Old 2nd May 2012, 00:44   #1
Aminifu
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Which Audio Format Works Best?

Hi,

I'm looking to use the best audio file type(s) with WA. What format(s) do you think works best and why?

What tools do you use to check and/or repair the quality (or integrity) of the format(s)?

I've been using mp3 for historical reasons and compatibility across devices. Plan to switch to a loss-less format, at-least for songs I rip myself.

In the process of doing research and would appreciate all comments.

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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:28   #2
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Basically FLAC works best. It's lossless. This was kind of discussed a long time ago here. http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=307603

I still do the same thing that I said in that thread. I ripped all my CDs to FLAC. And then I created a directory for MP3s and I transcoded all of the tracks to MP3 into that folder. That's what I use to populate my player of choice.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:04   #3
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APE. The very good compression ratio saves the disk space. When the collection grows quick it does matter. There is an optional APE support for all major software players so there is no problem here though the FLAC is better for a portables. I like to rip the new disks into APE without cue sheet. First rip an audio tracks into wave file and then APE-encode them with the official encoding tool.

The future leader would be probaly a TAK lossless codec. It have a beta status now so i dont want to encode my entire collection with it. I know its secure to re-encode my files later but after imaging the work required i'd just wait for a standard finalization and will use the de-facto APE standard instead even if it is not that speed efficient. APE have a better average compression ratio then FLAC and it is a good choice for archiving.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:46   #4
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Hi Juanus,

Thanx for the info. Over the years, I have gathered a small group of tools for working with mp3 files. Tools that check for and/or fix errors, split a large file into smaller files, add metadata, and so on. Do you use and can recommend corresponding tools for flac? Which encoder do you use?

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Old 2nd May 2012, 13:04   #5
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Hi SilverBird775,

Thanx for the reply. What APE support do you recommend for Winamp (encoder and decoder)? I've read that the decoder in "MediaMonkey" works in Winamp. Are there tools that check for and/or fix errors, split a large file into smaller files, add metadata, and so on?

I seem to remember there is or was an issue with Winamp and APE. I think it had something to do with APE tags in MP3s. I assume APE tags in APE files would be ok.

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Old 2nd May 2012, 13:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aminifu View Post
Hi Juanus,

Thanx for the info. Over the years, I have gathered a small group of tools for working with mp3 files. Tools that check for and/or fix errors, split a large file into smaller files, add metadata, and so on. Do you use and can recommend corresponding tools for flac? Which encoder do you use?
The main reason I decided on flac was its universal acceptability. Everyone knows and uses flac for lossless these days (except apple). Winamp allows you to do all of the major functions right out of the box. (encoding, decoding, metadata) Just makes life easy. And if I want to add metadata that winamp doesn't do (cover art), I use mp3tag. done. The stock winamp ripping preferences are really the best imo. You get a folder for each album that is named with the artist and album and in the folder you get an organized list of songs with a playlist.

As for splitting a large file into smaller files. I don't do that since everything that I rip is an individual song. If you want to cut out chunks of a song I guess you could use Audiacity or something like that. flac is recognized by everyone. And the compression differences between the lossless encoders is minimal.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 23:09   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aminifu View Post
... Are there tools that check for and/or fix errors, split a large file into smaller files, add metadata, and so on?...
If you want to embed art, avoid APE. It may be possible, but Mp3tag won't do it and that makes me think it is impossible.

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Old 2nd May 2012, 23:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryerman View Post
If you want to embed art, avoid APE. It may be possible, but Mp3tag won't do it and that makes me think it is impossible.
Thanx for that heads up! I do prefer to embed my artwork.

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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:11   #9
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I am a long time Monkey's Audio user. The majority of my lossless files are APE with insane compression. I prefer APE over FLAC for a couple of reasons:

* APE saves me megabytes of storage space over FLAC
* APE utilities allow me to verify the integrity of my lossless audio files

I save images into APE files with no issue, so I am not aware of any issues doing so. I use Tag & Rename to manage this. DB Power Amp's tagger also shows the images stored in APE files without issue. It seems that the other software mentioned is buggy.

