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Topic: Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality (Read 5990 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • probedb
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
I apologise if this it the wrong sub-forum but it relates directly to FLAC so I figured I'd post it here.

You really have to wonder where people get their information from?

I quote from http://www.avforums.com/forums/17108414-post52.html

Quote
FLAC should sound the same as the wave file but it doesn't. It is lossless, which is great, but, unlike Wave it is not a native format to Windows (or Mac) and as such it makes the CPU work much harder than wave does. Resulting, depending on your PC/Mac's spec in noticeable degradation compared to Wave.


Sigh

  • pdq
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #1
While in theory it may be possible for CPU loading to affect the audio, the claim of "noticeable degradation compared to Wave" is highly unlikely in any modern hardware.

Edit: It is also theoretical possible for disc access to affect audio, but in this case FLAC has less disc access than wav.
  • Last Edit: 13 June, 2012, 09:52:21 AM by pdq

  • tuffy
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #2
More CPU usage means the gerbil has to run much faster in order to generate more power, and that means you won't be able to hear your music over the sound of its wheel spinning.  Therefore wav sounds better.

Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #3
Here's how to degrade the audio of your player:
run a ton of cpu/memory intensive software in background (3d studiomax, photoshop, etc...)  , until your pc becomes sluggish. You can also overload the hard drive you use for playing music (defragment, antivirus scan etc). Now you can forget about the additional cpu work that flac adds.

  • Rotareneg
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #4
I use an analytical engine running VirtualBox to run Windows to listen to music, so any excessive processor usage is directly audible.
  • Last Edit: 13 June, 2012, 10:47:11 AM by Rotareneg

  • dhromed
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #5
When my CPU works hard the fan spins up and strictly speaking that's very much audible.

Fortunately I usually only play music from a variety of formats such as FLAC and as such my CPU doesn't work very hard.

  • Kohlrabi
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  • Global Moderator
Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #6
Quote
However, if you have a good quad core Intel or AMD CPU you shouldn't notice anything beyond a very (very) slight hardness.

This sentence is even more evidence that this is just audiophool nonsense.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • Nessuno
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #7
I use an analytical engine running VirtualBox to run Windows to listen to music, so any excessive processor usage is directly audible.

Once I tried to drive an USB DAC from inside a VBox machine and

[TOS#8 compliance OFF]
the result was a load of real garbage mixed with some barely audible musical content in the background.
[TOS#8 compliance ON]

It was a couple of years ago, I actually don't know if USB management in VB has somewhat improved in the meanwhile, but I'm leaded to think that If I had used Hi-Rez material instead of RedBook standard even that audible music in the background would have disappeared!

By the way: that same argument (increased sys load) could as well be used against this audiophoolish Hi-Rez mania!
... I live by long distance.

  • Zarggg
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #8
Apologies in advance if this violates TOS8 somehow, but I have to say that people who make statements like the original quote understand neither how audio encoding, lossless compression, nor even a computer works.

Theoretically possible? Yes, for extreme values of "theoretical." Likely noticeable if it happens? No.
  • Last Edit: 13 June, 2012, 12:43:41 PM by Zarggg

  • Kohlrabi
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  • Global Moderator
Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #9
Apologies in advance if this violates TOS8 somehow, but I have to say that people who make statements like the original quote understand neither how audio encoding, lossless compression, nor even a computer works.

From my experience with interest groups and politicians, those who know the least about a topic have the most vocal opinions about it. If I was Randall Munroe I would draw up a nice, witty graph now.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • Hotsoup
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #10
By the way: that same argument (increased sys load) could as well be used against this audiophoolish Hi-Rez mania!


I've never heard anyone make that point, actually. Would playback of 24/192, for example, be proportionally more CPU-taxing than FLAC versus WAV?
  • Last Edit: 13 June, 2012, 01:29:12 PM by Hotsoup

  • probedb
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #11
This is why I like this forum

Normally I wouldn't make a point of this, but avforums is a general forum and that guy is an idiot, you just have to find some of his other posts. Zarggg, you're spot on, the guy is accusing me of not knowing how something as simple as the Task Manager in Windows works yet clearly has no idea what he's talking about.

  • [JAZ]
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #12
Sincerely. It is far easier to hear noise when moving the mouse, or reading/writing to the hard drive than hearing noise by playing a FLAC file.

Even with an old Pentium 4, the cpu usage of playing an MP3 file is less than 1%, and obviously, playing a FLAC file is much faster. And with such low CPU usage, it is absurd to talk about increased fan noise.


I would qualify the sentence as a lie. It specifically tells that he's talking about computers, the degradation never is "noticeable degradation" (where noticeable = important) and  0.0001 versus 0.000001 might be "Much bigger", but... compared to 100 both are WAY small.
  • Last Edit: 13 June, 2012, 02:34:59 PM by [JAZ]

Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #13
I'm sure the degradation wouldn't be measurable either.
As long the the task of decoding flac is nowhere near  the limit of what the  computer is able to handle, it should have zero impact.

  • Ouroboros
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #14
The offending statements in the quoted post have been removed by one of the Moderators over at AVForums. It is still full of subjective opinion, but at least the technical nonsense has been excised. Small steps......

  • probedb
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #15
The offending statements in the quoted post have been removed by one of the Moderators over at AVForums. It is still full of subjective opinion, but at least the technical nonsense has been excised. Small steps......


Ahh good  Small steps indeed

  • andy o
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #16
I've had more trouble with the processor not being taxed enough, because the of the switch between power states/frequencies. Well, technically speaking it was with the GPU, but the same principle applies.

  • bubbleguuum
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Apparently FLAC noticably degrades sound quality
Reply #17
WAV sounding better than FLAC is a classic topic between audiophools. You can find it on almost all HiFi brand forums.
And since there is no TOS #8 there, people can make the wildest claims.

There's other amusing variations of this topic with "lossless codec X" sounding better than "lossless codec Y".
  • Last Edit: 14 June, 2012, 08:19:28 AM by bubbleguuum