Taking the FLAC

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I had not expected to spark such lively debate when starting this thread.

While some of the feedback received here may be the work of Devil's Advocates
, designed to develop healthy discussion, I was a little surprised / disappointed / bewildered (delete as appropriate...) by some views expressed

For years, off and on, I have bought What Hifi, wholy respecting the news, advice, reviews and ratings............and still do!

Most of the material, over the years, has appeared to rate products - often very expensive and beyond my reach - in terms of sound quality.... The Holy Grail?

I have always considered, rightly or wrongly, that sound quality is the single most important factor in rating and choosing high fidelity audio gear, within the restraints of budget, available space for speaker placement, etc.

Yet some of the views expressed here seem to fall short of this ideal.

The 99.9% references are one such example.

For instance, since when did 99.9% of people really care about audio quality to any great degree?

99.9% of people may never have even opened a copy of WHFSV let alone spent 10% of their budget on cables (another statistic).

Just because, rightly or wrongly, 99.9% of people have no interest in FLAC - or other lossless formats, for that matter - it does not dilute their value to those seeking audio excellence and flexibility.

Why settle upon inferior formats that are less flexible and delete information (compression / encoding process).

The use of FLAC encoding isn't comparable to the use of a kettle lead, sorry - mains cable, that costs £1000. FLAC and its equivalents costs nothing to use, nothing to license, and nothing to build into technology relative to the project at large.

So again, there is no real credible excuse for omission, and as for the use of the FLAC format by pirates, who cares, really!? If I break the speed limit in my car, is the vehicle to blame?

I picked up a copy of this month's magazine today and was pleased to see the DAC reviews. Also, great to see mention of the Onkyo receiver's networking functionality (relevant here). Good, also, to see reference to the iPhone 4 and competitors, and mention of file formats in this context.

Keep up the good work.




Apple is hugely successful at producing highly desirable consumer products of mass appeal.

They are number one in the mobile device market according to a video on Apple.com.

...and good for them.

I'm sure that you're right, Andrew, in that Steve Jobs probably doesn't give a monkey's what reviewers here or elsewhere think of Apple products.

Apple already know that the products are appealing and will sell massively.

It is not in Apple's interest to support open source formats, really, so why should they?

Thankfully, there are other products out there that do meet my needs, and I usually look for your magazine's feedback on them.




Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
I think this whole thing of music formats and bitrates, CD vs laptop/phone/PC + DAC etc is the most current and intriguing topic in home audio at present, it also has a big impact on the future direction of the whole industry. CD player manufacturers are no doubt starting to sweat, amplifier producers must be looking at the increasing number of active speakers etc...

I still maintain it would be very interesting if WHF could, at a future show do a blind listening section as part of their stand - the items up for comparison could change but surely Laptop + DAC vs traditional mid-price CD player would be very interesting for many readers and show visitors, then of course files of varying quality could also be played and people could hear for themselves the cut-off point in terms of acceptable quality. My personal opinion is that CD is starting to go the way of vinyl, in 3-5 years I'd expect most modern homes to be bringing in MP3 or similar as their main music format (whatever the source) at the rate things are progressing. It's interesting times for Hi-Fi!


New member
Apr 30, 2010
I honestly don't see what the problem is here... Yes it would be nice for all players to support all formats, but that is not the way life works.

I store my lossless in wma format just because it was what I started with. It would be a trivial matter to set the computer to convert them all to flac or m4a lossless. Coverting from one lossless format to another is "lossless :)" Therefore when I buy a bit of kit that perfers say FLAC, i'll just convert them all and be done with it.

For the mp3 player I have a seperate location with the wma lossless files re-coded to 192 variable bit rate mp3s. Which suits my purposes for the time being.

I keep hearing about the masses of "storage space" and yet everyone wants the files one format or the other... The ripper I use does both the wma lossless and mp3s at the same time.

Next you will be complaining that the kit does not support the auto volume leveling (like replay gain) that you want to use....


New member
Jan 7, 2009
btw, is mp3 an open format? Apple hardware and software does play and encode mp3... but not flac, another open format...


Well-known member
Nov 29, 2007

Is your DAC fed by USB, mini jack or phono out of the source?

pointless reading more as you have no idea of what a DAC does.


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