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  1. #1

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    Default Converting FLAC to Lossless WAV

    So I was doing a little recearch on this subject and I came across some information that said that simply converting flac to wav does not mean you have a lossless wav file... It depends on how it gets converted.

    I was wondering if someone can shed some light on this and if there is a good free converter out there for this? I was also wondering how you can tell if it worked or if the files you have are lossless?

    I took some 96/24 flac files and converted to 24bit wav, but they ended up slightly smaller than the flac files which is wrong.. they should be bigger... so I converted the flac files to 32 bit wav and they ended up only slightly larger which also doesn't seem right. So maybe I am using the wrong software for conversion.
    Last edited by bansheesho; 05-07-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bansheesho View Post
    So I was doing a little recearch on this subject and I came across some information that said that simply converting flac to wav does not mean you have a lossless wav file... It depends on how it gets converted.

    I was wondering if someone can shed some light on this and if there is a good free converter out there for this? I was also wondering how you can tell if it worked or if the files you have are lossless?

    I took some 96/24 flac files and converted to 24bit wav, but they ended up slightly smaller than the flac files which is wrong.. they should be bigger... so I converted the flac files to 32 bit wav and they ended up only slightly larger which also doesn't seem right. So maybe I am using the wrong software for conversion.
    Why would you want to convert FLAC to WAV in the first place?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Why would you want to convert FLAC to WAV in the first place?
    see here

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...error-on-sc-25

    To the OP my post from the above thread:

    Just be aware WAV files have no ID3 support so you'll never know what file you are playing because there will be no track/artist/title, etc info. It's a real PITA, especially when you have a large library of songs or want to "transport" the files to another device, etc.

    WAV is a poor choice as far as versatility and arranging/cataloging. Plus in Windows you would have to name all the files yourself which is very tedious and gets old very fast. Then the file names can only be seen in a Windows based program and they will be displayed in alphabetical order unless you put the track number yourself as part of the file name. The file names you give them won't carry over to a player like WINAMP or Media Monkey or your Pioneer, etc. All track number 1's from every cd you ripped will show up as "track 01" on anything looking for a file name.

    So if have 100 cd's the first tracks to show up will be "Track 01" for the first hundred songs and "Track 02" for the next hundred songs, etc, etc.

    It's akin to using DOS instead of Windows today. You most likely will have a cluster **** on your hands as far as managing your files.

    H9

    P.s. You don't want to do WAV files, there is no file management/tagging so it won't work.
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    I was not aware of this before, but I plan on keeping both the flac files and the wav files (storage is cheap)...

    I am just testing the waters at this point so I don't want to drop a bunch of money into other external units at this point..

    So does anyone know how to convert a flac file into a lossless wav file properly and with what (free) program?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bansheesho View Post
    I was not aware of this before, but I plan on keeping both the flac files and the wav files (storage is cheap)...

    I am just testing the waters at this point so I don't want to drop a bunch of money into other external units at this point..

    So does anyone know how to convert a flac file into a lossless wav file properly and with what (free) program?
    Why not convert to AIFF (which is a apple format)? Your SC-25 works with iTunes and whatnot.

    Also I note in your other thread your using a USB HDD to try and play your FLAC....


    **edit** is that HDD FAT 16/32 and not NTSF? That might be your problem right there. Also FAT32 has a much lower storage limit than NTSF....

    see the note section on page 53 in the manual
    Last edited by EndersShadow; 05-07-2012 at 02:28 PM.
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    Go to Yahoo, type in "convert flac to wav" about a gazillion hits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bansheesho View Post
    I was not aware of this before, but I plan on keeping both the flac files and the wav files (storage is cheap)...

    I am just testing the waters at this point so I don't want to drop a bunch of money into other external units at this point..

    So does anyone know how to convert a flac file into a lossless wav file properly and with what (free) program?
    Again, how are you going to "tag" the WAV files so you know what they are? It's great to use wav files to burn a single cd, but it's impractical and useless to use wav files are part of a music server.

