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miguelito

Move from AIFF to FLAC?

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This is my setup:

- Library is formed of AIFF files for anything PCM (red book rips and purchases), DSF (SACDs ripped and purchased files), FLAC (MQA files don't like to be transcoded to AIFF, the header info can get messed up and not recognized as MQA).

- I am an exclusively Mac user as well as iOS user.

- Main system: I use Roon from dedicated Mac mini over network to dCS Rossini, sometimes I use Audirvana

- Office/laptop: Headphones over Roon or Audirvana

- Mobile: Have an iTunes+ library, and also put hi-res files on the phone using Onkyo HF Player

 

Why do I use AIFF? Two reasons:

1- I read uncompressed formats (WAV and AIFF) sounded better - this is probably an outdated assessment

2- Did not use WAV because there's no (official) support for tagging

 

Additionally, I just did a FLAC vs AIFF comparison via Roon and frankly I cannot tell the difference. FLAC is lossless (I KNOW!!!), bits are bits, etc, except lower processing requirements sometimes result in better sound quality. Also know that there's ALAC which is essentially Mac's version of FLAC, but I don't really want to use that. Too much Mac in my life already.

 

Questions:

1- Should I transcode all my AIFF to FLAC?

Advantage is the smaller size to use on portable devices - you can play FLAC on an iPhone with Onkyo HF Player, you can play them on the Mac with Audirvana or Quicktime, etc...

 

2- Has anyone done a recent assessment of FLAC vs uncompressed? If so with what exact setup?

 

3- Any Mac users who have any comments on using FLAC?


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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I have Roon sometimes with Hqplayer...I can hear the differences from flac to aiff, and aiff is much better...

even the ripping speed/ software/ hardware matters... but that’s easy to try out yourself...

 

good listening...

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transcode the files you want to fit on your iPhone

 

wait on doing everything


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

transcode the files you want to fit on your iPhone

 

wait on doing everything

I have done that already. But now I have essentially three copies of my library: AIFF, ALAC (for iPhone), and iTunes+. It is a bit cluttered for sure... :) Which is why I'd like to simplify a bit...


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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2 hours ago, miguelito said:

This is my setup:

 

 

Why do I use AIFF? Two reasons:

1- I read uncompressed formats (WAV and AIFF) sounded better - this is probably an outdated assessment

 

 

Additionally, I just did a FLAC vs AIFF comparison via Roon and frankly I cannot tell the difference. FLAC is lossless (I KNOW!!!), bits are bits, etc, except lower processing requirements sometimes result in better sound quality. Also know that there's ALAC which is essentially Mac's version of FLAC, but I don't really want to use that. Too much Mac in my life already.

 

Questions:

1- Should I transcode all my AIFF to FLAC?

Advantage is the smaller size to use on portable devices - you can play FLAC on an iPhone with Onkyo HF Player, you can play them on the Mac with Audirvana or Quicktime, etc...

 

2- Has anyone done a recent assessment of FLAC vs uncompressed? If so with what exact setup?

 

3- Any Mac users who have any comments on using FLAC?

Hiya,

I have tested and compared AIFF to FLAC and the SQ differences are apparent especially on better recorded material. I only listen to redbook level playback. I compared them using LMS and MPD/DLNA/MiniMServer. The differences include less soundstage and instrument separation. sounds, - (especially drums) in the upper bass are less distinguishable from different drums with a similar tone. Less detail in the upper treble with FLAC, + less "richness" in upper treble......

 

My gear is APL universal player, Sonore ultra-Rendu. QNAP NAS running LMS and MiniMserver, Gustard U16, BlueCircle BC204, Merlin VSM...

 

I don't like having too much music on my iPhone, - (I have about 224 songs). I do not notice any difference between FLAC and AIFF on my iphone, - or on my bedroom system, - which has a primary IF of squeezebox touch with a LPS.


The hard drives for my NAS were cheap, - so I don't think twice about it. I have about 40,000 songs on the NAS. I do not stream over the INternet, - I hate Tidal, - and I would never use MQA.

 

In your excellent system, - I would find it difficult to imagine that you couldn't hear a difference between AIFF and FLAC, - unless you use ROON, - (which I also do not like, and would never spend money on).

 

Cheers,

 

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I agree WAV sounds better than FLAC on my dual PC setup. However, I store everything in FLAC and then use an ancient little Windows tool called FlacWavLoader to convert FLAC to WAV on the fly and play it from RAM. Easy and conversion (using SoX) is very fast. Best of both worlds: economic with space and good SQ.


 

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On 7/1/2019 at 9:48 AM, miguelito said:

Too much Mac in my life already

 

I believe the term for recognizing the ills of being locked into a thoughtscape/ecosystem is a bunch of people smelling each other's farts.  All you desire is fresh air and interactions that aren't possible without a clean break.  Blow the stink off.

