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Is FLAC the best choice?
hero
post May 7 2009, 19:11
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I'm looking to rip a lot of music for a friend. Normally I encode to MP3 with LAME, but he wants lossless. Is FLAC the best choice? I've looked at a few polls, and FLAC was top choice in all of them.
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onkl
post May 7 2009, 19:39
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http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...on#Introduction
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Robertina
post May 7 2009, 19:45
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QUOTE (hero @ May 7 2009, 12:11) *
I'm looking to rip a lot of music for a friend. Normally I encode to MP3 with LAME, but he wants lossless. Is FLAC the best choice? I've looked at a few polls, and FLAC was top choice in all of them.

Have you already checked this page with this table?

Robertina.


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DVDdoug
post May 7 2009, 23:13
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The first question I'd ask is what player is your friend using, and what formats can it play? (If it's a computer, this isn't much of an issue.)

Next, I'd look for the most popular format (probably FLAC), so he doesn't get stuck with something odd & unsupported in the future.

Then, I'd consider if any features are important (Replay Gain, etc.).

I wouldn't worry about compression ratio/bitrate at all, since all of the lossless compression formats seem very close.



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ech3
post May 7 2009, 23:51
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It doesn't really matter. Go ahead and use FLAC. If your friend wants to use something else (like Monkey's Audio), it's a simple matter to decode/encode to another file type. Lossless is lossless so there is no worry about losing sound quality.

(Unless you are giving him your entire collection. Reencoding may take a while.)
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hero
post May 8 2009, 01:21
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I know FLAC is better supported with hardware. That's my main concern. Encoded music that can't be played on anything is pretty useless.
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Big Olmec Head
post May 8 2009, 02:45
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QUOTE (hero @ May 7 2009, 13:11) *
I'm looking to rip a lot of music for a friend. Normally I encode to MP3 with LAME, but he wants lossless. Is FLAC the best choice? I've looked at a few polls, and FLAC was top choice in all of them.


Well you may consider:
a) If you want to her the music only in your computer, Flac is a reaally good option. There are plenty of media players that support the format.
b) If you want to take your music with you, you have some restrictions in portable players that support the format (cowon s9 nice!!!).
Cheers

Big Olmec Head
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marcusm
post May 8 2009, 05:34
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To my mind, Flac and Monkey's Audio are the top two. What you need to keep in mind is that lossless is lossless. It just a container that reduces the orginal audio size by about have the size. When you looked at this way, Apple's Lossless format .m4a is just as good. Anyone of them is pretty far from useless because not only can the orginel wav be decoded from them at anytime but they can be use to create any kind of lossy format like mp3 and the like. The thing is, which one provides the most versatility, which one is the most open. Apple is the most proprietary, Monkey's Audio is a lot less proprietary and Flac is fully open. So hands down, for me it Flac. Properly ripped audio into flec it the way to go.
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Canar
post May 8 2009, 06:12
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Monkey's Audio is nowhere near the top any more. WavPack performs better and is more open. TAK performs way better. Monkey's Audio is not really developed any more, nor is there any compelling reason to prefer it over any other available format.


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greynol
post May 8 2009, 06:48
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WavPack is a faster decoder than Monkey's Audio, but it is not as efficient at encoding. The problem with MAC is that it's a symmetric codec. The fact that development on the codec has stopped is really not too much to be concerned about; it's mature and stable, gets the job done and is very easy to install and use.

I try not to put too much weight into HA polls on encoding preferences. As a whole, the majority of people here have a certain bias that I think doesn't necessarily track with the general computing population. We tend to get caught up in our own little world here, especially those of us with over a thousand posts under our belt. I think that MAC is still more widely used than WavPack. I imagine that ALAC is probably used more than the two of them combined, but probably still trails flac.

However, that doesn't mean that we aren't right! biggrin.gif

Asymmetric codecs are clearly the way to go. flac is by far the most universal, though TAK appears to be the most efficient performer, rivaling and sometimes surpassing MAC at high-compression encoding. I have never seen a single performance metric where TAK doesn't beat WavPack. I think FLAC still holds the title for speed at the lowest compression setting, though.

This post has been edited by greynol: May 8 2009, 06:56


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DARcode
post May 8 2009, 07:30
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Thanks to CorePlayer Mobile I can listen to my WavPack encoded files on the move and the codec's brilliant Hybrid feature lets me forget about transcoding to lossless like MP3 or AAC.


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hero
post May 8 2009, 11:47
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I'm going to choose Level 8 for the best compression. There is another option that you can add, "After Encoding Verify Written Audio". Should I click this box?
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KFal
post May 8 2009, 12:35
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With this option, the FLAC file is decoded immediately after encoding and the result is compared to the original. Could be useful for disc write failures, for instance, but of course takes a little bit of additional time.

