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No way is Apple Lossless as good as WAV. - Page 3  

post #31 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderman
only the op and kees can veirfy these claims so continued speculation is pointless, and even if the files are being decoded improperly with the ipod it dosen't change the fact that the files are lossless on a pc and verified as so alac is still a good format to archive your music. If this is found to be true this is even more motivation to use an opensource codec with published decoding schemes compared to alac a closed source codec codec with a reverese engineered opensource decoder.
Now here I agree with you on all counts.
That is why I decided to use WAV for archive on my PC and FLAC for my X5, where size matters. (This was some time ago, maybe there are better options now that I am not aware of).
post #32 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees
Now here I agree with you on all counts.
That is why I decided to use WAV for archive on my PC and FLAC for my X5, where size matters. (This was some time ago, maybe there are better options now that I am not aware of).
I would still use a lossless codec on your pc becuase TAGS are kind important lol :P. Wavpack is the best pc format imo, and they released a new encoder but it is alpha stage now. 4.4a
post #33 of 102
I'm probably one more in the fools gang but I myself am able to detect a VERY SMALL, tiny tiny difference between FLAC and WAV and only on my speaker system with very good jazz recordings. This is using a modded RedWineAudio Squeezebox feeding an external DAC via coax. I really have to do critical listening A/B switching of the same song to be able to detect it.

I am absolutely convinced that all the technical people can prove 100% that there is absolutely no difference what so ever between the FLAC and WAV files but there is one more step that happens between playing a WAV and a FLAC file, that is the decoding. Is that step involved in the tiny difference I am able to spot when listening, who knows, but no matter what it is, to me I am able to detect it. Maybe some people don't detect it because they use another method then me to decode the FLAC and that would make sense as well. Maybe also the difference is so small that it is all in my head, who knows!

So what I did is transfer all my "audiophile" jazz CDs into WAV files and the rest of my music I've transfered in FLAC.

I think the main problem when we talk about this subject might be because people want to be right. I'm not saying that my version is the pure divine speach. I'm saying that in my setup and using my ears, I'm able to detect a difference that is so small I can definitely understand that many people would not even ear it with my setup. So with theirs, it may well be that there is no difference. It's the same thing as when we discuss power cables, interconnect cables, and so on, some people swear there is no difference and others swear there is a uge difference!!!
post #34 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees
I reported this (about FLAC, the effect and cause are the same) before. I was told I am crazy. Nice to see there are people who support what I hear. Nice to see there are still people who try it out for themselves. The only valid argument is what YOU hear. There are a lot of people who can't to hear it, which is ok. But they also don't want YOU to hear it, because that would mean their reasoning could be wrong (or better: beside the point).
I for me don't care what other people think the reason is they don't hear it. I just want people to be aware that using a compressed file CAN (for you) make an audible difference on playback. I am shure a lot of people are not able to hear it, for them this item is not relevant. For those who can hear it, it is something to take into consideration.
I don't recall where I read this.. But someone said that the stock firmware of the iPod does apply some EQ to ALAC files. So that could be why there is a noticable difference in the sound quality. That said, ALAC is lossless. But if the iPod is EQing ALAC, then it very well may not sound as good as uncompressed WAV. Go for Rockbox and FLAC and you will have a true lossless sound without the EQ.
post #35 of 102
I have a feeling that if the decoder was faulty, you would hear a lot more difference than just the sound being "less airy"...
post #36 of 102
You know, to cut through the crap here, it's not difficult to measure reasonably accurately with no-so-expensive equipment the output of an iPod. Does anyone have any audio analysis equipment/software and an iPod. This could be cleared up pretty darn quickly - it's either the same waveform with the same phase and distortion characteristics, or it isn't.

This would tell you very easily if there were differences, and if those differences came down to something like very slightly increased gain on one rather than the other (which is ALWAYS perceived as sounding better), differences in distortion, timing errors, etc.

Next someone is going to claim that AIFF is better than WAV, or vice versa because THEY HEAR IT!

As a side, it is offensive to read the posts of people who class themselves in a super-league of listeners because of what they think they are able to hear. Newsflash - there are people here whose perception of sound will have been far more finely tuned than yours is. Some people spend their entire lives, almost all day every day, fine tuning their ears as part of their profession. That of course is not fine tuning their ears but of course tuning their brain and perception, but it comes to the same thing. It is ridiculous to trumpet your ability to hear something that they do not as some form of auditory superiority, and might be better attributed to madness/megalomania.
post #37 of 102
I think the moral of the story is that lossless == lossless. Unless you rip/encode/decode improperly somehow, or the lossless codec fell short of its lossless claim, then there really is no difference. Like maybe if you volume normalized or something during one of the steps, then you might get a different sound. Otherwise lossless is lossless. I haven't been here too long but I rarely come by the computer as source forum because of all the "this lossless sounds better then this lossless" or "128kbs LAME is God".

