CD rip FLAC & Tidal FLAC

… I know it has been discussed several times - but just for my better understanding… so FLAC is always lossless, no matter what the compression? Meaning the unpacked FLAC file is lossless once unpacked, right?

Also with Roon, Roon Software does the unpacking and then sends the unpacked - thus lossless - file to the streamer/player, right? Meaning what arrives at the streamer is always a perfect file.

So - given that the used master is identical, there can be absolutely no difference in SQ between the two - is that correct?

Yes. That’s the L part of FLAC.


Yes and no. The bits in will be the same but Sound Quality is a determination at the end of all the electronics and also depends on noise. Each computer and audio component with a power supply can introduce noise into the equation and potentially affect SQ. A computer that does more processing can add more noise, which is why it’s a good idea to separate the Core and the Output.

The bits aren’t always the same because the masterings aren’t always the same.

FLAC is only lossless relative to the source. I can make a FLAC transcode of a lossy MP3, it doesn’t make it lossless.

But that are other issues, not concerning the FLAC format itself.

Probably just me, but I think Tidal puts a little smiley face EQ on everything.

Tidal doesn’t do any EQ. If you think the EQ is smiley faced, blame the mastering, not Tidal.

… so how do i check the source-material… say I buy a lossless FLAC from Bandcamp… how do I know what they are actually selling me in the FLAC Container? Might aswell just be mp3 declared as lossless? Meaning the only way to make sure is to buy the CD and rip it yourself?

… or would the sample rate shown on my DAC 44.1 kHz be prove enough?

It is what it says regarding bits/kHz, but the source for the FLAC could be a bad MP3 (i.e. bad master). No guarantees, we could be fooled. This is actually something MQA tries to prevent by authenticating (no MQA SQ discussion, please).

… so the only way to be sure is still to actually buy the physical media and rip it yourself…

How do you know the physical media isn’t made from a lossy master ? It’s just a digital copy after all, just like a download.

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… true - so there‘s no way to really know what you‘re actually listening to… ?

9 posts were merged into an existing topic: Provenance and MQA

You can look at the Roon signal path to check that the container is correct. As to what is in the container you could use a signal analyser, but I prefer to listen to the music rather than watch an oscilloscope.

How do we know that anything fits its’ description ? In the end it’s the credit of the vendor.

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True - how reliable is Bandcamp 4 example?

Googling “Bandcamp format scandal” yields no relevant hits. I’d guess quite reliable. Things like that attract publicity and the Internet never forgets …


…say, is it true that if its a 44.1kHz 16bit file it can not be mp3?

No, a MP3 can render as 44.1/16.