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playing FLAC in foobar2000 with WASAPI at 841kbps to 1148kbps.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

 Is there some sort of conversion I need to do? CD quality is 1411kbps, and sounds significantly better. I've listened to some songs in FLAC than right from the CD, and there is a very noticeable difference. 

 

If the FLAC music is playing does that mean it is already 'uncompressed?' 

post #2 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just to clarify, the lowest kbps FLAC file I have is 841, and the highest is 1148.

post #3 of 25

For playback, the file is decoded back into the original 1411.2 kbps data (assuming it was compressed from CD audio or other 2-channel 44.1 kHz 16-bit source).  You can verify that the bits are exactly the same as before.  The data that gets sent to the DAC is the same, through all the same mechanisms, so sound quality should be the same.

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

During playback, the kbps shows lower than 1411kbps, and it seems like the realtime kbps, unless that's still the uncompressed size. How can I verify the bits?

 

I actually noticed a difference in sound quality before I checked the kbps, if that matters. 

post #5 of 25

During playback?  Whatever it shows is up to the software player I guess.  It's the compressed bitrate—bits of encoded data / second—though exactly how it's calculating (averaging too?  over what interval?) and displaying the data, I don't know.

 

Convert it back to WAV or whatever else and compare the bits.  Actually, you can probably open up the FLAC and the original in some kind of audio editor and compare there.  Audacity is one free option.  Zoom in a lot and look at the data sample by sample.  Or invert the data and add it back to the original, and see that you get 0.  Or just play back all tracks (inverted plus original) and confirm you get no sound, and that you get sound whenever you listen to each separately.  Whatever is enough to convince yourself one way or another.

 

You can try the same thing with lossy compression and see that you don't get 0.  Note that you might need to be careful of everything aligning perfectly in time.  I think there was a program for this purpose... Audio DiffMaker?

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

When I convert the FLAC to WAV, the bottom of foobar2000 says its PCM 1411kbps. So do I need to convert all of my FLAC over to WAV?

post #7 of 25

Well, uncompressed 2-channel 44.1 kHz 16-bit music is 1411.2 kbps, so that's what it shows... The FLAC gets converted to the same PCM data for playback by anything that can play back FLACs.  That's the point of lossless data compression, isn't it?

 

If you're using fb2k, I recommend you download and install this plugin:

http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx

 

Select the FLAC and the WAV, right click -> Utilities -> ABX two tracks and do the listening over again.  It just asks you to identify whether the mystery track is either the FLAC or the WAV; it should be easy enough to understand when you see it.  Run something like 15 trials and tell us what happens.

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm honestly still learning most of this higher quality audio "stuff." Thanks for the help, I'll use that plugin.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

One seemed slightly dryer and a bit hollow, to try and describe the difference in sound. 10/10. How do I find out which track sounded dryer and hollow and which one was the slightly smoother track? 

 

On the other hand, maybe I'm just really consistent with hearing what isn't there. I'm soooo confused.

post #10 of 25

I'm pretty sure the first file in the list is always A and the second is B.

 

 

Now which files did you compare?  One was converted directly from the other (FLAC -> WAV, or WAV -> FLAC)?  If yes, mind uploading a small sample of it (both versions, FLAC and WAV), or using some music that is public and free to distribute? (which you have passed 10/10 or similar)

 

edit: did you confirm the bits were the same in an audio editor or similar?  If you didn't, as a sanity check, maybe run ReplayGain and see if the adjustment values for both are the same.


Edited by mikeaj - 12/28/12 at 10:49pm
post #11 of 25

The bitrate shown in the statusbar is pretty much meaningless for lossless files.

 

For example, a track with silence can be compressed very well, the resulting bitrate will be very low, if on the other hand the samples are wildly random the compression ratio will be lower and therefore the resulting bitrate higher.

 

But as mikeaj wrote, it will always decode to 1411 kbps for 44.1/16 audio.


Edited by xnor - 12/29/12 at 5:00am
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

Okay, so FLAC vs WAV to me sounds almost completely the same, and they might as well be.

 

But I still hear a MASSIVE difference between listening straight from a CD and the FLAC equivalent. I can immediately tell with a 2 second sample using the plugin you had me download for foobar2000 with 100% accuracy. 

 

Why does this occur?

post #13 of 25

For CD vs. FLAC, the FLAC is generated from ripping the CD?  You confirmed that the bits were the same (i.e. tracks from the same master and not a different release of the same music)?

post #14 of 25

Maybe check your playback settings in foobar and/or your sound card.  I had VLC player sounding better that Foobar, however after changing the File/Preferences/playback/output setting in Foobar they sounded the same.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
For CD vs. FLAC, the FLAC is generated from ripping the CD?  You confirmed that the bits were the same (i.e. tracks from the same master and not a different release of the same music)?

 

 

Oh, that's the question that I needed to hear a few days ago. The source for the FLAC files are not directly from the CD I was playing to listen to the same song. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Maybe check your playback settings in foobar and/or your sound card.  I had VLC player sounding better that Foobar, however after changing the File/Preferences/playback/output setting in Foobar they sounded the same.

 

 

Does my sound card even have an effect on sound production if I have the MODI external DAC?

 

I had the foobar2000 output setting as DS: primary sound driver, should it be something else? I have DS: Speakers (2-Schiit USB Audio Device), WASAPI (event): Speakers (2-Schiit USB Audio Device) and WASAPI push: Speakers (2-Schiit USB Audio Device) as other options.

 

I already had changed my primary sound device using the control panel (through audio device manager).

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