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Topic: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3? (Read 1631 times) previous topic - next topic
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Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

I got some pretty extense library of Mod Files (From the Mod Archives) with very different file extensions, and I get the error of "The Destination Format does not support floating-poin input,  the conversion will not be lossless" when I try to convert them to FLAC (Which is 24 Bit as I just learned). However It seems MP3 is 32 Bit, is it better to convert them to MP3 or FLAC? I want to mantain as close as possible to the original sound.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #1
The best option for you will be not to convert them. A ton of space saved.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #2
Since you use foobar2000 to try to convert, I guess you are already using https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_openmpt54

So,
* keep them as they are - you can play them, right?
* if you need to use them in other players (in-car or whatever), create low-bitrate lossies that you can throw away later

But ... if you want a lossless format that handles floating-point, try WavPack.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #3
The best option for you will be not to convert them. A ton of space saved.

Yes you are right on this, but I want to tag them as well (not all file formats on these sound files can be done so) and also, I want them to be played by most common players and those can use either FLAC or MP3 as the most common file format. That's  why I need to to be tagged, since I can make smart playlist based on my likings and custom columns.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #4
Since you use foobar2000 to try to convert, I guess you are already using https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_openmpt54

So,
* keep them as they are - you can play them, right?
* if you need to use them in other players (in-car or whatever), create low-bitrate lossies that you can throw away later

But ... if you want a lossless format that handles floating-point, try WavPack.

Yes, I'm already using all the possible decoding components as I can, thanks a lot still for that. Also I read somewhere about WavPack but did not pay attention to it, I though it was some kind of Music Program related to making music but why Wavpack? I have no Idea what it really does.

Also why create the low-bitrate lossies that I can throw later? If you could, explain it to me in technical terms as I really love to learn about this and I'm not very savy. Isn't the idea to have a loseless format so I don't lose the quality to the original? I know file  size is huge but I really want to listen the best quality on these sound  files but with the advantage of being able to tag it and being a common sound format.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #5
I want to tag them as well (not all file formats on these sound files can be done so)
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_external_tags

Also, https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_tags does much of the same thing.


I read somewhere about WavPack but did not pay attention to it, I though it was some kind of Music Program related to making music but why Wavpack? I have no Idea what it really does.
WavPack is a lossless codec, much like FLAC (it has even been around for longer), and it also supports 32-bit floating-point input (and even DSD, no other codec does that!).

WavPack is built into foobar2000 with sliders for compression settings. For the "Additional processing", level 1 appears to give good value for money, and if you are more patient, also level the quite slow 4. (5 and 6 are very slow and don't give that much extra compression.)
Stay (for now!) away from the "Hybrid Lossy" mode: WavPack can encode lossy as well, and "hybrid" means it encodes a lossy + a correction file for lossless - but until you know that this is what you want, don't use it.

That's most of what you need, but more here: https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=WavPack


I though it was some kind of Music Program related to making music
It has a few plug-ins so that certain audio editors can save as WavPack rather than .wav.  That works with WavPack because it also stores all non-audio chunks of .wav files as well, so no matter how the audio editor stores "do this, do that!" into a .wav, it will be restored bitwise the same. 

(Think this way: FLAC and ALAC are audio compressors; WavPack, Monkey's, TAK and OptimFROG are WAVE file compressors.)

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #6
I want to tag them as well (not all file formats on these sound files can be done so)
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_external_tags

Also, https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_tags does much of the same thing.


I read somewhere about WavPack but did not pay attention to it, I though it was some kind of Music Program related to making music but why Wavpack? I have no Idea what it really does.
WavPack is a lossless codec, much like FLAC (it has even been around for longer), and it also supports 32-bit floating-point input (and even DSD, no other codec does that!).

WavPack is built into foobar2000 with sliders for compression settings. For the "Additional processing", level 1 appears to give good value for money, and if you are more patient, also level the quite slow 4. (5 and 6 are very slow and don't give that much extra compression.)
Stay (for now!) away from the "Hybrid Lossy" mode: WavPack can encode lossy as well, and "hybrid" means it encodes a lossy + a correction file for lossless - but until you know that this is what you want, don't use it.

That's most of what you need, but more here: https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=WavPack


I though it was some kind of Music Program related to making music
It has a few plug-ins so that certain audio editors can save as WavPack rather than .wav.  That works with WavPack because it also stores all non-audio chunks of .wav files as well, so no matter how the audio editor stores "do this, do that!" into a .wav, it will be restored bitwise the same. 