    This might help.

    http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...-tag-WAV-files
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    H9,

    I respect your ideas, but I'm not so sure everyone would agree with all your opinions.

    Lots of people report that the on the fly conversion of FLAC takes a bit of a quality hit. FLAC's best place is to minimize file size for transport. With economical storage, after that I don't see any use for it.

    Wave is THE universal linear file format. EVERYTHING converts to and from Wave for a reason!

    And while Wave didn't have the attribute of being squished down to nothing on billions of pocket sized players and get all the fancy tagging and picture file things developed for it, it can have metadata attached to it. It's done everywhere all the time. Nope, it's not strickly universal but when you care about audio quality and universal playback and not fancy features, then it does have it's place.

    I have thousands in folders under artists names, then album name and then by track all as auto named as ripped. No big thing, can find anything I want, never lose anything, don't care a whit about a picture with it, don't have to worry about converting for every format of the month club lastest, greatest format.

    So you do have some points, but when you're all about the audio for the long term, then the rest is kind of just second fiddle. If you're going to have a very big library on digital, the last thing you would ever want to do is have to re-rip and you never have to worry about all the fiddlin around stuff if you just go Wave and forget all the rest! That's my opinion...FWIW. :)

    CJ

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    Winamp will convert FLAC to WAV. Go to preferences and set the output to DiskWriter. Not the best software probably, but it's free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolJazz View Post
    H9,

    I respect your ideas, but I'm not so sure everyone would agree with all your opinions.

    Lots of people report that the on the fly conversion of FLAC takes a bit of a quality hit. FLAC's best place is to minimize file size for transport. With economical storage, after that I don't see any use for it.

    Wave is THE universal linear file format. EVERYTHING converts to and from Wave for a reason!

    And while Wave didn't have the attribute of being squished down to nothing on billions of pocket sized players and get all the fancy tagging and picture file things developed for it, it can have metadata attached to it. It's done everywhere all the time. Nope, it's not strickly universal but when you care about audio quality and universal playback and not fancy features, then it does have it's place.

    I have thousands in folders under artists names, then album name and then by track all as auto named as ripped. No big thing, can find anything I want, never lose anything, don't care a whit about a picture with it, don't have to worry about converting for every format of the month club lastest, greatest format.

    So you do have some points, but when you're all about the audio for the long term, then the rest is kind of just second fiddle. If you're going to have a very big library on digital, the last thing you would ever want to do is have to re-rip and you never have to worry about all the fiddlin around stuff if you just go Wave and forget all the rest! That's my opinion...FWIW. :)

    CJ
    Those "people" are incorrect. There is no quality hit converting to FLAC if it's done correctly. I still have yet to hear a solution to tagging WAV files. Who re-rips FLAC files? I never have. If it's done properly you get the uncompromised sound quality the audiophile is looking for plus the convenience of consistent metadata that is supported almost universally done one time.

    WIN....WIN.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 05-07-2012 at 10:20 PM.
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    I agree with you H9, but if you go over to computeraudiophile.com there are a lot of people there who believe that .wav is a superior sounding format.
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    Seems a little odd since FLAC, "if it's done correctly" as H9 said, is lossless. It contains the same audio information as the original. And if you send the same PCM data to the same sound card or DAC, well...

    Anybody who's studied compression algorithms knows that compression can indeed be lossless, and of course that is desirable in many, many cases. TAR? Zip anyone? No one really questions those, and they use them every day.
    Last edited by bmbguy; 05-08-2012 at 08:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    I agree with you H9, but if you go over to computeraudiophile.com there are a lot of people there who believe that .wav is a superior sounding format.
    Not the first time I've heard that either but in all honesty, could you tell the difference between a Flac file or wav. ? I know I couldn't. After SQ, the next important issue is ease of use, Meta data,shareing between portable devices. Seems to me the SQ differences come in at the conversion process. When your converting flac to wav, apple lossless to flac, etc, over recording straight to a direct format. The purist may not want or need tags, album art, but the vast majority do. Visual is a part of audio otherwise all those albums we bought way back when should have been blank with just a name on the cover.

