• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

CD vs FLAC. Which is better?

Audiolab 6000CDT Dedicated CD Transport

Rupam

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,184
Points
83
Location
Kolkata, Paschim Bango
I need to get some CDs which need to be imported from abroad. The cost will be high. So I'm looking for FLAC as replacement which is at my disposal at minimum cost.

My question is : is there any quality difference between Original CD (.cda file) vs FLAC ?

These are mainly World Music from Amethystium.

Audiophiles please comment.

Thanks
 

Staxxx

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
780
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Hi, I think I can answer this for you. Honestly, with the system that you mention in your signature, you will be unlikely to hear a difference between the CD and uncompressed lossless FLAC. I prefer uncompressed digital files in general as they sound as good (if not better in some cases) that the original CD and far more convenient.
The website you mention sells the albums in lossless FLAC, but probably in some compressed format. I still think you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference. However, if that were the case, I would buy the CDs. Hope this helps.
 

akhil7j

Active Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
356
Points
28
Location
Delhi
There is no difference in CD audio and FLAC audio. FLAC is just the zipped version of original file.

Sent from my Nexus 10 using Tapatalk HD
 

Shivam

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2010
Messages
1,723
Points
113
Location
Uttarakhand
I like the feel of holding a CD in my hands especially with the original artworks and covers. Buying/downloading flac takes that feeling away.

I enjoy CDs more than even hd flac files at times, because of the above reason. Somehow seeing the album cover on my ipad doesn't feel as good as going through the artworks of CD (or LP).
 
Last edited:

Rupam

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,184
Points
83
Location
Kolkata, Paschim Bango
I like the feel of holding a CD in my hands especially with the original artworks and covers. Buying/downloading flac takes that feeling away.

I enjoy CDs more than even hd flac files at times, because of the above reason. Somehow seeing the album cover on my ipad doesn't feel as good as going through the artworks of CD (or LP).

Purely sentimental value.... yes I know that feeling. Even if you print that artwork... its still not original.

But I'm a quality freak (thats what my better-half says :rolleyes:) .... so if flac has the same quality, I will go for FLAC.
 

Rupam

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,184
Points
83
Location
Kolkata, Paschim Bango
Hi, I think I can answer this for you. Honestly, with the system that you mention in your signature, you will be unlikely to hear a difference between the CD and uncompressed lossless FLAC.

Ain't that a harsh truth ? :sad:

But still being a hardcore av buff, I still hear the nuances of better quality file.

One thing I need to know, why does FLAC or original CDs sound warm when played without equalization, than mp3 and other lossy formats?
 

Thad E Ginathom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2009
Messages
6,381
Points
113
Location
Chennai
is there any quality difference between Original CD (.cda file) vs FLAC?

If there is any difference, the difference would be that caused by the CD player.

A CD player connected to your hifi may very well not sound the same as your PC connected to the same hifi. Playing the CD from your PC narrows the field, and makes the comparison more valid.
Shivam said:
I like the feel of holding a CD in my hands especially with the original artworks and covers.
Holding an LP in my hands, yes --- but CDs have never been the same*. Might be better to view the artwork, at decent size, on a PC monitor!
Rupam said:
why does FLAC or original CDs sound warm when played without equalization, than mp3 and other lossy formats?
Pleae check with Mr Google, but I think that the answer to this lies in the fact that the secret of lossy compression is to remove the stuff they think we can't hear, and this probably includes a lot of high-frequency stuff. The result could be "warmer-sounding" music.


*It occurs to me that comparing LP covers with CDs is like comparing real women with blow-up dolls. But I'm not sure I'm allowed to say that on this forum :eek: :lol:
 
Last edited:

koushik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
1,771
Points
83
Location
from Kolkata, now in Melbourne.
@OP- Technically there should be no differences. But life in audio world is not so simple. CD and FLAC should be played with equally good(bad) players. Jitter problem may prevail during flac playback more than cd.

Said that, it would need extremely highend system to really differentiate that. I think, atleast my system won't be able to reveal the difference.
 

Staxxx

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
780
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
@starxx - FLAC is lossless, no doubt, but not uncompressed. FLAC is compressed version. WAV is uncompressed.

That is part of the point I was trying to make about the site that the OP mentioned in his original post. However lossless uncompressed FLAC is a valid format also. Most places don't sell it commerically, however dbPowerAmp and other such programs will allow you to rip or convert to such a format.

