Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Switched from flac to mp3
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Switched from flac to mp3 - Page 2  

post #16 of 66
Originally Posted by dcfis View Post

That argument is a non sequitur. It makes no difference if I can or I cant. Its about having a direct copy of a medium library. You arent begrudgingly buying CDs upset you are getting your full bits. I have a HD tracks acct too and when they offer most of my library in high rez then that will be something to switch over to, but right now I wont be downsampling my ripped CDs to save pennies on the dollar in HD space. 

Agreed. Anyone with even 10,000 songs has (should have) so much money invested in source material that the additional hard drive space (and the cost of additional backup hard drive) seems a trivial cost just to keep a lossless copy of the original. Then if the goal is to make them portable for DAP use, set up the sync to convert them to MP3 on the fly from the FLACs.
post #17 of 66

People really underestimate the transparency of 320kbps MP3 and AAC. They're so transparent that you can convert back and forth between them a very large number of times(possibly infinite) and not notice any artifacts(either that or the artifacts are all outside of my hearing range).


It's nice to have lossless copies for archive purposes, but remember that's redundant if you own the CD. I still keep lossless just for peace of mind because I still have the disk space, even though I can't pass an ABX test between 320 and lossless.

post #18 of 66
Thread Starter 

This is what I have been trying to say all along. LAME 3.9.9 --preset-insane results in 320 Kbps MP3s and they sound so transparent that it's very very difficult to tell the differences between the original CD, FLAC, and MP3 file under ideal ABX tests.


If I can't hear it then what's the point using 16 bit 44.1 kHz CD resolution material?


LAME has come a long way. It's an amazing old codec for an old format. It's too bad it's so old that it can't handle multi-channel hi-rez material, but for CDs it's just fine.


I get full listening satisfaction from my MP3s for CD resolution music. Saving a ton of disk space makes me feel better because I can purchase and download or rip more CDs in the future. I can easily double my music library full of LAME 3.9.9 --preset-insane 320 Kbps MP3s and not flinch at the amount of disk space consumed.


When you have more than 14,600+ songs, disk space becomes an issue regardless of audio codec or format even though I have 12 terabytes of high speed storage capacity. I'm trying to get the most value for my money by picking the MP3 format for CD resolution music. Now, I know it will take a very extremely long period of time and money to fill up my HDDs with more music and movies in the future by switching to lossy codecs and formats such as MPEG-4 M4V and LAME 320 Kbps MP3s.


I'm happy.


My ears are happy.


My purse is not happy, but I can replenish it quickly and easily.


14,606 MP3 songs takes up less than 150 GB at 320 Kbps bit rate. That's amazing in 2013. I can copy my music library to any digital audio player of any format and it will work so long as I have the disk space.


That's amazing too.


LAME 3.9.9 --preset insane 320 Kbps MP3s are the way to go for me in the future. There's no turning back for me now.


FLAC is for high resolution purchases in the future. It makes hi-rez material worth it.

post #19 of 66
Originally Posted by Leslie Dorner View Post

This may not make a lot of sense to some people here, but I recently decided to delete my entire flac music library and I decided to switch to 320 Kbps MP3s in order to save disk space. I have about 14,500 songs and it took up about 386 gigabytes in flac format. I thought that was too much disk space so I converted all of it to 320 Kbps MP3s using the Fraunhofer and a few of them use LAME 3.9.8 --preset-insane.


I don't notice any differences in sound quality.


My audio system is well over $10,000.00 USD.




Now, my MP3 collection is 148.2 gigabytes. It's a lot smaller. I could fit everything on a 160 gigabyte portable DAP if I had one.


I get the idea of loss less audio formats, but I think that people should give 320 Kbps AAC or MP3 a try. You'll save a ton of disk space.


I have over 10 terabytes of storage capacity.


I understand why some people shake their heads and ask why?!


But, I still enjoy my music library and the sound quality is not reduced to my ears.


I can't tell you how many times I failed ABX tests. I tried 30 ABX tests using well recorded and mastered songs and I got less than 0.10 percent correct while comparing flac to 320 Kbps MP3s.


