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FLAC is our current best hope for the future of fidelity
Old 26th January 2009
  #1
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FLAC is our current best hope for the future of fidelity

This past year's music sales figures showed the continuing trend of marked digital download sales growth (although a little slower than the previous year's growth) but with marked declines in CD sales (down in the USA from around the 500million units in 2007 to somewhere in the 350million units in 2008), a continued small resurgence in vinyl LP sales (heading up from 1million units in 2006 to just below 2million in 2008 - still well below CD sales by a ratio of around 175:1) - and with SACD and DVD-A sales staying at around a paltry 500,000 units each.

SO -> the unquestionable trend is that the fidelity of most of what end listeners are purchasing (the bulk of which is at the best 256kbps AAC, and on the average 128 or 192kbps mp3) is actually on the most part getting worst than it was in the past!!

If trends continue it's also very easy to imagine a future where purchasing music on audio only optical disc formats will occur only for a small niche.

Bringing me to the point of the post:

FLAC to me is the best current format choice for the ability to continue high fidelity delivery to the end listener in the future in that as a lossLESS codec it allows the absolute same sound quality on playback as uncompressed PCM for half the download time and half the size it takes up on a Personal Music Player's drive (definite considerations to the end user even if broadband access gets much faster than it currently is - i.e. who wouldn't want to have these things 2x better if all other things are equal?).

There are indeed a number of other lossless audio codecs (i.e. Apple's proprietary format ALAC, Monkeys Audio, WavPack, etc.) - but the facts that FLAC is completely open source, non-proprietary, license free, and already has well developed software support, plus a decent bit of existing hardware support as well - to me makes it the best choice of the current alternatives.

This - along with FLAC's ability to be sent at better than CD quality (24bit with support to 192kHz and beyond), that it can be sent as a surround file (up to 7.1), and that it is fully taggable (FLAC supports all id3 tags, including ISRC and various bitmap formats of cover art - while it should be noted that there is no standard way to tag uncompressed PCM files currently) makes it the best candidate for continuing to have a high fideliity delivery format in a future time when very likely nearly no one will be buying audio only optical discs.

Honestly - with some folks still complaining that the 16bit/44.1kHz CD format doesn't sound as best as music possibly could - then a 320kbps mp3's made from the same really does not cut it!

As far as when ultra-broadband transmission will be common - this is hard to say and well beyond the scope of my area of knowledge to do any more than guess the same as anyone else on this board. I've read some things indicating that existing infrastructure (such as telephone lines, satellites and transmission stations) and the cost/time of updating it is what's holding up really massive bandwidth - so in a time of economic downturn I don't know whether the investments to make instant transmission of uncompressed PCM a reality will happen soon, later, or not at all.

In the meantime - FLAC can give you all the sound quality of a CD but at half the download time and takes up half the hard drive space. It's already supported by lots of software and a good number of hardware players (both for home and portable) and the Rockbox - Rockbox - Open Source Jukebox Firmware - firmware allows you to update many models of iPods to support it as well.

SO - it's up to us as engineers and artists to start to make our clients aware of the possibilities of the format and to make our tunes available in this format in order to create broader consumer knowledge and demand for it.

There's a few sites that sell FLAC's online already and are open to independent artists for online distribution:
HDtracks high resolution audiophile music downloads
indietorrent.org Digital Music Marketplace - Welcome to indietorrent.org.
Welcome to Mindawn - Home

Which brings me next to the issue of pricing: I see a trend that whenever a higher quality mp3 is sold online it's usually for a greater asking price. I think we as content providers need to start making higher fidelity versions available for the same or even lesser price! - because to a lot of end users the larger download time and larger file size is an inconvenience that they want to avoid - so by making the playing field more equal we have more of a chance of having a high fidelity format continue into the future. i.e. I strongly believe that if when DVD-A and SACD were introduce the discs were priced a few dollars below CD's instead of a few dollars more the formats might be a lot stronger than they are now. But I think once people hear things in a higher fidelity a lot of them will be hooked - instead of accepting the degraded sound of mp3 as "good enough".

To conclude: if you're an audio engineer of artist concerned with having a way in the future to easily deliver your mixes at full resolution to the end listener then
PLEASE SUPPORT FLAC!!!

FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 27th January 2009
  #2
arf
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Just downloaded a Reference Recordings (K.O. Johnson) 96/24 classical album from HDTracks in 10 minutes, decoded it with FLAC in less than 5. Sound is as good as it gets, no fuss no muss, no sticky anti-shoplifting tape to claw off, no plastic. I agree it is the way to go.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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Cool read man
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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I'd argue the exact opposite, actually.

Bandwidth and disk space cost money. Not much in the long run, but for a music provider, it does make a difference. FLAC is nice (and I do try to buy FLAC releases when I can help it).

Have you tried ABX tests on modern lossy codecs, like the recent HA one for 128k MP3s? After being involved with that, I don't believe for a minute that - in the vast majority of encodes with modern, properly configured codecs - 128-256k files have the slightest impact on sound fidelity as it actually matters for listening enjoyment. I found something like 5-6 different distortions in a 5-second piece of music; few of them really mattered one way or another. Unlike the very real differences in frequency extension, clarity, dynamic range etc that a better quality production/mastering would provide.

Putting these two together: Music production money should be focused on where it actually matters. This means high quality production techniques and mastering, using more dynamic range instead of faddish modern compression techniques, etc. Spending more money on FLAC means less money is spent on those things, which are far more important than the choice of lossy format.

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.

I'm not saying that everybody should drop FLACs and listen to 128k MP3s for the rest of their lives, but I am saying that you've gotta have a realistic sense of priorities here, and for about 95% of the music releases in the entire world, any additional money spent on a FLAC release would have been better spent on better production/mastering if optimum fidelity is the goal.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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I like the way you've stated the case for FLAC and I'm in sympathy with it.

Your argument addresses content as an issue and I think it's great to appeal to this crowd where the the encoding occurs, and because MEs of course would be instrumental in a popular turn toward FLAC or any other hirez format.

But what about the need for an installed base of FLAC playback codecs? The lack of FLAC codecs in hardware-based playback devices must be resolved. Do you see incremental steps here, with computers and media servers leading the way? Who's going to sell FLAC to makers of CD players and boomboxes? Unlike linear PCM, it requires DSP to convert. Is the horsepower requirement comparable to MP3 and AAC?
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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arf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axon ➑️
Have you tried ABX tests on modern lossy codecs, like the recent HA one for 128k MP3s? After being involved with that, I don't believe for a minute that 128/256k files have the slightest impact on sound fidelity as it actually matters for listening enjoyment.
I think you're making a huge leap there - there has been no science done that proves the emotional connection with recorded music is not diminished by use of lossy codecs. I think empirical evidence may show just the opposite.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf ➑️
I think you're making a huge leap there - there has been no science done that proves the emotional connection with recorded music is not diminished by use of lossy codecs. I think empirical evidence may show just the opposite.
I call 'em like I hear 'em. Are you seriously stating that people who listen exclusively to lossy encodes have a poorer emotional connection to the music than those who listen exclusively to lossless encodes? Because that's tarring a lot of people (especially the young 'uns) with a very heavy prejudicial brush, and it's ignorant of a few genres (like chiptune) where lossy encodes are the predominant distribution format. I don't think there's conclusive evidence one way or another, but every generation has looked down on the way the next generation has listened to their music for quite a number of years now - so I'm not holding my breath on this issue.

"Loss of emotional connection" is BladeEnc 192k CBR, when the intro guitar to Metallica's "Blackened" is turned from a guitar into something like a sitar. (True story.) It's not lame 128K VBR. Hell, it's not even nero 64k VBR! But it is Optimod.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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I'd think ALAC would have a better chance of making it than FLAC, just because quicktime is on most computers, while programs such as foobar or VLC that can play FLACs are only on geek's computers.

Even I, who am pretty geeky, convert all the FLACs I get to ALAC so I can put them on my iPods...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
arf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axon ➑️
I call 'em like I hear 'em. Are you seriously stating that people who listen exclusively to lossy encodes have a poorer emotional connection to the music than those who listen exclusively to lossless encodes? Because that's tarring a lot of people (especially the young 'uns) with a very heavy prejudicial brush, and it's ignorant of a few genres (like chiptune) where lossy encodes are the predominant distribution format. I don't think there's conclusive evidence one way or another, but every generation has looked down on the way the next generation has listened to their music for quite a number of years now - so I'm not holding my breath on this issue.