One thing that was described in regards to FLAC is its ability to recover from corrupt data. This seems peculiar to me. If my audio is lossless, I would not expect an error. In the event there does exist in error in the file, can you still consider it lossless? I prefer the Monkey's Audio way of handling this that is configurable. You can choose to abort playing when an error is found or continue regardless. The APE utilities included allow mass verification of all APE files that checks via simultaneous threads.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:22   #10
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In regards to saving album art into APE files, images can be stored into the file with no problem. I believe the issue is that the Monkey's Audio Winamp plug-in does not currently display the saved image. This isn't an issue with APE, but it is a plug-in or Winamp issue. There may be another plug-in that will display images embedded in files. An alternative is to store the jpg in the same folder with the APE files as well as embedding them.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:33   #11
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Originally Posted by Jamil View Post
In regards to saving album art into APE files, images can be stored into the file with no problem. I believe the issue is that the Monkey's Audio Winamp plug-in does not currently display the saved image....
Thanks for that information.
Do you know of any other application besides dbPoweramp (especially media players) that does display embedded art for APE files?

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Old 3rd May 2012, 15:36   #12
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Hi Jamil,

I really appreciate the info. Juanus disagrees with you about the significant compression differences between FLAC and APE, but SilverBird775 does agree.

It's disappointing to hear that WA may not be able to display embedded artwork in APE files (maybe the decoder from MediaMonkey will let it do so). It's also disappointing that APE is not listed among the many file formats that WA officially supports. It shouldn't be a licensing problem, like with Apple formats.

A lot of people swear by MP3Tag, but this just proves that no app is perfect. It lists APE as being supported.

Anyway, your info will help me avoid some miss-steps when I get to the point of doing some A/B comparisons. Thanx!

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Old 3rd May 2012, 16:24   #13
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If you want to embed art, avoid APE. It may be possible, but Mp3tag won't do it and that makes me think it is impossible.
My apologies! This is absolute hogwash and completely wrong.
When I tested Mp3tag I forgot to configure it to read and write APE tags.

Mp3tag reads APE v1 and v2 tags and writes v2 tags, including pictures.

Maybe the real question is: "What media players display art embedded in APE files?"

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Old 3rd May 2012, 16:46   #14
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As you may notice on my site there is a reworked version of APE decoder found. I hold my breath to fix the TAG saving flaws someday. Some day. First i'm interested on tinkering the decoder math and then do the proper tags management. This format is my all time favourite, so i tweak it but my decoders are a bit 'special' because they are playing the entire file from the RAM i.e. they are memory players.

I believe it would be unfair to prove the APE hands-up advantage because from a key-ready perspective the FLAC solution is better. Aside the undeveloped TAGs, the APE is superior compressor and doing the excellent job archiving the audio. It is doing what i expect from a lossless codec, the compression. Having the music uncompessed or slightly FLAC-compressed is fine and dandy but the one getting into collecting business for serious will surely get short on terabytes, diskspace and disk expansion slots. The FLAC format will be preferable when a lot of transcoding from FLAC expected, not that strong compression to be expected but faster processing.

Give the both formats a try and decide what is best for you. The 'high' compession profile is optimal for APE. The 'Extra high' profile ruins the seeking making it extra laggish.
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Old 4th May 2012, 00:57   #15
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Thanks for that information.
Do you know of any other application besides dbPoweramp (especially media players) that does display embedded art for APE files?
I am not aware of a plugin that displays embedded album art in APE files. It should not be overly difficult to code though, so there should be one out there. I have not searched for one.
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Old 4th May 2012, 01:12   #16
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I always liked comparison tests. Here's one I just ran compressing Miles Davis' Bitches Brew CD in both Monkey's Audio and FLAC. Both formats were set to use the absolute highest compression setting. The source data was twelve WAV files that were over 1.2GB in size:





That's a 21MB space savings with just one CD alone.

On my NAS, I have currently 7,468 APE files totaling 191.12GB...and growing.

Now for the cons with APE:

* slow seeking (especially at the compression setting I use) as posted above

* higher than 44kHz was reportedly not supported correctly with APE; I have not confirmed this, because all my files are 44kHz
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Old 4th May 2012, 14:00   #17
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Originally Posted by ryerman View Post
My apologies! This is absolute hogwash and completely wrong.
When I tested Mp3tag I forgot to configure it to read and write APE tags.

Mp3tag reads APE v1 and v2 tags and writes v2 tags, including pictures.

