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Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

I have recently been entertaining the idea of compressing my cds into a lossless format. This is a pretty big undertaking so I wanted to make sure i could even notice the difference between a highly encoded MP3 (preset extreme) and a FLAC file. I tried it and sure enough i could notice a subtle difference between the two.

I then decided to try Monkey audio as it is apparently superior to every lossless codec EVER! And as long as I was archiving my music, I might as well save as much space as possible.

Now I was under the impression that Monkeys Audio and FLAC would HAVE to be identical, as both provide perfect transparancy. However comparing the APE and the FLAC file I heard the same subtle difference that I had heard between the MP3 and the FLAC.

I figured that this wasnt logical at all, but I can't figure out what is happening here. I am not using very great headphones (Basic sony earbuds) but the difference IS there. I blind tested myself and I picked out the FLAC each time, easily. It sounds "fuller" like the difference between a low encoded mp3 to a high one.

The only possibility I can think of is that I screwed up the FLAC encoding and it just sounds "better" to me because I'm retarded (The MP3 and the APE sound identical).
So what's going on? Is it indeed possible for lossless codecs to vary in results?

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #1
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Is it indeed possible for lossless codecs to vary in results?
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There should be no difference, of course. I wonder about the playback software - whether the sound data was being treated in different ways after decoding. Perhaps your PC was 'processing' the data for one and not the other? I could be clutching at straws...

Have you searched the archives? I'd be surprised if someone hadn't used lossless compression and then recreated the WAV file and analysed it against the original for 100% accuracy. If APE and FLAC both pass that test, as they should, then you can be fairly certain it is something else.

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #2
what do you use to listen the tracks?  some players play and handle equalization differently between different audio formats, which could result in the difference in sound.

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #3
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what do you use to listen the tracks?


Im using winamp. I went ahead and tried the tracks in foobar and I think you are right, but it is still pretty strange. In Foobar the Mp3 and the FLAC sound the same, and both sound better than the Mp3 played in Winamp.

Strange, thank you for the help. You just saved me from a lot of would be wasted time encoding my cds into lossless.

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #4
a few years ago, when i used winamp, i did notice differences.  For example, if i converted an mp3 to wave and played both formats back with the equalizer on, they would sound different.

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #5
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Strange, thank you for the help. You just saved me from a lot of would be wasted time encoding my cds into lossless.
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Lossless is the ony choice which is NOT likely to waste your time. Lossy formats are coming and going and once you commit to one type, you can not re-encode to another format wihtout suffering two lots of losses!

Not to mention that nothing beat lossless for sound quality!

Hard disk storage is becoming seriously cheap. Just go lossless and never look back

Difference Between Lossless Codecs?

Reply #6
actually, i suspect winamp's EQ treats mp3/mp2 differently to everything else.

it's possible it works with it's internal decoder and simply turns things up and down on a per-subband basis

i have no evidence to support this, except that when running visualisations the frequency resolution was always much higher using mp3 compared to wav, suggesting it got it's data from different methods.

indeed, when you use any other plugin to decode mp3, the results are different still.  almost like winamp's internal decoder returns something other than raw PCM data to the EQ/vis plugins.

i have no explanation for the difference you heard between APE and FLAC... if there were differences, you'd most likely hear clicks, pops, fullscale noise, but nothing like a "fuller" sound unless one of them is getting a bass-boost that the other is not getting.

turn off winamp's EQ and compare again.

 
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