"Loss of emotional connection" is BladeEnc 192k CBR, when the intro guitar to Metallica's "Blackened" is turned from a guitar into something like a sitar. (True story.) It's not lame 128K VBR. Hell, it's not even nero 64k VBR! But it is Optimod.

Not tarring any generation here, or looking down on anyone, just calling it the way I hear it. Where do you draw the line? How much sugar can you replace with artificial sweetener before it no longer satisfies? Music has the power to fight through all kinds of abuse in transmission, that's both a blessing and a curse. FLAC, and the free-falling cost of storage, allow us to deliver the real thing, no questions, no doubts, so why not? The added cost is getting to be trivial.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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I agree that once the cost to move to lossless is zero, this is a completely moot point. For some releases, the cost is already effectively zero. But for most releases I don't think it is.

Granted, I do not have hard numbers on cost per GB on bandwidth nowadays, but I'd be shocked if it was under $0.20/GB for a final cost to the band. For a $10 FLAC LP that compressed to ~500MB, that's ~1 point of gross. That is a big deal.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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+1 My music library has been FLAC for years now. Drive space is so so cheap & every lossless codec is about 2to1. Makes the average album 300-400 meg. It's nothing these days. even with a modest 120gig drive thats 350-450 full length albums. With a more common TB drives thats over 3000 full length albums. Compression is for portable devices. there no reason for anything but lossless @ home.
The higher bitdepth & surround capabilities is a added bonus.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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I agree that getting FLAC out to the general masses is definitely a move in the right direction. I have to believe that as cost for bandwidth and speed go down the quality of delivered media will go up.

TW
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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I've been using flac for some time and I too wish it was more supported.
The rule is it has to be made known. So there has to be money to be made to promote it widely as a preferable medium. Who better to endorse it than the artist.
So yes it begins with us to at least point it out and make it available.
And the artists who do care about the consumer and willing to be a leader could actually benefit. Most artists want and need a cause as an impetus. Here it is! End the loudness War!
See, if there are 24 bit releases the increased headroom and fidelity will end the brickwalling of 16bit releases? I don't know! Perhaps a new war will rage brickwalling 24bit.

Anyway,I have been promoting it and most people believe mp3 to be as good or better than CD's.
Suprisingly many consumers are willing to go the distance to get a better sound. Most are passionate about their favorite music.


If iTunes supported flac they'd be no contest. iTunes could completely dominate music sales into the future.

It does need some big thinkers to invest into this medium. It is a perfect opportunity to a company that wants to be as big or bigger than itunes only the promotion would have to be near as big as itunes and a portable player or cellphone sales. Nothing to loose really. a sure thing.
Music lovers will adore higher quality. It is for the cool people!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinksdingo ➑️
I've been using flac for some time and I too wish it was more supported.
The rule is it has to be made known. So there has to be money to be made to promote it widely as a preferable medium. Who better to endorse it than the artist.
So yes it begins with us to at least point it out and make it available.
And the artists who do care about the consumer and willing to be a leader could actually benefit. Most artists want and need a cause as an impetus. Here it is! End the loudness War!
See, if there are 24 bit releases the increased headroom and fidelity will end the brickwalling of 16bit releases? I don't know! Perhaps a new war will rage brickwalling 24bit.

Anyway,I have been promoting it and most people believe mp3 to be as good or better than CD's.
Suprisingly many consumers are willing to go the distance to get a better sound. Most are passionate about their favorite music.


If iTunes supported flac they'd be no contest. iTunes could completely dominate music sales into the future.

It does need some big thinkers to invest into this medium. It is a perfect opportunity to a company that wants to be as big or bigger than itunes only the promotion would have to be near as big as itunes and a portable player or cellphone sales. Nothing to loose really. a sure thing.
Music lovers will adore higher quality. It is for the cool people!
24 bit won't change the loudness war at all. People will like seeing the 24 bit spec but it wont change the way music is mastered. Is anyone here not already mastering @ 24 bit? All it will mean is the 16 bit dither stage is no longer needed. We will still deal with the same lack of dynamic changes.
What would change this dynamic battle is the acceptance & following K-metering.
The music industry needs dynamic guidelines like we have in the post industry. dialog norm & LEQ keep film in check.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
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Yeah the lack of FLAC & apple is a problem.. Most people are to lazy to deal. FLAC in our DAW world is pretty much accepted. Off the top of my head it's native in Live, Sonar, reaper, & ardour. Everything but quicktime based players can play it easily. SongBird, WMP, vlc, Foobar, winamp, Linux nativily, blah blah. the apple/itunes hurdle would help. But i don't see that happening with ALAC around.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
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I fail to see how advocating a single method (FLAC) is any different than any other high quality data compressor. In fact, I would never advocate any data compressor.