Maybe the real question is: "What media players display art embedded in APE files?"
No problem. To err is human.

If any player can display art embedded in APE files, then there's hope for WA.

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Originally Posted by SilverBird775 View Post
As you may notice on my site there is a reworked version of APE decoder found. I hold my breath to fix the TAG saving flaws someday. Some day. First i'm interested on tinkering the decoder math and then do the proper tags management. This format is my all time favourite, so i tweak it but my decoders are a bit 'special' because they are playing the entire file from the RAM i.e. they are memory players.
Yes, I had noticed your APE decoder. Nice touch playing file from RAM. Since tagging is a must for me, I'll keep it in mind for later. From Maiko, I know the high quality of your work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamil View Post
Now for the cons with APE:

* slow seeking (especially at the compression setting I use) as posted above

* higher than 44kHz was reportedly not supported correctly with APE; I have not confirmed this, because all my files are 44kHz
Thank you for helping me with this. What is/are the effect(s) of 'slow seeking'? Are you saying FLAC does not have these effects at it's highest compression rate.

Encoding at higher than 44KHz should not be a problem. I assume I would still be able to up-sample during playback if I wanted to (like I do with my mp3s).

At present, I only have about 2,000 songs for this project. All would be from commercial CDs made at the standard 16-bit 44KHz rate. I assume once the commercial standard goes up, all codecs will move to support higher sampling.

Record companies are fighting it, but they have to see that the CD distribution model is 'old school' and digital distribution (of individual songs) at high sampling rates is the future.

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Old 4th May 2012, 19:00   #18
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About the APE compression modes
The other name for a highest compression rate is "Insane". This mode completely give up the internal seeking table making the time jump to lag badly. It is best suited for arhiving purposes where the seeking is not that important. The next mode, 'Extra high' is responsive enough for a casual seek, the 'High' profile seeking is as much easy and instant as WAV's one.

'Normal' and 'Fast' compression profiles is a joke. The underpowered hendheld players have the only good use for them.
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Old 5th May 2012, 01:16   #19
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No problem. To err is human.
Thank you for helping me with this. What is/are the effect(s) of 'slow seeking'? Are you saying FLAC does not have these effects at it's highest compression rate.
By slow seeking, I mean when you play a music file then try to drag the position bar to skip ahead or back in the playing file. With Monkey's Audio, there will be a delay when doing this that is longer with higher compression settings. This is not an issue for me, because I never have a need to do this.

Additionally, the official Monkey's Audio decompressor has a delay before initially playing music. This delay will also be longer with higher compression.

I have not noticed either of these issues with FLAC, but I rarely use FLAC.
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Old 5th May 2012, 15:13   #20
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Hi Guys,

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index....arison#WV_pros

The link above is to an article I found on "Hydrogenaudio.org". It lists 27 lossless formats (I had no idea there are so many). Features, pros, and cons are provided for the most popular 14.

APE is second only to something called "LA" for best compression. But APE's best compression ratios are offset by the bad affect they have on seeking and the initial start of playback. APE also does not support 'replaygain'. Volume leveling would be important to me. Does APE have an alternate way to support volume leveling (other than leveling the source)?

I would think audio quality would be the same for all lossless formats, except for errors. The article states that APE does not support error handling. Is that true?

From the article, FLAC and WavPack support the most features. Does anyone have any experience with WavPack? WavPack (like APE) is not officially supported by Winamp, so finding good plugin support may be a problem.

All other concerns being pretty much equal, it looks like my choice will depend on how well WA supports tagging and artwork (embedded preferred) for FLAC, APE (with High compression), and possibly WavPack.

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Old 5th May 2012, 16:03   #21
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Hi Guys,

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index....arison#WV_pros
APE is second only to something called "LA" for best compression. But APE's best compression ratios are offset by the bad affect they have on seeking and the initial start of playback. APE also does not support 'replaygain'. Volume leveling would be important to me. Does APE have an alternate way to support volume leveling (other than leveling the source)?
Regarding error handling, I already had summarized this in my post above. Error handling means dealing with an error in your data file. By default, Monkey's Audio will abort playback upon an error. FLAC attempts to correct it. As I asked above (but will rephrase), a data error in my file is a rare thing that has never happened to me. In the event a byte gets returned with the incorrect value from my file system, what guarantees do I have that the correction will be 100% correct? I do not know the answer to this question. If the answer is that the decoder cannot correct it and simply skips the error, this is not lossless audio. Monkey's Audio decoder can be configured to skip errors.

