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Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Probably pointless but I wanted to share this where the ridiculousness of the situation may be appreciated.

So, I "acquired" a bunch of silly hi-res FLACs a long ago and I finally got to review them, and noticed that all files had the exact same bitrate, which didn't make sense to me in the context of a lossless compressed stream: 4616kbps
So I got the the calculator and, sure enough, 96/24 stereo uncompressed PCM is 4608kbps. A little overhead for using FLAC as a "container" and there you go.
Ironically WAV would have taken less space than this...

"Compression bad", I guess... or maybe their golden ears can hear the extra noise introduced by the CPU doing the extra decoding work, I don't know.
They supposedly come from an online music store in Japan, but I don't know if they have been re-encoded. I have difficulty believing a business would be so stupid as to waste their internet bandwidth just to cater to this kind of audiophoolery.

First time seeing this, that I remember. Is this something you encounter with any frequency?

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #1
Quote
and noticed that all files had the exact same bitrate,
How did you check the bitrate?   Does that agree with file size?   Uncompressed it would be about 35MB per minute.

I've heard of that somewhere before, where a FLAC wasn't actually compressed.   But, you should be able to compress it to "real" FLAC yourself.

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #2
@DVDdoug Judge yourself with this foobar2000 file properties screenshot:


And sure, I intend to re-encode, including a downsample and probably a depth reduction (after I'm done sifting, anyway).
I just wanted to share the absurdity.

EDIT: Also, MediaInfo:
Code: [Select]
General
Complete name                            : D:\DL\___JDL\_music\XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.flac
Format                                   : FLAC
Format/Info                              : Free Lossless Audio Codec
File size                                : 106 MiB
Duration                                 : 3 min 9 s
Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
Overall bit rate                         : 4 696 kb/s
....blah tags....
Cover                                    : Yes
Cover type                               : Cover (front)
Cover MIME                               : image/jpeg

Audio
Format                                   : FLAC
Format/Info                              : Free Lossless Audio Codec
Duration                                 : 3 min 9 s
Bit rate mode                            : Variable
Bit rate                                 : 4 616 kb/s
Channel(s)                               : 2 channels
Channel layout                           : L R
Sampling rate                            : 96.0 kHz
Bit depth                                : 24 bits
Compression mode                         : Lossless
Stream size                              : 104 MiB (98%)
Writing library                          : libFLAC 1.3.1 (UTC 2014-11-25)

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #3
I believe it's possible to get "uncompressed" flac, if you're stupid.

Apparently dbpoweramp has a setting that caters to these stupid audiophiles.

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #4
https://xiph.org/flac/format.html#residualcoding
> FLAC currently defines two similar methods for the coding of the error signal from the prediction stage. The error signal is coded using Rice codes in one of two ways: 1) the encoder estimates a single Rice parameter based on the variance of the residual and Rice codes the entire residual using this parameter; 2) the residual is partitioned into several equal-length regions of contiguous samples, and each region is coded with its own Rice parameter based on the region's mean. (Note that the first method is a special case of the second method with one partition, except the Rice parameter is based on the residual variance instead of the mean.)

either I don't completely get it, or there isn't really a way to achieve no compression, at least, not so easily. (sounds like a specialized tool would be needed to choose the bad parameters but only bad enough to "only" use 100% of the space that would be needed for the original uncompressed data)
is this bitrate coming from extra padding or garbage data, perhaps? what happens if you don't re-encode but only remove metadata and padding?
some ANC'd headphones + AutoEq-based impulse + Meier Crossfeed (30%)


Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #6
https://xiph.org/flac/format.html#residualcoding
> FLAC currently defines two similar methods for the coding of the error signal from the prediction stage. The error signal is coded using Rice codes in one of two ways: 1) the encoder estimates a single Rice parameter based on the variance of the residual and Rice codes the entire residual using this parameter; 2) the residual is partitioned into several equal-length regions of contiguous samples, and each region is coded with its own Rice parameter based on the region's mean. (Note that the first method is a special case of the second method with one partition, except the Rice parameter is based on the residual variance instead of the mean.)

either I don't completely get it, or there isn't really a way to achieve no compression, at least, not so easily. (sounds like a specialized tool would be needed to choose the bad parameters but only bad enough to "only" use 100% of the space that would be needed for the original uncompressed data)
is this bitrate coming from extra padding or garbage data, perhaps? what happens if you don't re-encode but only remove metadata and padding?
I made a copy of another file, removed all tacks, pictures, RG, and all I could find, then "optimize file layout and minimize file size". Still 4616kbps. Encoding again to FLAC 0 gives me 3163kbps and FLAC 8 spits 2901kbps.

