the first few free pages of the book on the compression and how people cant notice the differences when information removed very clever people that worked that out although it would come down to your own listening if you can discern the difference between CD and 128k.

Like the bit on the greatest piece of Hifi ever being Stax headphones which was used as a reference for there works

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Fretless
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Fretless » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:17 am

Most of us audiophiles are blessed/cursed with a desire to 'experience' the music. We train our brains to actively listen to every inflection of not only the performance but how our equipment presents it.

Otherwise we would all be perfectly happy with cassette players and transistor radios.
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Frasernash
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Frasernash » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:42 am

Fretless wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:17 am
Most of us audiophiles are blessed/cursed with a desire to 'experience' the music. We train our brains to actively listen to every inflection of not only the performance but how our equipment presents it.

Otherwise we would all be perfectly happy with cassette players and transistor radios.
Do you train your Brain ? as that could be considered Imagination and its now the just the equipment its also the mastering of the Music that makes a big difference, but no one talks about that much as it cant be sold as the wonderful new DAC that cost pennies to make but sounds for much more.

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Fretless
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Fretless » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:13 pm

In my own deluded, obsessive striving for the perfect sound - and a laziness in not wanting to be hassled unless it's absolutely necessary - I have just carried out experiment No.2.

Making a new rip of the Hyperborea CD, this time doing the normal compression process to FLAC. I then used DbPowerAmp to decompress the FLAC file back to WAV. In theory the conversion to FLAC should be bit-perfect, providing scrap-for-scrap identical playback data. So reconverting to WAV ought to be exactly the same as the direct-from-CD original.

A/B -ing the two WAV-encoded files did (for me - or am I just fooling myself?) provide differences in SQ. The original being tighter and more sharply focused in detail, the compressed/decompressed file sounding a tad 'woollier', warmer and ever-so-slightly less detailed. Yes, I'm hair-splitting here but this is my perception and I want the best I can get.

My guess is that the enfolding/unfolding processing of the FLAC engine adds a tiny bit of coloration to influence the sound in the way that jitter from a cheap coax cable would. Loss of focus and a veiling effect.

Decompressing the existing FLAC's will be OK for some albums - but not for others, so it looks like I'll be having to re-rip a large part of the CD collection (again). :doh: :doh: :doh:
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by karatestu » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:54 pm

That will keep you busy Fretless.

All this computer audio talk is double dutch to me although the more I read about it the more I am starting to understand. Not for me though - I have enough to do without learning new stuff. Maybe one day.

Keep up the good work as this will be valuable to a lot of people I would say.
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Lurcher300b » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:17 pm

A/B -ing the two WAV-encoded files did (for me - or am I just fooling myself?) provide differences in SQ. The original being tighter and more sharply focused in detail, the compressed/decompressed file sounding a tad 'woollier', warmer and ever-so-slightly less detailed. Yes, I'm hair-splitting here but this is my perception and I want the best I can get.
I would suggest using something that can calculate a checksum for the two files, direct WAV and via FLAC WAV. If they are different then there is something in your FLAC process that’s broken, if they are the same and you can still hear a difference, then TBH, its down to magic.

This would be a simple way of getting the checksums http://www.winmd5.com/

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George Hincapie
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by George Hincapie » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:24 pm

No need to compress at all. It isn't as though data storage is expensive.

WAV is best, followed by uncompressed FLAC.
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by savvypaul » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:30 pm

Why is WAV best?
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