    Making computer audio files harder than it needs to be will scare off newcommers to the formats. Who wants that ? Thats the attraction to flac, even apple lossless, ease of use, meta data, file sharing. In the end, there's a file format to fit anyones needs, which is better depends on the end user.

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    Flac frontend is the easiest and it's free at this site:

    http://members.home.nl/w.speek/flac.htm
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    To each their own. I've been running WAV and FLAC for about 10 years now, not a single difference audibly to me (and I am one anal SOB when it comes to sound quality) and when I run software to check each rip they are bit for bit identical, so for me that's good enough to tell me they are the same. Can FLAC files be made to sound worse or measure less than bit for bit perfect? Sure, but if it's done correctly there is no difference.

    I was just laying out the pitfalls of using WAV. With today's inexpensive storage, space isn't as issue like it was 5 years ago. I personally can't get past the tagging issue. It can be done, but it's a hassle and it's not universal like ID3 is. Plus I use my FLAC files on a few different machines and playback programs and with WAV what might work for WINAMP won't work for SQB or Media Monkey or.........

    H9

    P.s. I have found the best, most accurate and easy to use program for ripping is dB Poweramp, period.
    Last edited by heiney9; 05-08-2012 at 09:22 AM.
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    I like Mediamonkey for file conversion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    To each their own. I've been running WAV and FLAC for about 10 years now, not a single difference audibly to me (and I am one anal SOB when it comes to sound quality) and when I run software to check each rip they are bit for bit identical, so for me that's good enough to tell me they are the same. Can FLAC files be made to sound worse or measure less than bit for bit perfect? Sure, but if it's done correctly there is no difference.

    I was just laying out the pitfalls of using WAV. With today's inexpensive storage, space isn't as issue like it was 5 years ago. I personally can't get past the tagging issue. It can be done, but it's a hassle and it's not universal like ID3 is. Plus I use my FLAC files on a few different machines and playback programs and with WAV what might work for WINAMP won't work for SQB or Media Monkey or.........


    H9

    P.s. I have found the best, most accurate and easy to use program for ripping is dB Poweramp, period.
    To clarify what's in bold (because someone will come along and misinterpret what I wrote) it's in regards to the file tagging, not whether or not the files will playback.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    The very best music converter is db PowerAmp. I have used it for many, many years it will convert any codex to any other codex FLAC to Apple Lossless, APE, or any of the other lossless codexs. for the full package it is a one time only payment of $19.00

    This on is for a few files at a time, like a single title. Like the batch converter below it uses each one of you processors to convert a file all at the same time.

    http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm


    This is the Batch converter, and by batch they mean it I have converted all at once 30 gig's worth of FLAC files to Apple Lossless if you have multi-core CPU it uses each CPU to do a seperate file so if you have a quad core CPU it will convert 4 files at the same time, very fast and very accurate.

    http://www.dbpoweramp.com/batch-ripper.htm

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    I will look into dbpoweramp and I didnt know that media monkey did conversions so i will look into that too...

    I don't think there will be any difference in sound quality between the 2 as long as it is converted properly... I understand h9s concern for the tagging issue with wav and I think I will also look into what other files the reciever can decode and see if there is another option. Honestly the files should sound identical if converted properly...

    My concern was that when I converted the flac file to a wav file that it shrunk in size which is telling me that what ever converter I was using was doing a bad job and I needed to find one that will do it properly

    I do appreciate all the advise
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    When you "zip" a word file, and reopen it, are you missing anything in the document? Flac works the same way.

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    Again, the issue is how does a FLAC sound as it's being decompressed on the fly? It's not a question of any data missing from the compression at all. The question, which seems to me like it would vary with every machine used, is how stable is the machine as it processes that compressed file and plays it.

    I've never worried about a comparison since I have no desire to mutilate my music files. I was just passing along a common concern as expressed by many. There are even articles in the major mags about this I believe...

