FLAC and high-end audio - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I didn't want to hijack the existing thread on high end servers, but this is a related question. In the course of talking about some possible gear changes with a dealer, I mentioned that I converted my entire disc collection to lossless FLAC a few years ago. He said that lossless FLAC was still a compressed format and that while it was "loss less" (his words) compared to MP3, it still wasn't as good as .WAV. 

 

I did a fair amount of homework before spending weeks ripping 500+ CDs, did I really screw this up? I have a relatively modest system (Krell amp, Integra pre/pro, and Martin Logan speakers) and would love to hear what you guys with the true high-end gear have done when converting to digital.

 

Thank you!

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post #2 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 08:52 AM
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Rubbish. Flac is just a container. The original data is all still there. Think of it as a zip file - no data gets lost. I did comparison between flacs and wav's and cannot detect any audible difference. Flac uses less space and allows for tagging of the actual file, so has some practical advantages.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, that's what I thought but part of me wondered if I've been missing something all these years... Thank you for the reassurance

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post #4 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 10:31 AM
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There is a very old thread in Audio Theory section about flac. It seems not everyone understands the concept of 'lossless' which means that the process of encoding then decoding a file produces a bit perfect copy of the original.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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That's always been my understanding of lossless formats (although I am certainly not an engineer). I was just second-guessing myself because the person in question was so sure. He said you can tell that FLAC isnt' lossless because if you invert the phase of a FLAC file and play it back at the same time as a .WAV file, they don't cancel each other out (which they should if FLAC were lossless?). In any event, sounds like I don't have anything to worry about (except maybe trusting this person's judgment on suggestions for a new pre/pro....)

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 02:01 PM
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FLAC is 100% lossless, and can use different levels of compression. There are levels 1-8 which require different amounts of CPU power to encode/decode, and result in varying file sizes.
It is also possible to create uncompressed FLAC files now.

Whatever you put into a FLAC file is exactly what you get out when it is decoded.
It's also better to store the audio in a FLAC container as there are additional verification steps which you don't get with WAV to check for file corruption, for example.

Even decoding the highest level of FLAC compression is not going to make any difference to the sound. FLAC decoding is trivial on modern devices and will use less than 1% CPU usage.


Yes, there are people who claim that FLAC files sound better than ALAC files, or WAV sounds better than AIFF etc. It's all in their head.
And coincidentally, the most awkward format to use (WAV, as it takes up the most space and does not have things like proper tagging support) is the one these people prefer.
Audiophiles always like things to be difficult for some reason. If it's not, well then you're obviously not getting the best possible sound quality.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 02:13 PM
 
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FLAC is absolutely fine and what I use. Moreover, if you make copies, WAV will lose metadata, FLAC won't.

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 02:29 PM
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Yes I can not hear any difference between flac and wav.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-28-2014, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBruzonsky View Post
 

FLAC is absolutely fine and what I use. Moreover, if you make copies, WAV will lose metadata, FLAC won't.

If it's good enough for you it is dang sure good enough for me! :)

 

Thank you again to everyone for the quick replies.

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post #10 of 14 Old 03-31-2014, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBruzonsky View Post

FLAC is absolutely fine and what I use. Moreover, if you make copies, WAV will lose metadata, FLAC won't.


Steve, Why the new moniker?
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-31-2014, 03:30 PM
 
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Out with the old and in with the new - moniker, speakers, Prometheus monoblocks, etc, etc. What else can I say?

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post #12 of 14 Old 04-01-2014, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBruzonsky View Post
 

Out with the old and in with the new - moniker, speakers, Prometheus monoblocks, etc, etc. What else can I say?

 

Not to hijack my old thread, but am I correct in thinking that you used to use Bryston amps? I'm in the market for a 3-channel amp and have been thinking about the 6B SST2 but can't find a ton of info online.

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post #13 of 14 Old 04-01-2014, 04:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin42 View Post
 

 

Not to hijack my old thread, but am I correct in thinking that you used to use Bryston amps? I'm in the market for a 3-channel amp and have been thinking about the 6B SST2 but can't find a ton of info online.

 

From 1997 - 2006 I used five Bryston 7BST monoblocks - great amps, best service in the business. Upgraded to five Theta Enterprise monoblocks 2007. Replaced two of Enterprises with Theta Citadel 1.5 monoblocks in 2011. 2014 replaced all five monoblcocks with Theta Prometheus monoblocks.

 

Bryston has newer improved monoblocks but I haven't demod or heard them.

 

Each amp upgrade for me was a nice sonic improvement! And turns out the Prometheus upgrade is a biggest improvement of them all!@@

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post #14 of 14 Old 04-01-2014, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBruzonsky View Post

From 1997 - 2006 I used five Bryston 7BST monoblocks - great amps, best service in the business. Upgraded to five Theta Enterprise monoblocks 2007. Replaced two of Enterprises with Theta Citadel 1.5 monoblocks in 2011. 2014 replaced all five monoblcocks with Theta Prometheus monoblocks.

Bryston has newer improved monoblocks but I haven't demod or heard them.

Each amp upgrade for me was a nice sonic improvement! And turns out the Prometheus upgrade is a biggest improvement of them all!@@

Cool. That 20 year warranty is really appealing to me right now since my Krell Showcase seems to have given up the ghost.
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