Quantcast
FLAC is our current best hope for the future of fidelity - Page 3 - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
FLAC is our current best hope for the future of fidelity
Old 8th July 2009 | Show parent
  #61
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Dave G: thanks for the iFlac link - I've been converting or using VLC for my high res stuff!

As noted though, it doesn't solve the commercial deal-breaker: Can't play FLAC on iPods natively. Game over.

Our feelings and preferences, as creators and pros, are entirely irrelevant. All that matters is what fans can play instantly, without a big fuss. In my new job I've come face to face with this, and think it totally sucks, but I accept reality: No artist or label can expect a fan to hack his/her iPod to be able to play your tracks. No artist or label can dictate Apple's choices, or change the market-share in the player market. Case closed.

This makes FLAC pretty much an impractical option as a sole high res choice. Two artists I work with sell more music via iTunes and Amazon than physical CDs (in units AND dollars), with the lions share through Apple. The other download stores rarely ever appear on reports at all! At the same time, we're finding that higher res files really ARE desirable, far beyond 256K Apple's supporting. Most high res stuff is being delivered outside these channels, directly from the label... NIN offers a superior experience via torrents - 3-10X faster d/l than any commercial source! Shellac provides high res WAVs directly from T&G's site. While I think FLAC is useful simply as a time saver in d/l music, for many a WAV or AIFF is worth the extra time, and avoids these decisions entirely. Once snagged, the user can easily convert to FLAC or ALAC within the player of their choice, based on their needs.

All of this dodges an obvious question: Why not just use ALAC? "Open Source" isn't a benefit when there's a proprietary format that's also free to use and more widely installed. PC users can convert them with iTunes or QT or a number of other solutions, but considering how many PC users have iPods and iPhones, they may well chose to use them as-is.

Supporting one format over another with a broader base, when there are no cost-implications and big benefits to users is just muddying the water. I realize there are many small-dickers out there who reflexively reject anything Apple, and the majors have come to hate them (while embracing all manner of incompatability as a desirable feature). So what? Functionally there's no significant difference or benefit, other than the fact that the majority of portable players in the field support one and not the other (and both will likely be compressed to something else in that venue regardless). Cost wise, there's little difference (fatalists will ignore the history of QT and suggest Apple has nefarious motives and will yank the rug any day now).

Seems like advocating FLAC over ALAC just keeps the endless format wars going, looking towards some imaginary "better day" while ignoring the market that exists. This approach has proven counter productive: Sony lost big time fighting the betamax battle (they had the superior product by every measure and still lost), and no one's benefitted from Blue-Ray vs HD so far. In practical terms, the answer is pretty simple:

- when in Rome... sell the formats stores stock, ALAC, FLAC, ShlT, whatever it takes.
- on your own site, sell what your fans want INCLUDING uncompressed. If you're politically inclined to Fight The Man with FLAC, go for it. But include WAVs or AIFFS so you don't screw the artists who are unwilling combatants.
- advocated and demonstrate the benefits of resolution. Give aways are crucial - many vinyl releases are sold as a quality play, so they come with high res downloads. You can do the same with CDs, or even digital files, via redeemables.

The last point is the only one that matters. By exposing fans to benefits (and hiding this silly format argument from them entirely by letting them choose where possible and going with the crowd where not) we advance the music as well as our craft.

The industrial age was optimized for This-or-That. This is the era of This + That. Time to dump the broken "markets as battlefield" meme, and recognize that interoperability and social connections are more important than dominance and exclusivity. I realize Apple's playing that old game with their proprietary, closed system but the approach I'm advocating co-opts their strategy in the short term, and provides options to avoid it entirely for the long term, fans willing. The market is too small and competitive to be distracted by non-choices and false decisions (we don't make this call).

-d-
Old 8th July 2009 | Show parent
  #62
Lives for gear
 
JustinAiken's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
FLAC or ALAC are both fine... completely loseless, easy to convert from one back to the other, and have tagging built in... I'm just as happy with either!