 

Phones are impossible to distance from nowadays.  A good start might be parking some music on your phone for the third quarter.  Then set out to sleep less and listen to live music until you feel refreshed enough to not let Apple into your life so closely.

 

 

 

FLAC needs to be examined, studied, as a different animal.  Especially as it coexists with WAV.  For experimenting metadata shouldn't be as concerning as determining how your system reacts, if at all, to using the different formats.  The problem is your higher end equipment and sophisticated playback routines are going to eliminate a good deal of room for inconsistencies to get through. 

 

More twists and turns, more boxes, more knobs to twiddle, more chances to make the small variations we as humans crave.  No musician plays a song the unerringly exact same damned way a recording does.  Again, take in the stale air required to breathe in live music.  Don't change a thing where your music collection or system are concerned.  :)

 

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12 hours ago, rando said:

I believe the term for recognizing the ills of being locked into a thoughtscape/ecosystem is a bunch of people smelling each other's farts.  All you desire is fresh air and interactions that aren't possible without a clean break.  Blow the stink off.

 

Phones are impossible to distance from nowadays.  A good start might be parking some music on your phone for the third quarter.  Then set out to sleep less and listen to live music until you feel refreshed enough to not let Apple into your life so closely.

Yes, live music is great. Contrary to expectations from people who don’t listen to it, it is actually a very different experience from listening to music through a good system - oftentimes it sounds much worse (talk about the impact of the “room” for one...) but there are other qualities that make it “music” and fun.

 

12 hours ago, rando said:

FLAC needs to be examined, studied, as a different animal.  Especially as it coexists with WAV.  For experimenting metadata shouldn't be as concerning as determining how your system reacts, if at all, to using the different formats.  The problem is your higher end equipment and sophisticated playback routines are going to eliminate a good deal of room for inconsistencies to get through. 

For one, metadata to me is absolutely essential. Choosing a format like WAV that does not officially support metadata is something I would never consider regardless of how good it sounds. This is why I went with AIFF, which I understand is a fully open standard anyway, with official support for metadata. The way I listen to files these days is via Roon, and as such over RAAT, so the uncompression is done on the Roon core server and sent as raw PCM to the DAC over the network. This is why I think I can hear no difference. If I were running the DAC off of the USB of the same machine doing the uncompression, then I would be more wary of a difference.

 

12 hours ago, rando said:

More twists and turns, more boxes, more knobs to twiddle, more chances to make the small variations we as humans crave.  No musician plays a song the unerringly exact same damned way a recording does.  Again, take in the stale air required to breathe in live music.  Don't change a thing where your music collection or system are concerned.  :)

I used to be a tweaker, but these days I have less and less interest in that, and instead I prefer to just listen, possibly knowing there might be a twist that might improve the sound by 0.1%... :)  


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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On 7/1/2019 at 11:07 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

I believe FLAC has the best metadata options and is now supported by everything except iTunes.

 

Right. ITunes is of no concern to me in this regard. I have a large iTunes+ library fully synced with my phone and that’s mostly what I listen to on mobile, on top of Spotify, TIDAL, and Qobuz of course.

 

You say above that FLAC has the best metadata options. Is the metadata in FLAC any different/more complete than the one in AIFF?


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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42 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I believe AIFF uses ID3 and FLAC uses vorbis tagging. The latter is incredibly flexible and not really limited. 

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorbis_comment

Thx Chris. I suppose this is why I had trouble with a few AIFF files (not all) being recognized by Roon & Audirvana as MQA. That tag prob doesn’t exist in ID3.

 

Specifically (Just FYI): Some (not all!) of the tracks in Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved A Man Like I Loved You” MQA version (purchased) do not show as MQA files in Roon or Audirvana when transcoded from FLAC to AIFF. They probably play as MQA though, I didn’t check. So I kept the FLAC format for these. 


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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It doesn't appear likely my thoughts have relevance so I'll wish you and your Apple Wynd Plus Smart Personal air purifier a happy 4th of July.  

 

Simply amazed that object exists.  😂

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I don't personally believe it matters. My NAS can compress directories or not -- which means files are automagically decoded before being sent out over the network. In this setting FLAC does require a bit less storage but not drastic. 

 

In any case all of my source files, whether they be FLAC, or AIFF or ALAC or DSF or even MP3 are transformed before being sent to the DAC, either upsampled or upconverted.

 

Probably not worth the effort to convert -- compress your directory if you really care about space. All my file formats coexist.


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I have 7 backup copies of my library - yes I am a backup freak - so I can revert anytime. 

 

Couple of questions:

1- I would do this on a mac - is XLD the best choice?

2- Any settings to tweak in the FLAC encoder in XLD?

 

Any other advice?

 

Thx. 

 

Miguel


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

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XLD works fine for me - I just leave it set to the defaults and let 'er rip


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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