    CJ

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    I have been doing the FLAC thing for quite awhile and SHN before that and APE as well. "common concern expressed by many"? I haven't heard that before. Decompressing on the fly is NOT an issue unless you have a really outdated computer that multi-tasks too much. Then it's not the FLAC that's the issue it's the hardware. With modern computers, even in the past 5-7 years, it's not an issue. Unless you use a computer as workhorse and consistently run it at it's limit.

    "desire to mutilate my music files"? WTF is that all about? Mp3's mutilate music files, FLAC does not. The few major articles I have read were supposition at best with nothing to back up their possible concerns.

    Again to each their own, but you are using hyperbole to make it sound like FLAC is seriously flawed without adding a single shred of supporting evidence. Just what you have read. So you're not "just passing it along" you are basically perpetuating unfounded information. Have you done extensive comparison yourself? I have and find no difference between the two formats. FWIW

    Just how I see your post.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    FLAC is specifically designed for efficient packing of audio data, unlike general purpose lossless algorithms such as DEFLATE which is used in ZIP and gzip. While ZIP may compress a CD-quality audio file by 10–20%, FLAC achieves compression rates of 30–50% for most music, with significantly greater compression for voice recordings.

    The technical strengths of FLAC compared to other lossless formats lie in its ability to be streamed and decoded quickly, which is independent of compression level. In a comparison of compressed audio formats, FFmpeg's FLAC implementation was noted to have the fastest and most efficient embedded decoder of any modern lossless audio format.[9]

    Since FLAC is a lossless scheme, it is suitable as an archive format for owners of CDs and other media who wish to preserve their audio collections. If the original media is lost, damaged, or worn out, a FLAC copy of the audio tracks ensures that an exact duplicate of the original data can be recovered at any time. An exact restoration from a lossy archive (e.g., MP3) of the same data is impossible. FLAC being lossless means it is highly suitable for transcode e.g. to MP3, without the normally associated transcoding quality loss. A CUE file can optionally be created when ripping a CD. If a CD is read and ripped perfectly to FLAC files, the CUE file allows later burning of an audio CD that is identical in audio data to the original CD, including track order, pregaps, and CD-Text. However, additional data present on some audio CDs such as lyrics and CD+G graphics are beyond the scope of a CUE file and most ripping software, so that data will not be archived
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by bansheesho View Post
    So I was doing a little recearch on this subject and I came across some information that said that simply converting flac to wav does not mean you have a lossless wav file... It depends on how it gets converted.

    I was wondering if someone can shed some light on this and if there is a good free converter out there for this? I was also wondering how you can tell if it worked or if the files you have are lossless?

    I took some 96/24 flac files and converted to 24bit wav, but they ended up slightly smaller than the flac files which is wrong.. they should be bigger... so I converted the flac files to 32 bit wav and they ended up only slightly larger which also doesn't seem right. So maybe I am using the wrong software for conversion.
    Actually this is wrong depending on the level of compression (if any) used on the flac file the wav file will be smaller. If you convert a uncompressed flac file to a uncompressed wav file the wav file can be up to or more than 500kb smaller. To understand this you need to understand both the flac and wav file spec.

    I'll start with the uncompressed basic wav file spec first, The one most widely supported. A wav file is actually a sub-set of the RIFF file spec and in it's most basic form (the one that most software supports) is made up of 3 chunks (around 44 bytes total) a RIFF header, fmt chunk and a data chunk followed by the raw PCM audio data. On a side note wav files can support tagging it's done using a LIST chunk containing all the tags and album art at the end of the file. The reason a lot of software doesn't see the LIST chunk is because it's not written to fully support the RIFF spec. Here's link Wave File format for more info.

    Flac (the spec can be found here) on the other hand not only has tags, album art, format data etc.. it is a stream/block/frame based file format where each frame has a header followed by data and each frame can be a different size depending on the compression used if any. See the spec for a much better understanding.


    To everybody else your all wrong and right. And by the way there is no such thing (technically speaking) as a lossless compressor it's an oxymoron like military intelligence.