WAV/AIFF are unnecessarily large, and having no ID3-type tagging, means you get lots of "Untitled Artist - Track 7" on your iPod :(
Old 8th July 2009 | Show parent
  #63
Lives for gear
 
Jesse Graffam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
This topic was talking about the future, and the future is headed towards more open and free standards.

Apple Lossless is part of the long-time battle of they vs Microsoft... QuickTime vs DirectX, originally. iTunes vs Windows Media Player. As part of this battle (which has an interesting (and in interestingly ******** & backwards thinking) history if you bother to research it) both companies have also been purposely trying to alienate the open standards that are now taking over.

Look at MPEG4. Microsoft and Apple are still strongly against it, especially Microsoft who is trying to push delivery products to the film/tv industry for the last 10 years... and loosing big-time to open standards. Apple has half done broken-leg support of MPEG4 (just enough to make MPEG4 look "broken" in some cases to the uninformed), and Microsoft doesn't support it at all.

Not to mention... a TON of people don't have iPods, but have other devices. And many people hate iTunes (the player) with a passion.

Apple has never been a company that is on the verge of any given "destructive" technology for a very long time, and they won't maintain their market share forever. They may find another path in the future, they have some people with their ears to the rail. But the iPods and iTunes wasn't much more than just an early adopter, of a REALLY simple concept, and telling people 24 hours a day that it's what they want through probably over a billion dollars in advertising.

People have ALREADY gotten over this concept as being "cool" and "new". When was the last time you saw an iPod ad on TV? It's not the only reason that iPod market share is dropping, even within that small genra of deviecs. Apple knows when to coast.

And pretty soon the current mobile streaming apps for music will be normal & every-day too, unless they press for innovation like the life of their business depends on it.

But I digress. Any more is too off topic.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #64
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz ➑️
Actually, FLAC is a great format, the only obstacle to it is that Apple is not playing nice, they don't support it because they have a competing lossless format for Itunes.

BK
Old thread I know. I agree with Bob, especially when you consider that Apple have something like 85% of the global market for personal media players!!

They didn't support mp3 pro either.

I don't know how we can get round Apples bottle neck.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #65
Lives for gear
 
aleatoric's Avatar
 
Verified Member
31 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
FLAC is great!

My whole music library is ripped directly from my constantly growing CD collection directly to FLAC. These days I use sbooth software's "Rip" to extract the CD's (insures and verifies a clean rip) and I use sbooth software's "Play" for playback (similar to iTunes but plays FLAC).

Others are catching on. FLAC is a strong hope!

Also, I have FLAC on my iPod with the Rockbox OS installed. I don't use it all that much but it gets some play occasionally on my girlfriends crappy iPod speaker dock (typically with friends over). I deleted my mp3 collection years back so it was cool to find a use for my iPod and FLAC library via Rockbox.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #66
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleatoric ➑️
FLAC is great!

My whole music library is ripped directed from my constantly evolving CD collection directly to FLAC. These days I use sbooth software's "Rip" to extract the CD's (insures a clean rip) and I use sbooth software's Play for playback (similar to iTunes but plays FLAC).

Others are catching on. FLAC is a strong hope!

My iPod even play FLAC via Rockbox. Not that I use that thing very much but I'd rather have it loaded with loss-less music that mp3s/aac's.

I use FLAC as well, EAC for ripping and media-player for playback. But finding a decent portable player is very hard!!!

Apple won't support it. There is nothing to catch on. Its been around for a while and the FLAC site is now just so out of date. The FLAC front end file is corrupt and has been for over a year. Fortunately I had it backed up so could still use Media player when I reformatted. With that kind of support it is not going to take off.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #67
Lives for gear
 
aleatoric's Avatar
 
Verified Member
31 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have FLAC on my iPod through Rockbox OS.

