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APE vs FLAC

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I download songs in APE format and transcode into FLACs to be used on my rockboxed iPod. So today I was curious to see the difference between these two formats so I did an ABX test on foobar. And to my surprise I could hear a difference between the two!! 4/4 times is not just by guessing I guess. However from my understanding, transcoding from a lossless format to another should not cause quality degradation. To my ears the APEs sound cleaner, smoother than the FLACs, a much bigger difference between APE and LAME VBR because I always have a hard time distinguishing between the two.

FYI, I use foobar with FLAC 1.1.2 codec to transcode the songs.

Any idea why this is happening??
post #2 of 18
Is one of the songs replaygained? Or the songs you're downloading are actually transcodes from MP3.

If both are at the same volume when listening they are both 100% lossless and you shouldn't hear any difference.

Why don't you ask this question at HydrogenAudio they're more knowledgable about codecs

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=idx

They're a very friendly bunch
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by derek8555
I download songs in APE format and transcode into FLACs to be used on my rockboxed iPod. So today I was curious to see the difference between these two formats so I did an ABX test on foobar. And to my surprise I could hear a difference between the two!! 4/4 times is not just by guessing I guess. However from my understanding, transcoding from a lossless format to another should not cause quality degradation. To my ears the APEs sound cleaner, smoother than the FLACs, a much bigger difference between APE and LAME VBR because I always have a hard time distinguishing between the two.

FYI, I use foobar with FLAC 1.1.2 codec to transcode the songs.

Any idea why this is happening??
YEAH! that was my first impression! But i was wondering if the transcoding had made flac sound softer so its going to be tricky...
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konig
YEAH! that was my first impression! But i was wondering if the transcoding had made flac sound softer so its going to be tricky...
Transcoding doesn't do anything to the sound quality (if it's lossless to lossless)
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Pak
Is one of the songs replaygained? Or the songs you're downloading are actually transcodes from MP3.

If both are at the same volume when listening they are both 100% lossless and you shouldn't hear any difference.

Why don't you ask this question at HydrogenAudio they're more knowledgable about codecs

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=idx

They're a very friendly bunch
Thanks, I will ask over there as well.
No there is no replaygain, and they are not transcoded from MP3.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Pak
Transcoding doesn't do anything to the sound quality (if it's lossless to lossless)
So could it be the decoder???
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by derek8555
So could it be the decoder???
I have no idea.

I suspect a lot of people that reply here will only be speculating (in fact this includes me, since I don't know the proper answer).

HydrogenAudio should know, I know the Monkey's Audio (APE) developer posts in their lossless forum. I don't think the FLAC devs do though. However they have some very knowledgable people there including beta testers that might be able to answer your question better.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Pak
I have no idea.

I suspect a lot of people that reply here will only be speculating (in fact this includes me, since I don't know the proper answer).

HydrogenAudio should know, I know the Monkey's Audio (APE) developer posts in their lossless forum. I don't think the FLAC devs do though. However they have some very knowledgable people there including beta testers that might be able to answer your question better.
Thanks man! I already posted over there, I hope someone got a good answer to this as it is really bothering me ATM. LOL. j/k, but really I start to think that the sound I hear from the iPod is not what I have "expected".
post #9 of 18
heres the post on hydrogen audio (just because i think some people may be curious).

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=49323
post #10 of 18

Heh!

Well the hydrogen audio thread doesn't seem to be helping. "Curtor"'s response is exactly the kind of attitude I would expect from that forum.

There must be a problem with one of the decoders in foobar. You said the APE files sounded smoother etc. Try many more songs to pinpoint the sound exactly (make it easier to recognise). Then try a different media player and/or device and see if there is still a difference. Make sure your transcoder isn't performing ANY hidden changes (try dbpoweramp converter rather than the built in foobar one).
post #11 of 18
4/4 is really not convincing. Anywaym ABX-ing lossless is pointless. You should do a bitcomparison on the decoded output. It is the only good way to determine if the transcoding has gone wrong or not.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klefbek
4/4 is really not convincing. Anywaym ABX-ing lossless is pointless. You should do a bitcomparison on the decoded output. It is the only good way to determine if the transcoding has gone wrong or not.
that should have been the first thing he did. Try 10 to 15 trials nexttime to pinpoint exactly what you are hearing.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks guys, I will see what I can do to find out.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Interesting. Just did a binary comparison, and the result shows no difference. I guess it really is the decoder been acting up then...
post #15 of 18
Assuming you did the bitcompare in foobar the same decoders were used. There is a 6.25% chance of getting 4/4 right by picking randomly.
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