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Why not chose WAV files from HDTracks if they are available?


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Hello All,

 

New to this forum as a member, but not new to many other audio related forums.

 

If HDTracks offers the album I want in WAV format, is there any reason I should not pick WAV over FLAC, ALAC or AIFF except for the size of the files?

 

I'd like to get the best possible file quality.

 

Thanks,

Scott

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Hi Scott. Welcome to CA.

 

The file quality in each case is identical*, and if you choose wav, you will get a file converted from flac and all the metadata stripped off.

 

A much greater concern should be whether the alleged HD files are in fact HD. Check the analysis forum for some examples.

 

* cf: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/wgscott/converting-among-lossless-files-preserves-data-401/

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Hi Scott. Welcome to CA.

 

The file quality in each case is identical*, and if you choose wav, you will get a file converted from flac and all the metadata stripped off.

 

Can you please specify the source of this information? Based on my observations, the WAV files sold by HDtracks have the same metadata as contained in the FLAC versions.

 

Also, just because a file contains metadata does not necessarily imply that its original format is FLAC. It could just as easily have been created as WAV, and then ported to the other formats. There are many software tools available today which offer full metadata support for WAV.

 

Trevor

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Can you please specify the source of this information? Based on my observations, the WAV files sold by HDtracks have the same metadata as contained in the FLAC versions.

 

Also, just because a file contains metadata does not necessarily imply that its original format is FLAC. It could just as easily have been created as WAV, and then ported to the other formats. There are many software tools available today which offer full metadata support for WAV.

 

Trevor

 

WAV files do not have a standard place to put metadata (tags), so the WAV files you download from HDTracks (or elsewhere) do not have standard tags in them. If you are seeing tags (including track names / numbers, artists, artwork, etc.), your player software must somehow be retrieving them automatically from the Internet or be one of the few that actually read unstructured tag data that may be stored in the INFO field.

 

If you move those files to another machine, the metadata likely will "disappear", as it is typically stored only in the player software's database, *not* embedded in the file.

 

As wgscott points out, FLAC files are simply "ZIPped" WAV files - the audio data (once unzipped) is bit-for-bit identical. As long as your player is properly "unzipping" the file, playback will sound the same. As FLAC (and ALAC) has full support for tagging, and takes up quite a bit less diskspace, many choose FLAC / ALAC for these conveniences.

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Can you please specify the source of this information? Based on my observations, the WAV files sold by HDtracks have the same metadata as contained in the FLAC versions.

 

Also, just because a file contains metadata does not necessarily imply that its original format is FLAC. It could just as easily have been created as WAV, and then ported to the other formats. There are many software tools available today which offer full metadata support for WAV.

 

Trevor

 

If you use their downloader, the downloader downloads flac files and (optionally) converts them on your computer to wav or aiff or alac.

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WAV files do not have a standard place to put metadata (tags), so the WAV files you download from HDTracks (or elsewhere) do not have standard tags in them. If you are seeing tags (including track names / numbers, artists, artwork, etc.), your player software must somehow be retrieving them automatically from the Internet or be one of the few that actually read unstructured tag data that may be stored in the INFO field.

 

If you move those files to another machine, the metadata likely will "disappear", as it is typically stored only in the player software's database, *not* embedded in the file.

 

As wgscott points out, FLAC files are simply "ZIPped" WAV files - the audio data (once unzipped) is bit-for-bit identical. As long as your player is properly "unzipping" the file, playback will sound the same. As FLAC (and ALAC) has full support for tagging, and takes up quite a bit less diskspace, many choose FLAC / ALAC for these conveniences.

 

First of all, I made no comment regarding the sonic merits of WAV versus FLAC.

 

I merely pointed out that the HDtracks WAV files are fully tagged, and the metadata is readable using widely available software. It is not a case of my software / PC pulling info from the internet. That is simply not happening here. I have accessed all my WAV downloads using multiple computers, and using a variety of standard software (e.g. Foobar 2000, dbPoweramp, VLC), and the metadata is retained across platforms without any issues.

 

Whether the metadata tags are 'standard', as in what I suppose is considered standard for FLAC, MP3, etc, is another issue. But to have someone make a comment that HDtracks WAV files strip off metadata is quite frankly an inaccurate statement (or assumption).

 

Here is a sample of typical output reported by dbPoweramp, from a recent Van Morrison download:

 

Moondance_dbPoweramp.jpg

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The metadata are not contained within the wav file itself. It has nothing to do with HDtracks per se.

 

It may be that when the flac files downloaded from HDtracks are converted on your computer to wav, the metadata that cannot be embedded within the wav files become imported from the flac file and associated in a relational database that points to the wav file.

 

The wav file itself does not contain the metadata embedded within the container, unlike flac, aiff, alac, mp3, etc.

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In any case, if you are using dbpoweramp, it makes more sense to download flac and then convert it to "uncompressed flac" (not level 0 compression). This is essentially a totally uncompressed file (like wav), but in a flac "shell". You get embedded metadata with the files (unlike wav), and the file itself is uncompressed and requires no decompression on playback.

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Hello All,

 

New to this forum as a member, but not new to many other audio related forums.

 

If HDTracks offers the album I want in WAV format, is there any reason I should not pick WAV over FLAC, ALAC or AIFF except for the size of the files?

 

I'd like to get the best possible file quality.

 

Thanks,

Scott

 

Hi Scott, no reason at all. This part of your post, "I'd like to get the best possible file quality." will likely bring much heated discussion. My suggestion is to download the WAV file and feel confident in your choice, just don't tell anyone ;)

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The metadata are not contained within the wav file itself. It has nothing to do with HDtracks per se.

 

It may be that when the flac files downloaded from HDtracks are converted on your computer to wav, the metadata that cannot be embedded within the wav files become imported from the flac file and associated in a relational database that points to the wav file.

 

The wav file itself does not contain the metadata embedded within the container, unlike flac, aiff, alac, mp3, etc.

 

You are entitled to believe whatever you want. However, you are wrong this time.

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In any case, if you are using dbpoweramp, it makes more sense to download flac and then convert it to "uncompressed flac" (not level 0 compression). This is essentially a totally uncompressed file (like wav), but in a flac "shell". You get embedded metadata with the files (unlike wav), and the file itself is uncompressed and requires no decompression on playback.

 

My opinion also.

However, even if the flac is stored compressed, you can have it transcoded to wav before playback.

I transcode on minimserver to wav24, and this way, I release the renderer of having to perform that operation.

 

Some people report better quality with this transcoding. I can report that, at least, it's not detrimental to SQ.

If there are any improvement is also very marginal on my system and ears...

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I don't have a reason to use Wave but I can think of several reason why someone would want to.

 

1. The application does support any other lossless format, for example the PS3 never supported FLAC/ALAC etc. But did support Wave.

 

2. There might be bad performance on older, slower systems and applications with the decoding of Flac. I remember back in the day my audio would skip and pause while playing Flac until I would increase a buffer size. Also different softwares interact and make requests with the CPU differently than others..badly coded software sending too many request to the CPU at once which in turn cycles more power from the power supply can cause more noise going through the system and can produce jitter in the audio playback. For these applications giving them less work to do like uncompressing Flac, give better performance.

 

3. Some people assume "Compression" is synonymous with "Lossy" and think Wave is the true lossless.

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