Difference between FLAC and WAV?


Thanks for clarification. :slight_smile:


I’m not implying that FLAC is a lossy format, I’m trying to say that any format that undergoes compression is prone to dropout due to inability to fully reconstruction the original data. When you zip a file and is partially corrupted there’s very little chance you can fully recover it when compared to a file that is not compressed. My argument is how robust and reliable is lossless compression compared to uncompressed file?

And why professional studios still prefer to store raw uncompressed format for archiving? There must be a real reason behind it. It is the robust and durability in question.

As for MQA, it is a lossy format encapsulated in a lossless container like FLAC so it can playback easily on any FLAC decoders, it is like telling people that MQA is indeed lossless but it is not really the fact.


I didn’t disagree - that’s why I did elaborate on the archiving use case.If archiving is not the most important aspect of the usage scenario, FLAC or ALAC are viable options.

(Scott Winders) #24

This is just plain wrong. No robust lossless compression scheme, like FLAC, is prone to drop out because there are no issues with the “reconstruction” (decompression, really) of the original data. If a partially corrupt file was compressed using FLAC, it would be decompressed to that same partially corrupt file. The compressed file is at least as robust and reliable as the uncompressed file. In fact, since the compressed file is smaller, it is likely to be more robust as there is less bits that could change.

Lossless compression is used in computers all the time and is completely robust.

Pro studios don’t want to deal with converting files to use them. That is why they keep everything in their native uncompressed format.


Shh, don’t confuse the man.

(Christoph Longree) #26

So if I understand the grand majority here, when I stream my lossless FLAC (ripped via dBpoweramp accurate) from my Roon Core to the AURALiC Aries G1 endpoint there should be no audible difference to a lossless WAV file… correct?


:grinning: Yes, you’re safe.

(Christoph Longree) #28

:sweat_smile:… and I was starting to get worried I‘d done it all wrong…

(Dan Brown) #29

@Christoph_Longree. You’ll be fine mate.
If you’re still concerned, do what I did when I first got Roon…

Get one of the best produced tracks you know of, and are really familiar with from your CD collection.

Rip it as WAV, FLAC (I also ripped as ALAC and AIFF as I have a MAC)

Put all the tracks in a folder on your hard-drive and point Roon at the folder.

Put them all in the Roon queue, one after the other.

Constantly skip between them and listen to similar sections of each.

Spend a merry half hour doing this.

If you can hear any difference, choose the best.

I couldn’t hear any difference so I happily carried on ripping my collection in ALAC.

Best of luck! :nerd_face:

(Christoph Longree) #30

All good - I‘ll stick to the FLAC and if I really want lossless I‘ll spin my vinyl :blush::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Dan Brown) #31

I was the same, I’d already ripped about 50 albums as ALAC before I got Roon. I was pretty sure they were fine, Roon allowed me to quickly compare between them and raw WAV. My worries were quickly dissipated.

(Scott Winders) #32

With FLAC, you are getting lossless!!

(Dan Brown) #33

I think tongue was in cheek @winders

Digital is always lossy! Analogue isn’t! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Chris ) #34

I use Flac all the time and never have drop outs. So I conclude my system is hardly prone to them.

(Chris ) #35

Even vinyl is Lossy due to the constraints of the format.

(Christoph Longree) #36

Ah - but now this is a different discussion all together… what I wanted to make sure off to ease my soul when playing digital music is, that when I rip my CDs I have no inferior sound to playing the original CD… when I compare analog to digital, digital almost always looses… I can certainly say that I can hear a clear “difference” between analog and digital, regardless of preference and what is better in a plain technical sense… and I can almost always say that analog sounds better to my ears and personal taste…

But then - Vinyl is Vinyl… no battle of the formats here… but digital stuff gets so much more complicated and it`s good to know that FLAC is just fine as a format :wink:

(Dan Brown) #37

Yep. I believe Vinyl has a ‘sound’ that is very likeable. I also think that with a bit of gentle eq’ing in Roon DSP, digital sources can be made to sound a bit more ‘vinyl’ like!

Another reason I went for Roon, I needed to tweak the eq, just a little bit to suit my room and ears, and the fact that Roon does all that, and does it really well, was a major selling point.

But… I’m going off topic now… so… enough of that! :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, it is indeed true, do your maths. When you compressed a file, you actually divide down or reduce the amount of data by a typical factor 1.75x in the case of FLAC.

During decoding, the decoder need to essentially ‘expand’ or multiple by a factor of 1.75x in order to restore back to its original file size. For every loss of data before it gets decoded back, it is amplified by a factor of 1.75x at the decoder side! This loss of data is very huge (after attempt to get it decoded) and it is virtually impossible to reconstruction back.

In a uncompressed file when you loss some data, you will loss only that data by a ratio of 1:1, not the amplified loss in the case of lossless compression. And because the loss of data is very much lower, error correction can sometime recovered a corrupted file. This boiled down to the robust and durability of the algorithm.

Apart of zipping your personal files, critical system files and registries uses uncompressed packing and encryption to restore back.

Yes, they do conversion to MP3/AAC or FLAC for distribution.

(Scott Winders) #39

There is no loss of data. You do realize that lossless compression/decompression is a mature and reliable technology, don’t you? Heck, we’ve had block and file level compressed mass storage options on mission critical systems for a decade now.

Maybe you should avoid commenting on this technology if you don’t know enough about it.

(Scott Winders) #40

FLAC files have a checksum so it possible to check file integrity and they are no more likely to be corrupted on disk or SSD than any other file.