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Is it advisable to convert APE/ALAC to FLAC? How will the size change?, [TOS #6: was "APE/ALAC to FLAC conversion?"]
SoberWarlock
post Apr 25 2012, 18:09
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APE is known for it's great compression and ALAC is pretty much the same as FLAC except it's not open source and is owned by apple. Is it smart to convert these two codecs to FLAC? Will APES compression size be the same or enlarge when converted to FLAC? I would rather stick to one lossless format which is FLAC because there really isn't much problems with it and it is definitely future proof.
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newman079
post Apr 25 2012, 18:19
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What's the problem to check it yourself?
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pdq
post Apr 25 2012, 18:34
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Are you really that concerned about a one or two percent difference in file size? Because if you're not then you should base your choice on other considerations, like compatibility.
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kareha
post Apr 25 2012, 18:39
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ALAC has been open source since last year http://alac.macosforge.org/
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Porcus
post Apr 25 2012, 19:42
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QUOTE (SoberWarlock @ Apr 25 2012, 19:09) *
I would rather stick to one lossless format which is FLAC because there really isn't much problems with it and it is definitely future proof.


That's why I chose FLAC in the first place.

Anyway, according to http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...omparison_Table , you should expect your APE files to expand by some five percent (depending on settings) and your ALACs to stay about the same in size. Furthermore, you should expect decoding to take less CPU power (not that it matters much these days anyway), and better ReplayGain support.

If you use foobar2000, you can decode HDCD on-the-fly with the appropriate component, but not for all file formats. FLAC has been OK for a long time, and the new version will handle ALAC too. Not APE though.


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pdq
post Apr 25 2012, 20:04
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Another consideration is the various formats' ability to benefit from near-lossless encoding.
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SoberWarlock
post Apr 26 2012, 07:22
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I have ripped a CD album to APE to a single file + CUE sheet. I just have to ask btw why is this method good? Why do people want a single file rip instead of having it be divided into individual tracks? I know that having a single file with a CUE Sheet that defines when a specific track starts prevents any gaps so it can be identical to the CD release, but who says it can't be done with tracks split? The benefits of individualized tracks is better tagging support and being transferable.

This is when I decided to split the album and found two good programs: 'CUETools' & 'Medieval CUE Splitter'. I went with the Medieval software, because it doesn't re-encode (atleast thats what I think). CUETools is giving you more options to choose from including output to various formats either lossless or lossy such as FLAC & MP3. Now with CUETools you can split tracks and keep the original format in my case .APE (Monkey's Audio), but the method of approach is by encoding.

I don't know what I want answered out of this post but I just thought I share these information and please let me know anything wrong here.
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Gregory S. Chudo...
post Apr 26 2012, 08:30
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I admit i never used Medieval CUE Splitter, but i'm pretty sure it does re-encode when splitting, at least if we are talking about FLAC. Here is why.

FLAC file consists of frames, typically 4608 samples long. FLAC standard, at least so-called subset allows only the last frame to have different length from all other frames. Variable blocksize is possible, but not universally supported.

Track boundaries are not likely to coincide with frame boundaries, which means that if you want to split FLAC without re-encoding, you will either have to move track boundary to the nearest frame boundary, or produce non-subset file where the first frame's length is less than that of the following frames.

Anyway, i don't see why would anyone want to avoid re-encoding when dealing with lossless formats. This won't change the audio, and with FLAC it can be very fast.

UPD: I was a bit wrong. I re-read the FLAC specification, and it turns out that actually there's no prohibition on variable-blocksize format in subset format. Although there's still no guarantee that it is universally supported. And... in 99% cases you will still have to reencode, at least repack the FLAC stream. You can only split it without reencoding if it was a variable-blocksize stream to begin with, because depending on the fixed/variable-blocksize marker in the stream header, each frame header will have to be slightly altered. Variable-blocksize stream must have sample number instead of frame number in each frame header.

This post has been edited by Gregory S. Chudov: Apr 26 2012, 09:02


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db1989
post Apr 26 2012, 08:53
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QUOTE (SoberWarlock @ Apr 26 2012, 07:22) *
I know that having a single file with a CUE Sheet that defines when a specific track starts prevents any gaps so it can be identical to the CD release, but who says it can't be done with tracks split?
Correct: freedom from inappropriately added gaps is not some special property of single-file rips.

QUOTE (Gregory S. Chudov @ Apr 26 2012, 08:30) *
I admit i never used Medieval CUE Splitter, but i'm pretty sure it does re-encode when splitting, at least if we are talking about FLAC [because] if you want to split FLAC without re-encoding, you will either have to move track boundary to the nearest frame boundary, or produce non-subset file where the first frame's length is less than that of the following frames.
MCS does behave badly by creating per-track files with incorrect durations caused by splitting on frame boundaries (which might be accompanied by your second possibility; I cannot recall), and therefore it is not recommended.

This post has been edited by db1989: Apr 26 2012, 08:53
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Porcus
post Apr 26 2012, 11:57
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QUOTE (SoberWarlock @ Apr 26 2012, 08:22) *
I have ripped a CD album to APE to a single file + CUE sheet. I just have to ask btw why is this method good? Why do people want a single file rip instead of having it be divided into individual tracks?


Advantages of single-file with cue sheet, are the support of index marks, and furthermore you need not one folder for each album. You are less likely to get into a filename length constraint, for example.

I kinda like the idea, but it has a few disadvantages. Tagging being one, expecially if you have tagging software which can be quickly invoked by right-clicking on single track files. Since I had to re-rip quite a few single tracks with errors, I would have had to convert to images afterwards, which made me stick to single files.


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polemon
post May 4 2012, 22:42
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This is gonna be a more subjective opinion, so you may or may not agree with it.

I consider FLAC as the best lossless codec. It may not feature the best compression rate, but it's very easy and fast to decode on embedded systems. I've seen FLAC support on many media players, that act as set-top box, where you can connect USB drives to.

It is the most widely supported format, and the fastest to decode. I don't see much of a problem in file sizes here, since when using FLAC, you'd most probably put them on hard drives or at least on portable drives that have a rather large size. FLAC is rather old, but I think it's the lossless codec that makes the most sense. It is the most widely accepted codec, you'd run into fewer problems when giving those files to someone, etc. Most CD rips you'd find on the internet are FLACs, that's not for no reason.

This post has been edited by polemon: May 4 2012, 22:43


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