FLAC Vs. 320kbps


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How downloaded audio works for me (priority list):

  • License must be permissive (mandatory)
  • FLAC (32bit > 24bit > 16)bit stereo PCM
  • Vorbis

This only is acceptable if (1) you have extremely expensive equipment or (2)you have lots of storage or (3) you are a douchebag.

I match the third item. (Y)

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If you're superman and have super hearing you or no one else can tell a difference between flac and 320kbps!!

256kbps is perfectly good as well and in fact, even with my half bad hearing, 192kbps ripped from a good source isn't very noticeably different either.

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I don't allow compromises for such relatively negligible space savings anymore. There's enough capacity these days, so on the main storage and playback device - PC - it's FLAC for me. On the go it's 320 kbps MP3 because of both ambient noise and hardware that would remove the original fidelity anyway.

Of course, quality depends heavily on both input data and output equipment. The latter is highly suboptimal for me but that doesn't cancel "garbage in, garbage out".

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I stick to 256-320cbr mp3 or v0. Flac is too space consuming, and has poor archiving features for what I need. Why waste 200-300mb per average album, compared to the 99-125mb conventional mp3 320-255-v0 range. I can tell the difference with higher flac bitrates, but my speakers aren't anything to brag about, so this is the rational argument.

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Except size wise it wouldn't be 4 times the time/effort but twice. And the difference is more like 60-70 vs 100%

If your headphones don't give you a noticeable difference you should get some better ones, and that doesn't even need to mean more expensive.

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Lossless audio codecs are good for archiving music, that's about it.

I agree.

I usually get the FLAC from the CD, then encode to either 256 or 320, then archive the flac.

I don't really hear the difference. 320 is good enough for me.

It's just inefficient space wise.

The reason Variable bit rate is better is because silence/quiet parts of a song aren't encoded in 320Kbps, the bitrate will dip for these parts. They don't need to be encoded in 320. Who wants to listen to silence at that bitrate? tongue.gif

Thanks for the info.

I didn't know the difference and had all mine at constant, so I'll love to variable it in future :)

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Dude!

I'm adding you as a friend and 5-star rating as you have a Thomas avatar which used to be my duvet cover years ago!

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On my PC with a very good quality sound system designed for music I cannot tell the difference on anything above 256kbps no matter what type of music.

Slightly different story with the Denon AH-D5000 headphones using a high quality headphone amp. Most of the music from 320kbps up there is very little difference or if there is I do not notice it. But on occasion depending on the song especially quieter ones the FLAC seem to have more depth.

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For me I back up all my CD's using FLAC (sitting on my DroboFS) and encode the audio for iTunes using XLD with the setting 'True VBR' set at 127 with maximum quality. Sounds perfect ranging from el-cheapo head phones all the way to the sennheiser beasts I have.

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Its best to use Flac in my opinion because you can keep and convert the music forever. If you don't have a flac, and you need a different format, your screwed. (Unless your ok with transcodes) Like they said above, I download music that I love in Flac for archiving purposes, I don't hear a ton of different, but at least I will have it in the highest quality possible if I ever want to do something with it.

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So some of you guys use both FLAC and MP3, wasting both disk space and processing time and getting suboptimal result, efforts aside? :unsure:

Not at all. You archive with lossless on the computer since there you will generally have good enough speakers for lossless to shne, then you might have a media center that uses the music and really makes use of the quality. And you're future proofing your archive, so that when you do get a proper sound system you don't need to re-rip or re-buy all your music. And lossless can be transcoded into any other format without loss, whereas mp3 will lose quality when you transcode.

And windows 7 will use hardware acceleration to live convert you music when you move it to a device that doesn't support the archived format.

So you're not wasting space, you're saving time and future and getting better sound. And space is cheap. And you're not wasting CPU, transcoding with HA is really fast.

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This largely depends on the quality of the audio gear, the person's ears, the listening room (walls etc change sound artificially, as does placing speakers on hard tables) . If I use PC speakers or connect a cheapo old stereo amp to the PC, 320kbs mp3 is where the difference stops. However with my current sound setup I can hear the differences between lossless and 320kbs

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Most people don't have speakers that could show the difference past 192KB MP3, let alone FLAC.

I rip in FLAC for archival purposes, and convert it to mp3 so that I can load it onto my mp3 player without fussing about

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Other than say Pink Floyd, there will be no real difference between FLAC/OGG/320kbps unless you have decent gear.

I will only rip to FLAC, HDD space is cheap and since even my phone can play FLAC I don't need to waste the time to transcribe anything.

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Most people don't have speakers that could show the difference past 192KB MP3, let alone FLAC.

I rip in FLAC for archival purposes, and convert it to mp3 so that I can load it onto my mp3 player without fussing about

Damn straight !

Its really sad and pathetic how the vast majority of people out there use crappy little pc speakers / amp

or the filthy useless crappy cheapo garbage headphones that come with their portable, cell, ipod etc

I see no reason to buy products that play music unless i can get an quality / acceptable listening experience.

My phone plays music and has a mini sd card slot but so what its crap. hence the buying of my portable that plays flac :)

My PC is hooked up to "Yamaha Natural Sound Stereo Amplifier AX-400u" with acceptable speakers.

There is no excuse for plugging your pc into those garbage little pc speaker things.

My amp cost me $7 canadian @ value village..

And i have Sony neodynium magnet earbuds with nice specs (I read reviews online Shure, Bose all that crap and went with Sony)

If anyone buys an ipod they should open the package in the store and throw them on the floor and stomp on them !

I highly doubt most people out there are aware on what they are missing out on..

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I use FLAC only and I hear a "huge" difference from 256kbps mp3 to FLAC.

However - it also depends on what you're using to listen to the music. If it's a $50 logitech 2.1 desktop speaker set or a mid/high end amplifier and speakers you do hear a big difference.

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I have a pair of speakers I built myself, with separate woofer and tweeter, my own crossover, etc, and I still can't tell the difference. There might be one, but not large enough for me to figure out if it's placebo or not.

So either

a) I suck at building speakers

b) people who claim they can hear the difference with anything less then studio quality equipment are lying

or c) i have terrible hearing

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I have "Nevermind" by Nirvana in FLAC and converted it to ALAC (no quality loss) and put it on my iPod and play it in my car and there is a pretty noticeable difference from my 320 mp3 version and the new version. And no I don't have the "Remastered" crap that was just released.

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MP3 relies on the idea that most waveforms are very repetitive in nature. It sucks at reproducing very random ones, for example people clapping in a concert hall. Or certain music like Autechre's Gantz Graf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyJfHU4GoOQ

For curiosity I converted a FLAC encode of that song to mp3 320kbps and did a spectrum analysis in Audacity. Here are the results.

Original, FLAC:

post-138285-0-36015700-1317864662.png

Lame MP3 320kbps CBR:

post-138285-0-28357600-1317864682.png

Difference:

post-138285-0-19532800-1317864731.png

The difference over most of the spectrum is minimal, but there's a complete cut-off at around 20khz. A 44.1khz Audio CD can reproduce up to 22.05khz.

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