Forums > Sharing The Music - Announce > FLAC - Help on the size/compression/quality

forum rss feed
Author

Oberon user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 499 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 25 Aug 04, 16:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm very new to this BitTorrent/FLAC lark, and set off my bittorrents to download some stuff, but it hadn't registered with me just how big these files were (I've filled my hard drive up!). They're like 10s of mB.

If FLAC is supposed to be better compression, I suspect it's better quality compression which means bigger files, right? But the total seems way too much to me.

Am I missing the point? How does it differ from, say a normal CD and then to mp3. I've got an Ipod but the files on that are much smaller, typically 5mb. My entire iTunes directory on my PC is about 5.25GB, over 1400 songs.

To me the quality on my iPod is fine. If the Manchester gig is over 500MB for one concert in FLAC, how does everyone store this stuff when you have loads of concerts?

Do people rip them to CDs( how much can CDs hold?), convert to mp3 (presumably losing quality but resulting in smaller files)?


Tatterdemalion and the junketer

There's a thief and a dragonfly trumpeter
Albyboy user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 375 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 25 Aug 04, 17:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Oberon,
I don't know if I'm the right person to give you an answer (I'm quite new to this technology too), but I'll try anyway...

The point is (in my opinion) that if you take a bootleg concert, convert it into an audio file and then compress it into an mp3, you'll have a further quality loss... If you've already listened to some bootlegs, you can easily understand what this would mean in some cases...

For what I know, people collecting bootlegs are always looking for the most reliable recording of a show and, keeping this in mind, mp3 files would not be the most suitable solution...

If I can give you a suggestion, download your FLACS, convert them in a audio format and then burn your CDs, leaving your HD space for something else... I'm doing this way and, for what I know, there are not many alternatives (if you want, you can buy an external HD, but I don't think that this would suit every pocket...).

For what regards he differences between FLAC, audio files and mp3s, it is quite simple: traditional audio files have no compression, mp3s are very compressed and their quality is sensibly lower, FLAC files are slightly compressed but they allow you to keep the original audio file quality...

I hope I was able to give you a satisfying answer... Excuse me for my English... Try to understand, please...

Ciao

Albyboy


And the light, turn then off my friend... And the ghosts... Well just let them in... Cause in the dark it's easier to see...
Libor2 user not visiting Queenzone.com
Libor2
Bohemian: 661 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 25 Aug 04, 19:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

FLAC files are compressed but this is LOSSLESS compression. So if you compress say WAV file to FLAC you won’t loose quality. After recompress this FLAC back to WAV, the both WAVs should be exactly the same.
On the other side if you compress WAV file to MP3 (which is lossy format) and then you recompress it back to WAV, then the new WAV will be worse quality comparing to original one. How bad it’ll be depends on how strong was initial MP3 compression (192, 160, 124, 64 kbps etc.)

Of course, MP3 compression yields smaller file size of the files comparing to FLAC. But everything costs something - in this case, if you want quality then you should use FLAC (or WAV), if you prefer file size and quality doesn’t matter to you - use MP3 or Ogg Vobis or WMA.

I think in times like these with HDs bigger than 100 GB the file size wouldn’t be problem. On my comp all files stay on HD. And, if I have time, I copy it to CD or DVD. The only one thing which I’m afraid of is HD crash.

Fine day


But now it's time to be gone - forever...
Maz user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5799 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 25 Aug 04, 20:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

FLAC is really useful for those of us who convert it to WAV and burn their own CD. It's not for those who like the convenience of mp3s.

Also, for comparison, FLAC is around 70% the size of a normal CD. So a CD that in WAV would be around 800MB can be compressed to around 500MB in FLAC.


DJ's the man we love the most
Oberon user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 499 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 26 Aug 04, 09:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So the FLAC is very much for burning CD quality music then. If I wanted, I could then copy my CDs to my mp3 player, which, lets face it, isn't striving for fantastic quality (although I don't see it as bad quality compared to the [perhaps low quality] CD players I have in my home).

I guess I will just have to wait until I get a decent PC with a decent sized HD and CD/DVD writer, and a decent stereo system!! So as I can take advantage of these downloads!

Cheers for the responses, all were clear and helpful!


Tatterdemalion and the junketer

There's a thief and a dragonfly trumpeter
thankstogravity user not visiting Queenzone.com

Champion: 66 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 28 Aug 04, 02:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Let me throw this out for discussion: It seems to me that many people miss the point in the mp3 vs lossless debate. It isn't about the conveinence of loading music into an ipod. It's about the long view of preserving the integrity of the files over time as they are copied over and over again. I don't think that anyone is saying that there's anything wrong with converting a WAV file to mp3 on your ipod or computer. The problem arises when a file is repeatedly converted from one format to another over time, as it would be if it were traded. Just as analog cassette recordings tend to lose just a little quality with each duplication, so can a digital file if it is not done correctly.

So to me the bottom line is this: If all you want to do is get some music and listen to it, then convert it to whatever you want. If you want to build a collection that you can share or trade with other fans in the future, you should at the very least decode the FLAC files to WAV and burn an audio CD. You could then use EAC (Exact Audio Copy) or similar software to duplicate the disc later. Ideally, you should also archive the original FLAC files as a backup. More and more traders (in general, not necessarily Queen collectors) will now only accept copies of the original FLAC files.

This hobby is evolving fast, and it can be frustrating. I've just been learning about torrents and FLAC over the past few months, so I'm not an expert, but I will try to help when I can.