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Crackling in FLAC files?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I've downloaded some FLAC files recently, just to compare them to my 320kbps downloads. I was impressed, but for some reason I was getting some strange crackling during lower mid frequencies. I'm using V-moda crossfade LP's, so I'm not sure if it's because my cans aren't exactly high end, or the downloads are just not great, or something was lost during the transfer from the site to my computer. 

 

I apologize if this section of the forums isn't appropriate for this, but I'm a bit new, so I don't know my way around so well.

post #2 of 21

There are a couple of possibilities:

- The crackling/clipping could be on the recording and mp3 somehow masks it.

- The flac file was transcoded from mp3 resulting in clipped samples.

 

To check if the flac file is corrupted you could try foo_verifier (foobar2000 plugin):

Usage: Select one or more tracks to test, choose "Utils / Verify Integrity" from context menu.

 

Could you provide more details please? What's the sample rate, what player are you using, what genre/track is it etc. ?

post #3 of 21
Care to share the exact file?
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

@TMraven: http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/4112767 \

 

It's a torrent, I apologize if torrent links are not allowed here. 

 

@Xnor: It's Melodic death metal, the bitrate is around 1000 kbps and I'm running it off of VLC media player. 

post #5 of 21

As above poster said, can you send or link us the files?

Also:


Whats your source (amp, dac, soundcard etc)?

What media/music player are you using?

Is it only those FLAC files, or does the crackle appear other times as well?

post #6 of 21

Ill listen to the torrent and see if its something with the files, however I have the CD and the master is ****, so the distortion you hear could be clipping (im not sure i would call it crackling though). The LP is far better.

 


Edited by acef2 - 4/16/12 at 3:26pm
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

I also downloaded their newer album, same issue. I don't think it's the downloads. Maybe my sound card. I'm running the headphones unamped, and It's a stock sound card on a toshiba laptop. I will try playing MP3s from VLC and see if I still get the crackling. I never have had this issue with MP3s (unless they were awful recordings).

post #8 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustOrange View Post

@TMraven: http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/4112767 \

 

It's a torrent, I apologize if torrent links are not allowed here. 

 

@Xnor: It's Melodic death metal, the bitrate is around 1000 kbps and I'm running it off of VLC media player. 

 

Your pirated music isn't playing properly? ZOMG.

post #9 of 21

i got the same problem with flac, it gives me the crackling sound on my headphone when i use cowon as my source but not on my laptop (using foobar2k) blink.gif

 

does the crackling on the headphone could damage the driver?

 

Thanks
 

post #10 of 21

1: we should probably not be discussing pirated stuff. I'm not talking about morality here. It's a liability issue for us, the users, and the site. Remember that all of our posts are captured by places like internet archives and search engines/other spidering software. Once it's on the internet, it won't ever completely disappear.

 

/soapbox

 

Anyway, on to your concerns: I've experienced this crackling with lossless files that I made from CDs I purchased (for the record, if the idiotic RIAA is snooping around- pun intended) tongue_smile.gif. I think this is for a couple reasons: A mismatch between the sampling speeds of stuff in the processing chain seems to make it worse. 

 

We have 44.1kHz from the CD. The data goes CD>FLAC encoder>FLAC Player>OS Audio Framework>Hardware Driver>other-non-important-for-this-argument-goodies>DAC USB to S/PDIF converter>S/PDIF to I2C converter>DAC chip. If at any time there is a mismatch with sampling frequencies (say, to the popular 48kHz that is mandatory in some sound codecs), or larger than normal mismatches between your computer and the DAC's hardware clocks (happens occasionally), there is the possibility of small gaps or artefacts if the resampling is done poorly. Usually, though, mismatches are so small that you won't notice them. That's in part why some really high end stuff has external, shared clocks, and why some of us have to buy HiFace reclockers if we have wonky computers.

 

Analogy: Cinemas use 24FPS. American NTSC broadcast standards are at 30FPS. They shortcut often by periodically repeating the same frame, which is why you see scrolling credits stutter and jerk around. Also similar issues in Video Gaming are called "screen tearing," and that's why us gamers have vertical sync and fancy frame buffering software.

 

Hopefully, anyway, all the steps in the audio path can interpolate well, if they insist on doing so, but sometimes it doesn't work out. 

