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Playing FLAC 24-bit on my HiFi?

Discussion in 'Audio' started by whiskywheels, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. whiskywheels

    whiskywheels Member

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    I'm very impressed with the quality of FLAC audio files. Obviously I can play them on my PC using players like Winamp, but I want to play them through my 'proper' hifi, and don't want to interface with my PC just to play some music. I've burnt some 16-bit FLACs to CD, and they sound excellent. My question is; can I burn 24-bit to CD (not with winamp apparently)? Or, is there an affordable (c£200) hardware player/HD that will play FLAC files and plug directly into the hifi?
    I'm on a learning curve here, so apologies if this is a stupid question. I've just been surfing on this subject and am none the wiser; this forum was one of the 'answers' I found. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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  3. k00ka

    k00ka Regular member

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    if they sound "excellent" to you then, I see no reason to change..But that's just me..
    As you well know(I presume), standard Audio CD is 16bit/pcm/wav 2-channel stereo..
    There are a number of ways to play lossless flacs on HiFi..HW media players (e.g. WD media player etc..Heck my PS3 via optical to audio receiver plays them..Many receivers have USB support, just plugin a USB stick or portable player, and the receiver will decode the flac(s) and play them..
    FWIW you can burn the 24bit flacs on a CD as data..Question is will your particular equip.(e.g CD player support/play it back?..
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  4. whiskywheels

    whiskywheels Member

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    Gracias k00ka, an interesting reply. I'm trying to find a way of making use of the superb 24bit files through the nice speakers on my hifi. I can plug an MP3 or WMA into my hifi amp, but it won't play FLAC files. I want to find a cost effective way of either playing the FLAC files direct into my system, or burning CDs from the files if doing so wouldn't defeat the purpose; ie; studio master quality or near.
    I've a good soundcard, amp, and speakers connected to my PC, but don't want to sit in my study listening to music .......... I want the sofa and my nice hifi!
  5. Mez

    Mez Regular member

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    What was the source, vinyl?

    We love to answer questions like this here. We love to put our 2 cents in when an audiophile starts going digital. That is a joyful event! The most simple way is to burn them to an audio CD then just play them as you have done. I am sure your 24bit flacs will actually play more accurately than an original CD. Optical reads are really not all that accurate.

    There are worlds of difference between what you can hear and what you can detect with the proper technology. My advice is archive the best you can but relax about what you hear. Some persons enjoy the challenge of delivering the most perfect audio that they can to their ears. There is nothing wrong with that unless you fool yourself into thinking you possess super human hearing and can head a difference. That is still OK with me unless you poke fun at someone who prefers to just hear HiFi and not perfection.

    That said, your ears and your brain only process a tiny percent of what is in those flacs. Your are only hearing 10-15% of what is on your CD but are worried upping the quality because it isn't not good enough. It is a fact that if you have a preconceived notion and you are not running a blind test, your brain will hear exactly what you want it to hear. Your 16bit disk holds about 1350 CBR. In double blind tests audiophiles may not be able to tell the difference between that and a 192 CBR mp3 or a 160 VBR mp3. These are rough estimates each audio piece is different and so are the listeners. VRB is a variable Bit Rate. This uses a lossy compression that removes data without losing quality on the fist pass then removes removes more data to meed a specified fidelity.

    That said, check out the stickies at the top of the forum. If you only read one, read the top one. You should be able to go through that thread in less than an hour. The linked articles were produced by world class audio engineers. Believe me they know a bit more than even your wisest friend. If you have time to only to read one article, read audio myths which is actually a video on youtube. It is almost as entertaining as it is informative.

    Enjoy!
  6. Mez

    Mez Regular member

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    double post! I think I only pressed the button once.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  7. k00ka

    k00ka Regular member

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    whiskywheels, if you can plug in an mp3 player as you've stated, then you can decode/convert the flac tracks back to .wav losslessly and play them...There are a number of tools/apps that'll do it..Try foobar2k, MediaMonkey,Winamp, dBpoweramp, just to name a few..
    Now what's interesting to me is, that you stated in your OP that the burnt audio CD sounds "excellent"..And then you say the flacs are " superb 24bit files"..Have you actually tested the original files with a 16bi flac or even a proper lame encoded mp3@~ 192kbps?..You may just be surprised at the results..
    As our friend mez pointed out, a good lossy compression algorithm (e.g Lame discards data, but your ears may not tell the difference between the original..
    Even as you've stated you want as close to original as possible to 'the masters' well the end result is still 16-bit pcm/wav for standard audio CD that is..
    I have to tell you, I can hookup my laptop to my amp via->USB->external soundcard->optical to amp..Plays everything including flac(s)..But it all honesty, I can't hear a difference from my lossy collection..There are exceptions of course (i.e. badly encoded or too low a bitrate used to encode them..
    None of us share ears, equip, listening environment etc..
    So look for your sweet spot and play away my friend!..
    Cheers!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  8. Mez

    Mez Regular member

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    The other side of the story is there are far more ways to screw up lossy than lossless.

    Fip! Back to the other side... The reason CDs are 16 bit and the highest bit rate for mp3s is only 360 is that amount of data is over kill. You can't hear the difference in a double blind test. It is not that the developers were stupid or ignorant.

    Your brain can only process 12 frames per second. Moves have always been 16/sec. Your brain perceives it as a continuous flow. Just because someone has a move that runs at 100 frames/sec will not make it look any better. The data on an audio CD is many times what you brain can process. Why do you need more? to listen to? It is nice to have if you are doing audio capture of vinyl. There was a member that captured vinyl using 2 very old "Crystal" sound cards. She claimed they were superior to what was made today. I did not argue but I bet the professional sound cards are better than those. She was able to record 32 bit. Again, it is nice to have but no one can tell the difference.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010

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