What audience is the OP speaking to?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
I fail to see how advocating a single method (FLAC) is any different than any other high quality data compressor. In fact, I would never advocate any data compressor.

What audience is the OP speaking to?
Unlike the current popular distributed audio lossy codecs. FLAC is lossless.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythminmind ➑️
Unlike the current popular distributed audio lossy codecs. FLAC is lossless.
Actually I took his comment to mean "why choose FLAC over any other comparable encoder?" I'll be corrected if I'm wrong.

I think the crux of the issue with lossless codecs centers around if they all sound the same then I care not if it's open source if it supports the same features as most other formats then my decision to support a codec is determined by my desired playback hardware and not the codec itself.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
I fail to see how advocating a single method (FLAC) is any different than any other high quality data compressor.
The differences with FLAC from other codecs are:
lossLESS
open source
non-proprietary
license free

well supported by developers
already existing software support
already existing hardware support
already existing user base
already existing online distributors using the format

The obvious major area it is lacking is getting direct support from Apple - who obviously are the largest market share.
iPods probably would not have supported mp3 but for the fact that it was already a very widely adopted format and if it at the time offered the best available option for compression format. As far as mp3 - Fraunhoffer has not necessarilly made things easy for other developers or users - with threats of litigation impeding the development of several encoders, and with them collecting licensing from the larger distributors (i.e. Apple) making costs in digital distribution higher than they would if the format was instead completely license free.

Apple currently has yet to push ALAC (i.e. no direct sales on iTunes that I am aware of). I think there exists a time (now) to start pushing a non-proprietary format that because of user prevalence Apple would eventually adopt.

A non-prorietary format ultimately means less cost and more competitive market and more choice to the end listeners and to the artists and labels!!

The advantage to Apple is that folks trust their store and like their products, and they'll be able to retain and even increase market share by adding support and sales for FLAC rather than just ignoring it.

Quote:
In fact, I would never advocate any data compressor.
Good for you.

I still feel that what ends up happening without education and advocacy is we end up with more continuation of the trend towards lossy codecs as the only way you can receive and deliver music in the future - along with the possibility that a single company controlling the licensing and development of a lossless alternative that gets more prevalently adopted (i.e. a big possibility with Apple controlling ALAC of them not allowing competitor's PMP's to use it without licensing fees).

I think playback formats should be non-proprietary and license free standards that allow independent artists and labels and media player developers to be able to reap more rewards still with less cost to the end user.

Quote:
What audience is the OP speaking to?
I am speaking to anyone who creates audio content (i.e. artists, engineers, online digital distributors) or appreciates fidelity recordings (i.e. audiophiles) who cares about having a future where digital delivery of full resolution audio is easily attainable using a format which is not controlled by a single profit-only motivated corporation.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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While I appreciate this argument, it doesn't seem based in economic reality. How are you going to convince consumers that it's better to fill their 8 GB iPhones with far less music than they can with the current AAC technology? Most consumers can't even hear the difference between mp3s and CDs. Sad but true I know. However, with the recent decision by apple to upgrade their whole store to iTunes plus (256 AAC), I think we've already scored a great victory for fidelity.

I've got my iTunes library converted from my CD collection at 320 AAC. I'm pretty pleased with it. I setup blind listening tests running my iTunes library out digitally into a benchmark DAC-1 into PMC AML 1 loudspeakers (mogami wiring FWIW) in my acoustically treated studio. A pretty revealing audio system in all fairness. I ran a decent NAD CD player digitally into another input on the benchmark. I got a good feel for the control timing difference and played the same track out of both iTunes and the CD player in almost exact sync. Switching back and forth, I could not reliably detect which one was which. I got a friend involved to switch inputs and did the test blind. No consistent conclusions. On modern rock and pop, I couldn't detect any difference at all, whether blind or not. I thought I started hearing perceived differences more on higher fidelity Jazz and Classical recordings but in blind tests, I still couldn't reliably identify which was which.

