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Settings to convert 24bit tracks to Flac

I've been using Foobar2000 for years, but using the basics, mostly to convert DSD to 24bit Flac files to play on a portable player.
I had a problem with my computer and had to install Foobar2000 again.
I want to make sure I'm getting the best conversion possible but can't remember if I need certain components installed and what settings I used?
I also remember converting a few 16bit tracks but can't remember the circumstances why I had to.  Will FB2000 do this without anything extra installed?
I've searched online to find the answers but can't seem to find what I'm looking for.
Any help will be much appreciated.

Re: Settings to convert 24bit tracks to Flac

Reply #1
Unless your DSD files are compressed into WavPack you'll need extra components. Super Audio CD Decoder is probably the easiest-to-use and most full-featured component for the purpose. If you choose this component note that you'll only need to install the foo_input_sacd.fb2k-component from the zip. This component is ready to use as is as it output 24 bps 44.1 kHz PCM by default.

You can also use FFmpeg Decoder Wrapper component together with FFmpeg binaries, but it won't support DSD disc images. FFmpeg input component requires some configuration. You'll need to tell it where to find the extracted binaries and configure it to read DSD files with extensions *.DSF;*.DSDIFF. And in converter you'll have to configure a resampler and force output to 24 bits. By default it outputs DSD sources as high sample rate audio at 8 bps. I'd recommend using SoX resampler with signal extrapolation set to resample to 44.1 kHz for the job. It offers highest quality and it's super fast at doing so.

In my testing foo_input_sacd produces louder glitches during transitions between two gapless DSD tracks so my personal preference would be to prefer other decoders. If compressing to WavPack is an option it produces as smooth transition as FFmpeg. Neither manages entirely glitcless transition though so I'd also use some DSP processing to fix that.

If you want to get absolute best use of your 24 bits you could run ReplayGain scan on the source album and boost the gain so much that album peak reaches 0.0 dbFS. That would maximize the signal-to-noise ratio. Another option is to convert to 32-bit float first and normalize those files later without quality loss. And you can further increase effective SNR by using dithering with the conversion to 24 bits. There's a built-in dither feature in foobar2000's converter but I would personally not use it. It adds its dither noise even to silence and the heavy noise shaping will increase file sizes. I would use my own component that leaves silence alone and won't add high-frequency noise.

Re: Settings to convert 24bit tracks to Flac

Reply #2
Thanks for the reply.
So having installed Foobar2000, installing all recommended during installation, will I be able (for example) drop a 24bit .cue file into FB2K, select all tracks and convert, to output 24bit individual tracks, or will I need an extra component to do this?
Would I have to change any settings to make sure that I'm getting the best results?
I'm not the best with computers and I just want to make sure I'm doing everything correctly so I know the end results are correct.

Re: Settings to convert 24bit tracks to Flac

Reply #3
Yes, you'll need to configure and save a "FLAC 24" converter preset:

Use FLAC compression 5
24 bit
No dither
ReplayGain as album (optional)
Save to preferred directory and filename

Re: Settings to convert 24bit tracks to Flac

Reply #4
Yes, you'll need to configure and save a "FLAC 24" converter preset:

Use FLAC compression 5
24 bit
No dither
ReplayGain as album (optional)
Save to preferred directory and filename
Thanks for your reply
What does 'Replaygain' do?


 
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