I don't understand FLAC encoding. I've looked over the level 0 equivalent settings to see what there's there.
Just like you, I don't know how to achive these PCM-equivalent-bitrate settings, but it sure looks like they went out of their way to get it. That makes me think that, actually, it's probably the original music store that's doing it as a way give audiophools something up their alley.

So, there you go, yet another absurd audiophool fad. Non-compressed lossless encoding

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #7
https://xiph.org/flac/format.html#residualcoding
> FLAC currently defines two similar methods for the coding of the error signal from the prediction stage. The error signal is coded using Rice codes in one of two ways: 1) the encoder estimates a single Rice parameter based on the variance of the residual and Rice codes the entire residual using this parameter; 2) the residual is partitioned into several equal-length regions of contiguous samples, and each region is coded with its own Rice parameter based on the region's mean. (Note that the first method is a special case of the second method with one partition, except the Rice parameter is based on the residual variance instead of the mean.)

either I don't completely get it, or there isn't really a way to achieve no compression, at least, not so easily. (sounds like a specialized tool would be needed to choose the bad parameters but only bad enough to "only" use 100% of the space that would be needed for the original uncompressed data)
is this bitrate coming from extra padding or garbage data, perhaps? what happens if you don't re-encode but only remove metadata and padding?
I made a copy of another file, removed all tacks, pictures, RG, and all I could find, then "optimize file layout and minimize file size". Still 4616kbps. Encoding again to FLAC 0 gives me 3163kbps and FLAC 8 spits 2901kbps.

I don't understand FLAC encoding. I've looked over the level 0 equivalent settings to see what there is in there.
Just like you, I don't know how to achive these PCM-equivalent-bitrate settings, but it sure looks like they went out of their way to get it. That makes me think that, actually, it's probably the original music store that's doing it as a way to give audiophools something up their alley.

So, there you go, yet another absurd audiophool fad. Non-compressed lossless encoding

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #8
Uncompressed flac: https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=91964.0
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #9
@Wombat Thank you. I didn't know this thing was so old.
Do you think they regret having catered to this ridiculousness?

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #10
@Wombat Thank you. I didn't know this thing was so old.
Do you think they regret having catered to this ridiculousness?
Do you mean it as if the dbpoweramp team should regret to have added Uncomressed flac?
They shouldn't. It is only one more option inside a well featured and matured software package.
Maybe this option alone sold some licences.
I remember at some point there were many people on different places arguing about the sound of storing formats and they surely still do.
The word uncompressed alone surely flooded some bodys with audiophile hormones :)

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

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #11
Do you mean it as if the dbpoweramp team should regret to have added Uncomressed flac?
They shouldn't. It is only one more option inside a well featured and matured software package.
Maybe this option alone sold some licences.
I remember at some point there were many people on different places arguing about the sound of storing formats and they surely still do.
The word uncompressed alone surely flooded some bodys with audiophile hormones :)

This is hyperbole, of course, but, isn't this a little bit like justifying selling drugs because there are addicts that want to buy them? What good does that do? Now the druggies have ruined the neighbourhood.

Well, you get the point. Does that option at least come with a stern warning about the pointlessness of actually using it?

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #12
It is only flac. No one gets hurt. Simply recompress if you feel unconfortable.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #13
Hard to imagine, but a fair number of audio people don't pay any attention to any of the details, don't know what exactly each of the file formats does or doesn't do, at a total loss with the concept of lossless compression, etc.

A good way to look at any behavior of yourself or others is if the behavior results in harm, prevents them from doing something they want.

24/96 pays for remastering. Take it away and a large consumer segment won't pay for it, so it won't happen. That would be bad.

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #14
I was arguing with the editor of What Hi-Fi? magazine that there was no quality difference between lossless formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 5.1....they simply wouldn't accept that there was no difference in quality and being a lossless codec meant that it introduced extra processing over LPCM so therefore was worse.

Re: Pointless and baffling encoding practices by audiophiles. Is this common?

Reply #15
Well, duh. If you have a shitty device doing the decoding, then extra processing means more processor noise leaking into the audio output. Which makes no sense, unless audiophile hardware is made of shitty components and just sells for a premium because it claims to be better.

 
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