Originally Posted by Garman
Philnick: Thanks for the iTrax suggestion as I just become a member, long time user of HDTracks and been happy with it, I wish iTrax had more downloads for AIFF/WAV files and DSD would be nice to have on their as well. Again I want quality not have the sure quality of saying I stream my music look at all the access I have, I am a "I" like to own it kind of guy. The Rent for play reminds me the old days of Divx!
Great, Garman -
1) - PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation and can be sampled at different rates and different word lengths. Standard CDs use a sample rate of 44.1 Khz with 16-bit samples. If you look at the directory of a CD you'll see a bunch of .CDA files. CDA=CD Audio=PCM encoded at 44/16.
When you "rip" a CD to WAV, you're simply copying the .CDA files to your hard drive and changing their extensions to .WAV.
So WAV files are PCM files
- they're just two names for the same thing. (WAV is the extension Microsoft chose to use for its PCM files on PCs.) However, unlike CDA files, WAV files can have any sample rate and bit depth that any other PCM file can have.
Not only can PCM files have higher sample rates and bit depths than CDs, they can also have more channels. That's why, before the movie industry standardized on lossless compression with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio (to fit more extras on a Blu-ray), it was common to see uncompressed
PCM surround soundtracks on early Blu-ray disks.
2) - FLAC files are, in essence, zip files for PCM. They save the same approximately 50% in file size that zip files save. The modest amount of saving - compared to mp3 - is the price of being able to reconstruct, on the fly, an exact copy of the original recording. Not only does this save storage space on disk, it means that, since they're smaller, the files can be played over a local area network more easily, and decoded by the player in real time.
The other advantage of FLAC is that FLAC files use the same ID3 "tagging" mechanism as mp3s - so I can use the (free) mp3Tag Windows program to manage the tags on FLACs, up to and including embedding album art.
From your reference to AIFF I suspect that you're using a Mac. If so, you should know that the (also free) VLC media player that runs on both Mac and Windows plays FLAC files, and a little searching found Kid3,
a free tag editor that also runs on both OS X and Windows and works on FLACs as well as mp3s.
3) - DSD was invented by Sony as an archival storage medium for CD masters. It has little more frequency response than a CD because it uses a sampling method that creates so much supersonic noise that players have to use a brickwall filter to keep the supersonic noise from blowing out users' amplifiers and speakers. DSD also cannot be edited, which is why most DSD releases are actually mixed and edited in PCM and then converted to DSD, so they will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.
4) - DXD, by contrast is - guess what - just PCM disguised with yet another name so it will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.