The only time I was able to actually perceive a difference (and reliably identify it) was on Beck's "Sea Change" album which was mastered as an HDCD (and played back on a player with HDCD decoding obviously). But, this test was done with separate converters for each source and was not reliable. I concede that these tests were with 320 kbps AAC. But, I've also listened to a fair amount of 256 AAC on the same system and find the quality in the same ballpark.


So, I admit I'm no "golden ears" but I'm an experienced engineer with a pretty honed sense of hearing. If I can't reliably hear the difference between high bit rate AAC and PCM on a $9k set of speakers fed by a mastering grade converter, how on earth are you going to convince consumers who listen primarily on crappy earbuds or in their car that they have to sacrifice valuable bandwidth for lossless codecs?!!

The only consumers that MIGHT have a chance to reliably discern the difference between high bit rate AAC and PCM are audio engineers and audiophiles. People who sit down in front of high quality equipment and listen to music exclusively as their current activity for that moment. Not a terribly large audience!!


So, how can you convince consumers of the need for FLAC when a much more bandwidth efficient and high enough quality format for standard consumer listening practices already exists.

This is what fascinated me with SACDs. As amazing as they sounded (yes, I heard the difference!), it really took listening on very high quality equipment to make the extra fidelity come through. The vast majority of consumers, even those with SACD players (usually the cheap Sony pieces of crap), do not have the equipment or the listening environments in order to make these quality differences decently apparent.


My hope is with you guys in that bandwidth and storage will come so plentiful that it won't make a difference and higher quality codecs will become the default. But until that day, I don't think we're as bad off as many think. Those that still traffic in 128 kbps mp3 probably wouldn't care anyway. I don't have the time nor energy to try and convince those people about higher audio quality. They obviously don't care about it.


To those who disagree, setup a blind test similar to the one I did using 256 or 320 AAC. Try and throw away your pre-conceptions about "perceptually coding all sounds terrible". I think you'll find the differences smaller than you think. Then try it consumer speakers..........
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
I hope things will flac won't end up like ogg...

open source codecs tend to get chocked by profit dogs.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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everyhting is FLACked up!

I'll agree with nlc201...

Flac is not marketable... We all probably think that it is the best solution for lossless compression... I am also in the process of converting my cd's and when i'm really bored, my vinyls into FLAC and it sounds better, to me at least, than an MP3...

Problem is, that the majority of consumers out there don't give a flying f*ck about the sound quality of the their favorite tunes!

They listen through laptop speakers when they wake up in the morning to go to work, they listen through $10 speakers in their living room, they listen through any compact stereo speakers and what not, even their car stereo systems.

Why would they give a f*uck if it's an mp3 or not? Is it their favorite tune?
They'll listen to it in any format you pass it on to them.
Be it FLAC, OGG, Mogg blog mp3 or whatever...
They just don't care...
Does an mp3 have enough bass to pump through a sub?
No problemo... I'll take it, buy, rip it, steal it, whatever...
I can have, 500 mp3's on one CD in my car stereo (random number), why would i need to have 20 FLAC tunes on my cd?

And it goes on and on...

FLAC is for a minority, and it's been around for how long?
I believe that the mp3 madness exploded and it became a major player (not a marketable one because all the major labels are controlled by monkeys) almost within a year...

You could download music with a dial up connection!!!
How cool was that?

Remember the early days of napster?

Massive, is what FLAC is not and unfortunately, i believe that it won't be.

I also understand that storage and bandwidth play a major role in this as well, but unless someone finds a market for this product, which means putting it into a consumer's car stereo, ipod and parafernalia, convince them that this is the way to go and get them to pay for it. FLAC will just be another great idea for a few people like you and me who read this thread...

My 2 cents...
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Has not the recent news of Apple moving to higher rate playbacks on iTunes shown us that there is a move for quality? AAC is entrenched in iTunes and in HD radio. The fact is that in blind listen tests AAC at 320 and above is indistinguishable from cd. It is nearly so at 256. Do I like data compressors? No, I do not.

Making an argument for FLAC, which IS INDEED a data compressor, where no developer gets paid is going against the tide.

My statements above look forward some years when ultra high speed internet II will simply allow full bandwidth downloads in a flash. I think that data compressed content is a transitional step.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
"In fact, I would never advocate any data compressor."

