WAV or FLAC Which is Superior ?

augustya

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 17, 2012
3,286
448
is WAV a better format or FLAC Format @ 16-bit/44.1kHz better ?

I have purchased some Music from Beatport though they sound good, I am just curious which is superior quality ?
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,620
1,435
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A FLAC and WAV file encoded at 44.1/16 format will sound the same but the WAV file will be larger in size.

I used to rip my cd collection to wav but switched to FLAC to save space.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pmore

augustya

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Feb 17, 2012
3,286
448
A FLAC and WAV file encoded at 44.1/16 format will sound the same but the WAV file will be larger in size.

I used to rip my cd collection to wav but switched to FLAC to save space.
So but the quality of Music will be the same with Both ? is it ?
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,620
1,435
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I could not hear a difference. WAV and FLAC are different containers for the music with FLAC using lossless compression, just like DTS-HD and TrueHd use lossless compression.
 

1050792

macrumors Demi-God
Oct 2, 2016
2,515
3,989
Usually WAV is of the highest quality possible without compression, the file size is big. FLAC is of lower quality than WAV because there's compression of the signal to save size.
 

cbautis2

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2013
735
733
Why use FLAC where ALAC is 100% compatible with OSX and iOS? I rip all of my CDs in ALAC and it retains CD or 24 bit information completely
 
Just another vote for the sound parity of FLAC/ALAC/WAV. Lossless compression is a marvelous thing and I wouldn’t use WAV or AIFF for those very reasons. I’d add that, from what I’ve read, AIFF also has tagging problems.

CDs are only 44.1/16?
Yes, but other disc formats have wider parameters.

I’m not expert enough to explain in detail but have recently begun ripping the hi-res stereo, quad and 5.1 layers of Blu-rays I own. These are often 24-bit and are usually 96 or 192 kbps. I believe still 44.1 but that’s not a metric I’ve had to deal with much. SACD also uses DSD, about which I know little, and I think that may be 24-bit. DVD-Audio’s spec allowed foe 24/192 as well.

For the heck of it, I recommend a few forums for asking greater detail on these fronts:
  1. Computeraudiophile — I rarely visit but there are very knowledgeable folks there with deep knowledge and breadth of experience.
  2. Stevehoffman.tv — this forum is hosted by an audiophile mastering engineer with phenomenal experience. The subforums are very busy and are focused mainly in music, film/tv, and technical media formats for enjoying those areas. Lots of technical folks. Be polite and patient with people who wiphinge “use the search function”... which reminds me, use the search function before asking! And be ready to encounter the most Beatle-obsessed [mostly men] you may ever find and who often crankily forget music continued past 1974.
  3. QuadraphonicQuad — mostly devoted to surround sound music, this is a quieter but more personable place where questions can be found or asked. These folks know a lot about the tech side of media because it’s the nature of their niche. They’re quite laid back in my experience.
  4. Avsforum —much more technical and hardware focused but it can come in handy.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SandboxGeneral

cbautis2

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2013
735
733
I know many high-resolution audio files are 96/24 and 192/24 but aren't SACDs 2.8224 MHz/1 bit?
DSD64 is about 5.6 Mbps while 24/96 is about 4.6 Mbps. 11.2 for DSD128 while it's 9.2Mbps for 24/192. Anyhow, DSD is not supported by many streamers so it's not really a good format to use.
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,620
1,435
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The reason I mentioned SACD because it's native format is not 24 bit but 1 bit quantization. In order to play DSD files, many players need to convert it to pcm before being processed by a DAC. With high end DACs, they can convert DSD directly to analog.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,666
469
Redondo Beach, California
Usually WAV is of the highest quality possible without compression, the file size is big. FLAC is of lower quality than WAV because there's compression of the signal to save size.
The above is wrong. FLAC uses lossless compression. The bits you hear are bit-by-bit exactly the same
[doublepost=1529728862][/doublepost]
CDs are only 44.1/16?

Yes. Note that a sample rate of 44.1K is enough to encode the full audio range up to 20KHz. Most people who are older then teen age ca't hear 20KHz.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,666
469
Redondo Beach, California
I know CDs are only 44.1/16 and can hit 20 kHz but it's still not as good as using 24 bit encoding.
16 Bits is a good distribution format. And after mastering it "fits" within human hearing. It is easy to fall into the trap where you thing something is better but in practice yuan't know the difference.

24 bits with 96K sample rate is a very good studio recording format. The reason is is used is because these recordings will be PROCESSED. they will be mixed with other tracks, likely compressed. There is an effect called "quantization noise" that occurs with t=yu do math with digital data, the high number of bits allows the data to be processed with no loss.

But after processing, including mastering

24 bit recording is great. In the old days we used to have to carefully set levels so at not to clip but with 24 bits clipping is nearly impossible. So 24-bit is universally popular in studios not because it sounds better but for technical reasons

Bt for playback of mastered material do you really need more than 96dB of dynamic range? If so how are you reproducing it?

It could be that you like 24-bit recordings because of the way they are mastered. People mastering for 24 bit, I think might use less compression the THAT is what you prefer but if you converted those files to rebook audio format you'd still like it and could nt tell the difference.

You can experiment yourself if you have a microphone and some equipment. then play it back as 320AAC, 44.1/16 or96/24 and if you listen blind try and determine which you are hearing. You'd need software that randomly switches formats
 
  • Like
Reactions: IronWaffle

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,620
1,435
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I buy my tracks in 96/24 and 192/24 so I'm not sure where compression is applied but I have compared the same files in a 44.1/16 format and I can clearly hear better quality with flac, dsd, alac, and dff.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,666
469
Redondo Beach, California
Everyone can hear the difference when they know which track they are listening to.

Try having some one switch the tracks and not tel you. NO. "A" and "B" testing is not valid. They must literally flip a coin, this way after the coin flip there night not be a switch. You might hear the same track again or not. Your job is to write down which one you are hearing Then after 20 or so coin flips see how many times out of 20 you got it right..

A failing score is 50% because a deaf person could score 50% by guessing

Try this with more then two kinds of recordings 96/24. CD and 320AAC and just for education 128MP3.

Most listeners score about 50%

It is very important that the person switching the tracks does the EXACT same thing each time including how long he takes to switch the tracks

++++

About if the recording are the same -- put them in Garage Band or Logic, time align them and subtract one from the other. If they are the same yo are left with just white noise. Anything else and they are different.

This is an educational way to see how MP3 is different from FLAC to. Convert both to WAV then subtract the files
 
  • Like
Reactions: LCC0256
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.