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.WAV vs. FLAC

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by theawesomesauceshow, Aug 16, 2011.
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  1. bigshot
    Envy is negative energy. I agree that you shouldn't envy us... ADMIRATION is much more productive!
     
  2. tansand
    Yeah that either. For what, your need to avoid the issue? Impressive.
     
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    ideas are free, they're good or not, it's all the same until we test them. but did you?
    are we assuming that somehow a flac file is extracted continuously throughout the entire playback of the song to make it sound audibly different? or is it like a "horrible ruin" of music twice in a song for 1/300th of a second?
    how does your idea work for apps that fully load a song before starting to play it? could you tell by ear if they just buffer the flac, or if they load the fully extracted PCM in the RAM even before the song starts?
    what if I underclock my CPU?
    the difference between flac and wave is like 0.1% on my computer, but if I turn on my EQ with nice FIR filters making impulses look like analog EQ, I increase the CPU usage by more than 15%. now the 0.1% change from flac is a much smaller relative change. so does that mean flac is less audible compared to wave? or is the sound 150times worst because I've increased the CPU use by 15%?



    and as we're on CPU paranoia and shooting ideas. guys! did you notice that 16/44 flac uses less CPU than 24/96 wave? try it and tell me if 16/44 doesn't sound audibly superior to you thanks to the lower CPU work and "noise"? I think I just ended the high-res era with my genius idea.

    this is why it's important to properly test things before deciding they are relevant because we want them to be.
     
  4. NorCal
    So, I bought a Mazda last year, and the USB stick reader doesn't recognize flac files. There appears to be solutions on some of the Mazda forums, but I would only take an upgrade from Mazda themselves ... don't want to fry my new car, and it sounds like some of these workarounds, stop working when the systems get upgraded. Looks like I'm stuck with using .WAV files, (current), lossy .ogg or MP3s, which also work.

    I can save some disk space by using 16 bit CD rips to .WAV, (been convinced this is better than 24 or 32 bit rips, here, and at https://www.head-fi.org/threads/24bit-vs-16bit-the-myth-exploded.415361/ ), but disk space isn't an issue for me. So I was thinking of just sticking with .WAV, but 16 bit for all future rips. Then I saw the following:
    [Was this a joke? ... If so, then reel me in].
    If not a joke, then 16/44 wav should sound as good as 16/44 flac, right?


    Edit: also is there an advantage for listening with foobar2000 with ASIO or WASAPI using Win7 pro 64 bit OS. My DAC from Cambridge audio has drivers for these, and they act as if this is the way to go, although Foobar2000, seems to think they are unnecessary, (maybe unnecessary for 16-bit)?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  5. ev13wt

    Is there any sane reason to use anything more than MP3 in a ... vehicle? Do you only listen stopped? How are those room acoustics working out for ya? :)
    Going down the road at even 25 MPH will render any "difference" obsolete.

    Please reality, please help NorCal out.
     
    NorCal likes this.
  6. 71 dB
    [1] Just my opinion, but I think mp3* is enough fidelity for cars. :blue_car::musical_note:

    [2] Since CDs are 16 bit, there is no benefit ripping them in 24 or 32 bit. Even if they had more bits, 16 bit is enough in consumer audio. More than 16 bit is needed/beneficial in music production. Consumers don't need more than 16 bits. In comparion clean good vinyl records have a dynamic range of about 10 bits.

    [3] 16/44.1 WAV and 16/44.1 FLAC sound identical (unless of course you use tansand's "The worst in the World" electronics suffering from severe voltage fluctuations on analog side cause by CPU power fluctuations :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ).
    ________________________
    * However, mp3-files made of CD rips may contain clippings which reduce sound quality if the CD level is too close to full scale. To avoid this, the signal should be attenuated 1-2 dBs. The clippings are a result of lossy coding changing the signal shape, the more the lower bitrate one uses.
     
    NorCal likes this.
  7. NorCal
    The reality is that I want to use the same file format in my vehicle and in my home system ... so I'm looking for the best format.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  8. ev13wt
    Well, I can respect that.

