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ALAC vs. FLAC...my very first impressions - Page 2

post #16 of 48
I compared Collective Soul's 7even Year Itch album - in both ALAC and FLAC

I did a blind test wth my E4's, running out of my pc. I didn't notice too many differences, but the treble on the FLAC files seemed a bit more 'accurate'...a bit more
post #17 of 48
Thread Starter 
lol I use Rockbox; pure ownage to all the other shameful firmwares out there. Every audiophile has to try it before they die

As for FLAC, all I want is the best sound, bar none. So is FLAC comp. 0 the best for my demands in terms of the codec?
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed
The greatest factor in the FLAC V ALAC debate is that ALAC is not that versatile, i.e. not all players play it.
Alternatively stated: if you have an iPod (probably over 50% of PDAPs) and want lossless, then you have to use ALAC.
post #19 of 48
Just to futher clarify, compression of 0 or 8, it doesn't matter. It doesn't effect sound quality. Flac in any compression is still lossless and true to the original wav file. All that changes is the size of the file and the amount of time it takes to compress the intial wav file.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayman2k2
I did a blind test wth my E4's, running out of my pc. I didn't notice too many differences, but the treble on the FLAC files seemed a bit more 'accurate'...a bit more
There are two possibilities:
1. The ALAC decoder in whatever you were using operated differently than the FLAC decoder resulting in differences.
2. You imagined it.

Since ALAC = WAV and FLAC = WAV it then follows that ALAC = FLAC.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtheisticFreedom
Now, I know that everybody here by now is saying this indeed is a placebo effect, but I find this very curious that two formats claim 'lossless,' yet come out with different bitrates (and my FLAC files are a hair bit bigger than the ALAC files).
I think that the more relevant comparison would be whether the two files, when decompressed to .wav, result in the same size .wav file.
post #22 of 48
You gotta be joking: there is no way I can tell the difference between ALAC and FLAC.
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtheisticFreedom
I chose 0 Compression,

place The Beatles into the genre of 'Pop' or 'Rock'?
For my computer FLAC 3 (default) is the best bang for the buck.
Processing time vs. file size. FLAC 8 took forever and didn't save
much space over FLAC 3. FLAC 0 wasn't much faster than 3 and
the file size was much bigger. I've tried FLAC 0,2,4,5,and 8.

All sound the same. And can be converted back to WAV.

Beatles? Pop. And a little rock.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hawat
Flac with any compression level is true lossless. Only the time it takes to compress ,the final size of the file and the time it takes to decompress if you have a very slow PC will change.
FLAC decode time is supposed to be indepedant to compression level (not that I have tested it, my PC is hardly "very slow" - but the ease FLAC is decoded is one of the reason it is used by portable players as opposed to, say, Monkey Audio). This is the reason I always go for max compression (my PC encode FLAC at max compression faster than my drive rips the track in secure mode in EAC).
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooNice
FLAC decode time is supposed to be indepedant to compression level (not that I have tested it, my PC is hardly "very slow" - but the ease FLAC is decoded is one of the reason it is used by portable players as opposed to, say, Monkey Audio). This is the reason I always go for max compression (my PC encode FLAC at max compression faster than my drive rips the track in secure mode in EAC).
it seems to be the same because of the speed of our computer but actually, on a very slow computer, it is affected although much less than other similar format.
post #26 of 48
hardware that isn't as fast as your general purpose pc may choke on the highest compression. while the developers of flac tuned it to be MUCH easier to decode vs. encode, it is still harder (i.e. more cpu cycles required) to decode the more compressed FLAC files.

if it weren't more difficult to decode the higher compression files, there would be no reason NOT to use them, but the developers set 5 as a compromise for a reason. there is very, very little reason to deviate from that default IMHO.
post #27 of 48
Higher compression still take (a lot) longer to -encode-.

http://members.home.nl/w.speek/comparison.htm

Seems to make no difference between 5 and 8.

http://flac.sourceforge.net/comparison.html

3 actually decode faster than 1 in that example. However you can see how encoding time increase from 5 to 8. Not much compression is gained either. But thats irrelevant if your PC is fast enough
post #28 of 48
This thread is a real forehead-slapper.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagorev
This thread is a real forehead-slapper.
This thread is a good example of why you need to be so careful of snake oil salesmen and flase improvements in the audiow world. Proper testing is important and it needs to be blind. It's easy to fool yourself, and it's easy to screw something up and test the wrong with.

FLAC and ALAC cannot produce different outputs, unless there's a bug en the encoder or decoder. They perform a mathematical compression of audio data (they mainly use a L-R to M-S conversion, a redundency predictor, and some bit packing like rice encoding). This process is fully revesrable and is provably losless both in the sense you can test it empiricly, and you can write a mathematical proof showing it to be.

Thus any percieved differences have nothing to do with the file formats. However, people may believe they do. There may, in fact, be no difference, just the brain playing tricks. This is a well documented phenomena in psychology for all kinds of things. If there really is an actual difference, it would be due to a problem with the test. Perhaps one decoder feeds data through an EQ, and another does not.

Well this is an example of why you need ot be so careful when testing expensive components that there's no science backing up the improvement. If you buy an expensive component, you want to believe the money was well spent, and thus you believe you hear a difference, even if there is none. If you really want to see if you arehearing what you think, you need ot do a test where your biases can't influence things, and make sure the test it setup right so there's not another factor influencing things.
post #30 of 48
Someone needs to put this is there sig:

'Any Lossless file is exactly the same as any other Lossless file of the same song.'
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