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Gareth82's picture
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FLAC or WAV?
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Hi all, i am ready to start the painfully boring task of ripping all of my CD's and wanted to know if it would be best to rip them as FLAC or WAV. Is there much difference in sound quality between the two and which one is best?

Thanks

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

What are you going to be playing them on?

Either way FLAC is the correct answer, WAV doesn't support tagging properly, so you'll be missing all the track info.

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me Wink

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

as above. FLAC.

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

I use FLAC, but I see you also have an iPod. I run 2 libraries, one in FLAC for sonos and one in ALAC for my iPhone. Using something like dbPoweramp this is failry easy to do. Also, MediaMonkey can transcode on the fly to another format (keep the original FLAC but put an AAC copy on your iDevice) but I found it very slow

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

flac, wav doesnt do tagging. in my opinion anyone who says they sound different is misguided. i use dBpoweramp, a great piece of software

 

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

People actually do checks on this using conversion software and then comparing files.

 

"In summary, I did this:

alac --> wav --> alac --> wav --> flac --> wav

All of the wav files are identical"

 

The entire chain is not in exactly the same state when each format is playing. So an audible difference is possible even if not at all likely. It is possible some players do show a difference.

 

However all the digital bits output to a dac from any of the lossless formats will be EXACTLY the same. All of the lossless formats can be converted between each other with no change in the audio stream. The only changes will be tagging compatibility. 

 

If you really wanted to be wierd about it; rip everything as ISO and use a drive emulator to play all your music as virtual versions of your original CDs.

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

Lee H wrote:

I use FLAC, but I see you also have an iPod. I run 2 libraries, one in FLAC for sonos and one in ALAC for my iPhone. Using something like dbPoweramp this is failry easy to do. Also, MediaMonkey can transcode on the fly to another format (keep the original FLAC but put an AAC copy on your iDevice) but I found it very slow


Good point, I'm guessing iphones don't support FLAC (Macs don't, not natively anyway), in which case maybe consider ALAC (which is kind of an Apple FLAC equivalent).
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RE: FLAC or WAV?

MajorFubar wrote:
Good point, I'm guessing iphones don't support FLAC (Macs don't, not natively anyway), in which case maybe consider ALAC (which is kind of an Apple FLAC equivalent).

Correct.

There is a FLAC player app for iPhone but it's so fiddly to use it's not worth the bother. I keep FLAC and ALAC. FLAC on the NAS for Sonos and ALAC just on a USB external HDD that I point iTunes at

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

dannycanham wrote:
If you really wanted to be wierd about it; rip everything as ISO and use a drive emulator to play all your music as virtual versions of your original CDs.
You can't: there is no iso9660 filesystem on an audio disc.
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RE: FLAC or WAV?

John Duncan wrote:

And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me Wink

 

I thought that but now I am not too sure.  Is it just me that think Wave files sound fuller?

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

Thaiman wrote:

John Duncan wrote:

And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me Wink

 

I thought that but now I am not too sure.  Is it just me that think Wave files sound fuller?

Any difference, if not placeabic, could only be down to the effects of real-time decoding, because it's quite easy to prove that an original WAV and a decoded FLAC of that WAV are absolutely identical.
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RE: FLAC or WAV?

MajorFubar wrote:
Thaiman wrote:

John Duncan wrote:

And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me Wink

 

I thought that but now I am not too sure.  Is it just me that think Wave files sound fuller?

Any difference, if not placeabic, could only be down to the effects of real-time decoding, because it's quite easy to prove that an original WAV and a decoded FLAC of that WAV are absolutely identical.

 

The clue is in the  Wink

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

Only it's not decoded in real-time. It's decoded to PCM audio and placed in a buffer.

Your DAC doesn't know if the stream's come from FLAC, ALAC, WAV or whatever. It only ever 'sees' the PCM data.

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

Flac is the most common file.

 

Never tested it but I can't imagine there would be any noticeable difference in sound quality.

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RE: FLAC or WAV?

Thanks for the replies everyone.

To be honest i haven't decided what i will be playing them from. It will be between a Squeezebox Touch or a PC based system like a Acer Revo or Mac Mini and external DAC.

I know iTunes doesn't support FLAC but untill i decide which way i am going to go i was going to start the ripping process with dBpoweramp and rip to the highest quality and back them up on my external hard drive, that way once i decide if i am using a SB Touch and Nas or PC i can then convert just copy over the FLACs or convert them to Apple Lossless etc..

I just thought that it may be better to start the ripping process now rather than waiting untill i decide what i am getting, plus i can then convert some of the FLACs to Apple Lossless to replace the current Albums on my iPod that i ripped to 320kps.

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