I've finally made up my mind about FLAC vs uncompressed...sigh. Hard drive makers rejoice.

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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Ok, so some are definitely going to say "This guy is looney tunes" but after 11 years of going back and forth I'm definitely convinced that FLAC and ALAC do not sound as good as WAV or AIFF. This all started when I gave up my CDs and player and went into USB DACs and Hi Rez downloads. For whatever reason, despite apparent superior DACs and better quality audio formats, something was wrong/just not as enjoyable as I remember my CD days being. Fast forward a decade, now using high end servers/streamers, I2S optical isolation, various power products, I started to realize the level of enjoyment and audio quality that I was looking for. Basically the solution had been to totally isolate the DAC from computer and get as much power noise isolation as possible.

But something still wasn't right. I subscribe to Qobuz, but found myself not using it that much because something about the sound was quite lackluster. In fact, I have compared FLAC files I downloaded from Qobuz with the exact same title streamed, and for whatever reason the stream was quite inferior. I've been told "It's FLAC, it's totally lossless, you are hearing things" My response, is that I really don't know what goes on in the Qobuz black box, but downloaded vs streamed FLAC sounded substantially different in favor of the downloaded file.

Where this journey ends is after endlessly tweaking my setup, still trying to get back the magic of my CD/SACD/DVD-A days, I started to remember first impressions I had when I started using FLAC and old comparisons I had done between uncompressed files vs FLAC and ALAC. I always heard FLAC being a bit more thin and less coherent, but knowing the actual data was the same I shrugged it off. Recently I went back and started doing listening tests, and lo and behold, AIFF was indeed superior to FLAC. In every case the FLAC was perceived as thinner, less present, having less width and depth, and less soundstage coherence. This was similar to my experience with lossless streaming, but much subtler. And yet, AIFF always sound and felt more full, present, and analog-like. Exactly what I was missing from my days playing discs, that last .1% that feels like completion and right-ness. I keep going back and my conviction only grows that any compression at all takes away something. Well this is inconvenient! I already have 2TB of FLAC music.

Considering that I already have total electrical isolation from my EMM Labs NS1 stream and DA2 DAC, and deep noise reduction from Shunyata Sigma NR cables and Denali V2, it's really hard for me to grasp what could actually be causing the differences in sound. I saw a study where the author claimed that it was album art, metadata, and and compression levels that correlated with changes in FLAC audio quality. Theoretically this would be creating noise in the playback, but I would expect that I have that pretty well handled with my setup. I'm looking to swap out my Shunyata NR cable to the NS1 with a V2 hoping to get just a little more noise reduction to the other components. I definitely don't want to try and modify the metadata on every FLAC and or do an AIFF conversion, and I'm not keen on downloading stuff all over again. But I just keep coming back to how natural uncompressed feels.

The esoteric fringe obviously, but has anybody figured out how to improve FLAC sound beyond what I have already done? I admit I have no explanations, but now I'm looking at replacing most of my music with AIFF, which is a big and expensive task. If it really was in my head I'd be more than happy to leave things as they are. If only there was some way to get the FLAC decoding to sound correct...
 

RikkiPoo

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Nov 5, 2020
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In the same boat. WAV is so much better than FLAC and I have a boatload of FLAC.

100% agree it became apparent after lots of attention to the AC noise, ground plane noise and jitter.
 
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K3RMIT

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In the same boat. WAV is so much better than FLAC and I have a boatload of FLAC.

100% agree it became apparent after lots of attention to the AC noise, ground plane noise and jitter.
Has
anyone coverted flac to AIFF or WAV ? Not on the fly but off sample covert
for the ones who can hear the change it’s there. Now why needs to be in another thread that alone is a rock throwing contest.
 
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K3RMIT

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The strange thing is that even when using JRiver in 'play decoded file from memory' mode wav still sounds better.
There are two waves the 24 bit wave is the better one. but to me AIFF is best. both AIFF and wave cannot be compressed
and even though you choose no compression in flac there is one more box to check for complete no compression when converting.
 

K3RMIT

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Sep 4, 2020
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There are two waves the 24 bit wave is the better one. but to me AIFF is best. both AIFF and wave cannot be compressed
and even though you choose no compression in flac there is one more box to check for complete no compression when converting.
I think those who can hear may have better setups or even just hearing that has evolved to hear it.
 

RikkiPoo

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Nov 5, 2020
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I could not hear a difference years ago with my old Music Server so I ripped all my CD's in FLAC for the space savings.

