FLAC or WAV?

Gareth82

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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
 

Lee H

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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
 

davejberry

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

dannycanham

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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.
 

MajorFubar

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Lee H said:
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).
 

Lee H

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MajorFubar said:
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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Anonymous

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dannycanham said:
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.
 

MajorFubar

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Thaiman said:
John Duncan said:
And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me ;-)

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.
 

Lee H

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MajorFubar said:
Thaiman said:
John Duncan said:
And anybody who says they sound different is...in disagreement with me ;-)

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 ;)
 

ReValveiT

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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.
 

aliahk

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Flac is the most common file.

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

Gareth82

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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.
 

VinylRush

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I rip on my pc so I rip as flac even though my main listening hub is a mac mini. I rip as flac as this is the best supported lossless Format and I may need them some day if I ever ditch from mac for something else.

I then use dbpoweramp to convert flac to ALAC for my mac. If you purchase dbpoweramp it will batch convert a folder full of albums which is really handy.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi I went through the agony of this about 12 months ago! You're right to rip but try and rip once only.

After a fair bit of research here's the method I adopted:

Rip CD using DBpoweramp into FLAC format (with no compression) stored on a ReadyNAS Duo (played back with Sonos). So far I'm at about 700GB.

I now use MP3Tag to edit tags (I tried MediaMonkey but it didn't update the timestamp so Sonos wouldn't update the index - long story which I can expand if you need me to...)

Some people keep one archive copy on a hard drive and another copy on the NAS for daily use; I have not bothered with that but I DO back up the NAS every month or so on a portable hard drive.

DBpoweramp (purchased version) has a batch convertor so I can convert the FLACs into MP3 (or whatever lossy you choose) for incorporation into iTunes on my PC for use with my iPod. [DBpoweramp purchased version can also rip to different formats at the same time I think but I have not personally tried that.] So far I'm at about 140GB in MP3 (256)...

I hope that helps. It's a worthwhile task but you really really need to get your method right before starting.

If external links are allowed, try this...

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Computer-Audiophile-CD-Ripping-Strategy-and-Methodology

If not, google computer audiophile cd ripping strategy and look around...

Best of luck!
 

Blackdawn

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I'm happy with WAV. Not sure what is meant by tagging? But WMP labels all the albums so I don't need to. If you have MAC maybe its a different story. Also, as hard drive space is so cheap now, WAV seems the best for me.
 

The_Lhc

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Blackdawn said:
I'm happy with WAV. Not sure what is meant by tagging? But WMP labels all the albums so I don't need to. If you have MAC maybe its a different story.

It'll be a different story if you play the WAVs on anything other than the PC you've ripped them on, as the "labels" won't travel with them.
 

John Duncan

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Blackdawn said:
But WMP labels all the albums so I don't need to.

Correct, as does iTunes. This only becomes an issue if you want to transfer those files somewhere else, because the WAVs do not store that labelling inside the files themselves, whereas FLAC (and other formats) do support this.
 

Blackdawn

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Oh I see, thanks Lhc. My WinMedia audio player plays the WAV files or converts with song info so I don't need to. I've tried various other ripping programs and can't get on with them. They either take far too long, or fill the PC up with junk. If I'm looking to use lossless files to replace CDs in the home portability isn't an issue.
 

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