• This is a random question, but I'm wondering how people actually listen to their music, and the quality of it. I'm pretty much a normie and I listen to the majority of my music on Spotify (with the highest quality settings set). Recently, I found out about FLACs and the supposed quality. So I downloaded some of my favorite albums FLAC files. I'll be honest that the difference in sound quality is pretty significant. Some things that bother me are background percussion and hi hats. They usually sound really tinny (e.g. Frank Ocean - Nights), but when I listen to the same song as a FLAC I don't have any of the problems with the hi hats. The vocals are also less muddy on FLACs. The downside to FLACs is that they are expensive to buy (unless you want to go down the other path). Also, the majority of stuff doesn't have FLAC downloads, especially singles. Only albums or EPs usually have the FLACs. It's also inconvenient to listen to them (they're organized on my local Emby instance). I don't notice any difference at all when using my AirPods, but do when using my desktop speakers. I'm curious if anyone else has gone down the road of FLACs, or if people think it's just a waste of time.

  • Not everybody has the same auditive sensitivity or can afford high quality equipment to appreciate high quality sound. If you hear the difference, and have a good sound system, go for the lossless compressed formats.

    I personally always go with the best option so my CDs have been ripped to FLAC format. I admit being a little "lazy" with new stuff as I share an Apple Music account with my family and my storage media need a thorough search for useless stuff to free up space.

    I don't notice any difference at all when using my AirPods

    AirPods and basically all Bluetooth devices use a lossy compressed audio stream, nullifying the advantages of lossless formats. Look for either cabled solution with a high quality sound board or Bluetooth devices which support "HD" audio.

    TotalFreedom's Executive Community & Marketing Manager

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    Fyrsta Might have some tips on this as I know he's had a fair bit of experience with various codecs and trying to get the best quality for audio.


    Network Owner at TotalFreedom

    Managing Director at ATLAS Media Group Ltd.

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  • As a producer I’ll say that unless you have the gear, just use mp3s, while there are major technical differences, for the average music listener it really isn’t going to be noticeable. If you really care a lot about the quality, Wav files will prob give you good results. FLACs are really only necessary in my eyes if you have proper gear with an amplifier and DAC and all that

  • AirPods and basically all Bluetooth devices use a lossy compressed audio stream

    That's odd, because oftentimes they're the audio devices with the best quality for me

    I may be wrong here but iirc, the reason for this is because different Bluetooth headphones can different compression methods, but the main factor that makes some Bluetooth headphones better than others is the hardware stuff but idk I’m not qualified to talk about audio hardware, I just know the software side

  • Wav files will prob give you good results.

    Wav files are uncompressed audio streams so their quality only depends on the sampling frequency and the bit depth.

    FLAC basically works like ZIP but its algorithm is optimised for audio data. You can convert a WAV file to FLAC and get the original back.

    TotalFreedom's Executive Community & Marketing Manager

  • FLACs are really only necessary in my eyes if you have proper gear with an amplifier and DAC and all that

    I notice a difference and I just have some (admittedly pretty good) Bose speakers hooked up to my PC without anything fancy

    Well yes, my point is, while obviously there will always be some difference between the formats, the difference when you don't have the proper, will be less so than the difference when you do have said equipment. Either way, the difference isnt really worth the price tag for Flacs especially considering that not all music is available in the format. If you want something good without all the hassle go with Wav with a 44.1KhZ sample rate, this is the format almost all published musicians export their stuff in, so it's easy to find, and on top of that, it's a hell of a lot better than streaming or using mp3s. But yes, if you REALLY want that ultra high quality music go ahead and listen to FLACs but personally, I think it's not worth it

  • It's really important to note a key difference between WAV and FLAC here:

    FLAC is much smaller and gives exceptional audio quality, but bit depth and sample rate is limited, which affects the overall quality of frequencies and the amount of total unison able to be rendered. For instance, if the bit depth and sample rate are too low, the track is rendered with a crackling sound which permeates through the background and interrupts the quality of listening.

    WAV is much larger as the file is generally uncompressed, but due to that it produces pure lossless audio. It's also much more dynamic, allowing for easy editing and tweaking of the audio, and provides an unlimited bit depth and sample rate so there's no concern for oversampling when rendering the file.

  • but bit depth and sample rate is limited

    AFAIK it supports up to 24-bit, 96 kHz audio streams. Anything higher, if supported by your sound interface, is only used in raw audio processing before exporting and publishing your work.

    If an artist publishes crappy FLAC files, either he doesn't know how to use editing software, or the source files themselves are low quality. Regardless, if he instead publishes WAV files, they won't cost less.

    TotalFreedom's Executive Community & Marketing Manager

  • When i do my renders, i use WAV due to the lossless quality but i also have some very particular speficiations for the files:

    24 bit depth interpolation @ 512-point sinc (sine cardinal) sample rate

    It produces ultimately a pure lossless file with the highest possible quality. You could use 128 or 256 point sinc since the difference in quality between the three are almost imperceptible through most playback systems, but as far as FLAC goes I do not have those options and thus cannot have full control over the quality of my work.

    Converting WAV to FLAC can also cause issues if there's conflicting bit depth (unsupported) or sample rate (unsupported), and you end up losing something somewhere along the way.

    However FLAC and WAV are always better than MP3 or any other form of audio data encapsulation.

  • I appreciate I'm late to the party on this one, but there's a few things to clear up and expand on others.

    As far as I'm aware, there's no reason to use WAV (or other uncompressed audio formats) compared to FLAC (or other losslessly compressed audio formats) - they'll both support anything you'll find out in the wild.

    For music storage, I've got all of mine stored in Dropbox as well as on my Plex server. It's convenient to stream via Plexamp and I use Foobar2000 on my PC (Tek Syndicate has a video on how to set it up efficiently, it's old but it does the job - if you follow it there's a new and improved lyric plugin that you should use instead).

    I personally much prefer using it compared to streaming, having lyrics and whatnot displayed nicely in the player is so much nicer than Spotify, and using ReplayGain is a much better approach than normalisation for consistent levels between songs. It's not for everyone, but if you can hear the difference I'd highly recommended getting it setup.

    As for acquiring music, I buy CDs and rip them through ExactAudioCopy for bands I care about and acquire others through "other" means. I've not had problems with EPs and singles, places like Qobuz and 7Digital tend to have them when they're released.

    The storage need isn't excessive really, I've got plenty of music saved and it's about 700GB I think. Especially if you put it on a hard drive it's nothing nowadays.

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