If, however, FLAC can somehow recreate all bad data with 100% accuracy (I would be interested in knowing how it is able to make this happen), then this is a feature worthy of mention.

As I stated above, Monkey's Audio is bundled with utilities that verify all data is correct. Not once have I had an APE file verify in error, but all my audio data is stored on a RAID-6 array.

IMO, I think error recovery is not a useful feature.
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Old 5th May 2012, 16:46   #22
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As far as replay gain in Monkey's Audio, there is support for it in the APEv2 tag format. However, I do not believe the official Winamp Monkey's Audio plugin offers support for replay gain (I am not certain, but I see no mention of it in the changelog). I never use replay gain, so I do not have experience with it. I normalize all of my audio prior to encoding.

I am not sure about the Maiko plugin.
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Old 5th May 2012, 17:23   #23
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There are other players that support replay gain through the APEv2 tag format. If Winamp won't provide this support, there is dbPowerAmp Renaissance. It is still in BETA though, but it has not had changes since June of 2010. That could imply it is stable, since dbPowerAmp is actively developed and maintained.

I would actually be using this player instead of Winamp, but it does not have support for ASIO. It supports WASAPI.

You can check it out here: http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthre...mp-Renaissance

EDIT: I just downloaded and installed this. It is command-line only, so this may not be your cup of tea!
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Old 5th May 2012, 18:20   #24
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APE is second only to something called "LA" for best compression.
LA is Lossless Audio. It has the best lossless compression. However, it is super slow. It is too slow for me to be useful.

Here is some data on it from its web site: http://www.lossless-audio.com/comparison.htm

Mac 3.97 = Monkey's Audio (version 3.97, which is dated now)

There is another lossless format ahead of MAC on this page too, but its speed is significantly worse than LA.

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But APE's best compression ratios are offset by the bad affect they have on seeking and the initial start of playback.
Playing APE files within Winamp is not gapless. The delay is not terribly bad on my desktop for play back start or seeking though. It is less than one second for either when playing files stored on my NAS. This is on a gigabit connection. I am guessing the delay would be even less if the APE files were stored on my local drive. Also note that all of my APE files use insane compression.

My files are encoded with version 3.99 of the encoder (as shown by dbPowerAmp). My Winamp plugin and utilities installed are the latest 4.10 version available. The latest version has speed improvements.

One final piece of information-- I have a high-end (over-clocked) system that most users do not have. However, all computers with a recent Intel CPU and a decent hard drive should not be seeing large delays in either play back start or seeking.
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Old 5th May 2012, 19:06   #25
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As far as replay gain in Monkey's Audio, there is support for it in the APEv2 tag format. However, I do not believe the official Winamp Monkey's Audio plugin offers support for replay gain (I am not certain, but I see no mention of it in the changelog). I never use replay gain, so I do not have experience with it. I normalize all of my audio prior to encoding.

I am not sure about the Maiko plugin.
No. There is no replay gain in Maiko plugin too. Francly i'm confused as i'm not quite sure it belongs to the lossless codec I need to give it some thought. There is a design solution on how the Maiko MPEG decoder will offload the replay gain to the Maiko WASAPI math combine, so the APE may exploit this functionality as well. Definitely the semi lossless decoder is out of options for me. The only data i want to see on the Maiko WASAPI input is the pristine unprocessed bits not some half baked snack. I may pass the replay gain key to Maiko processor as well but not quite sure it is a good idea really . Please convince me to do it .

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I normalize all of my audio prior to encoding.
That is the sole reason for RG! Because what you are doing now is a self harming terror

First i need to restore the loudness overflow detector only then the RG would have some valid zero point decibel reference.
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Old 5th May 2012, 22:38   #26
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That is the sole reason for RG! Because what you are doing now is a self harming terror
Yes -- I agree with you 100%. Originally, I was not normalizing my lossless audio. Recently, I have been forced to due to the recoding level differences from the CDs I have been recording and encoding.

I perform my normalizing using Sound Forge, and my levels are never clipping. However, I am increasing noise. Then again, I would be increaing noise regardless by having to increase the volume if I did not normalize.