(Think this way: FLAC and ALAC are audio compressors; WavPack, Monkey's, TAK and OptimFROG are WAVE file compressors.)

Thanks, you really put me out of my misery with this, was really thinking about it for a while. Hard when you don't know a thing about audio, been trying to for the last few years but my knowledge was very limited, until recently I started learning more about sampling, codecs, tags, and installing components on foobar2000 (and customizing it) that I really knew nothing of the capability of this program.

Probably will see me around here in case I get stuck with more advanced topics.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #7
Amiga MODs mostly contain 8bit samples, there's really no need to encode to anything higher than 16bits - what are you decoding with that you get such error? Maybe some unoptimal settings in Converter...

Also keep in mind that although foo_openmpt54 keeps most attention to details, you won't get perfect output as on real Amiga - it had really weird audio chain, also in analog domain, so keeping things lossless might be a stretched philosophy here...

You might be interested in https://www.paula8364.com where they capture music on real Amiga.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #8
what are you decoding with that you get such error? Maybe some unoptimal settings in Converter...
It is simply because the mod plugin that OP used uses float internally, so the conversion is "lossy" from the perspective of the plugin's synth engine.

Synth engines often involve fairly complex manipulation of samples like volume/pitch envelopes, mixing, panning, filtering and so on, these operations of course can be done in floating point even though the original hardware uses integer synth engine.
X

VSTi emulation of older synths falls into this category as well. Some audio samples attached in the post below:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,97746.msg1003258.html#msg1003258

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #9

(Think this way: FLAC and ALAC are audio compressors; WavPack, Monkey's, TAK and OptimFROG are WAVE file compressors.)

This is misleading. When you read "audio compressors" even in italic, "audio dynamic range compression" pops up in mind. FLAC is *.wav compressor.


Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #10
FLAC is *.wav compressor.

That has been in the FAQ at https://xiph.org/flac/faq.html for years, in particular the questions:

Why doesn't FLAC store all WAVE metadata?
If flac compresses WAVE files, why isn't it technically a WAVE file compressor?
I compressed a WAVE file to FLAC, then decompressed to WAVE, and the two weren't identical. Why?
I decoded a FLAC file and the WAVE is 2 bytes shorter than the original. Why?


A file compressor gives you the file back - FLAC gives you the audio back. Decode a FLAC file to WAVE, and the decoder will decide which version of the WAVE formats to output. In some cases it might be possible to infer that the FLAC was created from a WAVE and not an AIFF, but not in general.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #11
original hardware uses integer synth engine.
Something wants to be "better than original"...
Still, no reason to not quantize down to 16bits at most.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #12
Something wants to be "better than original"...
Still, no reason to not quantize down to 16bits at most.
My comment was not about whether one should quantize to 16-bit or not, but about this:
Quote
what are you decoding with that you get such error? Maybe some unoptimal settings in Converter...
Because the only way to disable the "error" is to dismiss that warning message, and that warning message is not specific to any input format. The format handler reports a bit-depth to the converter and triggered the warning.
X
Disable the transcode warning will also affect conversion of for example, floating point .wav files to FLAC files. In this case, non-tech-savvy users will not know the conversion is not lossless.

In terms of transparency, I can't distinguish 24-bit hi-res or DSD from CDDA, so it is not a matter of mod files use low bit-depth samples or integer synth engines on original hardware. In the world of emulation, a lot of people use upscaling on those vintage NES console emulators, or apply advanced texture filtering and such on PSX emulators as well, or some GPU shaders to mimic old CRT screens.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #13
Yes but I'm more about OP wanting to "mantain as close as possible to the original sound".
What are you using for decoding? foo_openmpt54 doesn't give me the warning for MOD files and it converts quietly to 24bit FLAC. IMO it's unfortunate if plugin for such legacy formats outputs more than 16bits - by default it should requantize to 16.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #14
I am also using foo_openmpt54, latest version:
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_openmpt54

You either have the transcode warning disabled permanently (see the screenshot in my previous post) or using an old version of foobar2000 without the transcode warning feature (in Preferences > Advanced). I just tried a fresh portable install of foobar2000 1.6.11 + free encoder pack + foo_openmpt54 and the same warning showed up when I encode to 24-bit flac. Transcode warnings are by default enabled, and I clearly remembered this because when the first time I got this warning, there was a spelling mistake in the warning dialog:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=119314.0
Screenshot of the spelling mistake:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/software-player-volume-vs-dac-digital-volume-vs-analog-volume.9196/post-300770

Also, forcing the output to a specific bit-depth does not automatically mean the emulation is more accurate. Here is what I got from a real game console, notice the fading artifact (discontinuity and idle tone)  in the attached file:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,114247.msg941114.html#msg941114

Then listen to the sound of this video:
https://youtu.be/jBWlbax6j64?t=622
Among other things like stereo width, as an owner of the real console, I am pretty sure the original hardware is not capable of smooth fading in this game without idle tone, so it must be an emulator recording.

