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Topic: Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise (Read 12196 times) previous topic - next topic
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Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

WAV files are not generally tagged, and while you can get some software to add the tags, theres a good chance doing much of anything to the files with other software will corrupt or lose the tags.  In particular, since I don't believe foobar2000 supports tags in WAV files, I would not recommend using it with any files you want to preserve tags in.

What are you trying to do with your WAV files?  Generally the solution is to avoid saving in WAV and instead directly convert to whatever the final format is going to be so that no metadata loss occurs.


Thank you so much for your response!

The reason I use WAV files rather than a lossless archive format such as FLAC is that I really like the sound of WAV files. I had used FLAC format with foobar2000 for a long time and only recently changed back to the WAV format. I heard that the WAV format had some downsides but still decided to follow what my ears had told me. I debated and convinced myself that I could tolerate the inconveniences the WAV format would bring about (and now I know that my determinedness is facing a serious test). I am thinking of doing a listening test sometime later to see if the FLAC level 0 format from dBpoweramp (which is said to be a WAV file contained in a FLAC envelope) is a FLAC in archiving capability and a WAV in sound quality.  Hope that it will be as good as the AIFF format which I put into my little iPod Nano and liked them only second to the WAV format copy of the same tracks on my PC.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #1
Lossless is lossless. Please go and read about how lossless compression works, not to mention TOS #8 of this site, before pontificating further on matters about which you are sorely mistaken.

not that I should have to provide one, but free analogy: Lossless compression of audio is equivalent to putting a huge office document in a zip archive. When it is uncompressed, what you get out is exactly what you put in. And of course, the lossless audio is decompressed during playback to the same identical PCM audio (search for this, too, if you need to) that is stored in the original WAV/AIFF/whatever. They are all exactly the same.

If you disagree, provide evidence for your claims in a way that complies with the rules of this forum and science overall, rather than flying in the face of logic. Which is not possible, assuming you are not using a terribly broken player, which foobar2000 is not

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #2
Lossless is lossless. Please go and read about how lossless compression works, not to mention TOS #8 of this site, before pontificating further on matters about which you are sorely mistaken.

not that I should have to provide one, but free analogy: Lossless compression of audio is equivalent to putting a huge office document in a zip archive. When it is uncompressed, what you get out is exactly what you put in. And of course, the lossless audio is decompressed during playback to the same identical PCM audio (search for this, too, if you need to) that is stored in the original WAV/AIFF/whatever. They are all exactly the same.

If you disagree, provide evidence for your claims in a way that complies with the rules of this forum and science overall, rather than flying in the face of logic. Which is not possible, assuming you are not using a terribly broken player, which foobar2000 is not


I totally agree with you that a lossless format is bit by bit equivalent to another lossless format in the amount and accuracy of the digitally stored music information. I gave out information about what file format I used with foobar2000 on my PC only to respond to an inquiry on why the WAV format that is difficult to tag was chosen. The lossless archive format FLAC is more complex than the PC-native format WAV and therefore more labor intensive in decoding. Foobar2000 works with the Windows to move electrons in the circuitry of the motherboard and the CPU. When fed with a WAV file, the CPU/motherboard is expected to be less excited electrically than when fed with a FLAC file, hence having the possibility to generate less noise. The ideal is to have an electrically completely silent computer, but it is impossible with current technologies. A FLAC file is lossless mathematically but not when decoding it on a hot motherboard. The current changes in motherboard due to decoding activities can in a way modulate the PCM output in time and space domains.

Foobar2000 instructs the computer to decode a FLAC file losslessly but the computer cannot accomplish the task without generating unwanted noise. The physics of computer circuitry forces a lossy process even that the mathematics in the executable binary demands the process to be lossless.




Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #3

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #4
Wow. Just ... wow.
That's so plausible, I can't believe it.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #5
Lossless is lossless.
[…]
If you disagree, provide evidence for your claims in a way that complies with the rules of this forum and science overall, rather than flying in the face of logic. Which is not possible, assuming you are not using a terribly broken player, which foobar2000 is not
I totally agree with you that a lossless format is bit by bit equivalent to another lossless format in the amount and accuracy of the digitally stored music information. I gave out information about what file format I used with foobar2000 on my PC only to respond to an inquiry on why the WAV format that is difficult to tag was chosen. The lossless archive format FLAC is more complex than the PC-native format WAV and therefore more labor intensive in decoding. Foobar2000 works with the Windows to move electrons in the circuitry of the motherboard and the CPU. When fed with a WAV file, the CPU/motherboard is expected to be less excited electrically than when fed with a FLAC file, hence having the possibility to generate less noise. The ideal is to have an electrically completely silent computer, but it is impossible with current technologies. A FLAC file is lossless mathematically but not when decoding it on a hot motherboard. The current changes in motherboard due to decoding activities can in a way modulate the PCM output in time and space domains.

Foobar2000 instructs the computer to decode a FLAC file losslessly but the computer cannot accomplish the task without generating unwanted noise. The physics of computer circuitry forces a lossy process even that the mathematics in the executable binary demands the process to be lossless.
If you’re using the classic method of trying convince others you’re correct by using a lot of big words and invoking physics, possibly in the hope that hypothetical readers with shorter attention spans will simply give up and assume you’re right, that’s not going to work here.

There is no audible difference between FLAC and WAV on any non-broken system. Do you not realise how trivial it is to decode FLAC compared to virtually everything else your PC does? We've had this discussion before. Human perception is crippled by expectation bias. That's why people hear differences between identical sounds. We've had this discussion before too  .

There are plenty of ways of measurably (and sometimes audibly) damaging PC audio playback - it's just that using FLAC isn't one of them.
No audible difference, and of course no mathematical difference in terms of the bits sent to the device of choice. As for the faux-intellectual furore about post-DAC thermal noise or whatever, I’d like to see someone prove that matters at all. Assuming hypothetically that it could be significant if sufficiently extreme: whether or not you save a few % of your CPU’s cycles per unit time, does anyone think that’ll matter above the background of Windows services, file indexing, Automatic Updates, and other rubbish important OS functions going on in the background? Again, this is a theoretical question, since any such small difference in computational load is not going to have a perceptible effect on anything but a horribly broken machine, as David said.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #6
@irix7: Then why do measurements with a Xonar D1 or DX (~60 €) show the same THD+N, SNR, dynamic range without and with system load (high CPU and GPU and HDD usage)?
"I hear it when I see it."

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #7
The lossless archive format FLAC is more complex than the PC-native format WAV and therefore more labor intensive in decoding. Foobar2000 works with the Windows to move electrons in the circuitry of the motherboard and the CPU. When fed with a WAV file, the CPU/motherboard is expected to be less excited electrically than when fed with a FLAC file, hence having the possibility to generate less noise.


Even ignoring how incredibly stupid this is, I don't think its true technically.  FLAC decoding is something like 50 CPU cycles/sample.  I doubt you can load a WAV file from disk that quickly due to the high bitrate. 

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #8
Most other lossless codecs require far higher computation to decode than Flac.  They must sound really awful

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #9
Jplay anyone?
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #10
Am I being too cynical in thinking that these sorts of stories are started by people with a financial interest?

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #11
^yeah, look up "jplay" like Wombat said.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #12
Wow. Just ... wow.


Exactly my thoughts  I didn't know that HA is supporting cabaret and humor, but I think I like it  . After reading opening post, intentionally splitted from other thread, I know exactly what LMAO means

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #13
If the digital components are so degraded as to be operationally affected by EM noise generated within the computer to the extent that it causes actual bit errors, the machine would simply corrupt tons of data and crash. You would have far bigger issues than some mythical noise in your digital output.

It was somewhat common back in the day to hear processing or IO noise in the analog audio output of old onboard sound and some crappy sound cards. This was due primarily to terribly bad analog circuit design. It was not operationally impacting problems in the processing or moving of bits around the system. Digital audio output taken from such machines would be as bit perfect as any other normally operating machine. It was only when you converted to analog in such environments that such noise problems would arise. If you exported the digital data to a well designed DAC with clean analog design you would get just fine analog audio from it.

These issues are largely a thing of the past, though if you really try hard I'm sure you could find a way to screw up something in a modern machine in such a way as to cause analog noise, if you even use analog output from the computer at all.