    You may now all start flaming me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpod View Post
    And by the way there is no such thing (technically speaking) as a lossless compressor it's an oxymoron like military intelligence.
    Wrong.

    Anyway I like MediaMonkey for ripping/archiving/tagging etc. What I am really liking about it right now is that it will transcode files on the fly for various devices. I have my library in FLAC on my NAS, but say I want to put something on my Gigabeat, which does not natively support FLAC. I plug it in, tell MM which music I want on my Gigabeat, and it copies it over as 320kbps MP3 automatically. Supports both jitter-corrected reading as well as secure rips, and it's a far more powerful tagging/organization tool than dBpoweramp, so I can't really see any reason to recommend dB over MM.

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    H9,

    I have no problem with any using FLAC. I just don't chose to. So just go with it if it floats your boat! Please!!

    Not many years ago we'd never heard of it and who knows, in a few more, we may not hear of it again. That's just it. When you spend a lot of time over building a library the need to re-rip is horrible. You mention 3 formats already that you've used! How many more do you want to convert to and how much time will that be? I want to listen to music, not play computer!!! So not directed at FLAC necessarily, just that the choice of format in the beginning of building a system is very key to your future with it and any future systems.

    Where I wanted to voice a different opinion was when you make it sound like the only logical choice.

    The quality of the decoded on the fly thing is all over the place and I would have thought even discussed here. Like I said, it's not something I'm going to spend time on as I've bypassed the issue through never intending to ever retain files in the FLAC format. So I don't have a dog in the hunt.

    The evidence in support of using WAVE is that's the professional choice (which use it with full metadata included). FLAC is just great for downloads being a little quicker. It's clearly more accepted on the consumer front. But that doesn't make it the one and only playback choice.

    CJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpod View Post
    And by the way there is no such thing (technically speaking) as a lossless compressor it's an oxymoron like military intelligence.
    Are you saying there is no such thing as lossless compression? For example, when PKZip compresses a file are you saying there are bits missing when it is unzipped?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    Wrong.
    Wrong, If you look at how a compressor works i.e. removing repetitive and or reproducible patterns of bits & bytes from the source making the output smaller, Technically speaking how can you call it lossless when the compressor is throwing chunks of the original data away even though the de-compressor may or may not be able to reproduce the missing chunks hopefully without errors.

    Quote Originally Posted by CoolJazz View Post
    The evidence in support of using WAVE is that IT IS the professional choice (which use it with full metadata included).
    CJ
    Exactly and is the preferred method for archival backup plus a WAVE file is much easier to edit if you need to.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Are you saying there is no such thing as lossless compression? For example, when PKZip compresses a file are you saying there are bits missing when it is unzipped?
    Yes, PKzip files are pretty solid but if you look at the PKzip spec it says it's 99.9% accurate in its de-compression, so that leaves a 0.1% chance of an error. Granted it doesn't happen very often but it can and does. Don't tell me you've never ever had a zip file that wouldn't unzip.

    Now this is not a knock on using flac as it's the format I use albeit uncompressed only because of it's widely accepted tagging ability. Although I still use uncompressed WAVE for archival backup.
    Last edited by gimpod; 05-08-2012 at 07:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpod View Post
    Wrong, If you look at how a compressor works i.e. removing repetitive and or reproducible patterns of bits & bytes from the source making the output smaller, Technically speaking how can you call it lossless when the compressor is throwing chunks of the original data away even though the de-compressor may or may not be able to reproduce the missing chunks hopefully without errors.
    Obviously you are speaking from how you feel about the technology rather than knowing how it actually works.

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    Wrong again, I've probably read, written and revise engineered more compressor/de-compressor source code than you have ever used. For starters Arc, Zip, Rle, Gif, jpeg, mpeg 1-4, huffman, wave, avi, and on and on.

    Usually if there is something that I need to do on the computer that doesn't warrant spending money on software or I can't find software that will do what I want it to do I'll write it myself.

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