Merely lowering the output bit-depth of an emulator may simply introduce other artifacts, but not the identical artifacts in the original hardware. Depending on the internal state of the emulator's engine, outputting to a higher bit-depth could actually be more accurate. Some arcade games enthusiasts even collect original PCBs and cabinets. Emulators simply can't fulfill their needs.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #15
Ok I checked other MODs and they indeed report as 32bit, I have one MOD which doesn't report any bit depth and I happened to check on this one first haha... Not sure whats so special about it, maybe it is from some simple tracker like Sound Tracker... Properties say it has RG info written in an APE tag :/ maybe this is fooling the decoder...
I have everything in the newest versions.
Anyway. There most probably are reasons to decode at higher bit depth, but at the end it would be wise to requantize to 16bits, which at these bit-depths would bring no audible artifacts, and would spare the waste of bits and confusion.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #16
Provided 16/44 is transparent unless proved otherwise in ABX, one can convert anything to 16/44, but don't expect these emulators can always 100% replicate the real thing, no matter what rendering formats are being used. If there are audible differences when compared to the real hardware, the reasons are the emulators' codes and algorithms, or analog distortion in the case of analog capture of real hardware, not the exporting bit-depth.

Reasons of using floating point are not only for potentially higher perceived quality, but also make things simpler and faster for generic CPUs and software available these days.

Also, some tracker files I have contain >0dBFS rendered sample values, at least when using foo_openmpt54's default settings. In these cases, volume should be reduced when export to FLAC to avoid clipping.

In fact, one of the files in the screenshot I posted is from a MS-DOS game for PC, and foo_openmpt54 plays it, so the plugin itself is not specific to any particular hardware in the first place.
https://youtu.be/QUzqrmQdxRY

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #17
don't expect these emulators can always 100% replicate the real thing
Thats what I wrote in 1st post. And thats the reason why converting it to lossless or keeping at decoders' internal bit depth is questionable. Original sound was most often 8bit, sometimes 16bit - there's no point in listening to it or storing it at any higher bit depths - plugins for such legacy formats should have a requantizer at the end, with an option to disable, but by default requantizing everything to sane 16bits.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #18
Additional codes in the plugin are needed to convert the tracker files to another bit-depth which is not native to the plugin's processing format, as foobar's converter itself already provided facilities for bit-depth conversion, there is no need to do this within the plugin.

Trackers are more or less a different form of DAW, and OP's mention of "Mod Files (From the Mod Archives) with very different file extensions" implies the files obtained are not specific to any hardware or sample format, for example, the files could be originally created with modern PC trackers. So it sounds strange that one should limit how a DAW should process samples in the first place.

Instead, I would rather let OP understand the meaning of foobar's transcode warnings, rather than talk about bit-depth of samples in the tracker files or any hardware specific things.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #19
Wow what are DAWs doing here, man, you're making things more confusing than they already are.

It really is very simple:
Most music sources (like CDs) and listening hardware is 16bit. That you encode to lossy format like MP3 which is floating point internally, doesn't mean that you should get warnings while transcoding to FLAC that it won't be lossless because it doesn't support float32, nor should you play it back at 32bits, nor should you have info in Properties dialog that MP3 is 32bit. And you don't.

It even more applies to legacy MODs and derivatives, which mostly come from 8bit hardware and contain 8bit samples. That one gets a warning while transcoding to FLAC that it won't be lossless because it doesn't support 32bits, or that Properties say that MOD is 32bit, is a design fault of plugin or fb2k.

Sure we can share to normal people additional knowledge that some module formats support DSP, are synth capable, may benefit from internal float32 processing, or that there even are tracker-derived DAWs like Renoise where 32bits might be worthwhile for further mixing, but the main message is simple:

There's no point in converting MODs to lossless formats at bit-depths higher than 16.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #20
doesn't mean that you should get warnings while transcoding to FLAC that it won't be lossless because it doesn't support float32
Yes you should. You should get warned when trying to encode lossily into a lossless format.
It doesn't matter that the loss is inaudible - encoding lossless is supposed to be just that (lossless), and if the user wants to downconvert, let them override.