I don't understand why I should eat up disk space for flac files when I can't reliably tell the differences between flac and 320 Kbps MP3s. It doesn't make logical sense to me.


I don't plan to transcode my music again. It took a very long period of time to convert them from flac to mp3 formats.


I highly recommend the AAC format over MP3, but I use Ubuntu 12.10 64 bit and Banshee and Rhythmbox have a hard time reading AACs. MP3 is a near universal audio codec and format so I was concerned about compatibility with different devices and players.


I did notice a difference between 256 Kbps -v0 MP3s and 320 Kbps --preset-insane MP3s in my initial tests when converting one album from flac. I decided that I wanted the higher bitrate MP3s.


Does anyone else share similar opinions or experiences?

My take is that using a computer for tunes limits some of what you can hear. I don't care for Monster conditioning power strips and think they do more harm than good. I like the Meridian.


That said, I agree with some of your points. I don't think AAC 320 is significantly different than FLAC. I do notice it in the decay of notes and ambience but it's subtle. There's a nero AAC 400 CBR that bridges that gap really well. I still very slightly prefer FLAC but it's actually smaller than the difference from FLAC to wav. I know they are both bit perfect and should sound identical but the dozens of times I've tried on different top kit, I could alway tell that the WAV sounded to have had more contrast and just seemed to get more black. Just IMO so I won't continue that particular never ending fight.


I know you're listening for the right things because you get the same difference between 256 and 320 and prefer aac for lossy as I do. For kicks, convert one of these FLAC files to wav and do a similar compare to your other formats from a raw wav and see what you think. You've established yourself as an unbiased sort.bigsmile_face.gif

post #20 of 66
Thread Starter 

AAC is an ideal lossy codec and format. I can see why Apple chose to ditch MP3 and go with protected AAC format. It's modern, super efficient, it has great psychoacoustics, and it can be wrapped with lots of DRM and it easily supports tagging. When you use Linux, your options are limited though. Protected AACs are a pain in the butt to read and modify on Linux. This is why I only bought 1 song from iTunes in the past decade.


I can't tell the differences between WAV and FLAC files even on my high end setup. They sound identical to me with numerous ABX tests. However, FLAC is preferred over WAV because it gets 40% compression ratio and it supports tagging and multi-channel hi-rez music.


Really, LAME 3.9.9 --preset-insane 320 Kbps MP3 is an ideal codec and format. It's now my favorite format for 16 bits 44.1 kHz CD quality music. FLAC is for 24 bit 44.1 - 192 kHz high resolution and multi-channel music. I understand the differences and advantages of both formats quite well.


Nero 400 CBR is too niche. It's extremely difficult to find digital audio electronics that read that format outside of a PC. I'd have to use VLC which is not a music management software player to read Nero files.


MP3 is not the most efficient codec available, but it's a stalwart. It gets universal support.


I get 4.4:1 compression ratio with 320 Kbps MP3s compared to WAV files. That's amazing!


I get 9.5:1 compression ratio with MPEG-4 .M4V compared to DVD-Videos. That's even more amazing!


The thing that I like most about MP3 is that I don't need to worry about transcoding from WAV or FLAC to another format because I know MP3 will be here to stay for a long time. CDs will continue to be pressed and sold worldwide for a long time. MP3s will continue to be encoded and sold for a long time.


I don't see the point in transcoding to the latest and greatest audio codec and format of the day just because it's popular. With my large library, it just takes too much damn time even though I have a System76 Leopard Extreme:


2nd Generation Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition 3.50 GHz L2 15 MB - 6 Cores with Hyperthreading

64 GB - 8 x 8 GB - Crucial Elite Quad Channel DDR3 - 1333 MHz

4 GB nVidia GeForce GTX 690 with 3072 CUDA Cores

960 GB: LSI Hardware RAID 0 - 2 x 480 GB Intel 520 Series SATA III 6 Gb/s Solid State Disk Drive

CD-RW / DVD-RW Dual Layer [two of them]