It would be nice if there was some kind of recording studio and CD mastering standards being followed.
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Old 6th May 2012, 06:14   #27
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for lossy, mp3. i think everything else is unnecessary for lossy, esp since i do mine at 256kbps.

for lossless, FLAC. i think ape is essentially a dying to dead format. FLAC is a lot more universal. also, my understanding is that there are scanners out there to do integrity checks, CRC redundancy, etc, for FLAC. its also easily tagged and worked by mp3tag, which i can use to do both mp3 and FLAC. it supports RG, and is native to winamp and EAC.

also, i despise APE tags, and always avoid them and strip them.

ALAC is the now free and maybe open source? ...apple version of lossless but imo its only good for itunes users.

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Old 6th May 2012, 13:33   #28
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i think ape is essentially a dying to dead format.
Monkey's Audio is not going to go away. It continues to have a very large user base. Even portable media players have built in support for it (see Cowan). If one has unlimited storage space for their lossless audio, other formats that aren't able to compress as well will be a good choice. Most of us do not have unlimited storage, unfortunately.

With my screenshots above, 21MB space was saved in a total of 12 files. This was not a very good compression ratio. It was not even 50% compression. 21MB divided by 12 files equals 1.75MB per file. I have 7,468 APE files totaling 191.12GB of space used.

If I were to convert these all to FLAC using the 1.75MB per file increase, the space used would go up an additional 12.76GB. Of course, this is hypothetical, and many of my files would compress higher. The space usage increase would most likely be even more.
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Old 6th May 2012, 15:13   #29
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One final piece of information-- I have a high-end (over-clocked) system that most users do not have. However, all computers with a recent Intel CPU and a decent hard drive should not be seeing large delays in either play back start or seeking.
That is a good point. A great digital music experience begins with the source material, but the player, cpu, sound card/chip, and speakers are just as important. My system is not high end, but I think it's pretty good for playing music.

I have a 4 core AMD cpu. I can get a stable 20% overclock (3.6 GHz), but I usually run it with a modified Cool 'n Quiet that runs the cores at 1.6, 2.3 or 3.0 GHz. I use an old Audigy Platinum (24bits/96KHz) sound card (my mobo's sound chip can do 24bits/192KHz). My speakers are an obsolete low end 5.1 analog system from Logitech (their current low end 5.1 has a few more watts). I also have an obsolete 4.1 THX rated analog system from Logitech. The 5.1 can't 'rock' my house like the 4.1 can, but it can 'rock' my computer room! Surprisingly, the bass, mid-range and highs are about the same. The substantial difference is the 'feel' provided by the subwoofers, of course the one in the 4.1 system blows the 5.1's away. I plan to get the Logitech high end 5.1 digital/analog system when the price drops (it's been holding steady for quite a while). Of course, I may also need a new sound card or need to use the mobo's sound chip at that point.

As to your question about error correction. It is easy to detect and correct a single bit error in a defined string (8, 16, 32, 64 bits or more) using checksum techniques. It is much harder to detect and correct multiple bit errors within a string. One way is to have an odd number of redundant sets of data and use the ones that match (I don't think codecs do that).

I am mostly looking for a file integrity checker (which is provided for APE), so I could try re-encoding if the check failed.

I really don't want to use another player. I've tried a lot, but WA + plugins is best overall, imo.

So, it's down to which format has the best support within WA or plugins for tags (for computerized searching and sorting), artwork (which I've become addicted to) and volume leveling. I'll start my A/B testing this week and make a decision.

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Old 6th May 2012, 15:19   #30
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also, i despise APE tags, and always avoid them and strip them.
Can you tell us why you despise APE tags?

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Old 6th May 2012, 17:37   #31
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Aminifu

In my opinion the most APE users are concerned about efficient disk space usage. Also, the build-in tags are never sufficient to the archiving needs. The all-around-good APE directory usage includes the high-resolution SCANS of CD and booklet. Doing things this way i newer really bothered with a tags. I like to orginize the directories like albums with extensive text and image data that is why i see no use in tags at all. They look like a compromise to me, always tiny, always inefficient. Also i do not want to tag every file within album, its ridiculous time and disk space waste.

I'm just honestly trying to explain why APE users see no big problem with a weak tag support. They use the file system as a natural album organizer.

