Skip to main content

Topic: How to get best quality in FLAC ? (Read 44244 times) previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
I need some help regarding conversion of audio CD into lossless audio as this is the first time I am converting something into lossless format.
I always listen to the audio CDs but now I feel that I should store my entire collection digitally. So I searched on internet and found out that lossless format preserve the original CD quality. I don't want to make any compromise with my audio quality.

Most of my CDs have 2 channels with a sample rate of 44100 Hz and bitrate  of around 1411kbps and ofcourse 16 bit samples.

I tried ripping an audio CD to FLAC using foobar but then I found out that bitrate was decreased to 1096kbps. Does that means FLAC is somewhat lossy?

I would like to retain the audio CD quality. Also is there any other way of doing it, if I am doing something wrong?

I would prefer my audio collection in FLAC but will converting FLACs to ALAC preserve audio quality?? Size does not matter for me. Audio quality is my top priority.

And what is 24-bit/192kHz format? Can I upgrade my audio quality to 24bit/96khz or 24-bit/192kHz format?

  • lvqcl
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #1
And what is 24-bit/192kHz format? Can I upgrade my audio quality to 24bit/96khz or 24-bit/192kHz format?

24/192 Music Downloads and why they make no sense

  • Kohlrabi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #2
I tried ripping an audio CD to FLAC using foobar but then I found out that bitrate was decreased to 1096kbps. Does that means FLAC is somewhat lossy?
This needs a sticky so that this doesn't come up again and again: Bit rate is a measure of file size, not audio quality. Your FLAC files are lossless, as you can test by decoding them back to WAV/PCM and bit-comparing them to the original source WAV/PCM.

I would prefer my audio collection in FLAC but will converting FLACs to ALAC preserve audio quality?? Size does not matter for me. Audio quality is my top priority.
Both formats are lossless (see above), and the resulting files for both codecs have about the same size. ALAC is slightly more demanding during encoding and decoding, though this is negligible unless you want to use it on portable devices where battery lifetime matters.

And what is 24-bit/192kHz format? Can I upgrade my audio quality to 24bit/96khz or 24-bit/192kHz format?
You cannot magically create real information out of nothing. CD audio has 16bit/44100Hz, there is nothing to be gained by increasing any of those properties. While going from 16 to 24 bit will at least not harm you, upsampling to a higher sample rate might affect audio fidelity, though this is likely inaudible. In addition, the resulting files are of course no longer bit-identical to the CD, and just waste precious HD space. Also, 24bit/192kHz offers no audible quality benefit over CD audio, anyway (see lvqcl's link).
  • Last Edit: 19 August, 2012, 01:29:59 PM by Kohlrabi
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • [JAZ]
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #3
As for the first question:

bitrate is a measure of size. (how many bits of data does it requires to store one second, or is able to transmit in one second).

As such, since FLAC is a lossless codec, and lossless codecs *reduce the file size* (not the quality), the bitrate becomes smaller.
Note that a bitrate of 1100kbps for a song is on the "difficult to encode" side. Usually, songs compress to the 800/900kbps range.

Remember that flac -8 is the strongest mode (more reduction), and -0 is weakest (less reduction), so that might have influenced your bitrate result (again, quality is the same with all settings).
  • Last Edit: 19 August, 2012, 01:35:11 PM by [JAZ]

  • DonP
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Members (Donating)
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #4
Most of my CDs have 2 channels with a sample rate of 44100 Hz and bitrate  of around 1411kbps and ofcourse 16 bit samples.


If they are audio CD's shouldn't they ALL have the same channels, sample rate and bits per sample?

  • Porcus
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #5
- If you are worried about sound quality, then use 'secure' ripping software with AccurateRip support (Windows: EAC/dBpoweramp/CUERipper) in order to protect against scratches / erroneous reading.  And watch out for those pesky pre-emphasis CDs.  (Search this forum.)  You do not need to worry about HDCD, as those can be detected from the audio stream alone afterwards (myself I use kode54's HDCD plug-in for foobar2000).


- FLAC compresses music losslessly, just like a .zip file will reduce size of your .txt files without 'quality loss'.  For example, CD with 70 minutes silence can be compressed to an instruction saying 'play 70 minutes of silence', which takes much less than a CD to store.


