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Thread: FLAC vs OGG

  1. #1
    So Much Fire's Avatar Pili
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    Default FLAC vs OGG

    This is going to be somewhat of an issue heading forward since I'm looking to find something to complement my iPod because of the lack of drag and drop, and the big killer - it only takes MP3 audio.

    So! The question - I'm reading that OGG is a container (OGG FLAC and OGG Vorbis) so I'm guessing that if I converted my FLAC into the OGG FLAC format, it's still lossless and will maintain the quality of the FLAC file? Supposedly FLAC isn't supported by many players and OGG is the most common "lossless" (I doubt that because it's still somewhat lossy) format. Also how will the OGG files interact with the in-car stereo controls compared with MP3s?

    With a good sound system/audiophile cans, the difference between FLAC and MP3 is pretty clear and I'm still pretty new to dealing with OGG. I'm NEVER giving up my FLAC

  2. #2
    Simetrical's Avatar Former Chief Technician
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    Default Re: FLAC vs OGG

    Ogg is a container format, so it doesn't affect the actual data or sound quality. It's most commonly used to store Vorbis for audio, and Theora for video, but it supports other formats too. Vorbis is generally considered better-quality than MP3, but it's still a lossy format. I don't know how many devices support Ogg Vorbis or Ogg FLAC in practice. Ogg FLAC should sound identical to FLAC in any other container, because the same data is stored either way.

    Where are you getting the sound files here? You know that if you take an MP3 and convert it to FLAC, the sound quality doesn't improve, right? The FLAC will be an exact replica of the already-degraded MP3 file. If you think you can tell any difference in this case, you're imagining it.

    Assuming you're getting the files as FLACs originally, you might want to try it out and see if you can tell the difference between high-bitrate Vorbis (or even high-bitrate MP3) and FLAC in a blind test. Make sure it's blind, because it's really easy to think you can tell the difference when you actually can't. Try taking the same sound encoded as both FLAC and Vorbis, play the two in a loop, leave the room for a while, come back, then try to guess whether it's the FLAC or Vorbis playing. Repeat a few times. If you get it right every time, then you can be sure you aren't imagining things. I'd be interested to know if you try this.

    Lossy compression saves you a lot of space, which makes copying faster and gives you more room, so it's silly to use lossless formats unless you're really sure you need them. Generally you should only need them if you're doing audio processing and need to keep the original, because making changes to a lossy format will often cause the loss to accumulate to clearly perceptible levels. Lossy formats stored at high bitrates are typically indistinguishable from the lossless original without extremely close inspection, at least as far as I'm aware. I'd be interested if you have evidence to the contrary.
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  3. #3
    So Much Fire's Avatar Pili
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    Default Re: FLAC vs OGG

    Thanks, I'll give the blind test a shot because I've already had a sample I played as a FLAC and then the converted MP3. The MP3 I think was at 256 kbps and seeing which was which, there was a clear difference in the high hats and vocals in favor of the FLAC file (the FLAC file was the original format) . I do have some at 320 kbps but those were MP3 from the beginning so I don't have the FLAC file.

    I like having the FLAC files since storage isn't an issue and I have some high end audio gear that accentuates the effect of something being poorly recorded or converted. The other half is some of the samples I've worked with in the past were already MP3, thrown into an editing program then re-exported as another MP3 so it's information being stripped from a file with already missing information. Adding to that, most of it was MP3 files at low bit rates, 192 kbps and below.

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