    Car going down the road: 75dB (noise floor)
    Music playing: 85 dB on average

    Figure out what you need, bit depth wise. Maybe 6? Probably overkill. You can use 10dB of dynamic range before your signal drops below the noise floor... A vinyl records dynamic range is already overkill.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  9. Niouke
    Spotify introduced a new function to compress (sonically) the music with three levels to choose from depending on the Ambiant noise. At max it's pretty good for the car. I'd wager 75db noise floor is a small car at high speeds on the highway with a window open :)
     
  10. castleofargh Contributor
    anytime I call myself a genius, you know that something went very wrong. :wink:

    I'm just using the same CPU argument. for flac it's easier to accept mentally that it says "compressed". lossy formats say compressed too. the mind doesn't have to go far to make small associations like that and become suspicious of anything compressed. (we're lucky audiophiles don't reject binary code... yet).
    then a guy explains that it takes more CPU for FLAC. how much more? who cares, it's an idea, it's here to stay. I get it, and at some crazy low levels it's probably a little true somehow somewhere.
    what makes it all silly is that most services on my computer have more CPU impact than WAV vs FLAC. who would be crazy enough to use a big OS to play music if unwanted CPU usage was actually a problem. but then what if I use something very processing light, but in a box that has a weak CPU? if we're going to ask question and follow an idea, it should go all the way. at the very least it should go for anything that is ensured to have more impact than FLAC vs WAV. magnitudes matter. I can't just reject FLAC because it uses 0.1% more CPU on my computer, but ignore something using 5% without my consent. that would be irrational right?
    and now the worlds end, everybody panicked, computers are flying out the windows. all because our reference for stuff that matters was set too damn low to be humanly viable.

    or we can take a deep breath, look at the magnitudes of change involved in all that crap, then take a look at the level of fidelity of my headphone and be fairly confident that no headphone can accurately offer that change to us. but pushing my hair a certain way or wearing glasses, that will alter the sound in ways that are magnitudes higher. and it's easy enough to prove.
    so how about we all go worry about stuff that may actually matter? ^_^ magnitudes should matter. they should matter even more to people anxious about any little scrap of fidelity they can get. I understand worry, anxiety, I understand how some love music so damn much that they are willing to do anything to get a little bit closer to the real deal. or at least a little bit closer to what the real deal is in their mind. if someone feels better using WAV, he should just do it. no arm done, he breathes better, all is well.

    but calling a spec of dust a mountain, doesn't really make it a mountain for everybody else. I think I'll keep my flac for a while longer.
     
  11. NorCal
    Since I prefer to have one format for both home and vehicle, I'll stick with .wav at 16 bit.

    If the car would read .flac, I would be fine with that for both home and the vehicle.

    There seemed to be such a preference for .flac over .wav by many of the posters in this thread, I wanted to find out why, i.e. maybe it would be worthwhile to have everything in .flac on my laptop, and then convert to .wav, .ogg, or mp3 for the car ... but a lot of unnecessary work without some advantage. edit: Plus likely more disk space used supporting two formats.

    Any opinions on this quote, below?





    BTW, these are some CD to file, rips I did earlier, of the 1st track of Rush - Presto ... Show Don't Tell [Lyrics remind me of Sound Science]. Shows about a 1/3 less disk space used by the 16 bit flac, compared to a 32bit .wav file.

    upload_2018-4-13_6-38-16.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  12. danadam
    You can see here in Flac16 vs Flac24 how flac neatly compressed all those zeros from 24 bit wav. But I'm pretty sure that some will still claim that this 24 bit version sounds better.
     
  13. Roseval
    I'm most of all surprised that the FLAC24 is almost identical to FLAC16
    The only reason I can conjecture up is that the FLAC24 is a 16 bit recording packed in a 24 bit format hence bit 17-24 are zeros.
    Normally the lower bits are random noise and FLAC is not able to compress random noise.
     
    castleofargh likes this.
  14. Roseval
    also is there an advantage for listening with foobar2000 with ASIO or WASAPI using Win7 pro 64 bit OS.

    If you do "nothing" Direct Sound is used as it is Windows default.
    Drivers like ASIO or WASAPI allows you to bypass the Win mixer.
    This allows for a bit perfect transmission from media player to an audio device.
    You can find a bit more detail on my website: http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/KB/WASAPI.htm
     
    bfreedma and NorCal like this.
  15. ev13wt
    Since some information is missing, lets review "compression"

    compressed files (lossless): ZIP. Its smaller when "packed up". To use it, you unpack it - all the files are bit perfect as before.
    compressed files (lossy): JPG. Its smaller when "packed up". It stays small. Original (TIFF, PSD) image data is "lost" forever.
    Dynamic range compression: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression

    FLAC is like a ZIP (Container) The data is perfectly preserved, but need CPU power to "unzip" before playing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_codecs#Lossless_data_compression
     
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