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FLAC vs actual CD - same audio quality?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I had thought that FLAC format would be equivalent in audio quality to the actual CD quality played through the computer but I just don't think so. The CD played through the computer w the Predator gives better audio sound than FLAC audio.

Is this the way it should be? Should the quality be the same?

Dan
post #2 of 35
It should be exactly the same. Perhaps your encoder/decoder is outdated, or the ripping software did a fast rip without error checking? Try using EAC (exact audio copy) to do the rip.
post #3 of 35
More than likely your FLAC files may not have been ripped correctly or what revolink24 said, the encoder/decoder may be outdated (using kmixer?). X2 on using EAC to rip from cd's.
post #4 of 35
There should be no difference.

That said, there may be several reason why you hear a difference. Like:
* Using same player for both formats, and same settings?
* Proper ripped FLAC files?
* Replay Gained the FLAC files?
* The comparison is not blind.
* ...
post #5 of 35
The differences are imperceptibly small.
Honestly, from a scientific perspective, I believe a HD is lower jitter and error free compared to a CD player which is more likely to make read errors. If you've ever ripped with EAC, you know that read errors are surprisingly common.
All the suggestions above are also good. You can hear SQ differences but really only be hearing volume difference.
Also not a bad idea to use ASIO4ALL.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by danik View Post
I had thought that FLAC format would be equivalent in audio quality to the actual CD quality played through the computer but I just don't think so. The CD played through the computer w the Predator gives better audio sound than FLAC audio.

Is this the way it should be? Should the quality be the same?

Dan
Imported Apple Lossless files have never sounded like the actual cd, even when using the headphone out on my Macbook. At first I thought it was placebo, but when I did a blind comparison throughout a span of a few weeks (to be sure) the bass response was always tighter and fuller on the CD. The midrange was slightly richer and clearer too.
post #7 of 35
I'm assuming you using a CD drive in a PC - one further possible difference is that FLAC is decoded on your Soundcard, whilst the CD is decoded by your player.
Bitwise, FLAC and the WAV (on the cd) are exactly the same.
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
I kinda agree with Brighten.

I'm using my laptop's CD player and external HD to play the FLAC. I ripped the CD with EAC so that shoulden't be an issue.

Listening to the CD gave a more 3 dimensional presentation and a tighter bass and just "more microharmonics" (just sounds fuller) than FLAC. I would say 85-90% FLAC vs 100%CD.

Interesting that the two should in theory be the same.

Dan
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by danik View Post
I kinda agree with Brighten.

I'm using my laptop's CD player and external HD to play the FLAC. I ripped the CD with EAC so that shoulden't be an issue.

Listening to the CD gave a more 3 dimensional presentation and a tighter bass and just "more microharmonics" (just sounds fuller) than FLAC. I would say 85-90% FLAC vs 100%CD.

Interesting that the two should in theory be the same.

Dan
It is.

BigTony, I have no disagreement that the bitrate is the same. However, I believe it is the actual CD which sounds better. When doing a comparison between a burned copy of one of my disks using my Sony SCD-XA5400ES they sounded the same.

I suppose the CD drive (into the DAC) on my Macbook could be offering a better performance than just the Lossless files straight into the DAC. Like I said though, I tried to accept that it was placebo, but after further comparison realized it wasn't. The CD was clearly better. Especially the bass.
post #10 of 35
Listen to a passage with a solo vocal, embedded in complex instrumentation being played, that is barely intelligible (as far as the words sung) on the CD, and compare.

Must have a high resolution system for you to hear the difference.

Changes in jitter rate are the primary source of degradation.
post #11 of 35
Interesting. I thought the same thing, but I was not able to pick them - transport to rig vs FLAC to same rig with transport only being different.

Plus CDs are a pain in the ass to keep up with.
post #12 of 35
Also my DAC shows locking issues (jitter?) on CD transports all the time - imperceptible to the ear unless really bad for a few seconds, but they are there, I can watch it loose sync.
post #13 of 35
Time for this again already?
It seems to be a regularly repeated discussion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTony View Post
I'm assuming you using a CD drive in a PC - one further possible difference is that FLAC is decoded on your Soundcard, whilst the CD is decoded by your player.
I don't know about that, I am fairly certain that the software decodes the FLAC to wav, then sends it to the Soundcard.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by drarthurwells View Post
Listen to a passage with a solo vocal, embedded in complex instrumentation being played, that is barely intelligible (as far as the words sung) on the CD, and compare.

Must have a high resolution system for you to hear the difference.

Changes in jitter rate are the primary source of degradation.
If it is a solo vocal passage how can it be embedded in complex instrumentation? And "barely intelligible" meaning the volume nearly turned all the way down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiceCans View Post
Time for this again already?
It seems to be a regularly repeated discussion.




I don't know about that, I am fairly certain that the software decodes the FLAC to wav, then sends it to the Soundcard.
I wasn't aware of that. And I'm not trying to argue a position or start a debate as the testing was done subjectively.
post #15 of 35
Hmm, I might have to try burning a playlist and experimenting to see if I can hear a difference. Will be interesting.
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