I agree its a little bizarre with the lack of support from Apple. However I have no problem playing back FLAC both on my cpu as well as my iPod (not used often but still better to have the thing full of FLAC files than mp3s!). FLAC's great, lossless with less hard drive space, can't complain. I hope Apple gets the hint! Even if they don't there will always be 3rd party options out there, just less known by the general public.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #68
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleatoric ➑️
I have FLAC on my iPod through Rockbox OS.

I agree its a little bizarre with the lack of support from Apple. However I have no problem playing back FLAC both on my cpu as well as my iPod (not used often but still better to have the thing full of FLAC files than mp3s!). FLAC's great, lossless with less hard drive space, can't complain. I hope Apple gets the hint! Even if they don't there will always be 3rd party options out there, just less known by the general public.

I fcuked 2 iPods with that Rockbox ****e. My wife is still pissed with me.

Seriously FLAC has been around for some time now. Check their site. Count the dead links.

Apple has very good reason for not supporting FLAC as Bob mentioned.

I want FLAC to win but one has to be realistic.

As for mp3. I used to be a mp3 snob like you, why do you think I went the FLAC route hey but I was humbled when I could not ABX Lame encoded 320kbps mp3. iTunes doesn't use that either . Not that it matters, the headphone amps are ****e in the iPods. So I am still using a portable CD player

Retro is cool though heh
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #69
Deleted 37a7726
Guest
I have never seen it as a need for "one codec for all" choice. I use FLAC, Lossless WMA, & ALAC @ home & AAC/MP3/WMA for portable players & car.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #70
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythminmind ➑️
I have never seen it as a need for "one codec for all" choice. I use FLAC, Lossless WMA, & ALAC @ home & AAC/MP3/WMA for portable players & car.

maybe it isn't, but that seems like a lot of hassle to me.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #71
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
FLAC is the best lossless format in terms of compression ratio, encode time and decode time. FLAC also contains an internal checksum to ensure the integrity of the files. This makes it suitable for archiving music unlike CD-DA and other lossless compression formats such as ALAC. And having a free software implementation of a completely documented encode/decode process means you don't have to worry about support for the format disappearing ever (again, unlike ALAC).

I would happily pay artists for FLAC copies of their music. So far I've only managed to do that once: with Saul Williams's The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!

There are some online shops that offer WAV copies for download but not only is WAV a waste of my bandwidth, they charge up to an extra Β£1 per download! Totally unacceptable.

So yes I completely agree people should be aware of FLAC and it is the best candidate for the next "standard" audio format.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #72
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axon ➑️
Spending more money on FLAC means less money is spent on those things, which are far more important than the choice of lossy format.
???
How does one spend "more money" on FLAC???
FLAC is FREE, lossless, sonically identical when decoded to the source.

I am currently transferring my music CD collection to a 1.5Tb portable USB / Firewire /eSATA external drive via FLAC encoded files, which can be played either via Foobar or Winamp.

This means ALL of my music, thousands of albums, will be accessible with just a few clicks to be played on my main stereo system via SPDIF to a Music Fidelity TriVista DAC, passive preamp, etc
I can also play the same files, from the same source, in my cheesy 19" flatscreen monitor speakers

FLAC IS the future, as more and more artists (like Nine Inch Nails) release higher quality audio files (96/24) to the public .. FLAC is the only way to go.
A few digital music systems (like Sonos) already offer FLAC compatibility and it is a matter of time before other vendors catch up.

Eventually most car stereos and portable players will be able to play FLAC files.. it is not a matter of if.. it is a matter of when.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #73
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axon ➑️
Put another way: Death Magnetic would not only not be averted if it were downloaded in FLAC/Apple Lossless instead of AAC - it would be more likely to happen.
With today's possibilities of digital distribution it would be rather easy to provide with at least 2 versions of the same album. So that way you could try and provide consumers with the versions they like most. If then they all would buy the 'stomped to death' version you'd know for sure that mankind would be doomed.