There is an interesting point of view why this should matter at this forum page (6th post):
http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?5175-WAV-vs-FLAC-revisited
 
Last edited:

Amp_Nut

New Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
56
Points
0
Location
Mumbai
My question is : is there any quality difference between Original CD (.cda file) vs FLAC ?

Do you plan to Burn the FLAC Files onto a CD and play them or do you have a DAC for direct Computer playback ?

Why dont you do a little experiment.... Rip any 1 good CD that you have ( Use EAC - Its an Excellent free download ) and then do an A-B listen between the ripped and original.

You will have your answer.
 

Safar

New Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
168
Points
0
Location
Houston, TX
@starxx - FLAC is lossless, no doubt, but not uncompressed. FLAC is compressed version. WAV is uncompressed.

You are right FLAC is also could be compressed, But the compression rate is configurable on a scale from 1 - 5 where 1 indicates zero compression. The difference is the file size. Uncompressed FLAC could eat up quite a lot space (A 60 min album can be more than 1.5 GB). In my short experience, a compressed FLAC and an uncompressed FLAC of the same track did not create any diffrence (On my Setup)
 

Safar

New Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
168
Points
0
Location
Houston, TX
There is no difference in CD audio and FLAC audio. FLAC is just the zipped version of original file.

Sent from my Nexus 10 using Tapatalk HD

Are you sure ? In that case FLAC can be created by Zipping .WAV or .AIFF :licklips:

CD depth is 16 bit, what about 24 bit FLAC ?

I hope FM Manoj to comment, but this topic is discussed already in many threads.
 

Staxxx

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
780
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Safar: Yes, thanks. I actually don't use FLAC at all but WAV64, so uses a lot of space. I do it because my music server recommends it (and this debate was discussed elsewhere on the forum). I don't understand much of the reasoning but am happy with the sound.
For anyone's interest, although off-topic (forgive me OP) here is a new write up which discusses some interesting view-points on digital music reproduction. Of course, everyone will not see it the same way:
(Scroll to the interview with Mark Porzilli)
memory palyer 64
 

manoj.p

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
1,463
Points
113
Location
US
FLAC longform is free lossless audio codec. Lossless means, during compression, its not throwing away bits like MP3 or mp4 compression codecs do. So, if its source is CD, every bit is stored and not thrown away. Then it uses algorithm to compress that data, sort of like zip is. After extraction, you get 100% of original. It's the same way if you take a text file, zip it. After unzip, it will be exactly same as original file.

About level 1 to 5 compression in FLAC - It also similar to what zip has. Zip/rar also has different levels of compression. That levels does not mean difference in quality but rather how much processing can be spent in compressing/uncompressing it. Using different levels will make compression more efficient as far as file size is concerned. However, it will also need more processing to extract it. Not all devices can do that, so better to stick with standard level for FLAC compression as most devices are tested against it.

In a nutshell, FLAC is exact copy of the source, be it CD, DVD-Audio or any other uncompressed music data. There is no difference and no system is going to reveal it.
 

Staxxx

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
780
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Manoj: I believe we have understood about FLAC and its lossless properties. But can you clarify whether Lossless Uncompressed FLAC exists? I.e. is FLAC a format as well or only a "zipping" codec. Thanks.
 

asliarun

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
1,258
Points
113
Location
Chicago
That is part of the point I was trying to make about the site that the OP mentioned in his original post. However lossless uncompressed FLAC is a valid format also. Most places don't sell it commerically, however dbPowerAmp and other such programs will allow you to rip or convert to such a format.

There is an interesting point of view why this should matter at this forum page (6th post):
http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?5175-WAV-vs-FLAC-revisited

It sounds reasonable to think that flac will cause more jitter and timing issues to happen as it taxes the CPU more.

However doesn't an asynchronous DAC solve this problem? It is supposed to independently manage timing.
 

manoj.p

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
1,463
Points
113
Location
US
Manoj: I believe we have understood about FLAC and its lossless properties. But can you clarify whether Lossless Uncompressed FLAC exists? I.e. is FLAC a format as well or only a "zipping" codec. Thanks.

I believe DBPoweramp has an option to have uncompressed FLAC. But then it will be the same size as wav or PCM/CD.
 
Top