Internal SD, Memory Stick, Compact Flash Card Reader

 Internal PCI Express 802.11 bgn

27" Full HD SuperThin Widescreen LED Display (1920 x 1080)

Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard and Performance Mouse

3 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and 3 Yr. Technical Support

Asus 12X Blu-Ray USB 3.0 burner

LaCie 4Big Quad 10 TB USB 3.0 HDD

Western Digital My Passport 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable HDD


System76 Lemur Ultra Thin (lemu4):


Intel Core i5-3210M

Corsair Vengeance 2 X 8 [16 GB] 1,600 MHz RAM

Crucial M4 SATA-III 6 GB/s 128 GB SSD

Intel Advanced-N 6230 802.11 BGN

14.1" 1366 X 768 LED

Gigabit Ethernet

2 USB 3.0

1 USB 2.0

SDXC memory card slot

8X DVD burner

4.5 pounds


MP3 is an amazing format. Now, my friends and family members can share my media library remotely and securely since I use Ubuntu 12.10 64 bit GNU/Linux. We can share files quickly and play them easily on PCs, HDTVs, home entertainment systems, and my high end audio rig without any worries about compatible audio or video formats.


It's amazing!

post #21 of 66

It's always relative but a better sound card or external device might help. Glad you're happy.bigsmile_face.gif

post #22 of 66

You're running Ubuntu on a TOTL gaming rig????


By the way you mentioned that encoding takes a long time... If you've still got some to do you might be interested in dbpoweramp. It has true multi processing so it can encode 6 files simultaneously on a 6 core processor. Only takes a couple of seconds per file too.

post #23 of 66
Thread Starter 

System76 supports Ubuntu. My Leopard Extreme is designed for media consumption. I was able to rip, encode, compress, and convert my CDs on it in only 5 days. I found that using HandBrake utilizes the Intel Extreme Edition 6 core CPU and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 to rip, encode, compress, and convert DVD-Videos to MPEG-4 .M4V format in less than 4 minutes per disc. Blu-Rays take much longer because Ubuntu does not support hi-def video formats native. With Blu-Rays, I just rip the disc and I don't encode or compress or convert it to preserve the audio and video quality.


I do a lot of file sharing with family and friends all over the world. This is why I have WiTopia personal VPN pro and Ubuntu because I can setup user accounts and I can send GnuPG encrypted e-mail messages using Mozilla Thunderbird to my family and friends with their login credentials so that they can download whatever they want from my Leopard Extreme. I don't allow them to write or upload data to my System76 PCs. I must have at least 50 people that I'm constantly sharing data with daily. This is why I have Verizon FiOS Quantum Maximum Speed at 300 MB download and 65 MB upload speeds. Actually, I am getting 399 MB download and 86 MB upload performance on a consistent basis.


They complained when I used uncompressed DVD-Videos and FLAC formats because it took them too much time to download my stuff. So, I did some research and testing and I decided to settle for MPEG-4 .M4V because it's compatible with Apple devices and MP3 because it's well supported. Now, everybody is happy.


I always use 7-Zip to encrypt and compress file names for every movie or music album or e-book or .pdf file and I send GPG encrypted e-mail messages with the passwords. So, only they can get access to my Samba or VSFTP servers and only they can decrypt my files to get my media.


7-Zip supports AES-256 bits if you encrypt individual file names.


I have separate directories and sub-folders for my encrypted media files on my LaCie hdd. I also use LUKS full-disk encryption with AES 256 bits for all of my storage devices.

post #24 of 66
Thread Starter 

dBPowerAmp works with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7. I have Codeweavers CrossOver for Linux 64 bit version 12.10.0. dBPowerAmp CD ripper and encoder are not known to work with CrossOver.


I use AudEX and Gnac and HandBrake to rip, encode, compress, and convert my digital media discs or files. They're FLOSS software.


I stopped ripping CDs a long time ago. I purchase and download MP3s or FLAC files from various online music stores. I get DVD-Videos from my library or friends and I use HandBrake.