As to the FLAC discussion itself I think its the most important to support open standards (preferably being implemented as open-source) in order to be able to play it always everywhere on every hardware unit.
FLAC still is a temporary solution because it reduces the data by roughly 50%. With speeds becoming higher and cheaper in the future it makes sense that uncompressed high-quality audio will become the standard. Then people will squabble about tracks being 5.1 or 13.5 surround versions.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #74
Gear Addict
 
JLaPointe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonsqueezer ➑️
I use FLAC as well, EAC for ripping and media-player for playback. But finding a decent portable player is very hard!!!
The Sansa Fuze plays FLAC.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #75
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaPointe ➑️
The Sansa Fuze plays FLAC.
Thanks for the info!
The Sansa Fuze also takes MicroSD / SDHC cards, which means you can expand it infinitely using cheap 16Gb MicroSD cards.
So, i can take any FLAC album from my music collection, drop it in the unit or in an MicroSD card and listen to CD quality music on the go

To give people an idea of the amount of FLAC encoded music i can fit in ONE 16Gb MicroSD card:

-14 King Crimson CDs
-8 Kansas CDs
-Entire Beatles Box Set
-7 Saga CDs

i find it amusing that people think the iPods are the "be-all and end-all" in hardware portable players, when in fact they are the most restricted and over-hyped players out there.
Old 8th January 2010 | Show parent
  #76
Lives for gear
 
aleatoric's Avatar
 
Verified Member
31 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonsqueezer ➑️
I want FLAC to win but one has to be realistic.
Honestly I don't think FLAC is going anywhere. Maybe Apple will never support it but I can name at least 5 applications in OSX that play FLAC and I am sure there are many others. Maybe the FLAC website is dated but there is still a large community of lossless music fans than have an extensive FLAC library as well as a wealth of software programmers who can easily implement FLAC playback.

Sites like Boomkat offer FLAC digital downloads. I have bought many albums from them as digital downloads in FLAC.
Old 9th January 2010 | Show parent
  #77
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaPointe ➑️
The Sansa Fuze plays FLAC.
Cheers, looks good value.

I looked into it about a year ago it was useless. There are now a couple of units. not many. I just hope they don't have the same headphone amps as the iPod. For now I will wait. IF someone makes something I want, I might buy it. I don't want video and I want a solid state drive. Both the portable CD players we have here have better headphone amps that the iPod. So that is another factor.
Old 9th January 2010 | Show parent
  #78
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by yj777 ➑️
T
i find it amusing that people think the iPods are the "be-all and end-all" in hardware portable players, when in fact they are the most restricted and over-hyped players out there.
Totally agree. However its about marketing. Apple are the best marketing company in the world.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #79
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonsqueezer ➑️
Totally agree. However its about marketing. Apple are the best marketing company in the world.
Speaking of Apple, the other Apple (Records) released last year in November a 9Gb USB stick with the all the 2009 Beatles Remasters in 44/24 bit format.. and guess what file format they used?

FLAC.

FLAC is not the 'future' of high fidelity audio.. it is a present reality.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #80
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by yj777 ➑️
Speaking of Apple, the other Apple (Records) released last year in November a 9Gb USB stick with the all the 2009 Beatles Remasters in 44/24 bit format.. and guess what file format they used?

FLAC.

FLAC is not the 'future' of high fidelity audio.. it is a present reality.
I have it

Like I said I am a fan of the format but I really don't think it will be anymore than a niche.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #81
Lives for gear
 
JustinAiken's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, did you guys know Apple Lossless supports 24 bit now?

I'm excited, because I use iTunes and always convert my FLACs to ALAC...

Mind you, I still think FLAC is a better format, but I use what works for me..
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #82
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinAiken ➑️
Hey, did you guys know Apple Lossless supports 24 bit now?

I'm excited, because I use iTunes and always convert my FLACs to ALAC...