My typical rip includes album track APE's, "Image" sub directory with scans, the text about album plus my personal notes, the rip log, sometimes "Extra" sub directory for internet findings or very special fan mixes, etc.

You know me is just me but somehow the most APE users doing the same way archiving. Most users just don't bother the tags at all because it's unclean, it is just some garbage attached to the file.

In no way i was trying to insult anyone. You may do your doings your way. Music organising always needs a creative thought, there is always a better way.
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Old 6th May 2012, 17:57   #32
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Hi SilverBird775,

Artwork images are 'eye candy', nice but not really necessary (until you get hooked on them).

The default image shown is tiny, but some (most?) players allow the image to be scaled up. Of course, the image needs to be of a high enough resolution so that the scaled up view looks decent.

Other tags (like artist, title, genre, year, album, BPM, comment, etc.) let you do computerized searches and sorting. In other words, let the computer do the work instead of 'eye-balling' directories and reading through text files to find what you want.

Can't say computerized searches and sorting is better, than depends on the user. But it is useful.

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Old 7th May 2012, 08:22   #33
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most of my severe tagging problems involved ape tags; and ape tags, just like ape itself, isn't nearly as universally supported, or even well supported. for example, i got winamp devs to fix a bug where winamp wasn't removing ape tags. ape tags also have a tendency to get "hidden" and / or mess up your other tags in a file. best practice is to AVOID them!

http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=322783

in any case, mp3/id3v2.3 and FLAC are extremely common and universal, and don't suffer from weird or odd implementations when used as designed. ape may compress a bit more but so what? set FLAC to -8 and enjoy the ease of it. small price to pay.

flac file checking, from 2006:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=49487

i suspect guis for it are even better now.

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Old 7th May 2012, 12:02   #34
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most of my severe tagging problems involved ape tags; and ape tags, just like ape itself, isn't nearly as universally supported, or even well supported. for example, i got winamp devs to fix a bug where winamp wasn't removing ape tags. ape tags also have a tendency to get "hidden" and / or mess up your other tags in a file. best practice is to AVOID them!

http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=322783
Thanx, I thought I had read somewhere that there was/is a problem with WA and APE tags. Must have been when I was reviewing some of your posts last year. You had quite a tussle getting the devs to acknowledge the bug.

Did you ever get a response (elsewhere) to your last post in that thread?

I must have good tag support with WA (and volume leveling), so this puts APE on the 'back burner' for now. Care to comment on WA and WavPack?

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Old 7th May 2012, 12:58   #35
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That is the sole reason for RG! Because what you are doing now is a self harming terror

First i need to restore the loudness overflow detector only then the RG would have some valid zero point decibel reference.
Hi,

Whether you add RG support or not. Please don't forget to restore the Maiko loudness overflow detector.

It helps me monitor the 'enhancements' I make for my mp3s with the DSP plug-in (iZotope Ozone) I use. Used carefully, it does a decent job 'restoring' some of what's lost by the mp3 process. It's something I can't seem to do with standard equalizers.

I know the only correct way to retain what's in the original CD song is to use a lossless format, which should eliminate the need for DSP.

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Old 7th May 2012, 18:05   #36
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i don't know anything about wavpack, whats it do?

i never got feedback or followed up on the last post, b/c my answer was to strip ape tags. i don't know if that still exists, or only under certain conditions, etc, i simply avoid it altogether. i don't see any advantage in ape tags, id3 suits me fine.

btw, even a flac can benefit from a dsp or EQ on playback, but i rarely do so, i'm too lazy. but i have for instance some live g.dead recordings that spring to life just from a little EQ. its a radical difference, and turns something i'm not interested in hearing into something i enjoy. i find its usually less necessary on studio recordings.

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Old 7th May 2012, 19:42   #37
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This has been an extremely informative thread for me. I love it. I'm an flac/mp3 guy myself. I mostly use flac because it seems well supported in my experience and I'm not really close to have storage space issues yet. Thanks for all the info!
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Old 7th May 2012, 21:20   #38
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i don't know anything about wavpack, whats it do?
In post #20 above I provided a link to an article. Near the top of the article's page is a chart comparing the 14 most popular lossless formats. Near the bottom of the page is a list of WavPack's pros and cons and a link to it's website. The website says it has been tested and works well with WA. A plug-in is provided. A list of portable players it works with is also provided. It's best you read the info for yourself, rather than me try to summarize. From what I read, it seems to be as good as FLAC (maybe a little better).

