Difference between FLAC and WAV?

(simon arnold) #102

Hows what?. Just edited my post as I had a few glasses of vino last night and noticed it made no sense. :slight_smile:

(Christoph Longree) #103

I have done my share of research on the internet on this topic and boy was it entertaining… War of the Worlds…

… I enjoyed the 1000$ bet offered on telling the difference between FLAC and WAV… obviously no one was willing to take it on.

I certainly hear no difference - the argument I accept and/or the question I keep asking myself though is:

Storage is as cheap as never before and will continue to be so - if there is NO discussion at all about the SQ of WAV - as it is the perfect CD copy - and some (if ever so minimal) chance exists, that FLAC actually is (and if it`s only the slightest possibility) inferior - why not use WAV in the first place and eliminate any existing microscopic chance of missing out on something?

Or - let me put the question this way - are there any advantages FLAC may have over WAV - other than storage (which should not be an issue due to pricing)?

So if WAV is 100% save and FLAC is 99.9% save and there is no real argument pro FLAC other than storage (which again should not be an issue) - why not just stick with WAV?

(Janne Johansson) #104

For a moment there you almost had it.

The main benefit of FLAC really is smaller size for the same exact content, but there is also the fact that metadata with FLAC is way better supported than metadata with WAV.

I’m pretty tired of these FUD tactics. Lossless compression means that after decompression the data is exactly the same as before compression. It wouldn’t be universally accepted as lossless if it wasn’t. And it’s even really easy to verify, but why not turn to the second guessing instead.

(GaryM) #105

My use of FLAC has nothing to do with saving space.

  1. FLAC has standard tags that any server/player that handles FLAC files can read and use properly. WAV file tagging is hit and miss. No standard and often causes issues with servers/players that play WAV files but don’t necessarily deal with the particular tagging method.

  2. MOST IMPORTANT TO ME. FLAC files have embedded CRCs. WAV files do not (neither do Apple Lossless files). This is a major point to me. For example, I can copy 2TB of FLAC files over to a new backup drive. When done, I can (with a couple of mouse clicks) run a batch test of whether any of these files on the new drive are corrupted (and don’t have CRCs that match the embedded CRCs to confirm that the copied file is exactly the same as the original file).

For example, I recall a case where someone’s HDD started having some issues. Turns out that some of the files on the drive were corrupted. Most were fine. Backup had unfortunately copied the corrupted files too. If these had been FLAC files, he could have run a batch job overnight to test all the files and produced a list of exactly which files were corrupt. But because he used WAV files, he had no way of doing this and could only determine whether the WAV files were corrupt by attempting to play each one individually. Not practical with 100,000 tracks.

(Christoph Longree) #106

Thanx - I`ll stick with FLAC :slight_smile:

(Martin Webster) #107

I find this statement lacks credibility. Can you substantiate this with some evidence? How is the noise transmitted from core via RAAT to bridge and then the DAC to the extent it can be heard? :man_superhero:


We could open another round of discussion just about this assumption. :slight_smile:

The $/GB indicator given by storage manufacturers doesn’t reflect the real cost of storage. Neither does it take into account that stored data has to be transmitted (cloud or not) and at times also preserved.

FLAC’s cool. Just use it. :wink:

(Mark) #109

(Chris ) #110

Where does anyone keep all those albums?

(Martin Webster) #111

Are you mixing music | book lover with music | book collector? :slightly_smiling_face:

Convenience, really?

(Mark) #112

If it’s not inconvenient, it’s not audiophile.

(Christoph Longree) #113

Haha - certainly not for mobile use… :wink:…but at home nothing beats a decent vinyl collection and playback 4 me :blush:

(Martin Webster) #114

I must disagree.


Can’t be doing this every 15-20 minutes! :smile:

(Christoph Longree) #115

:joy::+1:… See, Vinyl includes a personal fitness programm… actually pretty convenient :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(simon arnold) #116

Anyway doesn’t Roon decode Flac on the server end and send pcm over RAAT, so it’s all a bit pointless anyway.

(Christoph Longree) #117

… from what I understand as a computer-stupid person is, that a FLAC is just a different way of packaging a file for the main reason of saving storage. I do not understand how it works exactly, but (in an analogy to physical space) I like to think of a russian or matryoshkan doll - you can have them all standing next to each other taking a lot of space or put them together saving a lot of space.

Now the argument seems to be that when the lossless file is packed into the FLAC all the information is there, but the process of unpacking back to the original is supposed to have some sort of negative impact on the SQ - though I do not understand how this should be possible, because the file is sent from the core to the endpoint from where it is being prepared to be sent to the DAC - so the process of “unpacking” is kinda outside the signal path (at least as far as I understand) - I understand that the unpacked FLAC and the original WAV are identical - so the information that is being sent to the roon endpoint is the same, no matter if it is unpacked before or in the unpacked format in the first place…

… or am I understanding something wrong here?

(Scott Winders) #118

No, you have it right. Go with FLAC.

(simon arnold) #119

The ones that believe the whole flac /wav thing is a thing is because of the overhead on the streamer if it has to decode the flac to pcm and believe that if you send wav to the streamer its less work for the cpu as it’s just a rewrap as opposed to a decompress which flac goes through and hence improved quality. Some say the streamers such as Naim are optimised for wav and they are adamant it sounds better. I have a Naim system and used upnp and tried both I personally couldnt tell any difference. Roon decodes all formats to pcm before sending to the DAC via RAAT so regardless of flac or wav in Roon should make 0 difference as its not happening on the streamer but the server. It’s all subjective and in my eyes ears audiophool garbage. But what do I know I have not trained my ears to hear the difference.

(Christoph Longree) #120

Ah - now I get it… so when I play locally stored files with Roon it says “undo“ or „undoing xx tracks“… so this is the part where the FLAC is being converted by the Roon Core before being sent to the Endpoint… learning here :v:

(Daniel Beyer) #121

I"m not sure where you are seeing Undo, unless you are talking about this:

In which case, the above has nothing to do with audio processing of the files being played ( in a direct manor). Not so long ago, Roon had a destructive Queue. Meaning if you set up a queue of 10 songs and then while those songs were playing, you clicked on a different song to play, the current queue would be completely destroyed and the new song would start playing. The Undo button was to roll back the play now command to restore a queue that had been inadvertently wiped.