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Compress FLAC flies for mobile

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I have a library of uncompressed FLAC files on my NAS (16/44 and 24/88). I would like to selectively compress some music to store on my Android phone's 64GB SD card, mainly for listening through headphones. I will likely add some music to Google Play later. What software and format do you recommend? 

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I would strongly advise you to remain with flac.

 

With dbPoweramp, you can convert your uncompressed flac to compressed flac with compression levels between 1 (lightest compression) and 8 (highest compression).  Level 5 is their recommendation.

 

Dirk

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Thanks for the comments. The difference in storage required for Level 5 vs. uncompressed FLAC is only about 5%. Hardly seems worth the effort of converting. I may as well just transfer what I have to the phone. 

 

Do you really think non-lossy is audibly better for mobile phone/iem listening? I guess I should try a few files to see if it matters to me.

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Use a bigger sd (micro?) card...reasonably priced up to 128 GB these days.

 

Discerning mp3 vs flac will depend on your headphones and environment.

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At the very least battery life will be better playing back uncompressed files. 

 

5% file size reduction doesn't necessarily hold true.  Solo piano compresses incredibly small.  Basically every file reacts differently.

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2 hours ago, jcbenten said:

Use a bigger sd (micro?) card...reasonably priced up to 128 GB these days.

I bought a 128GB card from Amazon. I successfully loaded 11GB of data as a first step. When I tried to load more files later, everything looked normal and the files were visible on the card. When I tried to play them back on the phone, they had disappeared. I tried to reload three times with the same result. I have now purchased a 64GB SanDisk card because they are a reputable company.

 

> "Discerning mp3 vs flac will depend on your headphones and environment."

 

That makes sense, but as part of the environment, I would include the attention I am paying to the music. Normally with my phone, I am not listening critically. I just want to hear some tunes. I have more resolving systems for critical listening.

 

 

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7 hours ago, audiobomber said:

I bought a 128GB card from Amazon. I successfully loaded 11GB of data as a first step. When I tried to load more files later, everything looked normal and the files were visible on the card. When I tried to play them back on the phone, they had disappeared. I tried to reload three times with the same result. I have now purchased a 64GB SanDisk card because they are a reputable company.

 

> "Discerning mp3 vs flac will depend on your headphones and environment."

 

That makes sense, but as part of the environment, I would include the attention I am paying to the music. Normally with my phone, I am not listening critically. I just want to hear some tunes. I have more resolving systems for critical listening.

 

 

I have Samsung and SanDisk 128 gb cards and no issues in my Sony DAPs.  My main phone does not take micro SD and have not tried in my work phone (Galaxy S9).  I did have one or two SanDisk 200 gb cards literally melt in my Sony...I plan to stick with the Samsung cards.  

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 5:36 PM, audiobomber said:

Thanks for the comments. The difference in storage required for Level 5 vs. uncompressed FLAC is only about 5%. Hardly seems worth the effort of converting. I may as well just transfer what I have to the phone. 

 

Do you really think non-lossy is audibly better for mobile phone/iem listening? I guess I should try a few files to see if it matters to me.

 

The difference between uncompressed flac and level 5 flac should average around 30-40 percent. You shure the files you have are uncompressed and not level 0 compression? Uncompressed flac files are actually marginally larger than the original wav files beacause of the added chunk that stores metadata.

 

Fwiw, I convert my level 8 flac files to 320 kbit/s AAC files for use with my Android phone (128 GB card). Sounds good and saves quite a lot of space even compared with flac 8.

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1 hour ago, Veovis said:

 

The difference between uncompressed flac and level 5 flac should average around 30-40 percent. You shure the files you have are uncompressed and not level 0 compression? Uncompressed flac files are actually marginally larger than the original wav files beacause of the added chunk that stores metadata.

I had no idea that zero compression was different than uncompressed. You are correct, my files are level 0 compression. 

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There is inconsistency across programs.  Not all allow uncompressed and at some point compression was extended to level 10 on a few.  One item that wasn't touched on here was which player app you are using?  The generic one packaged with the device is nowhere near as good as other paid options.  If for some reason you haven't explored that option.  Which I doubt.

 

I would consider putting a few test songs on in a couple formats and casually listen to them over a small period of time.  You may find certain genres benefit from higher bit rate and others are less degraded.   

 

The inboard DAC on something like an LG G7 (The good one only available with headphones plugged in.) may show a loss of detail or clarity with some file types.  Another less music optimized Android device will react differently.  I'm not sure if the shopping list on your generation of Android phones looks very similar or not.  Especially across flagship models. 

 

Experimentation and possibly springing for a good quality larger SD card may prove worthwhile.  Even in  products such as SSD or CF cards performance is rarely identical in smaller and larger storage capacities.  Whether the differences impacts music playback and how well they play with a given device is hard to say without some experience using the exact combination you will be.  

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I use a Sabaj Da2 DAC and Sennheiser Momentum HD1 in-ears with my Samsung Galaxy A5 phone.

 

I have very little experience with compressed music. Recently I listened to a few hours of Google Play Music on my high resolution main headphone system. I did not find the sound quality to be a barrier to enjoying the music, which is why I decided that AAC or MP3 would be acceptable for my mobile phone system.

