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.WAV vs. FLAC

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by theawesomesauceshow, Aug 16, 2011.
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  1. TheAwesomesauceShow
    I just ripped my cd collection to FLAC and they hover around 800-1000 kbps using FreeRIP which is fine and dandy, but when I found out about Exact Audio Copy software I am seeing my rips in .WAV files in a consistent 1411 kbps.  Is .wav format better than flac?  I thought flac is the best format to get more out of our music[​IMG]  Also, I just downloaded the EAC just now and don't know how to rip files in flac format(haven't fiddled with the software too muc).  Can somebody tell me how to do that and will it have the same 1411 kbps?
     
    thanks
     
    edit: sorry if I put this in the wrong section as I don't know where to start this thread(sound science, computer audio, or music)
     
  2. nanaholic
    wav is uncompressed raw data, FLAC is lossless compressed.  Theoretically there should be no difference in quality.  
     
  3. TheAwesomesauceShow
    I always thought the higher the kbps the better the quality of music/sound.  If that is the case then I'm relieved that I don't have to delete my flac files and re-rip everything again.  Also, is it normal to have a files that is in the range of 700-1000kbps?  I asked that because I've been seeing fellow head-fiers have 2000-5000kbps music files.  What kind of ripping software you guys using to get every kbps as possible?
     
  4. anetode


    Quote:


    [​IMG]
     
    24/96?
     
  5. keanex Contributor

     
    Quote:


    Not necessarily. Most users here will have trouble blind testing 192 vs FLAC, let alone V0/320 vs FLAC. If you can tell the difference or simply don't mind the increase in hard drive space then use FLAC. If not, then MP3 V0/V2 or 320 will without a doubt suit 99% of users. 
     
    As for FLAC vs Wav:
     
    Flac is like VBR music. It is capable of reaching max peaks (1411kb/s) but it goes only as high as it needs to for the music and goes lower if it can to save space. Wav is like 320kb/s CBR, it's a constant kb/s rate, but it doesn't lower it's rate for silent parts where nothing is going on. Wav/320kb/s CBR is almost identical in sound (99.9% of users will be unable to ABX them) to FLAC/V0 VBR, except FLAC/V0 will be a much smaller size since it's algorithm is designed to lower the bit rate when it's able to, to save space.
     
    For lossless music listening ALAC and FLAC are no brainers. Wav has far too many disadvantages to be useful to be honest, no ID3 tags for instance. What surprises me though, is that most users here will praise FLAC, a variable bit rate, while condemning LAME V0, a variable bit rate. 
     
  6. TheAwesomesauceShow


    Quote:


     
    Thanks for the explanation[​IMG] Yeah I noticed the no ID3 tags and EAC tags don't translate well in Media Monkey(have to do it manually in Media Monkey) and was bummed out of it.  I guess when 1-2 tb DAPs with expandable memory exist then I will re-rip everything to .wav(and made improvements to it).
     
  7. keanex Contributor
    Wav will never be a better audio format for listening than FLAC.
     
  8. Head Injury
    Quote:

    Why? There is absolutely no audible difference between FLAC and WAV. Absolutely none. They contain the exact same data.
     
     
    keanex wasn't exactly right when he said FLAC is a variable bitrate. It's not variable like MP3 can be. Case in point, if you play a variable MP3 in Foobar you can watch the bitrate change, but FLAC bitrate doesn't change. It compresses audio data much like a ZIP file. You can unzip a FLAC into a WAV at any time, and it will contain the exact same bits and exact same bitrate. Do you lose text file data when you place it in a ZIP? No, and you don't lose data when you place a WAV into a FLAC. There is no reason to use WAV if your players support FLAC.
     
    The only conceivable "audible" difference is FLAC playback is harder on the CPU because it has to unzip it, which can cause extra jitter. The task is so trivial, even for tiny little DAPs like the Clip+, that a human will never, ever hear it. I believe it's actually easier on the CPU than lossy codecs are.
     
  9. TheAwesomesauceShow
    I guess it boils down to "I wanna get the most out of my music."  Even if I don't hear a difference in sound quality, I know I'm not gimping myself or my music.  BTW, I'm using FreeRIP and you can put tags on it at the .wav settings and Media Monkey was able to read the tags.
    Oh is there any member here that uses .wav format? 
     
  10. keanex Contributor
    FLAC is getting the most out of your music, considering you can have hassle free ID3 tagging.
     
  11. Head Injury
    Quote:

    ...
     
    It's not about hearing the difference. There is no difference. None. They both contain the exact same information. FLAC just does it in a smaller package. It is not lossy compression.
     
    Ignore FLAC's bitrate. It's just the number of bits divided by the length of the song. Bitrate doesn't matter when it comes to lossless compression. It only determines file size. With lossless compression lower bitrate is better.
     
  12. koolkat
    On my player, usually AAC 400kbps is good enough. It's hard to make out the tiny differences between FLAC and AAC when you're in a noisy environment. 
     
    I've never understood the concept of lossless compression. What did they cut out to reduce the file size, without affecting the sound quality? 
     
  13. cjl

    It works exactly the same as a zipped file. Basically, parts of the file can be abbreviated in such a way that the space used is smaller than the original, but no information is lost. This only works because of the non-randomness of the data - because the data has patterns, it can be shrunk by abbreviating the patterns (effectively). Truly random data could not be compressed losslessly, but fortunately, useful files are quite far from truly random.

    An interesting experiment you could do would be to take a .wav and .flac of the same track, and try to zip both of them. I would be willing to bet that the .wav will zip down nicely to substantially smaller than the original file size, while the .flac will barely change in size (and, assuming decent compression algorithms, the final file size should be about the same for both).
     
  14. Head Injury
    Quote:

    That's not a half bad idea. I'm going to try it.
     
    Using the track "Hunter" by Bjork, with default ZIP settings in 7zip:
     
    FLAC unzipped: 29,351,064 bytes
    WAV unzipped: 45,036,140 bytes
     
    FLAC zipped: 29,351,230 bytes (LOL, bigger!)
    WAV zipped: 43,741,075 bytes
     
    I think it's safe to say that lossless compression is very efficient! It makes sense; lossless compression is designed for a single file type, regular compression has to work well with everything.
     
  15. TheAwesomesauceShow
    Thanks for the info guys[​IMG] Will be going back to FLAC.
     
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