Quote:
"I think that data compressed content is a transitional step."
I fail to see how this is relevant to the discussion at hand. Also, our physiological makeup has several forms of data compression - your ears, for example: while localized sound pressure is in constant flux, the data sent to your brain via the vestibulocochlear nerve is not a constant, linear stream. It is instead sent in packets, which are the result of the hair cells in the cochlea firing at a certain rate. The eyes also have a form of data compression (the eyes are most sensitive to green, and can perceive the same tone and coloration of an image if green is reduced by up to 75%). It's not called "perceptual coding" for nothing...

Although, that also is not what we're talking about. We're talking about lossless compression - and even if bandwidth and storage were ideal, some form of data compression would still be a necessity (obviously, lossless is much more desirable).

I agree that FLAC is the best currently available option, but I suspect proprietary developers and hardware manufacturers will never fully support it. It is rather niche.

Also, FLAC encoders are numerous and varied. Although the OP makes an argument for their support-base, I have found that most encoders are tedious to install, contain numerous bugs, are supported mostly through forums with no direct support contact through the developer, and are not updated frequently. These are the downsides of open-source development and code - software that is supported rigorously by a very small group of tech-savvy people, but not easily accessible (or visible, for that matter) by the majority of consumers.

So, not that I don't agree 100% with the OP that this is the best option available for lossless codecs right now; I do think it's still way behind in the race of audio codecs in general.

I'm all for proprietary formats or IP - it means at the least that a developer can put some money behind continuing development and support for a product. Open-source always seems to slip by the way-side, even if it is superior. And FWIW - fundamentally and philosophically speaking, I wish it weren't this way, but we do live in an economy where something that's free will be over-shadowed by something that has monetary value.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Now the subject is about itunes. I think it is not programmed optimal. Because when i listen to the same (aiff) audio files in my DAW it really sounds better! Anyone had a similar experience?
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf ➑️
Just downloaded a Reference Recordings (K.O. Johnson) 96/24 classical album from HDTracks in 10 minutes, decoded it with FLAC in less than 5. Sound is as good as it gets, no fuss no muss, no sticky anti-shoplifting tape to claw off, no plastic. I agree it is the way to go.
Thanks, I'm currently listening to GUSTAV HOLST The Planets in 24/96 because of this post.

Windows Media Player is playing it fine without having to do anything else.

I just went to Mars. It's nice this time of year. heh
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
My statements above look forward some years when ultra high speed internet II will simply allow full bandwidth downloads in a flash. I think that data compressed content is a transitional step.
Bandwidth will always be a scarce commodity, no matter what kind of ultra-broad-fiber-thingy-broadband we have. So, the need for a LOSSLESS data compressor (or, to avoid confusion: Data packer) will always be there. (Do I read you right if I get the feeling that you believe that FLAC does something bad to the sound? If not, I just need to polish my glasses... ) Hey, perhaps we could convince Apple to play Zipped or Rared files.

r,
j,

Last edited by Transistor; 29th January 2009 at 02:00 PM.. Reason: typo...
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
MAzevedo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
Making an argument for FLAC, which IS INDEED a data compressor, where no developer gets paid is going against the tide.
FLAC is a data compressor, but it is lossless. There is absolutely no difference between listen to a FLAC'd file or the WAV it was made from, aside from the processing overhead to decode the FLAC. Exactly the same audio, just in half the space.

I don't see how the fact that 'no developer gets paid' is an issue. A few years back some guy wrote up a markup language called HTML and gave it away for free, it seems to have done OK. The Apache software that runs most web servers is Open Source. Heck, the phpBB code that runs the forum we are having this discussion on is Open Source. If anything, the fact that a good tool is available for free encourages it use since there are no license fees to be paid.

As has been said, however, for most users high bitrate AAC or MP3 is fine and is less than 1/3 the size of a FLAC and until storage completely becomes a non-issue the smaller file that generally sounds as good will be the winner.

What I would love to see is a music store built like AllOfMP3 was (minus the lack of royalty payments and Russian mob connections) where you paid by the megabyte and could download music at your choice of bitrate and file format. From an end user perspective, it was the best music store ever aside from being of questionable legality even under copyright laws as lax as Russia's (and clearly illegal everywhere else.)
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
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 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
Thanks, I'm currently listening to GUSTAV HOLST The Planets in 24/96 because of this post.

Windows Media Player is playing it fine without having to do anything else.

I just went to Mars. It's nice this time of year. heh
ooh - which one? I LOVE the Simon Rattle one currently doing the rounds.... awesome sound.
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