You are right as my setup has progressed I can now hear a difference, but honestly if I am not comparing WAV and FLAC I do enjoy FLAC on my system. It's just knowing it could be better that bugs me.

Can converting a FLAC to WAV bring back the original file from the CD? Or is it a WAV version of a FLAC file.
 
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christoph

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Ok, so some are definitely going to say "This guy is looney tunes" but after 11 years of going back and forth I'm definitely convinced that FLAC and ALAC do not sound as good as WAV or AIFF. This all started when I gave up my CDs and player and went into USB DACs and Hi Rez downloads. For whatever reason, despite apparent superior DACs and better quality audio formats, something was wrong/just not as enjoyable as I remember my CD days being. Fast forward a decade, now using high end servers/streamers, I2S optical isolation, various power products, I started to realize the level of enjoyment and audio quality that I was looking for. Basically the solution had been to totally isolate the DAC from computer and get as much power noise isolation as possible.

But something still wasn't right. I subscribe to Qobuz, but found myself not using it that much because something about the sound was quite lackluster. In fact, I have compared FLAC files I downloaded from Qobuz with the exact same title streamed, and for whatever reason the stream was quite inferior. I've been told "It's FLAC, it's totally lossless, you are hearing things" My response, is that I really don't know what goes on in the Qobuz black box, but downloaded vs streamed FLAC sounded substantially different in favor of the downloaded file.

Where this journey ends is after endlessly tweaking my setup, still trying to get back the magic of my CD/SACD/DVD-A days, I started to remember first impressions I had when I started using FLAC and old comparisons I had done between uncompressed files vs FLAC and ALAC. I always heard FLAC being a bit more thin and less coherent, but knowing the actual data was the same I shrugged it off. Recently I went back and started doing listening tests, and lo and behold, AIFF was indeed superior to FLAC. In every case the FLAC was perceived as thinner, less present, having less width and depth, and less soundstage coherence. This was similar to my experience with lossless streaming, but much subtler. And yet, AIFF always sound and felt more full, present, and analog-like. Exactly what I was missing from my days playing discs, that last .1% that feels like completion and right-ness. I keep going back and my conviction only grows that any compression at all takes away something. Well this is inconvenient! I already have 2TB of FLAC music.

Considering that I already have total electrical isolation from my EMM Labs NS1 stream and DA2 DAC, and deep noise reduction from Shunyata Sigma NR cables and Denali V2, it's really hard for me to grasp what could actually be causing the differences in sound. I saw a study where the author claimed that it was album art, metadata, and and compression levels that correlated with changes in FLAC audio quality. Theoretically this would be creating noise in the playback, but I would expect that I have that pretty well handled with my setup. I'm looking to swap out my Shunyata NR cable to the NS1 with a V2 hoping to get just a little more noise reduction to the other components. I definitely don't want to try and modify the metadata on every FLAC and or do an AIFF conversion, and I'm not keen on downloading stuff all over again. But I just keep coming back to how natural uncompressed feels.

The esoteric fringe obviously, but has anybody figured out how to improve FLAC sound beyond what I have already done? I admit I have no explanations, but now I'm looking at replacing most of my music with AIFF, which is a big and expensive task. If it really was in my head I'd be more than happy to leave things as they are. If only there was some way to get the FLAC decoding to sound correct...
Have you tried to convert one Album (or even only one song) from FLAC to AIFF and then compare the original FLAC file to the converted AIFF file?
 
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Ian B

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Have you tried to convert one Album (or even only one song) from FLAC to AIFF and then compare the original FLAC file to the converted AIFF file?
Actually, yes. With dbPoweramp, the second conversion resulted in something worse than the original AIFF or the converted FLAC. The original timbre of the AIFF came back, but with the addition of some "noise" or busy-ness. I actually preferred the FLAC to doubled converted AIFF. It may have something to do with how dbPoweramp handles the album art of metadata in conversion.
 
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Ian B

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I could not hear a difference years ago with my old Music Server so I ripped all my CD's in FLAC for the space savings.

You are right as my setup has progressed I can now hear a difference, but honestly if I am not comparing WAV and FLAC I do enjoy FLAC on my system. It's just knowing it could be better that bugs me.

Can converting a FLAC to WAV bring back the original file from the CD? Or is it a WAV version of a FLAC file.
It is almost better not knowing, but I think if you get that gnawing sense that something isn't quite right, you keep looking for it. Probably more cost effective to change file formats than invest in new gear in the hopes of correcting the problem.

I haven't reconverted to WAV because I find it is difficult in my library, but as described in the above post, the second conversion back to AIFF was actually worse than the original and the FLAC with the program I used. I might try doing this a few times in a row because it seems like there may actually be some cumulative thing that happens, though I don't know enough about all the bits to understand what may be changing.
 

seeteeyou

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Apr 6, 2015
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IMHO our findings on this thread should be no surprise at all after reading these links

https://github.com/xiph/flac/issues/156#issuecomment-650583606
https://soundcheck-audio.blogspot.com/p/the-engine.html

There's no way to tell what compiler version was used and what kinda compiler options were picked for the compilation of FLAC audio codec at the very beginning. The devil is in the details, though unfortunately it should be safe to bet that almost nobody would actually pay attention to the finest details IMHO.

In other words, a certain degree of inefficiencies might be unavoidable whenever and wherever FLAC comes into play. Now what?

When in doubt, leave it out. Let's just get outta that FLAC business and call it a day.

If I weren't mistaken, WAV should be relatively mature / simple etc. while less overhead is involved since we aren't really decompressing anything on the fly. Of course it would be interesting to do a comparison between FLAC with 0 decompression and WAV just for the sake of an experiment

https://boomspeaker.com/flac-compression-levels-explained/
https://sound.stackexchange.com/que...el-comparison-efficiency-analysis/41965#41965
 
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Ian B

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IMHO our findings on this thread should be no surprise at all after reading these links

https://github.com/xiph/flac/issues/156#issuecomment-650583606
https://soundcheck-audio.blogspot.com/p/the-engine.html

There's no way to tell what compiler version was used and what kinda compiler options were picked for the compilation of FLAC audio codec at the very beginning. The devil is in the details, though unfortunately it should be safe to bet that almost nobody would actually pay attention to the finest details IMHO.

In other words, a certain degree of inefficiencies might be unavoidable whenever and wherever FLAC comes into play. Now what?

When in doubt, leave it out. Let's just get outta that FLAC business and call it a day.

If I weren't mistaken, WAV should be relatively mature / simple etc. while less overhead is involved since we aren't really decompressing anything on the fly. Of course it would be interesting to do a comparison between FLAC with 0 decompression and WAV just for the sake of an experiment

https://boomspeaker.com/flac-compression-levels-explained/
https://sound.stackexchange.com/que...el-comparison-efficiency-analysis/41965#41965
Interesting. The third link references this paper: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0716/Why_Do_WAV_And_FLAC_Files_Sound_Different.htm

Their conclusion was that FLAC compression at 0 was ideal and they could undo some of the damage by manually removing metadata and cover art before converting back to WAV/AIFF.
 
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seeteeyou

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FYI - there's something similar here as well

http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/3705-removing-file-properties-before-playback/
So on a whim I tried removing the file properties from some large 24/192 wav files before playing them, and I got the same positive improvement.

So now my obsessive JPlay routine unfortunately has more steps: copy files to C:// , (keeping highlighted), right-click open properties, go to details tab, click "remove proprieties and personal information", choose second option "remove the following...", cut files to clipboard, open mini, close everything else, maximize mini, arrow click in empty area, hit space bar. (Windows 10)

Moral of the story? Maybe it's more about jumping through (very close to) zero hoop whenever possible so that the entire system wouldn't be distracted by any unnecessary activities that might do more harm than good.

IMHO that's the entire point of stripping the operating system WAY down by getting rid of whatever garbage that's just sitting somewhere without serving any purposes whatsoever.

And then we could also have a setup with dual Xeon processors, we're pinning the processes of HQ Player and anything else to the primary CPU while sparing the secondary CPU to handle nothing but NAA. That's how we minimize the distractions so that secondary CPU could genuinely focus on the one only important task.

