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View Full Version : Are there different "types" of FLACs?


katnapz
2004-11-26, 10:10 AM
Along the same lines of my SHN question, FLAC frontend allows different compression levels based on numbers, but dbPowerAmp just says Low-Medium-High. Is the dbPowerAmp version a "basterdized" FLAC format or is it an acceptable substitute?

Sorry for breaking this into two posts of SHN and FLAC, but depending on how the answers go I didn't want anyone (me for example) from getting confused.

RainDawg
2004-11-26, 10:40 AM
Thank you for breaking it into two posts...these are two different subjects and should be in two different threads...

Now, there are not different "types" of FLAC files. The compression just tells the encoder how wide or narrow to make it's search for bit-correlation when compressing the file. Higher compression rates will deocde and playback identically, and contain the same audio data, but the filesize will vary depending on the compression rate. The tradeoff is that higher compression rates take a lot longer for your computer to encode and thus there is a point at which the decrease in filesize is so small and the increase encode time so much higher that it becomes pointless to increase the compression any more.

So...now to get into the nitty-gritty of what these rates mean ;)

First, you may want to look at the FLAC documentation to understand this a bit more:
http://flac.sourceforge.net/documentation.html

FLAC actually contains a lot of different variables that have to be set when you wish to encode. Instead of making people set all of these themselves, they created a few optimized default settings for various compression rates, and those are the numbers 1-8. These will simply pass a certain set of values to the encoder to tell it how to make the compression larger or smaller. FLAC frontend allows compression based on these same defualt values.

dbPowerAmp, for some asinine reason, has replaced these with low-medium-high. In fact, you are right, the dbPowerAmp encoder is some form of bastardized FLAC encoder; instead of using the 1-8 default values, it replaces them with it's own presets. I can't find where in the documentation of db what these relate to in terms of what switches they actually pass to FLAC to make the compression. Based on some of my measurements, high is about equal to 8, medium around 5, and low around 2.

It should be noted that dbPowerAmp, FLAC Frontend, and command line FLAC will still reliably encode the audio to a FLAC file, and each will decode back to an identical WAV. The only difference in any of these methods is the options used to create the file, which ultimately is of secondary concern to the fact that they will create acoustically identical, usable FLAC files.

If you like dbPowerAmp, by all means, use it....

katnapz
2004-11-26, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the explaination.
I have all the plug-ins loaded into dbPowerAmp, but the only thing I use it for most of the time is the right click option to convert. I use it to go straight from SHN/FLAC to low bitrate mp3's for my flash player when I go to the gym or travelling. It's very convenient and quick.

RainDawg
2004-11-26, 11:17 AM
I have all the plug-ins loaded into dbPowerAmp, but the only thing I use it for most of the time is the right click option to convert. I use it to go straight from SHN/FLAC to low bitrate mp3's for my flash player when I go to the gym or travelling. It's very convenient and quick.
I do the same, convert from SHN or FLAC to OGG so that I can take files in the car or to work on my Karma. The right-click > convert option is really neat, and my only complaint about the program is that it has quite a bit of resource overhead, so conversions take longer than they would by using foobar or another simpler converter.

Five
2004-11-26, 01:14 PM
Yeah, not to endorse any lossy format but for your portable OGG whips mp3's ass.

Since I posted in the other thread re: WinAmp, I thought I'd do it here, too. WinAmp handles FLAC perfectly except for the fact that it can read FLAC tags but not edit them (yet).

katnapz
2004-11-26, 02:08 PM
Good grief, I'm only going to the gym for an hour...not running a marathon! :lol:
I agree with you that other lossy formats may be better though.

Yeah, not to endorse any lossy format but for your portable OGG whips mp3's ass.

Since I posted in the other thread re: WinAmp, I thought I'd do it here, too. WinAmp handles FLAC perfectly except for the fact that it can read FLAC tags but not edit them (yet).