I hope to try it (and FLAC) sometime this week or next and will post my results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSinatra View Post
btw, even a flac can benefit from a dsp or EQ on playback, but i rarely do so, i'm too lazy. but i have for instance some live g.dead recordings that spring to life just from a little EQ. its a radical difference, and turns something i'm not interested in hearing into something i enjoy. i find its usually less necessary on studio recordings.
I agree equalization can and does bring music to life. I use my sound card's equalizer instead of WA's. It helps overcome small shortcomings in my sound system and helps correct for some room acoustic issues and speaker placement. I use equalization when using WA to play CDs. I find I don't need DSP (I use iZotope Ozone) for that.

I do need DSP and some equalization to help bring my mp3s to life. No matter how high a rate I encode them at, they sound flat to me without this help.

I enjoy music so much that I don't mind putting in the extra effort to get the best out of my system (described in post # 29). After weeks of testing, I've found a few settings for both the DSP and equalizer (saved as custom presets) that really make my mp3s rock! Hoping to need less of this (especially DSP) with lossless formatting.

I forgot to put in my system description that I'm testing 2 output plug-ins that let me upsample my mp3s to 96KHz or more and upmix stereo to 6 channels for my 5.1 speaker system. The upsampling seems to make the sound 'brighter'. The upmixing is not what a studio engineered multi-channel sound would be, but it's close, imo.

What I'm trying to come close to is the clarity of studio sound with the instrumental and vocal placements and ambiance of a live performance (without the crowd noise, unless it's a live recording). In other words, I want to close my eyes and 'be there' with the performers. Lofty goal. Not possible with LPs, tapes, and CDs (some mechanical or electrical noise would interfere). Could get there with the right kind of digital from source to the speakers (although that last D/A conversion could present some problems).

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Old 7th May 2012, 21:48   #39
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This has been an extremely informative thread for me. I love it. I'm an flac/mp3 guy myself. I mostly use flac because it seems well supported in my experience and I'm not really close to have storage space issues yet. Thanks for all the info!
Hi lostinsound,

Keep rocking!

I'm an old gray beard that can find something to like in all genres (except most opera, language barriers). Got hooked on rock and soul at Woodstock. Been chasing my goal (see end of post #38) for a long time. Finally can see where its possible.

I'm not looking for strict playback of the engineered original, but some 'coloration' that suits me and my environment. But that begins with the best source possible.

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Old 8th May 2012, 11:16   #40
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Helle everyone,
I recently got 13 FLAC-Files from SoundCloud, with a track-length between 2:51 and 10:54, between 7.84 MB and 68.2 MB. If I look in "Audio" and search for ".flac", I can compare my 13 files, their bitrate is between 297 kbps and 949 kbps, but the bitrate is independent from the track length. 2 files have a year, a genre and an album (a 3rd file has also an album), although I cannot write tags into a flac-file. All the files have an artist and a title, no one file has an embedded album art.
I have no one APE-File, but less OGG and WMA, very much MP3 (I myself prefer 320 kbps, but I have also got many other bitrates as downloads, some as CBR and some as VBR) and also many WAV (sound-samples and own tracks, also some downloaded tracks). My WAV-Files, which were ripped with Goldwave, have 1441 kbps. Okay, WAV-Files eat many space, but they have a very good sound, if I use our headphones (we have some Beyerdynamic DT 990). I had exported 16 demosongs of MAGIX Music Maker 17 Premium and MAGIX Samplitude Music Studio 17 as WAV-Files, with 48000 Hz instead of 44100 Hz, of course, and their bitrate is between 1536 kbps and 1547 kbps (I have looked now). They had sounded very good, when they were played immediately after their export.
WAV-Files can also be sorted, each album in the subfolder of the artist (the subfolder is named as artist - album), each track is named by artist - track there, and each subfolder contains also the JPG-File "cover".
I have not yet many experiences with FLAC-Files, but yesterday I have listened to a WAV-File again with the Beyerdynamic DT 990, and I can only say, nothing can beat WAV...
Greetings from Sabine Klare Aka Sternenmaschinebine
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