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FLAC and bitrate...

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Hi everyone,


We all know that FLAC is a lossless format that use a compression method than doesn't eliminate music information, but works more closely to the ZIP or RAR principle, right?


well I would have a question about the bitrate...


WAV has a fixed bitrate of 1411 kbps. When I played several FLAC files through foobar I realized that the bitrate was slightly different each time, and of course lower than 1411: I found in fact values for example of 1035 andf 1104 kbps.


well, 400 kbps less are really no data being taken out compared to a WAV? what those 400kbps would carry on a normal WAV file?

I am interested in getting a deeper understanding of these lossless compression methods...


thank you in advance for your contributions,




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I'll try this again. I was mostly done with an answer when the forum hiccupped and everything disappeared.


Lossless compression, such as that used in programs like Stuffit and Zip for computer data files, work by replacing strings of repetitive data with a code that allows the original data to be reconstructed. Any data has repetitive elements but they do vary so the actual compression achieved will vary. Usually it's around 40% for this Lempel-Ziv type compression. What you're seeing with the 400 kilobits lacking in the data rate is the difference between the unencoded file and the encoded one; it takes 400k to send the repetitive data literally.


I've not noticed any consistent variation by type of music. You could take 10 1-hour CDs and they'd all end up having different file sizes after you'd copied them to your computer.


The key concept is that all data is still in the file. It's just coded differently, to take up less space. You'll run into lots of arguments about lossless being truly lossless but to my ears there is no difference between lossless and the full WAV file. With disk space being so cheap now, though, compression is less essential than it used to be.


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