 

So it appears that AAC can sound better than MP3, but compression software is not available for free? I do not intend to spend money on this endeavour, for a higher capacity card or software. I don't have dbPoweramp, I have Audacity, foobar2000 and Korg Audiogate. I have not investigated which of these would be suitable to compress my music. 

 

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On 11/27/2018 at 7:01 AM, audiobomber said:

I use a Sabaj Da2 DAC and Sennheiser Momentum HD1 in-ears with my Samsung Galaxy A5 phone.

 

 

Seems like you care enough about sound quality to use a DAC-amp and a good headphone with the Samsung phone, then should stay with lossless compression format to get maximum sound quality.

 

FLAC file format itself is always losslessly-compressed,  the level is only to the degree the compression being applied - the higher the level of compression the more time it takes to compress it.  During playback decoding the complexity does not increase a lot even with higher levels of compression, and hence does not really affect battery drain much.

 

Personally I always stay away from lossy compression such as mp3 or aac.  Apple ALAC is lossless.

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On 11/24/2018 at 8:39 PM, jcbenten said:

Use a bigger sd (micro?) card...reasonably priced up to 128 GB these days.

 

Not all phones and devices with SD or mSD slots can use cards of any capacity. You have to check specs to determine the biggest card you can use for each - if it’s too big, a card may not be fully accessible or even recognized.

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If the player supports it, I dont' accept anything but flac or opus -- there is a significant issue with  time resolution where material with overlaid/delayed vocals are smeared badly (to the point of being of multiple/overlaid vocals/instrucments being  indistinguishable) using lame/mp3 -- even at 320k.  At 256k, opus retains some of the seperation, isn't quite as smeary, but isn't quite perfect either for my hearing - generally better than mp3.  Flac (or other non-lossy format -- I am not religious about lossless compressed formats) is the gold standard, but in a portable/non-professinoal situation - the very best lossy compressed format is okay with me.  For listening only, even 16bit flac is okay & superior to mp3 or opus, and 48kHz i(instead of 44.1kHz) is more important than 24bits.  The cost of 96k vs 48k isn't usually very severe using flac.  24bits instead 16bits tends to be more costly, and for listening only makes a subaudible difference in noise.

I don't have a negative feeling about AAC, even though I havent played with it much -- opus is good enough for my hearing (again -- in portable sitautions, or in the worst case demo files -- the loss using opus isn't quite as serious as on mp3.)  For serious professional work, I need flac/wav/whatever uncompressed at 24bits/at least 96k, and for professoinal listening only I need 24bits/48k, but can get by with 16bits/48k.  I know that this subject is about portable, but if I am going to process a recording, I really need 24bits (or FP) at 96k or better.  Low sample rates are troublesome for certain kinds of processing (up conversion for processing is undesirable, but sometimes necessary for best quality.)

But, I think that the apparent consensus  for listening, stayling with at least 16bit lossless is a good thing.  48kHz is nicer instead of 44.1kHz, mostly for the micro sized possibility needing subsequent processing (loss of original.)  Additionally, my own superstition is that 48kHz is better than 44.1k, because conversion to 96k (I know about 88.2k, but I'd rather have 96k) potentially has less troubles.

All this is my opinion -- I am not interested in imposing my thoughts on anyone else.

 

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9 hours ago, John Dyson said:

48kHz is nicer instead of 44.1kHz, mostly for the micro sized possibility needing subsequent processing (loss of original.)  Additionally, my own superstition is that 48kHz is better than 44.1k, because conversion to 96k (I know about 88.2k, but I'd rather have 96k) potentially has less troubles.

I arrived at the opposite conclusion for my computer audio system; multiples of 44.1kHz. The grand majority of my collection is zero compression FLAC, mostly ripped CD's. I ripped my vinyl collection at 24/88. I chose this resolution because playback is virtually universal, quality vs. storage was reasonable and should I want to burn a CD, there would be no algorithm interpolation. 

 

I only have a couple of 96/24 recordings and a handful of DSD's. Two of my systems play everything at 176kHz, so no interpolation for CD, LP, or DSD replay (DSD sample rates are multiples of 44.1). My main system plays PCM in native resolution up to 96/24, downconverts 176 and 192kHz, does not play DSD.

 

Since I started this thread, I'll state for the record that I went with zero compression FLAC on my phone. 

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I think that going to flac is a good thing -- but unless I use a set of esoteric options on flac (to maximize compression), the compression doesn't seem to take very long.


The main reason for staying in the 96k realm is for pro purposes.  There is a tendancy to stay in multiple-of-96k relm (sometimes 48k, but that isn't optimal for signal processing.) -- and that is where I like to stay.  Once there is ONE conversion, then the there is little other conversion loss.

I have zero religion to stay at the standard rates because my audio processing program actually runs optimally at about 64k-72k :-).  However, for interchange (again for pro applications, often the source material is 96k/192k),  I tend to convert everything to the 96k multiple/submultible realm.

 

For listening reasons, there is little/no reason to convert TO 88.2k, but in a pinch, there is nothing wrong with using 88.2k for processing, but it seems to be relatively less common in the profesisonal circles that I have been dealing with.

 

John

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