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Newb with question about lossless audio...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi, I see I'm supposed to post here first, so forgive me for this not being hardware related.

 

I just purchased a FiiO X3 for what I think was a decent deal.  Was looking to upgrade my Sony Walkman and for different reasons (including budget) decided on the X3.

.

Before I get into the headphone questions eventually, I was hoping someone could direct me to an article, thread, etc... explaining the difference in quality of lossless audio.

 

In other words... FLAC vs. WAV vs. ALAC vs. AAC... and so on.

Also, I was looking on a web site that sells high res audio and the stuff I would like is only in 44.1 KHz/16 bit... but I don't think that's any better than my CDs. (?)

 

 

My understanding on some of these things is:

- CDs are not the best version of lossless audio, and there is nothing I can do with my CDs to get great quality audio from them.

- That I can only get better audio files from sites that have access to the better quality originals (I would name one example I found, but m not sure I'm allowed to).

- FLAC is still a compressed version of the audio, so it's not as good of quality as WAV files.

 

Now, these are things the way I understand them based on some research I've done.

But please, if I am wrong, tell me.

 

I am new to all this, and am looking for a good education.

 

So anyway, if anyone can recommend some good reading (dumbed down for a newb), or want to offer up any opinions/advice,  I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post

 

CDs are not the best version of lossless audio, and there is nothing I can do with my CDs to get great quality audio from them.

 

 

The first part is true, for the second, you can still get great quality audio from CDs, if there is a DAC that upsamples, they can be upsampled for instance!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post
 

That I can only get better audio files from sites that have access to the better quality originals (I would name one example I found, but m not sure I'm allowed to).

 

 

True!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post

 

FLAC is still a compressed version of the audio, so it's not as good of quality as WAV files.

 

True! But for all practical purposes there is little difference. Read the last heading on this page titled "Footnote: Evidence that FLAC is lossless."

 

http://www.bobulous.org.uk/misc/audioFormats.html

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post
 

In other words... FLAC vs. WAV vs. ALAC vs. AAC... and so on.

Also, I was looking on a web site that sells high res audio and the stuff I would like is only in 44.1 KHz/16 bit... but I don't think that's any better than my CDs. (?)

 

 

True most of the time, unless they use a different source(very unlikely).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post

.

Before I get into the headphone questions eventually, I was hoping someone could direct me to an article, thread, etc... explaining the difference in quality of lossless audio.

 

In other words... FLAC vs. WAV vs. ALAC vs. AAC... and so on.

 

Here : http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post

 

I just purchased a FiiO X3 for what I think was a decent deal.  Was looking to upgrade my Sony Walkman and for different reasons (including budget) decided on the X3.

 

Last but not the least : Congrats on a wise purchase and why not the X5? I am looking to get the Fiio X5 myself.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post
 

Hi, I see I'm supposed to post here first, so forgive me for this not being hardware related.

I just purchased a FiiO X3 for what I think was a decent deal.  Was looking to upgrade my Sony Walkman and for different reasons (including budget) decided on the X3.

Before I get into the headphone questions eventually, I was hoping someone could direct me to an article, thread, etc... explaining the difference in quality of lossless audio.

In other words... FLAC vs. WAV vs. ALAC vs. AAC... and so on.

Also, I was looking on a web site that sells high res audio and the stuff I would like is only in 44.1 KHz/16 bit... but I don't think that's any better than my CDs. (?)

My understanding on some of these things is:

- CDs are not the best version of lossless audio, and there is nothing I can do with my CDs to get great quality audio from them.

- That I can only get better audio files from sites that have access to the better quality originals (I would name one example I found, but m not sure I'm allowed to).

- FLAC is still a compressed version of the audio, so it's not as good of quality as WAV files.

Now, these are things the way I understand them based on some research I've done.

But please, if I am wrong, tell me.

I am new to all this, and am looking for a good education.

So anyway, if anyone can recommend some good reading (dumbed down for a newb), or want to offer up any opinions/advice,  I would greatly appreciate it.

 

I've always assumed people take their 16-bit/44.1k music CDs and make 16-bit/44.1k FLAC music files.

So for most people that is about the best they normally have to work with.

Unless you buy higher bit rate (24-bit/96k or 24-bit/192k) music files from places like HDtracks or buy those special DVD or Blu-rays with something like 24-bit/96k music files.

post #4 of 13
I think chasing after higher and higher res digital files is a useless exercise.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeevrn View Post
 

 

Quote:
The first part is true, for the second, you can still get great quality audio from CDs, if there is a DAC that upsamples, they can be upsampled for instance!

 

Ok.  But, isn't it true that upsampling can't really create a "better" sound than the original recording itself?  I mean if you upsample from a CD, how are the DAC's able to make a better version than the original going in?

 

I ask this because I am curious.  Not challenging you, lol.

 

 

Quote:

 

 

 

 

True! But for all practical purposes there is little difference. Read the last heading on this page titled "Footnote: Evidence that FLAC is lossless."

Thank you for that link.  I read through most of it, and I read the part you referenced.  It explained a lot.

 

 
Quote:

 

 

True most of the time, unless they use a different source(very unlikely).

I have a feeling, I had a misconception about this.

Seems people are mostly just taking their CDs, converting to either WAV or FLAC and going with that.  Not buying better recordings they find online.  (?)

For the most part, I mean.  Obviously that varies, and I could of course be totally wrong.

 

Coming from MP3s I really want to make the most of this. I've downloaded FLACs of certain albums in the past, but never really found enough difference between them and MP3s...

BUT !    I know this is because of the hardware I was using.   Sony Walkman or PC, and Sony headphones and earbuds... are not going to let me hear the difference.

I don't imagine there are any great earbuds out there, but headphones, obviously... I can upgrade.   And will research that here by reading the threads I can find on the subject.

 

 

 

Quote:
Last but not the least : Congrats on a wise purchase and why not the X5? I am looking to get the Fiio X5 myself.

 

Well, 2 reasons.  Price and the wheel.  I paid $129 for the X3 and it comes with a 32GB micro SD card.  I think the X5 is what.. $350?  Not sure I'm that committed yet ;)

Still, even if priced the same, I need hard buttons.  I fall asleep with these things, and I need to feel my way around, and not have to spin a wheel and rely on visuals.

Nothing against the X1 or X5, but for me the buttons will work best.


Edited by Sigur Ros - 12/2/14 at 5:27pm
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post

 

Ok.  But, isn't it true that upsampling can't really create a "better" sound than the original recording itself?  I mean if you upsample from a CD, how are the DAC's able to make a better version than the original going in?

 

I ask this because I am curious.  Not challenging you, lol.

Yes its true in a way but I can spot an increase in clarity. If there is an option to upsample, I enable it these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Coming from MP3s I really want to make the most of this. I've downloaded FLACs of certain albums in the past, but never really found enough difference between them and MP3s...

BUT !    I know this is because of the hardware I was using.   Sony Walkman or PC, and Sony headphones and earbuds... are not going to let me hear the difference.

I don't imagine there are any great earbuds out there, but headphones, obviously... I can upgrade.   And will research that here by reading the threads I can find on the subject.

Yes it could be because of the hardware you are using. If you use a pair of high end headphones, you should be able to hear those little differences.Its here at this link:

http://www.abyssmedia.com/audioconverter/flac-vs-mp3.shtml

 

Again, it depends on what change you are looking for, the change is small, but like the page says, in songs where it can get crowded, FLAC helps.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeevrn View Post
 

Yes its true in a way but I can spot an increase in clarity. If there is an option to upsample, I enable it these days.

Yes it could be because of the hardware you are using. If you use a pair of high end headphones, you should be able to hear those little differences.Its here at this link:

http://www.abyssmedia.com/audioconverter/flac-vs-mp3.shtml

 

Again, it depends on what change you are looking for, the change is small, but like the page says, in songs where it can get crowded, FLAC helps.

Do an ABX test and see for yourself rather than relying on the opinions of people trying to sell you something.

post #8 of 13
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

I've always assumed people take their 16-bit/44.1k music CDs and make 16-bit/44.1k FLAC music files.

So for most people that is about the best they normally have to work with.

Unless you buy higher bit rate (24-bit/96k or 24-bit/192k) music files from places like HDtracks or buy those special DVD or Blu-rays with something like 24-bit/96k music files.

 

I admit I'm a newb with this.  Aside from getting the occasional flac file, I really have no experience.

I was looking for a better MP3 player, came across a deal on the Fiio, and then decided to see what these audiophile players were all about.

When I saw advertising mentioning 24-bit/192k, I just assumed those hi-res files were more common.

I am finding exactly what you said, though.... 16/44 is the norm.  The higher res are purchased.

 

Thank you for your input.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I think chasing after higher and higher res digital files is a useless exercise.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/415361/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded

 

I appreciate the comment... and the link.

 

Thank you.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeevrn View Post
 

Yes its true in a way but I can spot an increase in clarity. If there is an option to upsample, I enable it these days.

Thanks.  I will test and see if it makes a difference to my ears.

 

You mentioned going for the X5... can I ask what your reasons are for choosing that?

 

Just curious.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 


Thank you very much.   I will definitely read through that.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigur Ros View Post
 

Thanks.  I will test and see if it makes a difference to my ears.

 

You mentioned going for the X5... can I ask what your reasons are for choosing that?

 

Just curious.

Yes the better soundstage and just that bit more power

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