FLAC or ACC. What sounds best?
Jul 3, 2008 at 9:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

JackeShan

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Just a quick question. What format is the best you can get for music on PC? Right now I have converted a lot of mp3's to FLAC. Many songs are up to 60MB in size but storage is not a problem for me.

I can hear a big difference between mp3's and FLAC even with my Sennheiser HD555. However is this the best format or is AAC better, perhaps I can't get closer to CD quality than this?

Edit: Sorry I think I posted this in the wrong section.
 
Jul 3, 2008 at 9:56 PM Post #2 of 13

scompton

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JackeShan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Just a quick question. What format is the best you can get for music on PC? Right now I have converted a lot of mp3's to FLAC. Many songs are up to 60MB in size but storage is not a problem for me.

I can hear a big difference between mp3's and FLAC even with my Sennheiser HD555. However is this the best format or is ACC better, perhaps I can't get closer to CD quality than this?

Edit: Sorry I think I posted this in the wrong section.



If you converted MP3s to FLAC, they sound no better than the original MP3. MP3 is lossy. Converting to FLAC doesn't restore any of the data lost when the MP3 was created. If you convert MP3s, or your convert FLACs, to AAC, you'll lose even more data.

The best way is to rip from the CD directly to a lossless format like FLAC or ALAC (Apple Lossless). If you need a compress version, you can convert the lossless to MP3 or AAC.

If you downloaded music that is already lossy, you should stick with the lossy format.

I originally ripped all of my music to either MP3 or AAC. I'm slowly reripping to lossless for archive purposes. I personally can't hear a difference between 128 kbps VBR AAC and lossless doing ABX tests.

BTW, the best way to know what bit rate is best for you is to do ABX tests. There are threads on how to do it. You can also find information on Hydrogen Audio.
 
Jul 3, 2008 at 10:10 PM Post #3 of 13

royalcrown

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JackeShan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Right now I have converted a lot of mp3's to FLAC.

I can hear a big difference between mp3's and FLAC even with my Sennheiser HD555.



You know, I'm gonna follow up that recommendation to foobar ABX, because if you're hearing big differences with lossy->lossless conversion it's 100% in your head.
 
Jul 3, 2008 at 10:29 PM Post #4 of 13

JackeShan

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Thanks for your reply! Yes you are right. I do not hear any difference at all with the music I have already converted, although I did get FLAC music from somewhere (don't ask me where
wink.gif
) and I suppose they are ripped directly from a CD because with them I can hear a big difference between the mp3's vs FLAC's when playing the same song.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 12:08 AM Post #6 of 13

BigEat

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This question is like a caserole; it has been served up in several different ways today.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 12:09 AM Post #7 of 13

scompton

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The reason I'm reripping everything to lossless is not because I can hear the difference, but because I want a lossless archive in case I need a format other that AAC in the future. I don't what to get a player that doesn't play AAC and have almost no music to put on it.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 12:41 AM Post #8 of 13

riverrat

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Whether or not you hear a difference between an MP3 and a FLAC file of the same music depends on several things- your ears, the resolution/quality of your playback system, the quality of the MP3 and the type and quality of the original source material.

Burning to FLAC is a no-brainer for me. I have all of the data contained in the CD (bit perfect, identical in all ways to the CD) and can easily make MP3s from the FLAC files if file size is ever an issue.

Using EAC and LAME does indeed produce a high quality MP3- considerably better than your average commercial download. I have not compared a good MP3 with a FLAC to determine if I can hear a difference and don't care to waste the time. Huge capacity external hard drives are cheap and getting cheaper, and I don't use a personal media player much. For me, given the time it takes to burn music, why not save it in the highest possible quality? That way I'm assured that my audio files sound as good as the CD could possibly sound.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 6:23 AM Post #9 of 13

krmathis

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There are no such thing as a "best" format. As it all runs down to personal preferences and hardware/software limitations.
FLAC is lossless, while AAC is lossy. Hence FLAC will have a higher sound quality.

Transcoding from MP3 to FLAC is just a waste of space and time though. The data which were thrown away when encoding to MP3 will never be recoverable. Hence you will end up with files with audio data as the MP3, but 3-4 times the file size.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 8:58 AM Post #10 of 13

apatN

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JackeShan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I can hear a big difference between mp3's and FLAC even with my Sennheiser HD555.


Haha, so much for placebos
wink.gif


And to be real with you, it all depends on your gear whether or not you will hear a difference. With my 595s I could easily tell the difference. Even 192 vs 320. With my MS-1 though I can't really hear the difference between 320 and flac.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 10:43 AM Post #11 of 13

tfarney

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My daughter sent me an iTunes gift certificate for my birthday yesterday, so I used it. Among other things, I picked up Alison Krauss and Union Station Live. Jerry's dobro has the buzz and sting, the warmth and harmonic complexity, the mandolin has that wonderful bark, Alison's voice is angelic as always and when she moves in close it's as if she's whispering in my ear, the bass has the perfect, taught thump. All at a lowly 128kbps. It sounds absolutely gorgeous. Could I tell the difference if I did an ABX test against lossless files? Maybe. But I'd rather be listening to music.

But I'll still keep ripping cds to lossless. Bits are cheap.

Tim
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 3:19 PM Post #13 of 13

whuffor

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I too use EAC + FLAC for ripping and encoding for archival purposes (about 2TB and growing). That way I know that the rip is good, and I can transcode from lossless to desired lossy format if required for a portable player.

To be honest I can't distuingish between a good lossy encoding and lossless unless I do extensive abx testing, and then only with certain types of music.

For me the difference between a good original recording and a poor one on the CD is much more evident than the encoding format of the ripped music.
 

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