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Old 10th June 2007, 04:59 AM   #1
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Default The best format to store music files on HD

I'd like to know which is the best losless format to store music files on Hardisk.
Someone told me that WAV format represents the best (and only) way to obtain an audiofile quality. However this format takes a lot of space.

Someone else told me that FLAC format is as good as WAV but it allows to save 50% of space compared to WAV. However it has been called to be involved in alteration of the signal when playing.

Which format do you suggest?

Many thanks

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Old 10th June 2007, 06:25 AM   #2
OzMikeH is offline OzMikeH  Australia
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Go to Wikipedia, search for "Lossless audio compression"
All of your answers are there.

Yes there is some sound difference between lossless players. It may be that one of them sounds better to you than WAV files.
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Old 10th June 2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Lossless files are lossless... they have the same bits as on the CD, Some are compresses lisslessly, they trade computer horsepower (which we have in overabundance for storage space,

WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless, Medridan Lossless Packing, FLAC... whatever works for you.

community sites,, ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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Old 10th June 2007, 07:42 AM   #4
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Or are they ?

Storage in any lossless format is fine but if you want to play music off the hd there seems to be a subtle difference between formats. Overheads? Noise increase? PS modulation? No idea but uncompressed audio sounds slightly better on my system
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Old 10th June 2007, 10:26 AM   #5
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I found that post interesting. Thankyou Analogue for bringing it to my attention.

Pertinent for me as I am currently re-ripping my music collection into lossless format. I just built a DDDAC, and the difference between mp3 a lossless format is dramatic.

I listened myself to the difference between WAV and WMA lossless, and I could hear (or imagine) a miniscule difference between the formats in favour of WAV. The difference was so small however I put it down to me rather than the formats, sometimes you can just want to hear something too much.

Perhaps when I upgrade my DDDAC with a slave module or two (I'm listening to just one module just now) the difference will be more dramatic.

However the difference being so small and my HD not being infinately large, I opted to go for the WMA route.

I didn't try FLAC, basicly couldn't be bothered, the guides I read made it look complicated. With MCE on my machine, all I do is insert a disk and it automatically loads it to the drive in WMA
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Old 10th June 2007, 03:09 PM   #6
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FLAC is the way to go. Stores files in about 60% of space of .wav. It supports tags, similar to mp3, but is lossless compression. Nothing complicated at all. DL Flac front-end for windoze- drag and drop .wav files to convert them to flac. Couldn't be much easier.

flac is open source, so it won't ever go away.

Winamp and any other player worth installing plays .flac files. Squeezebox plays them too.

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Old 10th June 2007, 03:23 PM   #7
ssmith is offline ssmith  Kenya
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I have a dddac/usb, using mostly flac and ape. If you are using a pc, either lossless format is fine.

I've also done foobar abx between flac/ape and wav, after reading similar posts to the one referenced above. I could not nail any difference.

That's not to say there isn't a difference -- decoding a lossless file take more PC horsepower than playing a wav, although dave rightly points out that we have plenty of this nowadays. Looking at a CPU usage monitor, my CPU uses about 0 - 2% of its power playing a wav, and maybe 0 - 3% playing a flac (not a scientific measurement, just looking at task manager in WinXP).

Perhaps there is a latency issue with some PCs, or perhaps the difference some people claim to notice is placebo.

I'd go with ape or flac for the moment -- at least you can tag the files (unlike wav, unless you go in for lengthy cue sheet editing). You can always switch back to wav at a later date (or any other lossless format) anyway if needed.

Out of ape and flac, my vote goes for flac -- for the reasons mentioned above (open source etc... although ape has a tiny advantage on compression last time I looked).
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Old 10th June 2007, 03:25 PM   #8
ark is offline ark  United States
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Default flac

go flac.

you can also find great flac files on binary.newsservers

no just cd rips but bootlegs. really old stuff old lp rips etc.
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Old 10th June 2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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Originally posted by analog_sa
Or are they ?
"Another interesting thing I learned was that I had to be very relaxed in order for the differences to be apparent. When I found myself trying to pick out the differences, I couldn't do it. When I felt I couldn't do it I walked away for a while. Upon coming back and relaxing, it was easier.


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Old 10th June 2007, 05:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: The best format to store music files on HD

Originally posted by Antonio Tucci
I'd like to know which is the best losless format to store music files on Hardisk.

Which format do you suggest?

If you really want a lossless format, buy two drives, preferably from different manufacturers, and copy the work drive to the backup drive regularly. Disks will crash, it's just a matter of when.

It's your choice whether avoiding having to rip all that music again is worth the price of another drive.
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