Mind you, I still think FLAC is a better format, but I use what works for me..
What program you use to convert them?
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #83
Lives for gear
 
JustinAiken's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Either XLD or dbpoweramp, depending on if I'm too lazy to open my VMware windows image.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #84
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinAiken ➑️
Either XLD or dbpoweramp, depending on if I'm too lazy to open my VMware windows image.

Thanks, though I don't plan to use any Apple format. Would be dangerous to let them win that battle.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #85
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
the public is happy with mp3's (256-320kps). sort of like when betamax was better than vhs but the public was happy with vhs and beta died.
Old 10th January 2010 | Show parent
  #86
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
^^^

Very true, the vast majority are. Another thing to consider is the actual playback systems of most consumers.
Old 13th January 2010 | Show parent
  #87
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konkaos ➑️
the public is happy with mp3's (256-320kps). sort of like when betamax was better than vhs but the public was happy with vhs and beta died.
yep.. the public is happy eating at McDonalds.. but that doesn't mean it isn't crap.
Most audiophiles and music collectors have already adopted the FLAC format.. so it has a better chance of adoption than any other format other than MP3.
MP3 and apple formats are the equivalent of fast food for the trendy crowd.

Think about this one.. the Worlds Best Selling Recording Group, The Beatles released their whole catalog, not in Apple or WAV 44/24 format.. it was released in FLAC (i think it also included 320 MP3s in there to appease the fast food crowd)
Old 13th January 2010 | Show parent
  #88
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by yj777 ➑️
yep.. the public is happy eating at McDonalds.. but that doesn't mean it isn't crap.
Most audiophiles and music collectors have already adopted the FLAC format.. so it has a better chance of adoption than any other format other than MP3.
MP3 and apple formats are the equivalent of fast food for the trendy crowd.

Think about this one.. the Worlds Best Selling Recording Group, The Beatles released their whole catalog, not in Apple or WAV 44/24 format.. it was released in FLAC (i think it also included 320 MP3s in there to appease the fast food crowd)
So far I have only met one person who could ABX 320kbps Lame encoded Mp3 vs CD. That person had a hearing defect. IF you understand the principles behind Mp3 encoding then that will make sense to you. I am a FLac user and have been for about 5 years but I am the minority and the minority ain't going win through.
Old 13th January 2010 | Show parent
  #89
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonsqueezer ➑️
So far I have only met one person who could ABX 320kbps Lame encoded Mp3 vs CD. That person had a hearing defect. IF you understand the principles behind Mp3 encoding then that will make sense to you. I am a FLac user and have been for about 5 years but I am the minority and the minority ain't going win through.
That may be so, but the point of this entire thread is the future Hi-Fi sound and MP3s are hardly hi-fi.

I believe quite a few people can ABX the difference between 44/16 and 44/24, so who really cares about Mp3s?

The industry is using higher resolution audio to sell equipment, otherwise most of the MEs here wouldn't be paying big bucks for 192/24 DACs and ADCs

you are basically implying most MEs here have been fooled into paying thousands of dollars for higher resolution audio equipment that makes no audible difference...
Old 13th January 2010 | Show parent
  #90
Lives for gear
 
Lemonsqueezer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by yj777 ➑️
That may be so, but the point of this entire thread is the future Hi-Fi sound and MP3s are hardly hi-fi.

I believe quite a few people can ABX the difference between 44/16 and 44/24, so who really cares about Mp3s?

The industry is using higher resolution audio to sell equipment, otherwise most of the MEs here wouldn't be paying big bucks for 192/24 DACs and ADCs

you are basically implying most MEs here have been fooled into paying thousands of dollars for higher resolution audio equipment that makes no audible difference...
there was a large scale ABX test done on pro engineers that suggests they can't
heh
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 118 views: 21119
Avatar for davidicus
davidicus 7th February 2009
replies: 0 views: 2045
Avatar for _alex
_alex 3rd December 2009
replies: 2619 views: 475181
Avatar for S21
S21 22nd March 2021
replies: 79 views: 5514
Avatar for TobyB
TobyB 6 days ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump