To flac or not....

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Muzjunky
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To flac or not....

Post by Muzjunky » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:20 pm

Hi all,

New to the forum but been a monkey user for a few years.

Just thought I'd ask this question to see what is the consensus now a days with all the different format and ripping method available.
I have pretty much all the different formats in my music library that I gathered through the years in different bitrates (rips I did mp3 at 192 then at 320 then at V2 and back at 320, purchases different online stores, aac with itunes store...even some wma files I have from way back..) Over the last couple years I started ripping all new cd's I bought in flac to build my lossless archive....which they are just sitting there on a external hard drive with the original CDs on the shelf.

Now lately I realized I want to standardize my whole library (because it's driving me nuts having all those different formats) and my questions are :

1) Is it worth it to go lossless considering what high quality lossy encoding can now achieve - if one is satisfied with the end results (The "futurproof" concept of going lossless is a little bit hard to comprehend with the possibilities of drastic improvements of lossy encoding).

2) If you go lossless, do you maintain 2 sets of librarys (lossless/lossy) ? I tried that and it's actualy a real pain to achieve it you want to keep the integrity of the infomation on both libraries (eg songs ratings, any tag updates)
I know Mediamonkey can convert on the fly lossless to lossy when syncing however if you build your lossless library with a purpose of "archiving" your cd's than it defies that purpose if you use it as your main library.

3) Do you stricly go with lossy and...just enjoy listening to music !
Maybe I am asking myself too many questions ??

Just want to hear what you guys (and gals) do for your library(ies) structure and what format you use.
Now that MM4 RC is around the corner with accurate rip support I am planing on starting from scratch to keep it uniform.
Cheers

Lowlander
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by Lowlander » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:02 pm

I go Flac and let MM do on the fly encoding for portable devices/DLNA. As the files are digital there's no need to "archive" and not use them. You might consider backups though in case the hard drive your collection is on goes bad.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

dstrimbu
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by dstrimbu » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:36 pm

Muzjunky wrote:
Maybe I am asking myself too many questions ??
Hey Muz,

Yeah, I think that you are... :-) Forgive me, but MM makes life pretty easy - no need for multiple libraries at all, here's what I'm doing:

1.) I rip everything FLAC with DBPowerAmp from Illustrate and,
2.) Store on my local HDD. I have a mix of over a thousand albums ripped as FLAC files, a couple of dozen albums ripped at 320k, and a handful of 192k MP3 rips from a long time ago. I keep all of them in one library - with MM, there's no need to separate them!
3.) I do a timed backup to a mirrored volume on my SAN to ensure that I won't have to re-rip 1,000+ CDs if a drive craps out.

That's it, man. It's easy... I can down-rez to any format for an iPod, by simply selecting a rule in MM... or any other bit-rate, or any other format that I need / want / like. Or, I can "rebuild" bitperfect WAV files from the FLAC compressed rips, and listen to real CD-quality audio on my iPod... and you don't want to get me started on the limitations of the red-book CD format bc I'd probably bore you to death.

95% of my music is ripped to FLAC, and the majority of that with DBPowerAmp... simply because of AccurateRip. I want to be sure that I have a bit-accurate copy of the CD. Your comment about lossless formats "getting better" is kinda true, but you have to remember that lossy formats are just that - they throw away certain information to save on disc space. I bought a 1.5Tb WD Caviar Black last week, from Amazon, for 77.00 USD. Why would you compromise your music quality when storage is so damned cheap?

OK, I'm off my soapbox. Just so that you know that I'm not totally full of schytt, my portable system == IPod Classic 160Gb, ALO Audio line-out cable to a Ray Samuels Audio Predator headphone amp (using analog, even though the Predator has a USB DAC). My IEMs are UE Triple.fi 10 Pros. I'm 53 years old, and I'll challenge you to a blind run-off between accurately ripped FLAC files, re-converted to WAV, and any lossy format on my rig... I'm that sure about the quality, and my ears are toast. <g>

If you love music, you owe it to yourself to a.) get some decent IEMs, b.) consider an external headphone amp and c.) listen to CD-quality digital audio. Life is too short to listen to MP3s!

Yeah, I'm a bit goofy... but music is really important to me, and the capability to do lossless is virtually free today.

Good luck!

-Don

lohimm
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:46 am

Re: To flac or not....

Post by lohimm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:58 am

the most important cds i actually buy - but that's just very few. i try to have all my important music lossless - much of it even as .wav files or flac. i listen to a lot of music on my mobile phone (mp3), so i convert some cds to mp3 320 to put them there. i still think that you lose some sound elements in mp3 - that's why i prefer flac or wav.

Guest

Re: To flac or not....

Post by Guest » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:30 pm

Flac is definitely the way to go. I just converted everything from .wav to .flac using dbpoweramp as well.

Silly question: if you convert a lossy mp3 file to .wav, I'm assuming all you receive is a .wav file of a lossy track (in other words, you never get back the data that is lost during compression). Is this true?

Lowlander
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by Lowlander » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:37 pm

Guest wrote:if you convert a lossy mp3 file to .wav, I'm assuming all you receive is a .wav file of a lossy track (in other words, you never get back the data that is lost during compression). Is this true?
Yes, and actually the quality can be worse than the original MP3 as you're converting.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

nohitter151
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by nohitter151 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:13 am

Lowlander wrote:
Guest wrote:if you convert a lossy mp3 file to .wav, I'm assuming all you receive is a .wav file of a lossy track (in other words, you never get back the data that is lost during compression). Is this true?
Yes, and actually the quality can be worse than the original MP3 as you're converting.
I don't think that's true, WAV is lossless so nothing would be lost during the conversion. But you'd have a much larger file size with mp3 sound quality the same as the original.
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Anamon
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by Anamon » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:08 am

I'd say FLAC is worth it in general. With today's storage prices, the number of GBs you can get per dollar, which on average will only increase over time, it's true that storage is not really an argument anymore (although to be honest I'm currently drowning a bit in my external HDDs.)

I think "futureproof" is less about whether you can discern the quality difference to a lossy encode though, rather than what happens if you want to have some of your music in a different format in the future. Transcoding from lossy formats is a very bad idea, and if at one point you only have your lossy MP3s to go from, the quality can only ever get worse. If you have a lossless copy in your archive you can be sure that whatever format you might want to have a track in in the future, you can get the encode as good as it will get.

That being said, I have large parts of my collection in MP3 format only, and I've actually reduced my percentage of FLAC rips a bit over the years, so I don't really heed my own advice. My reasoning is, the value of my collection is not just in the lossless audio quality of the music. I always have the CD or record on my shelf, and if I lost it or it broke, a FLAC rip would be little consolation. In most cases I could always get the music back from "somewhere", but if I don't have the covers, sleeves, booklets, discs, records.... to go with it, it's just not the same thing :roll:

nolab

Re: To flac or not....

Post by nolab » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:36 am

The posts here are pretty spot-on. We can argue about sound quality, but it's an infamously fruitless internet argument due to subjectivity and the person's gear, room, ears, etc. Sound quality is not the primary reason to use FLAC, at least for this thread's purposes.

5 or 10 years from now you may find yourself wanting to convert to another format, for any number of possible reasons. Maybe you're no longer satisfied with the original rips and want to start over. Maybe another, superior lossy format will finally topple mp3 altogether. Well, you can't do that with even the best quality lossy file without further degradation. FLAC is also easily and quickly translated to other lossless formats should you need it. Say you became an Apple fan overnight and didn't feel like screwing around with their lack of flac support. Just que the whole mess and convert it with one click.

It's free and open source, which means it's not going anywhere. Comparably few people use Windows or Apple lossless compared to FLAC junkies.

Even if you don't wish to pay for the Gold version, you can manually convert the files to lossy for your portables in a separate folder, and sync from there. It's painless, and you're safe in the knowledge that you have a perfect, lossless copy of the music you've spent so much time collecting, and that it can be manipulated any way you want, any number of times. The stuff on your portable is disposable.

sirandar
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by sirandar » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:08 pm

To FLAC or Not .......

For newly ripped tracks I would say "why not" as HD space is cheap and why lose audio info if you don't need to.

A related question is : Is it worth en-encoding previously ripped tracks to FLAC?

Unless they are ripped below 160kps MP3 I would say it is just not worth your time to re-rip tracks .... the return on investment on your time is near zero as you won't hear the difference anyway. Wouldn't you rather listen to music than mess around with it.

Re-ripping takes at least 10-30 minutes per CD, as you need to find the CD in your collection, load it, wait for CCDB to find it, rip it, check that it ripped, find cover art, find lyrics, check lyrics for extra crap, rate each track, set mood and temp for each track .....

For a good sized collection this means about 5-6 days of full time tedious work.

It is a insane amount of work for minimal or no return in sound quality improvement.

Now.... if someone could write a Media Monkey script so you could just pop a CD in and it would look up what you already have in your collection and update it to FLAC retaining ALL the TAG info ...... then it might be worth it as it would cut the time by 9/10ths
Peace through music

nohitter151
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by nohitter151 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:49 pm

sirandar wrote: Now.... if someone could write a Media Monkey script so you could just pop a CD in and it would look up what you already have in your collection and update it to FLAC retaining ALL the TAG info ...... then it might be worth it as it would cut the time by 9/10ths
Someone already did: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... nd+and+fix
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sirandar
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by sirandar » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:15 pm

Very impressive script and I can see it would be quite simple to port the tag info over ..... I may give it a try

Still if someone wrote a dedicated FLAC upgrade script simpler to advanced duplicate find and replace it would be very useful. If I could script well enough I would take a shot at it.

The script would work like this:

Start script .... it asks to pop in CD
Script reads CCDB and displays the tag info of the best matching tracks in your library
A dialog pops up saying "replace ALL, Advanced, and Cancel"

"Replace ALL" updates all the tracks to FLAC keeping all the existing TAG and play infomation and moves the old tracks to a junk directory
"Advanced" lets you pick which ones and choose between multiple matches
"Cancel" just cancels

I think it would be a great script.



Thanks Bex and nohitter

nohitter151 wrote:
sirandar wrote: Now.... if someone could write a Media Monkey script so you could just pop a CD in and it would look up what you already have in your collection and update it to FLAC retaining ALL the TAG info ...... then it might be worth it as it would cut the time by 9/10ths
Someone already did: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... nd+and+fix
Peace through music

nohitter151
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Re: To flac or not....

Post by nohitter151 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:08 pm

sirandar wrote: Still if someone wrote a dedicated FLAC upgrade script simpler to advanced duplicate find and replace it would be very useful.
It's hard to imagine it being any simpler than selecting the old album, right-click > Copy meta data, then select the new tracks and "Paste metadata".
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