(I'm putting the rest inside a spoiler tag but it's well worth your time to read everything.)

https://www.sellingpower.com/2010/02/02/3847/how-dell-sells-part-two-direct-relationship-marketing
Michael Dell created a company based on the assumption that if you could eliminate unnecessary steps in the marketing process, you could provide customers with a much better system for satisfying their computer needs.

https://books.google.com/books?id=XCMjisWZFYcC
You'll meet the young Dell who, at the tender age of eight, had already begun looking "to eliminate unnecessary steps" and who, as a numbers-loving adolescent, was inspired by a newfound fascination with computers to save his money to buy a coveted Apple II--only to promptly take it apart.



https://books.google.com/books?id=2NAuMRjSUSIC
In all likelihood there are very few people living in the United States who could identify with Bruce's childhood home environment. In early 1941 when Bruce's parents returned to Hong Kong and the family's two-bedroom flat at 218 Nathan Road, Kowloon, the Lee household consisted of Mr. Lee, his wife Grace, Bruce's two sisters Phoebe and Agnes, his brother Peter, later to be joined by his younger brother Robert. For all intents and purposes Bruce might have done equally well had he pitched a tent on the floor of New York's Grand Central Station.

In addition to the immediate family members, the flat was home to Mr. Lee's sister-in-law and her five children. On the death of his brother, Mr. Lee, as in the Chinese custom, had taken the whole family into his own home and supported them as he would his own family. Together with the servants and the son of one of the servants, this meant that nearly 20 people were crowded into the flat, along with assorted dogs, cats, birds, and fish.

One can only imagine the nightly scene at the family dinner table, not to mention the morning scrimmage to the single bathroom. Although Bruce didn't realize it at the time, in all likelihood it was in the Nathan Road household where the seeds of jeet kune do were first planted, later to give birth to the basic concepts of efficiency, economy of motion and simplicity. In any event, I would like to suggest that more often than not Bruce's philosophical and spiritual inquiries into the basic nature of his own inner being were responded to with more relevant dialogues such as "Hurry up, Bruce, it's your turn to use the bathroom!" Regardless, Bruce's mentor, and thus his direction in life, would have to be found somewhere other than his childhood home.






www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb2ojSlagfI#t=1h34m27s
He literally took a knife and slashed the middle of a white canvas.

But my friend was very knowledgeable so I trusted him. And in the next few weeks, I tried to understand why this painting was so important. And it's exactly to the point that you said, because he was Fontana was while a great sculptor. He worked in ceremony Airmax, but he could also paint anything. I mean, he was just a really accomplished artist. And at some point he decided that he would just cut the canvas and that's his master piece. And that painting in fact changed art forever. Because with that one slid in the canvas, he questioned everything that sort of was there before, like does the canvas need to have a painting? Is art on the canvas? Could the canvas be the art? Could the artwork be behind the canvas? I mean, he questions, everything is painting sculpture

Or is the art the conversation around the work itself.

Yeah, as well
Yeah.

So taking that like, what do you make of that for yourself? Like why was that so impactful to you and how does that get channeled into how you think about food and the experiences that you're providing?

The more I thought about that work was he changed art forever with the way minimal gesture. And for me, that was just so powerful and so mind blowing. And so this is how I wanted to cook. I wanted to cook very minimal, but say a lot. And I realized that was a lot harder than, than it seemed because the gesture has to be so strong and there is nowhere to hide. And as a young chef, often I had two ingredients on the plate and I was like, that's not a complete dish. No one would think that's great. So then I added things. I said, oh, I need to know the puree and other ingredients and other texture. And it became more complicated. But at that point, you know, guests were reacting to this more than they would have with two ingredients on the plate. And it took a long time for me to get to the place where I could have two ingredients on the plate. And it probably only happened like four years ago.

In the way that was it, Alice Waters, who would just say, here's two dates on a plate that's it.

It takes a lot to get there.

It takes a certain level of audacity.

Confidence. Yeah.

But you're not lacking in confidence.

Well, thank you.

I don't know if that's a compliment, you know, no, I mean, it's, I guess, you know, courage is probably a better word, like to say. I have a strong enough sense of self in what I'm doing, that I can put this out there and maybe not be certain, but have some level of confidence that it will be received because it's backed up by this lifetime of experience. And this trust that you've encountered gendered over time. Is that accurate? How does that one feel? I backed myself in a corner. You know, what I'm saying.

It takes a long time to be very simple.
 
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MarcelNL

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I usually play FLAC's from memory, so Daphile handles the conversion to WAV upfront. I actually think it;s just the CPU usage of converting on the fly that causes the difference in SQ...the weird bit however is that it matter from what medium I grab the FLAC....HDD, SSD, SSD with LPSU, NVME SSD, or lates; the femto SSD
The sound quality differs, and gets better going to the right in the list above.
 