In such an environment you are more likely to hear IO noise than noise from the internal CPU processing. IO lines are long and therefore better at radiating lower frequencies whose harmonics may make it down into the audible range. So by using WAV you have to read more data from disk over the IO lines, then send that data back out to the DAC over IO lines. Reading FLAC would lessen the amount of data you read from the disk so even in such a terrible analog circuit environment, FLAC would technically be cleaner than WAV, though you'd probably not be able to tell the difference.


Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #14
^ QED  Really good/interesting point about the hypothetical influence of IO compared to CPU.

As you implied, real situations aren’t going to be affected by such theoretical concerns, so as expected, lossless is lossless… But it’s fun to have a contrived rationale for why losslessly compressed files might actually sound better than their sources – and we’ll need to deploy that one whenever this comes up again

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #15
The assumption that electronic components do generate some dirt is in itself correct.
There are reasons why they must be CE approved, all what radiates not to be used on airplanes, etc.

Whether this noise creeps into a DAC and if it does, to such an extent that it affects sound quality is another one.
I doubt if we run e.g. a J-test using or a FLAC or a WAV as a source if this will yield a measurable difference.

As others pointed out there are two sources of noise.
CPU, as FLAC requires more cycles to be decoded it is the inferior format
I/O, WAV requires about the double amount of I/O hence it is the inferior format.

Conclusion: back to vinyl, all digital audio formats are inferior 

A very elegant argument I once found on forum.

WAV is CBR, FLAC is VBR.
Random jitter is less harmful than periodic jitter.
Hence as FLAC is VBR  it causes a unpredictable load on the CPU and the system so it randomize jitter and hence make it inaudible!

Less I/O and no periodic jitter: FLAC is the superior sounding format!
QED
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #16
I hoped HA was immune from this BS. Unfortunately it gradually succeeds in sneaking onto these forums too.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #17
Quote
When fed with a WAV file, the CPU/motherboard is expected to be less excited electrically than when fed with a FLAC file, hence having the possibility to generate less noise.


continue.
PANIC: CPU 1: Cache Error (unrecoverable - dcache data) Eframe = 0x90000000208cf3b8
NOTICE - cpu 0 didn't dump TLB, may be hung

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #18
FLACs can play on a 486 at 66 MHz [1], which other audio formats struggle with (eg: MP3). On today's platforms the processing time would be shadowed by other things going on the system.

While it's true what you say: FLAC would require a few more CPU cycles than WAV, the difference IS irrelevant on Today's platforms. Mind you, that WAV would have to read more data from a likely mechanical medium, that would add mechanical noise, and motors usually cause more electrical noise than CPUs. There are a lot of scenarios where even with the overhead of compression, the end result is faster performance (Examples: Microsoft's drivespace/doublespace on slow media; the Internet when using speeds like dial-up or from the dawn of broadband).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm5s_Le7TV4

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #19
I was first surprised to see this had not been moved to the Recycle Bin, but then I scrolled down to the discussion and understood.

irix7, sir or madam, you've made my day. I'm looking forward to future posts of yours.

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #20
While it's true what you say: FLAC would require a few more CPU cycles than WAV, the difference IS irrelevant on Today's platforms. Mind you, that WAV would have to read more data from a likely mechanical medium, that would add mechanical noise, and motors usually cause more electrical noise than CPUs.

As I'm sure you know, the "audiophile" answer is to put the discs on another machine. Stringing machines together in a sort of Rube Goldberg setup also gives them the opportunity to worry about network cables. Worry is a great stimulant to hearing the difference.
The most important audio cables are the ones in the brain

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #21
It never ceases to amaze me how easily some people manage to convince themselves that myth is truth when their reasoning is based on complete ignorance!

Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #22
Can we get Mythbusters onto this?


Decoding FLAC supposedly generates unwanted noise

Reply #24
... when their reasoning is based on complete ignorance!


There is that too. Interesting psychology: all kinds of stuff gets projected onto audio equipment, then those people (amongst the fe these dyas who lack basic computer literacy) bring PCs into their world, and do the same. I tell people: it's a computer, it does not change the way it works because it is playing music.

I'm surprised there are not cults telling that AMD sounds better than Intel, or the other way around! Probably there will be.

The most important audio cables are the ones in the brain