In the end depends on your level of paranoia. I have enabled it dry.gif


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hero
post May 8 2009, 12:46
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Thank you.
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rpp3po
post May 8 2009, 13:05
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A 3% difference of encoding efficiency means 6GB for a 200GB music collection. At todays storage prices that means a total cost difference of $0.54 (€0.40) for the entire collection. So the time spent researching the net for the most efficient solution might be a much larger waste.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: May 8 2009, 13:32
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ManekiNeko
post May 8 2009, 14:33
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QUOTE (hero @ May 8 2009, 01:21) *
I know FLAC is better supported with hardware. That's my main concern. Encoded music that can't be played on anything is pretty useless.


So will the lossless files be used on a portable? If so choose the lossless format that the player supports. If not, you have a lot more choices.

The way I see lossless archiving is that the format must be robust and have good decoding speed as the rip should only be done once, but the decode and encode to lossy formats are going to be carried many times as and when your 'lossy codec and setting of choice' changes or when new versions of your chosen codec are developed and released. Monkey's Audio passes neither of these, TAK is great but Windows only/closed source, so that leaves Flac and Wavpack. Wavpack compresses more at faster speeds so that's my lossless codec of choice
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greynol
post May 8 2009, 17:04
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Are you arguing that Monkey's Audio isn't robust? If so, do you know what that means exactly or are you just quoting the chart in the lossless audio wiki? Errors with any codec are most likely going to result in data loss.


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hero
post May 8 2009, 17:39
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QUOTE (ManekiNeko @ May 8 2009, 13:33) *
QUOTE (hero @ May 8 2009, 01:21) *
I know FLAC is better supported with hardware. That's my main concern. Encoded music that can't be played on anything is pretty useless.

So will the lossless files be used on a portable? If so choose the lossless format that the player supports. If not, you have a lot more choices.

It wont be used portable, mainly with home audio equipment. He purshased a couple hundred Taiyo Yuden (which are the best) blanks. My job is to find the best Codec that is supported the most.
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pdq
post May 8 2009, 17:50
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I'm confused. What do Taiyo Yuden blamks have to do with choosing a lossless codec? huh.gif

This post has been edited by pdq: May 8 2009, 17:50
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hero
post May 8 2009, 17:55
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They have nothing to do with ripping. I was just enlightening you on the situation smile.gif
Still looking for the best encoder to use. I'm leaning towards FLAC.
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Soap
post May 8 2009, 20:08
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If you are using write-once media (DVD Rs), and not a HDD I would strongly suggest you use FLAC or ALAC as they have the widest hardware support (something you might want in the future), and you have raised the "expense" of transcoding.
If you were using hard drives I'd say you're wasting time debating this as transcoding is easy.


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WillyMD
post May 8 2009, 20:22
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QUOTE (greynol @ May 8 2009, 08:48) *
The problem with MAC is that it's a symmetric codec.
......
Asymmetric codecs are clearly the way to go.

What is symmetric and asymmetric codecs?
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ManekiNeko
post May 8 2009, 20:32
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QUOTE (greynol @ May 8 2009, 17:04) *
Are you arguing that Monkey's Audio isn't robust? If so, do you know what that means exactly or are you just quoting the chart in the lossless audio wiki? Errors with any codec are most likely going to result in data loss.


From personal experience, I have had a few old ape files that wouldn't decompress, although in all fairness, this was nearly 10 years ago. Perhaps things have improved since then. Maybe it was simpy the hard drive I was using for archiving that had some bad sectors. Who knows. All I do know is that I have not once had an error with flac and moved to it. At the time I didn't 'blame' the format, I just discovered the benefit of flac's fast decompression speed's against Monkey's audio files.

More recently, with substantially faster computer hardware, I have switched to encoding Wavepack with the MD5 stored. I find it the best all-rounder (size,decode/encode speeds). I love the compression using Monkey's audio, and the encoding speed is pretty good. I just see the fact that it takes longer to decode than encode as flawed.

... and yes I now what 'error robustness' means.
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Nick.C
post May 8 2009, 20:39
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QUOTE (WillyMD @ May 8 2009, 20:22) *
What is symmetric and asymmetric codecs?
Symmetric codecs take about the same time to decode as to encode. Asymmetric codecs take less time to decode than to encode.


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hero
post May 8 2009, 22:30
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On the Comparison Table @ wiki, FLAC's Compression is 58.70%. I have ripped a few tracks using FLAC, and they were compressed at 30%. Where did the 58.70% come from?
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