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seeteeyou

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https://www.audioshark.org/computer...en-flac-wav-15491-post-255146.html#post255146
I believe it truly depends on the server and playback mechanism. I am ripped to WAV64 at 32/44.1 for Redbook CD. The sound difference on my music server/DAC combo was significant between FLAC, WAV and W64.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussi...rd-res-redbook-cd/post?postid=1742865#1742865
I have a Memory Player installed with JRiver and I ripped some cd's to WAVE 64, as Sam included some WAVE64 files on my unit and I really liked how they sounded, compared to the same albums I have on cd and WAV.

https://www.thememoryplayer.net/2016-features
Typical use is conversion of entire libraries to a better sounding file type or format. For example, ALL lossless compression is highly jittered. The Resampler can convert, say, FLAC to W64, and dramatically improve its fidelity.

http://v2.stereotimes.com/post/laufer-teknik-memory-player-mini
Songs added to your music drive from thumb drive aren’t processed nor auto-added to JRiver MC, so you need to process them with the Mini’s Upsampler to bring them up to 32-bit Wave64 format where the Memory Player’s software does its magic.

So, what was CP doing during our listening sessions? He was dropping processed Wave64 files onto ’Burn Memory’ slots in his Memory Player 32, then dropping that converted file into JRiver, and playing from JRiver. This provides a noticeable improvement over just playing from JRiver referencing the Music drive.

https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Release_Notes_MC18
3. NEW: Added support for 'Sony Pictures Digital Wave 64' (.w64) audio format.

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=78376.msg692457#msg692457
Wave64 read/write working fine in 1.0.1! Thanks for this!

https://mpd.readthedocs.io/en/stable/plugins.html#decoder-ffmpeg
Decodes various codecs using FFmpeg.

https://ffmpeg.xabe.net/docs/Xabe.FFmpeg.Format.html
Sony Wave64

https://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central-wave64.htm
Decodes .w64 Encodes .w64

.w64 Extension - List of programs that can open .w64 files
https://extension.nirsoft.net/w64

That means we could rip Red Book CDs to W64 format directly with dBpoweramp, convert anything to W64 format with foobar2000, and play W64 format with foobar2000 / JRiver Media Center / Music Player Daemon etc.

The Memory Player Mini seemed to be an ordinary Intel NUC model without any kinda bells and whistles whatsoever, IMHO the "magic sauce" should be all about their own software (called IDEAS) to reduce jitter in addition to the quality of that W64 format from Sony

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/24966-ecdesigns/page/92/?tab=comments#comment-1152035
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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FYI - there's something similar here as well

http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/3705-removing-file-properties-before-playback/


Moral of the story? Maybe it's more about jumping through (very close to) zero hoop whenever possible so that the entire system wouldn't be distracted by any unnecessary activities that might do more harm than good.

IMHO that's the entire point of stripping the operating system WAY down by getting rid of whatever garbage that's just sitting somewhere without serving any purposes whatsoever.

And then we could also have a setup with dual Xeon processors, we're pinning the processes of HQ Player and anything else to the primary CPU while sparing the secondary CPU to handle nothing but NAA. That's how we minimize the distractions so that secondary CPU could genuinely focus on the one only important task.

(I'm putting the rest inside a spoiler tag but it's well worth your time to read everything.)

Any thoughts on how to remove this information in Mac OS?
 

ayreman

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Jan 2, 2017
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... has anybody figured out how to improve FLAC sound beyond what I have already done? I admit I have no explanations, but now I'm looking at replacing most of my music with AIFF, which is a big and expensive task. If it really was in my head I'd be more than happy to leave things as they are. If only there was some way to get the FLAC decoding to sound correct...
I'm so glad I'm not the only "loony" who thinks that WAV sounds better than FLAC:)

Yes, I have figured out how to improve FLAC sound. All we need to do is DEcompress our FLACs. Another way of saying it is we need to convert our FLACs back into the original WAV and Bob's your uncle! Of course this raises the question what software we should use to accomplish this task. Originally I thought it didn't matter. I figured as long as we get our WAV - who cares how we done it. Oh no, no, no. How we do it matters immensely. In fact, some software I've tried did such a lousy job that I wish I'd never done that because the sound of those WAV-files sucked.

When I realized that the software we use to convert out FLACs back into WAVs makes a huge difference I began a 3-month long testing. I must've gone through almost two dozens of converter programs and did find the best of the lot I went through. I was so damn excited about it that I decided to share my discovery with fellow audiophiles on Audiophile Style. Guess what - those idiots pounced on me and accused me of advertising the software that I liked best. For this very reason I am not going to disclose my favorite software here. Instead I will repeat again: software matters immensely. So, go do your own testing and find your own favorite.
 