 

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #21
Really? You should get the warning while transcoding internally float32 MP3 to FLAC?  :))
You don't downconvert anything from MOD to FLAC the same as you don't downconvert anything from MP3 to FLAC.

Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #22
Most music sources (like CDs) and listening hardware is 16bit. That you encode to lossy format like MP3 which is floating point internally, doesn't mean that you should get warnings while transcoding to FLAC that it won't be lossless because it doesn't support float32, nor should you play it back at 32bits, nor should you have info in Properties dialog that MP3 is 32bit. And you don't.
Do you notice when you use foobar's converter to encode mp3, "Output bit depth" and "Dither" in the converter dialog are not available? When you click the "Edit" button then choose "Custom" in the drop down dialog, if you specify the format is "lossy", then foobar will treat the format as lossy, and the transcode waning will not show up. foobar of course has these presets out of the box so users don't need to manually do this, unless you are using other unpopular encoders.

As mentioned, foo_openmpt54 may render some files with >0dBFS values, so it is not only a matter of "resolution", but also compatibility. Without paying attention, casual conversion to FLAC may induce clipping, so the warning makes perfect sense: users should take care of audio level themselves.

Quote
There's no point in converting MODs to lossless formats at bit-depths higher than 16.
I'd say in terms of transparency, there is no need to convert any audio format, including generic ones like DSD and Hi-res PCM beyond 16/44 if the differences cannot be ABX'ed. The whole thing has nothing to do with MOD music at all.

You are limiting yourself to the so-called "legacy" impression of "MOD" music to some specific old hardware or software, just some examples of demos require a fairly modern computer to run utilizing tracker music:
https://www.pouet.net/

Even the foobar plugin being discussed (OpenMPT) is orginated from a modern PC tracker, see the advanced features:
https://openmpt.org/features


Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #23
Really? You should get the warning while transcoding internally float32 MP3 to FLAC?  :))
Absolutely. Creating a file in a lossless format does not make for losslessness in that case.
For the same reason as MQA is not lossless - but more: float32 can exceed 0 dB, and many MP3s do. FLACs could then clip.

You should also get a warning while transcoding MP3 to WavPack even if WavPack can accommodate 32-bit floating-point.

foobar2000 lets you switch off those warnings.



Re: Newb Question - is it better to conver Mod Files to FLAC or MP3?

Reply #24
Do you notice when you use foobar's converter to encode mp3, "Output bit depth" and "Dither" in the converter dialog are not available? When you click the "Edit" button then choose "Custom" in the drop down dialog, if you specify the format is "lossy", then foobar will treat the format as lossy, and the transcode waning will not show up. foobar of course has these presets out of the box so users don't need to manually do this, unless you are using other unpopular encoders.

As mentioned, foo_openmpt54 may render some files with >0dBFS values, so it is not only a matter of "resolution", but also compatibility. Without paying attention, casual conversion to FLAC may induce clipping, so the warning makes perfect sense: users should take care of audio level themselves.
That's the problem - MODs have no bit depth. Look at MP3 Properties how fb2k handles them - there's no bit depth. The same should be with MODs.
Just like with MP3 you rather handle >0dBFS with ReplayGain/DSP when transcoding, not bit depth of target format.
Quote
I'd say in terms of transparency, there is no need to convert any audio format, including generic ones like DSD and Hi-res PCM beyond 16/44 if the differences cannot be ABX'ed. The whole thing has nothing to do with MOD music at all.
We're talking about sane defaults - by default MODs should be quietly converted to 16bits so beginners like OP don't do insane things with converting them to 32bit lossless. If one has special needs of course the choice shall remain.
Quote
You are limiting yourself to the so-called "legacy" impression of "MOD" music to some specific old hardware or software, just some examples of demos require a fairly modern computer to run utilizing tracker music:
https://www.pouet.net/

Even the foobar plugin being discussed (OpenMPT) is orginated from a modern PC tracker, see the advanced features:
https://openmpt.org/features
You're talking to a guy whose tracker music was used in some games, believe me Pouet and OpenMPT are no news to me :]
No MOD in existence has samples over 16bits, no MOD in existence has been mastered for anything higher than 16bits. Yes some newer trackers may be using DSP or synth with precision higher than that, or floating point, just like MP3 internally is floating point. It doesn't change the fact that at the end you don't decode MODs or MP3 to anything higher than 16bits, unless for some special purposes. Period.