It's all good. I'll look into dBPowerAmp by researching the Codeweavers support tickets and forums for Ubuntu 64 bit.

post #25 of 66
Thread Starter 

I have a LastPass Premium account with a 3 year subscription. I have two Yubico Yubi Keys for two-factor authentication. I also have a Upek FIPS compliant fingerprint reader to enable three factor authentication for my System76 PCs. I am an information assurance professional.

post #26 of 66
Thread Starter 

I have a Google account and I use Google Music Manager to upload my MP3s to my Google Play Music account for free. So, I have a cloud backup. I use CrashPlan+ to backup to my private cloud storage drive on my System76 PCs.


I enabled two-factor authentication for Google and Facebook and Yahoo and Microsoft accounts. I have a Verizon Motorola Droid Bionic.


I'm doing ABX tests between my FLAC hi-rez materials and MP3s and the differences are startlingly clear. This is where I draw the line in favor of flac. The problem is the CD format is over 30 years old that modern loss less and lossy codecs do an amazing job of compressing the bits with very little audible artifacts. I agree that WAV should sound the best, but flac sounds identical even at level 8 compression ratio. Comparing flac 8 compression to LAME 3.9.9 --preset-insane 320 Kbps MP3 results in very very minor artifacts which sounds almost identical in ABX tests. I'm enjoying the music more with MP3s for CD format music because I know it's highly compressed and it's well supported.


I just saved hundreds of gigabytes of disk space with no appreciable loss in sound quality.


It's a good day.

post #27 of 66
While I do agree that a 320CBR MP3 sounds every bit as good as a flac file, what happens in 10 years when you buy the latest and greatest new phone that doesn't support the archaic format .mp3. Now you have to transcode from a lossy compression scheme to another format which does introduce artifacts and is shown to not be a best practice.
post #28 of 66

Once you use a lossy CODEC the data that's thrown away during compression is gone forever. FLAC preserves the original data and can easily be transcoded to a more portable lossy format when needed. That's where I draw my line. 



post #29 of 66
Originally Posted by Blotto80 View Post

While I do agree that a 320CBR MP3 sounds every bit as good as a flac file, what happens in 10 years when you buy the latest and greatest new phone that doesn't support the archaic format .mp3. Now you have to transcode from a lossy compression scheme to another format which does introduce artifacts and is shown to not be a best practice.

First of all, that's not gonna happen.


And second, transcoding is not an issue with 320kbps mp3, I've tested it. Switched between 320kbps and wav 10-15 times. No audible artifacts. Then tried it between 320kbps mp3 and 320kbps AAC. Still no artifacts. Unless the artifacts were all in the >18,500kHz range(I can't hear past that), which doesn't exactly have a strong presence in music.


128kbps is another story... Don't transcode with that bitrate...

post #30 of 66
Thread Starter 

Exactly. MP3 will always be supported for the next several years just like FLAC. However, MP3 will have much wider and deeper support than FLAC. As I said earlier, I have no need to transcode between different codecs and formats as I have made up my mind. I have a strong preference for the MP3 format especially at 320 Kbps. It sounds damn good to my ears and I am a vocalist in a choir so I need to be aware of pitch accuracy and tonal balance. I find it difficult to conceive that the MP3 format or the FLAC format will gradually fade away for more popular formats in the future. There are just too many users with too much music data in these two formats to give up the ghost. I think that LAME 3.9.9 --preset-insane 320 Kbps MP3s are the limit of my hearing threshold. I don't think I can hear beyond the amount of information contained at that high bit rate in that lossy format without someone telling me what I am listening to in which format at what bit rate and what resolution.


I think that we have become conditioned as audiophile to accept nothing short of the best and we turn up our noses at anything that hints of inferiority. 320 Kbps MP3s are not inferior. They sound nearly identical to FLAC and WAV files to my ears according to my previous ABX tests. I did not want to share my results with an audiophile community like here, but I was compelled to speak the truth that I discovered in praise of 320 Kbps MP3s. It's still a very good audio codec and format that gets shortchanged by audiophiles.


I'd rather listen to 320 Kbps MP3s rather than nothing at all.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Switched from flac to mp3