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  • detmek
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #25
slim007, FLAC is free lossless audio codec (that is how it got name). FLAC playback involves decoding FLAC to PCM (uncompressed format that all DACs work with) and converting that to analog before it is sent to speakers or headphones.
Just because your software/hardware does something weird like trascoding FLAC to MP3 for playback does not mean that all software or hardware do same weird thing.
BTW, reading your first post - everything you wrote is completely and absolutely false. And that is why you have problem to understand what is written in this topic. Forget everything you think you know and re-read this topic again.
P.S. The reason Subsonic trancode to mp3 is because mp3 is supported by every device and player out there and requires less bandwidth compared to FLAC.
  • Last Edit: 11 March, 2014, 06:40:46 PM by detmek

  • yourlord
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #26
Subsonic can be configured to transcode on the fly, or not. If you have the bandwidth to stream FLAC you can configure subsonic to stream it to an external player on your client (or even the android app). It's a complete waste of Internet bandwidth and should not ethically be done ( IMHO ), but it technically can be.

I generally detest flash, so when I use subsonic I have it spawn a local external player and stream Ogg Vorbis to that. My library is largely FLAC so subsonic transcodes from my FLAC sources to Vorbis on the fly. It does that because I told it to. (I haven't used subsonic in a year or so)

When I'm at home I listen to the FLAC copies directly since I 100% own my local network infrastructure and I'm wasting only my own internal bandwidth.

As far as industry acceptance of FLAC, every device I use supports it except my car stereo, which only supports mp3. Even my Pioneer receiver driving my entertainment center natively supports playing FLAC from the network or from USB. While there aren't many services selling reasonably main stream music in lossless formats, those that do that I know of support FLAC..

  • probedb
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #27
As far as industry acceptance of FLAC, every device I use supports it except my car stereo, which only supports mp3. Even my Pioneer receiver driving my entertainment center natively supports playing FLAC from the network or from USB. While there aren't many services selling reasonably main stream music in lossless formats, those that do that I know of support FLAC..

Kenwood seem to be slowly phasing in support with their newer media receiver head units (, hopefully other manufacturers will sit up and take notice, not that you'd hear any difference in a car but all the same, not having to maintain a separate library at all is nice for some

  • 2Bdecided
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  • Developer
flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #28
From the negative, you can make other prints. Starting only from a print, copied prints look much worse than those copied straight from the negative.

From the FLAC, you can make any lossy format you want. Starting only from a lossy format, re-encoding to a lossy format can sound worse than encoding to the same lossy format straight from the FLAC.


Thanks for the kind response. It would make perfect sense if I were making copies. But I'm not making multiple copies. I'm listening to it multiple times. But no copying is being done, except in the case of the mp3 copy that is being streamed to my phone.
But that is only one use.

Imagine you had bought or created mp3s of your music. No flac, just mp3. Today that mp3 may be perfect for streaming to your phone, so in that particular use case it is true that FLAC gives you no advantage. However, sometime your mp3 may be too high a bitrate for some lousy network, and would then need to be transcoded to a lower bitrate. That lower bitrate version may sound better if it was created directly from a lossless orginal (e.g. FLAC) than from an already lossily compressed version (i.e. your mp3). Hence in that scenario (still streaming an mp3 to a phone), having a FLAC may be better.

Similarly, you may want to load a large amount of music on a portable device, while leaving space for other things. You may find that the new Opus codec, which sounds acceptable around 64kbps, is a good choice for this. mp3 would require double the space (or even more), so is a poor choice. If you have FLACs to encode to Opus, you will get the best it can do at whatever bitrate or quality you choose. If you only have mp3s, these are fractionally lower quality to start with, Opus drops the quality still further, and the overall quality drop is often greater than the sum of the two individual quality drops because the two lossy encoding stages interact in (sometimes) audibly undesirable ways.

That's why people choose lossless (e..g FLAC), even if it sounds the same as lossy (e.g. mp3) to them: they know they can do whatever they want with the audio later, without worrying that the quality might become audibly lower. It's not just subsequent mp3, AAC, Opus, Ogg, etc etc encoding that might be a problem - things like surround sound effects and vocal cut algorithms sometimes reveal audible problems in what sounded like perfectly adequate lossy files.

If none of this bothers you - if you're happy with the quality of mp3, and happy to risk reduced quality if you ever want to use the mp3s as the source for something else - then you don't need lossless.

Many people here, especially in this era of very cheap storage, look at the cost of music and/or the time taken to rip CDs and tag them properly, and just want to get it in a format that will be more than good enough whatever the future holds. That format is lossless. It doesn't really matter which lossless format, because you can convert between different lossless formats without loss, so you're free to change your mind or audio equipment later as many times as you want.


  • AliceWonder
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #29
Either way, I'm not really sure why you keep trying to poke holes in FLAC as if it's some sort of curse compared to mp3.

I'm not trying to poke holes. flac is superior in every way to mp3. However, it does not enjoy the same industry wide support. And most likely never will.

IMHO flac will always be a big part of the trader community and some professionals may adopt it in their work flow. But I don't ever see this becoming a standard.

Depends upon your operating system. Flac is the standard compressed lossless format for Linux systems.
Vorbis is the standard compressed lossy format for Linux systems (though I suspect Opus will depricate it).

Show me a linux desktop and I'll show you a desktop that can play flac and rip your CD to flac.

It is standard. Just not standard on OS X or Windows, you have to install additional software to use it on those operating systems.

On Apple I think ALAC is the standard compressed lossless format.

I've no idea what it is on Windows.

  • skamp
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  • Developer
flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #30
If Neil Young has his way, FLAC will become standard on pretty much all non-Apple platforms.
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.

  • drfisheye
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #31
You make it sound like streaming is the main way of playing music.

Streaming is growing towards that.

  • collector
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flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #32
FLAC is playable on a 486. If it in fact was transcoding to mp3 "on the fly" this would not be possible.

Not possible on that 486, no. But it can be de/coded like flac > pcm > mp3 > pcm. Last pcm to make it audible. And that's the main thing that the TS ignores.

Machines don't decode flac to pcm to mp3 to make the music audible. We know that, but maybe the TS likes conspiracy and suspiciousness.

  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #33
I’m just going to add another misunderstanding here. As far as the posts can be parsed, it seems to me the OP thinks WAV is proprietary to Microsoft and AIFF to Apple. If so, they need to realise that the fact those companies participated in developing the standards in no way makes the formats proprietary or non-free to utilise. I’m always keen for reasons to bash big corporations, but they’re not always doing cynical things just to make money. Standards can be good, as we would know if we had 300 competing methods of something as basic as tacking a header onto an uncompressed PCM stream.
  • Last Edit: 13 April, 2014, 09:54:09 AM by db1989

flac lossy/lossless playback
Reply #34
But you guys know more about that than I do. So I defer to your expertise.

Just about time you realised firing away your gross assumptions and misconceptions at people who are obviously more conversant than you are in that particular subject, weren't going to take you anywhere.

A bit more of caution and research really becomes you at such an early stage on this and any other community.
Listen to the music, not the media.