Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Compressed Flac files on HD tracks?! Apparently so
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Compressed Flac files on HD tracks?! Apparently so

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure how bad a thing this is but Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road from HD Tracks is showing up with 71% compression in Winamp. It plays back in Winamp, not Media monkey, go figure. I found out in properties that the files are compressed. But they're flac files! compressed? WTH?
Edited by hselburn - 8/16/14 at 12:52pm
post #2 of 25

FLAC is compression.

post #3 of 25
FLAC is a form of lossless compression codec, which means it compresses the raw audio file as much as possible while retaining all audible information. It simply decompresses the file during playback.

Lossy compression on the other hand, which includes MP3 and AAC, use psychoacoustic research to create an algorithm to compress audio files without losing very much quality.

Both are compressed, but very different in terms of stored information.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ah. Thanks! And AAC doesn't sacrifice quality?! Well ummm, maybe if it's mastered for iTunes but I prefer flac!
Edited by hselburn - 8/16/14 at 4:16pm
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hselburn View Post

Ah. Thanks! And AAC doesn't sacrifice quality?! Well ummm, maybe if it's mastered for iTunes but I prefer flac!
I meant technically. On the go I convert my FLAC to 512 KB/s Nero Codec AAC.

Don't worry too much about the differences between 320 LAME MP3 and FLAC... even with high end gear you would practically have to train yourself to hear the compression in order to notice it tongue.gif.
post #6 of 25

Lossless audio files (FLAC, ALAC, etc.) are compressed from their uncompressed counterparts (WAV, AIFF, etc.) without any loss of data, in a similar fashion to a .ZIP folder. They are extracted and decoded during playback, either in real-time or by memory, depending on your equipment.

 

Properly-encoded lossy files (AAC, MP3, etc.) remove some of the less audible data in order to save file space, and are often indistinguishable from lossless in terms of audible differences as long as they are of sufficient bit rate, despite the fact that there is technically a loss of quality. Many people insist upon lossless for various reasons, primarily because they want to assure themselves that they are hearing the recording without sacrificing any quality.

 

It's worth noting that HDtracks does not live up to many of their claims. For example, they tell you that the reason their downloads "sound better" is because they are in "high definition" 24-bit and so on...but actually, the reason you hear any differences is because they use a different master without telling you. If you take the 24-bit file and convert it to 16-bit, you shouldn't hear any difference at all...or so the experts say. Worse still, some of their releases are purportedly upsampled 16-bit CD-quality audio sold as HD 24-bit when it is anything but. I'm not saying some HDtracks releases aren't worth buying. I own and enjoy a few, but only because they used a different master than the CD.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
It depends on the master. If the master is really the master it should sound better. Taking it from the cd is cheating and I know of some titles being reissued on HD tracks right now because they were caught using the cd. It's wrong to do that. So far, I'm ok. I know the zeppelin ones are really from the master and not the cd because I've heard both. I'm getting those.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hselburn View Post

It depends on the master. If the master is really the master it should sound better. Taking it from the cd is cheating and I know of some titles being reissued on HD tracks right now because they were caught using the cd. It's wrong to do that. So far, I'm ok. I know the zeppelin ones are really from the master and not the cd because I've heard both. I'm getting those.

 

You may have misunderstood a little.

 

If the CD and new digital release are from the same original master, they should sound the same. However, some releases use a different master than the CD used, which accounts for the difference in sound. It's not about being "really the master", but about two different masters used for two different releases. The CDs are "really from the master" as well; it's just that there may be more than one original master.

 

There's nothing wrong with selling digital downloads, as long as they don't lie about what they are. The problem is that even if they don't lie, and say that it's CD quality and nothing more, you still don't necessarily know which master was used or whether there was a remaster, and so on.

post #9 of 25

One thing I don't quite understand, is why they can't all have the same master recording, then distributed through different formats? Chasing the 'best' recording is always annoying, especially when it's very clear at times that the CD mix sounds terrible, but elsewhere (like HD Tracks), it sounds fine.

Unless this is all a gambit for people to buy from places like HDTracks, where it's easier to show off a recording being 192 kHz than 'it's a better recording'?

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzerfong View Post
 

One thing I don't quite understand, is why they can't all have the same master recording, then distributed through different formats? Chasing the 'best' recording is always annoying, especially when it's very clear at times that the CD mix sounds terrible, but elsewhere (like HD Tracks), it sounds fine.

Unless this is all a gambit for people to buy from places like HDTracks, where it's easier to show off a recording being 192 kHz than 'it's a better recording'?

 

The recording, mixing and mastering process can be more complex than necessary. It's the type of thing you could study for a lifetime and barely scratch the surface.

 

For modern recordings, it would be ideal to have the master simply be digital audio files, but for older recordings, we don't have that luxury.

post #11 of 25

Oh, of course: as much as I love the Beatles, their recordings (be it mono/stereo) are often sub-par, through no fault of their own. But even for modern artists, it's annoying to see how a different medium (for example, vinyl vs. CD) would have that much of a difference. Much of that difference, however, is brickwalling: normal CD's have a lot of it, while other sources like HDTracks don't (or at least, not so much), and in my opinion, it's a bit pedantic to differentiate between the masses.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Alchemist View Post
 

The recording, mixing and mastering process can be more complex than necessary. It's the type of thing you could study for a lifetime and barely scratch the surface.

 

For modern recordings, it would be ideal to have the master simply be digital audio files, but for older recordings, we don't have that luxury.

I'm interested to know what you mean by "ideal."

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Elite View Post
 

I'm interested to know what you mean by "ideal."

 

Perhaps I should have said it would be more convenient in terms of having the end consumer being able to hear the master recording.

 

I know it can also be argued that having an analog master is better.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Alchemist View Post
 

Perhaps I should have said it would be more convenient in terms of having the end consumer being able to hear the master recording.

 

I know it can also be argued that having an analog master is better.

Yes I assumed you might've meant most convenient with ideal. Choice of format affects various aspects including cost, convenience, sound, etc., and no one format is optimal in every regard.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Elite View Post
 

Yes I assumed you might've meant most convenient with ideal. Choice of format affects various aspects including cost, convenience, sound, etc., and no one format is optimal in every regard.

 

I've always been interested in finding out the reasons vinyl sounds different than CDs. There's a lot of info out there, but no comprehensive summary I have found.

 

I checked out your 100 favorite albums. I have the ones by Agalloch, Burzum, Kraftwerk, Neurosis, and Pink Floyd.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Compressed Flac files on HD tracks?! Apparently so