- FLAC to ALAC is perfectly lossless (in fact, any lossless-to-lossless conversion is, as long as the target format supports the bitstream you try to feed it). Just run them through an audio bitcomparator. Indeed, I bit-verify any such conversion I might be doing -- it ensures that you didn't face any corruption in the write process (like, network down).


- If your CDs have anything else than 2ch, 44.1 kHz, 16 bits, then it has to be because it is a multi-session with data ('Enhanced') and with audio files in the data session.  It is possible to put any kind of file there.  If you want to preserve the data session, then just copy it to a folder (or to e.g. a .zip or .7z archive, if you like).  You can find data sessions by using the file explorer.  Disregard the .cda 'files', they are just placeholders for the ordinary tracks.


[Useless trivia: the original CD standard did provide an option for 4ch audio, but that didn't make it into the ISO standard and I don't know any CD that utilizes it.  But the flag in the subchannel is still there.]
  • Last Edit: 20 August, 2012, 08:00:12 AM by Porcus

How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #6
And what is 24-bit/192kHz format? Can I upgrade my audio quality to 24bit/96khz or 24-bit/192kHz format?

24/192 Music Downloads and why they make no sense


Thanx alot!! This article was really worth reading..many misconceptions were cleared. I agree totally with you but why do sites like HDtracks offer such audio if they are useless? I guess they are just fooling people!!

How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #7
Thank you everybody for your wonderful effort. I got my doubts clear and this really improved my knowledge regarding audio quality. Once again I appreciate everybody and this forum rocks!!

  • IgorC
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #8
Thanx alot!! This article was really worth reading..many misconceptions were cleared. I agree totally with you but why do sites like HDtracks offer such audio if they are useless? I guess they are just fooling people!!

Some HDtracks's albums come without increased to death loudness. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war
It's the only reason of their superiority.

Selling something more than 44.1kHz/16 bits is a nonsense for final consumer.

  • nastea
  • [*][*]
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #9
At the moment: yes.
But things might change in the future. When recording with the best digital equipment, 192 kHz / 32 bit is better than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
That's just a fact.
OK, it's impossible to hear sounds of 20000 or more hertz, but that doesn't matter. You've got more samples for the sounds below 20000 hertz, and on playback you get closer to the original sound.

  • Kohlrabi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #10
At the moment: yes.
But things might change in the future. When recording with the best digital equipment, 192 kHz / 32 bit is better than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
I guess you didn't really get the point of the article by xiphmont. He never argued that high quality, high resolution recording setups are a waste, just that distributing these files to end users is a huge, pointless waste of resources (and, as mentioned, might even sound worse than downsampled music due to intermodulation distortion).

That's just a fact.
Just because you say it doesn't make it right. On the contrary, it is a fact that 16bit/44.1kHz is enough for music listening.

OK, it's impossible to hear sounds of 20000 or more hertz, but that doesn't matter. You've got more samples for the sounds below 20000 hertz, and on playback you get closer to the original sound.
How do you get "more samples for the sounds below 20000 hertz" with a higher sample rate? Please study what the sampling theorem says. You gain nothing audible by sampling at more than 44.1kHz, since it allows to perfectly reproduce anything below 22.05kHz.

I know that record companies and mastering studios want to find new sources of income, and want to make you believe that high resolution is the next big step. But digital music recording and reproduction is essentially a finished field by now. They should rather invest into new distribution strategies instead of FUD about audio quality.
  • Last Edit: 22 August, 2012, 03:30:08 AM by Kohlrabi
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • probedb
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #11
At the moment: yes.
But things might change in the future. When recording with the best digital equipment, 192 kHz / 32 bit is better than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
That's just a fact.
OK, it's impossible to hear sounds of 20000 or more hertz, but that doesn't matter. You've got more samples for the sounds below 20000 hertz, and on playback you get closer to the original sound.


You really need to do some reading/learning before posting again.

  • Garf
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer (Donating)
How to get best quality in FLAC ?
Reply #12
At the moment: yes.
But things might change in the future. When recording with the best digital equipment, 192 kHz / 32 bit is better than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
That's just a fact.


No, it's a lack of basic knowledge about mathematics and DSP on your part.

Quote
OK, it's impossible to hear sounds of 20000 or more hertz, but that doesn't matter. You've got more samples for the sounds below 20000 hertz, and on playback you get closer to the original sound.


Please start reading up on basic mathematics, I suggest from here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist%E2%80...ampling_theorem

There is *no* advantage to sampling at a higher rate than 2x the maximum frequency you need to be able to represent.