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Uncompressed FLAC
2012-09-01, 06:51 (This post was last modified: 2012-09-01 07:30 by MattC.)
Post: #1
Uncompressed FLAC
Having been tipped off by other threads and by a couple of friends to try it - I've heard the benefits of Uncompressed FLAC with my own ears...

Playing a file with FLAC compression level 5 - and then playing the same file having being batch converted to Uncompresssed - the differences and benefits are clear and not small. I can only currently explain the clear sonic differences by the removal of the processing overhead and any timing issues that this may introduce - but this particular question needs more scientific brains than mine to consider it before any conclusions can be drawn.

This said - I can understand if Linn themselves are a little uncomfortable on this question (the inability to play a compressed FLAC file - which has been promoted as THE format for years now - without some sound changingS overhead being introduced COULD be embarrassing - although id hope they would embrace it as a free "upgrade") but I KNOW there are Linn Staffers who are absolutely convinced by the benefits of FLAC Uncimpresssed.

(as an aside - perhaps this is why Naim have been promoting WAV - uncompressed by nature - all along)

...anyway - try it for yourself (@Rockfather - you really should) and see what you think - its very simple to do - simply take an existing FLAC file (which will have compression - probably at level 5) and run it through DBPoweramp or XLD and output to a different folder as FLAC Uncompressed. Play the two back to back, blind, however you want...you'll see what I'm going in about!

Even if i you don't think it sounds BETTER uncompressed (and I do - it's more musical, more analogue, more tunedem - by some margin) then you will surely recognise it sounds DIFFERENT - and that in a lossless world surely deserves some debate and explaination in itself.

I'm going to experiment more - but right now am considering converting my entire library to uncompressed FLAC - £300 in extra disc - but A LOT of extra music!

Source: Klimax DS/1, Sneaky DS, Denon DVD-A1UD

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2012-09-01, 07:26 (This post was last modified: 2012-09-01 07:27 by Joesilva.)
Post: #2
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
I am happy to read about your experience as they parallel my own more or less. I am surprised so many still do not believe in there actually being a difference. They try to use logic and their present level of knowledge to explain why there should be no difference. Afterall, a compressed file should have identical data to an uncompressed file is the usual argument. But as far as I'm concerned, as long as I can hear the difference, that's all that counts and I invite others to experiment and come to their own conclusions. It seems remarkable that when dealing with say the LP-12, the majority seems open to the thought that power supplies, power cables, spikes, felt mats, etc. (virtually anything) can possibly make a difference to the sound. However, when it comes to the DS, many are just stuck in the belief that its just 0's and 1's and nothing much, let alone power supplies, cables and the like make a difference.

Cymbiosis LP-12, CH spalted maple, Ekos Se/1, Lyra Atlas, KDS Mk.4, Soulution 725/745/750, 4 x Solo's. Marten Coltrane Black Pearl, Jorma Prime Cables
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2012-09-01, 08:31
Post: #3
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
I'm hoping that some of the Linn Staffers who are convinced by the uncompressing of FLAC files will perhaps speak up - as this isnt some snake oil mains tweek or felt mat, it's about the fundamental integrity of the source.

Good to know there are plenty of other credible people who have also noted the (pretty obvious) improvements when using uncompressed FLAC!

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2012-09-01, 08:39
Post: #4
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
(2012-09-01 07:26)Joesilva Wrote:  I am happy to read about your experience as they parallel my own more or less. I am surprised so many still do not believe in there actually being a difference.
I had similar WAV vs FLAC experiences when I had the M-DS; there have been several posts about that in ca. 2008. I had then decided to leave things as FLAC (compressed level 8), and use Asset uPnP to transcode this to WAV on the PC before sending it over the network. As a result I saved space, had tags, and yet managed to send uncompressed WAV to the DS.

(2012-09-01 07:26)Joesilva Wrote:  They try to use logic and their present level of knowledge to explain why there should be no difference. Afterall, a compressed file should have identical data to an uncompressed file is the usual argument. But as far as I'm concerned, as long as I can hear the difference, that's all that counts and I invite others to experiment and come to their own conclusions.
Actually, using logic as well as well-known facts one can explain why there IS a difference. While the files have identical DATA, getting to that data is where there is a difference. FLAC results in less traffic on the network port, but more processing power to decompress the file, whereas WAV results in greater traffic on the network port without having to decompress the file. So...there is a difference in HOW the bits get to the DAC from the network port, although the DAC gets the same data. Murray has measured the ripple (or lack thereof) in both cases and there is no detectable difference in the power demands between the two scenarios which eliminates that particular explanation for any perceived difference.