Kingsrule

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Feb 3, 2011
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I'm so glad I'm not the only "loony" who thinks that WAV sounds better than FLAC:)

Yes, I have figured out how to improve FLAC sound. All we need to do is DEcompress our FLACs. Another way of saying it is we need to convert our FLACs back into the original WAV and Bob's your uncle! Of course this raises the question what software we should use to accomplish this task. Originally I thought it didn't matter. I figured as long as we get our WAV - who cares how we done it. Oh no, no, no. How we do it matters immensely. In fact, some software I've tried did such a lousy job that I wish I'd never done that because the sound of those WAV-files sucked.

When I realized that the software we use to convert out FLACs back into WAVs makes a huge difference I began a 3-month long testing. I must've gone through almost two dozens of converter programs and did find the best of the lot I went through. I was so damn excited about it that I decided to share my discovery with fellow audiophiles on Audiophile Style. Guess what - those idiots pounced on me and accused me of advertising the software that I liked best. For this very reason I am not going to disclose my favorite software here. Instead I will repeat again: software matters immensely. So, go do your own testing and find your own favorite.
It would be great to read about your software choice
Reactions on WBF to these kinds of reported results are much more considered than elsewhere

I for one would appreciate reading your findings....
 

K3RMIT

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2020
389
131
48
Ok, so some are definitely going to say "This guy is looney tunes" but after 11 years of going back and forth I'm definitely convinced that FLAC and ALAC do not sound as good as WAV or AIFF. This all started when I gave up my CDs and player and went into USB DACs and Hi Rez downloads. For whatever reason, despite apparent superior DACs and better quality audio formats, something was wrong/just not as enjoyable as I remember my CD days being. Fast forward a decade, now using high end servers/streamers, I2S optical isolation, various power products, I started to realize the level of enjoyment and audio quality that I was looking for. Basically the solution had been to totally isolate the DAC from computer and get as much power noise isolation as possible.

But something still wasn't right. I subscribe to Qobuz, but found myself not using it that much because something about the sound was quite lackluster. In fact, I have compared FLAC files I downloaded from Qobuz with the exact same title streamed, and for whatever reason the stream was quite inferior. I've been told "It's FLAC, it's totally lossless, you are hearing things" My response, is that I really don't know what goes on in the Qobuz black box, but downloaded vs streamed FLAC sounded substantially different in favor of the downloaded file.

Where this journey ends is after endlessly tweaking my setup, still trying to get back the magic of my CD/SACD/DVD-A days, I started to remember first impressions I had when I started using FLAC and old comparisons I had done between uncompressed files vs FLAC and ALAC. I always heard FLAC being a bit more thin and less coherent, but knowing the actual data was the same I shrugged it off. Recently I went back and started doing listening tests, and lo and behold, AIFF was indeed superior to FLAC. In every case the FLAC was perceived as thinner, less present, having less width and depth, and less soundstage coherence. This was similar to my experience with lossless streaming, but much subtler. And yet, AIFF always sound and felt more full, present, and analog-like. Exactly what I was missing from my days playing discs, that last .1% that feels like completion and right-ness. I keep going back and my conviction only grows that any compression at all takes away something. Well this is inconvenient! I already have 2TB of FLAC music.

Considering that I already have total electrical isolation from my EMM Labs NS1 stream and DA2 DAC, and deep noise reduction from Shunyata Sigma NR cables and Denali V2, it's really hard for me to grasp what could actually be causing the differences in sound. I saw a study where the author claimed that it was album art, metadata, and and compression levels that correlated with changes in FLAC audio quality. Theoretically this would be creating noise in the playback, but I would expect that I have that pretty well handled with my setup. I'm looking to swap out my Shunyata NR cable to the NS1 with a V2 hoping to get just a little more noise reduction to the other components. I definitely don't want to try and modify the metadata on every FLAC and or do an AIFF conversion, and I'm not keen on downloading stuff all over again. But I just keep coming back to how natural uncompressed feels.

The esoteric fringe obviously, but has anybody figured out how to improve FLAC sound beyond what I have already done? I admit I have no explanations, but now I'm looking at replacing most of my music with AIFF, which is a big and expensive task. If it really was in my head I'd be more than happy to leave things as they are. If only there was some way to get the FLAC decoding to sound correct...
Have you tried to covert flac to aiff offline and compare ? Let us know what
 

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  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

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