The only real thing you should be concerned about when picking a lossless codec is compression and speed. I don't use APE because I find it uses too much system memory since I usually have about 10 things on the go as it is. Use FLAC or WavPack. WavPack is my new favourite because it rips files in roughly half the time as FLAC on my computer.
post #38 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loftprojection
I think the main problem when we talk about this subject might be because people want to be right. I'm not saying that my version is the pure divine speach. I'm saying that in my setup and using my ears, I'm able to detect a difference that is so small I can definitely understand that many people would not even ear it with my setup. So with theirs, it may well be that there is no difference. It's the same thing as when we discuss power cables, interconnect cables, and so on, some people swear there is no difference and others swear there is a uge difference!!!
Speaking only for myself, it has absolutely nothing to do with being right, and everything to do with determining whether what someone is hearing is an actual difference or expectation bias. I do not dispute what you hear. I do, however, question whether the difference you are hearing is the result of the sound that your ears are receiving or the way that your brain processes those sounds.
post #39 of 102
To quote Morgan Freeman in "Lean On Me":

"You smoke crack dont ya? ... Don't you smoke crack?"



But seriously, I agree with others here in saying that lossless is just that. IMO, unless there is some problem with hardware or a particular decoder or some kind of error during encoding, any difference is solely in the mind of the listener. That being said, if you think you can tell the difference, then go right ahead doing whatever you think is best for your ears. Perception is reality after all and it's very difficult trying to change someone else's perception.

Jeff
post #40 of 102
Originally posted by Eagle_Driver:
Quote:
"The problem with iTunes for Windows (used as a media player jukebox rather than simply as a means to get music onto an iPod) is that iTunes sends everything to the Quicktime for Windows API, which in turn sends everything to the Windows Kmixer, which then resamples everything needlessly no matter what and changes the bits as it resamples. There is absolutely no way at all whatsoever to bypass the Kmixer in either iTunes or Quicktime."
In my opinion, this makes iTunes a poor application to make any kind of sound comparison on, irrespective of format or codec.
I think because of the things that happen with iTunes, it's entirely possible that the OP heard differences, although refusing to try another player may be doing his/her own music a disservice, as it's probably possible to get even better sound on whatever rig is being utilised.
post #41 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nospam

Reminds me of a thread last year where someone claimed WAV files didn't sound as good as playing off of the original CD



Do you know what EAC is? It's a ripper that can read and reread a CD up to 50 times in order to get the data correct. Your CD player can only read once and when there is an problem (due to a scratch, a poor pressing, laser tacking error, warps on the CD etc etc etc) error correction algorthms extrapolate a best guess for the missing data. As a result, a CD ripped using EAC may actually be more accurate (and often does sound better) than the data stream from the single pass your CDP is capable of . You need to keep an open mind.

Ps Thes read errors that occur during real time CD playback are the reason mega buck transports worth $5000-$10000 were developed.
post #42 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdg
Do you know what EAC is? It's a ripper that can read and reread a CD up to 50 times in order to get the data correct. Your CD player can only read once and when there is an problem (due to a scratch, a poor pressing, laser tacking error, warps on the CD etc etc etc) error correction algorthms extrapolate a best guess for the missing data. As a result, a CD ripped using EAC may actually be more accurate (and often does sound better) than the data stream from the single pass your CDP is capable of . You need to keep an open mind.

Ps Thes read errors that occur during real time CD playback are the reason mega buck transports worth $5000-$10000 were developed.
Oh, really, is THAT what EAC is?

In the thread I mentioned, this person claimed that listening to the CD on his computer sounded BETTER than the WAV file he ripped using EAC.

It has nothing to do with keeping an open mind.
post #43 of 102
I've encoded CD's to ALAC using iTunes on my Mac and dbPowerAmp on my PC, and they both sound the same to me...
post #44 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdg
By the way, since you also attacked the semantic issue that I didn't differentiate between the Apple Lossless codec and the decoder itself, maybe you can get me on my spelling next.
Thats a fairly clear difference though. And as many have pointed out probably the reason for what you're hearing and have given you several ways to confirm that...

1. ABX testing with foobar.
2. Installing Rockbox on the iPod to bypass the Apple decoder.
3. Using another player.
4. Sending the files to someone here to verify the files themselves are not the issue.

My money is on the Apple decoder and not the Codec itself. The codec has been tested and tested for comparison to WAV. For there to be an audible difference the most likely culprit is the decoder software if all of the hardware remains the same.
post #45 of 102
It seems to me this is a sad sort of thread--like many others, including one or two where I too offered a puzzling observation hoping others would share their experience in exchange so we could see if there was enough corroboration to warrant careful testing. Instead we get many versions of scornful and doctrinaire explanations about why it couldn't be so or other forms of peremptory explaining it away in lieu of observations by others.

While suggesting the initial reporter might want to do abx blind testing is appropriate and helpful when it is just that, a suggestion, and not a form of dismissal or unwarranted impatience, it is nasty to imply what the poster offers is worthless or an imposition if not already rigorously tested. It's as if the initiator of the thread is a feckless child and the readers are really important people whose time shouldn't be wasted with anything not carefully documented, rather than peers invited to share experiences relevant to the question. Or is it that the mere speculation about things inconsistent with the established tenets is too much of a goring of folks' sacred cows?

If waves and flacs themselves aren't different sounding, which of course is very likely in fact and certain in theory, and it is the decoding generally or just specifically in the iPod, that itself is quite interesting and useful to know. So why wouldn't others of you try it out? And if you heard a difference, why wouldn't you want to report it and abx test yourself as much as wanting the initial reporter here to do it?
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