Again, it is not how the file is stored on the NAS that is the problem...but rather in whether the file is delivered to the DS as either WAV or FLAC. One can actually do this by using Asset to transcode FLAC>WAV and sending both versions of the file. In each case, the DS only sees a WAV file and at this point there was no difference in the sound.

(2012-09-01 07:26)Joesilva Wrote:  It seems remarkable that when dealing with say the LP-12, the majority seems open to the thought that power supplies, power cables, spikes, felt mats, etc. (virtually anything) can possibly make a difference to the sound. However, when it comes to the DS, many are just stuck in the belief that its just 0's and 1's and nothing much, let alone power supplies, cables and the like make a difference.
Perfect sound...forever...right?Smile Oh...and re: the LP-12, let's not forget the lid up/lid down/lid off discussion. Tongue

Half of what I post on here is not worth reading; but I post it in order that the other half gets posted.
Boring stuff->Linn Blacks->More boring stuff->K400->Even more boring stuff, all layered with Magick Faerie Dust.
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2012-09-01, 10:39
Post: #5
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
(2012-09-01 08:31)MattC Wrote:  I'm hoping that some of the Linn Staffers who are convinced by the uncompressing of FLAC files will perhaps speak up - as this isnt some snake oil mains tweek or felt mat, it's about the fundamental integrity of the source.

Good to know there are plenty of other credible people who have also noted the (pretty obvious) improvements when using uncompressed FLAC!

If I zip my Excel-Spreadsheet of my Income Statement and unzip it afterwards, all I find is that the income still has not increased Rolleyes

Disappointing as this may be, but I don't believe in this woodoo-talk is any different for an audio files containing the same 0's and 1's sounding "better" when uncompressed.

If someone can present scientific evidence of the opposite, I stand corrected.

bbrip
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2012-09-01, 11:30 (This post was last modified: 2012-09-01 11:31 by Aurumer.)
Post: #6
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
Hi bbrip,

I completely agree with you.

Whenever I think I here differences between formats or Firmware, I do a prober blindtest and never could confirm any changes in sound.
I remember that this is the same result, as with the last Firmware blindtest at the Linn factory.

I'd say it's just a matter of psychology ;-).
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2012-09-01, 11:40
Post: #7
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
bbrip & Aurumer, I agree with you! And about firmware versions. It could be my not-brilliant hearing though.

Rega RP6/Exact, Devialet 200, Raidho C-1.1 speakers, fancy cables and strange wooden grounding boxes.
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2012-09-01, 12:16
Post: #8
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
well, I am not sure with whom to agree Smile

Yes, I am skeptical about hearing audible differences between Flac and Wav etc. (based on my own experience) - but on the other hand I don't think a blindtest is a suitable tool to prove it.

I am not aware of any successful blindtest for anything in the audio world, there are even examples where people could not distinguish between amplifiers where one of them was defect if I remember correctly.

So, turning this around and assuming that there are existing differences, how come not a single blindtest could prove people can hear them?

Well, in my opinion to start with, it is simply to exhausting for the brain to memorize all the differences (particularly as this is an emotional experience and not a scientific one).

Last time I tried a comparison between 16 Bit Flac, 24 Bit Flac and 320 MP3 using 3 different tracks. You have to repeat that 10 times or so - you do the math. It will take several hours. How can this possibly lead to a result?
The question is however, if a blind test is not a proper means, what is - and I haven't heard a proper answer to that one. And I guess that is why we will continue to discuss existing/non-existing differences...

my 2 cents...
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2012-09-01, 12:47
Post: #9
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
If the scenarios were the same then i would be similarly sceptical - but what you guys are missing is that the files start different, and one of them has a post process (decompression) applied to it.

This process changes the compressed file into the file that is ultimately played on the DS. This process happens in real time - and has a processor overhead - so its PERFECTLY logical to me that the sound ultimately coming out of the speakers could have some differences between the two.

If the compression level is ultimately immaterial then why don't we all put maximim compression on? ....why? ...because the processor has to work harder to decompress as the compression level gets higher...my point is simply that by reducing the decompression overhead to nil takes a process out of the chain...and this can only be a good thing...

I'd say use your ears - it'll cost you no more than 5 minutes of your time - and then offer your views rather than just saying "it can't possibly sound any different"

....or perhaps its just easier to dismiss it...

Source: Klimax DS/1, Sneaky DS, Denon DVD-A1UD

Control: Klimax Kontrol/1, Denon AVP-A1HDA

Playback: Klimax Solo/1, Klimax 350P, Klimax 340A, Custom 2K 106C, Monitor Audio GXFX, Denon POA-A1HD
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2012-09-01, 13:11
Post: #10
RE: Uncompressed FLAC
Sorry, I used my ears as stated above. (Wooden ears perhaps)
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