 

Also: If your CPU is taxed, your USB/PCI lanes are saturated, you are low on RAM, or you have long hard disk queues, audio buffers can run out as they are shockingly small. Increasing buffers can help, if you can (rare), at the cost of increased latency. My HiFace+Amarra doesn't crackle at all, but it has a ridiculous 2.4 second delay. Highly irritating.

 

Also, slightly damaged files (I'm not sure if FLAC has comprehensive ECC, but I highly doubt it) can result in small parts failing OS checksums, resulting in crackling (also known as millisecond long cutouts) as the FLAC codecs attempt to skip over damaged sections (like skipping CDs).

 

Questions?

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromako View Post

1: we should probably not be discussing pirated stuff. I'm not talking about morality here. It's a liability issue for us, the users, and the site. Remember that all of our posts are captured by places like internet archives and search engines/other spidering software. Once it's on the internet, it won't ever completely disappear.

 

/soapbox

 

Anyway, on to your concerns: I've experienced this crackling with lossless files that I made from CDs I purchased (for the record, if the idiotic RIAA is snooping around- pun intended) tongue_smile.gif. I think this is for a couple reasons: A mismatch between the sampling speeds of stuff in the processing chain seems to make it worse. 

 

We have 44.1kHz from the CD. The data goes CD>FLAC encoder>FLAC Player>OS Audio Framework>Hardware Driver>other-non-important-for-this-argument-goodies>DAC USB to S/PDIF converter>S/PDIF to I2C converter>DAC chip. If at any time there is a mismatch with sampling frequencies (say, to the popular 48kHz that is mandatory in some sound codecs), or larger than normal mismatches between your computer and the DAC's hardware clocks (happens occasionally), there is the possibility of small gaps or artefacts if the resampling is done poorly. Usually, though, mismatches are so small that you won't notice them. That's in part why some really high end stuff has external, shared clocks, and why some of us have to buy HiFace reclockers if we have wonky computers.

 

Analogy: Cinemas use 24FPS. American NTSC broadcast standards are at 30FPS. They shortcut often by periodically repeating the same frame, which is why you see scrolling credits stutter and jerk around. Also similar issues in Video Gaming are called "screen tearing," and that's why us gamers have vertical sync and fancy frame buffering software.

 

Hopefully, anyway, all the steps in the audio path can interpolate well, if they insist on doing so, but sometimes it doesn't work out. 

 

Also: If your CPU is taxed, your USB/PCI lanes are saturated, you are low on RAM, or you have long hard disk queues, audio buffers can run out as they are shockingly small. Increasing buffers can help, if you can (rare), at the cost of increased latency. My HiFace+Amarra doesn't crackle at all, but it has a ridiculous 2.4 second delay. Highly irritating.

 

Also, slightly damaged files (I'm not sure if FLAC has comprehensive ECC, but I highly doubt it) can result in small parts failing OS checksums, resulting in crackling (also known as millisecond long cutouts) as the FLAC codecs attempt to skip over damaged sections (like skipping CDs).

 

Questions?

 

does the crackling on the headphone could damage the driver? beerchug.gif

post #12 of 21

Zeinharis, to answer your question: Yes and No. smile.gif

 

It depends on where the crackling originates. If it is coming from somewhere in the digital pipeline, you're okay (if you can play Metallica without damaging the driver- not a joke- see the "Loudness Wars," it's okay.) It's basically like the trailing/leading half of a square wave. After all, the DAC is seeing it as just another signal and passing it along.

 

Now, crackling from an analogue stage, that could be different altogether, and could, in the right circumstances damage the drivers and/or your amp. That is because these artefacts can come from short circuits and the like. Also, really dirty electricity could be a cause, and that's bad. Tricky thing, as these cracklings do sound similar to ones with digital origins, and if you are using something like a PCI sound card or the like, it can be extremely difficult to be entirely sure where it is coming from. 

 

If you hear crackling on only some files, I'd say that it is originating from the digital end, and you'll be okay.beerchug.gif


Edited by Chromako - 6/19/12 at 5:29pm
post #13 of 21

Chromako

 

Thank you for answering my question, my problem is already solved since i started using a good source, currently i'm using a Centrance Dacport LX as DAC and the crackling sound were never to be found again, once again thank you beerchug.gif

post #14 of 21

That makes sense. FLAC is open code so sometimes there will be a encoder/decoder incompatibility even if both work. If you want to use them in the device that isn't playing them properly, convert them back to wav and back to flac again in a program that's worked for you before.

post #15 of 21

If the crackling relates with bass or mids sections of the music, its probably distortion. 

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