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Old 02-06-2009, 01:01 AM   #1
Robb
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How/Where to download lossless audio ? FLAC



Im tired of my Soulseek P2P program. MP3 sounds like dodoo most of the time unless I get a 320kb/s bitrate file.

I wanna get into Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) since its uncompressed audio, just like a real cd or recording.

Where can I download these types of audio/songs ?
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:38 AM   #2
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I use bitcomet to download most of my flac albums. The pirate bay, the torrent site has quite a few great albums on flac.

I've been using foobar lately, a free flac player on my HTPC in the bedroom with one of my audiophile 2 channel setups and honestly, the FLAC albums I have sound better than my original album played through an extremely high end CD/SACD standalone player.

I couldnt believe it, even my father a long time audiophile and analog fanatic was shocked how much better the FLAC albums sounded With a good PC/ quiet chassis/ and good soundcard compared to the original Recording/CD.

I'm on my iPhone right now but when I get home I'll post a link to a great flac page where you can buy 96khz studio master copies of most well recorded Blues/rock/jazz/some mainstream albums straight from Linn. It beats buying a $5000 CD player to get the ultimate sound quality only to realize your PC and a FLAC album sounds better. LOL

Last edited by rendered; 02-06-2009 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:20 AM   #3
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www.what.cd it's invite only though
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rendered View Post
how much better the FLAC albums sounded With a good PC/ quiet chassis/ and good soundcard compared to the original Recording/CD.

It doesn't make sense that a flac song would sound better than the original recording. You use your good PC with your good soundcard to rip the songs off the cd to into flac format. I'll agree that flac is a very good format interms of the quality but it will never sound better than the original recording unless you've done some of your own signal processing after the fact.

I'll admit that it is very hard to notice the difference between a flac version and the cd version though.

I have a creative x-fi platinum in my computer with a pair of Sennheiser HD600's. When I rip cds now I just use the lossless mp3 rip in windows media player and it does a pretty good job, songs average around 900-1000 kbps
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dinan_M5 View Post
I have a creative x-fi platinum in my computer with a pair of Sennheiser HD600's. When I rip cds now I just use the lossless mp3 rip in windows media player and it does a pretty good job, songs average around 900-1000 kbps
nice.

but if you aren't pumping that sort of quality headset, 1000kbps wont sound any better then 320.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:54 AM   #6
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It doesn't make sense that a flac song would sound better than the original recording. You use your good PC with your good soundcard to rip the songs off the cd to into flac format. I'll agree that flac is a very good format interms of the quality but it will never sound better than the original recording unless you've done some of your own signal processing after the fact.

I'll admit that it is very hard to notice the difference between a flac version and the cd version though.

I have a creative x-fi platinum in my computer with a pair of Sennheiser HD600's. When I rip cds now I just use the lossless mp3 rip in windows media player and it does a pretty good job, songs average around 900-1000 kbps
I forgot to mention I'm using an External USB DAC as well. But even so, with EAC, and FLAC format, its apparent there seems to be less Jitter involved compared to when passing CD information from the Transport to the DAC on a standalone player which would lead to slightly better reproduction in sound using EAC to rip and listening to FLAC with a player like Foobar, or mediamonkey (there are better but these are free and easy to get your hands on) It comes down to understanding Jitter and digital sine waves, a very involved conversation we would better have in person where I can demonstrate to you the differences your ears may hear on a Reference audio system.

Please don't take offence at all, you won't hear any differences with your equipment at all. Especially since you're using Windows Media to Rip and listening through headphones. Not to mention, the maximum bandwidth transmission of spdif is 1.5mbs even if you were to use half decent speakers with a new HT reciever, the new HD audio formats transmit from 2.5mbs to up to 6mbs, so your soundcard still wouldn't be sufficient transmitting through spdif. Creative doesn't make high quality (reference standard) sound cards to start with.

"FLAC files can be imported into many media players, such as the Linn DS digital stream player, but unfortunately Microsoft does not yet support high bit-rate FLAC, so these files will not play in Windows Media Player. There are many other FLAC players available such as Media Monkey and Foobar." - http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-formats.aspx

You should be using EAC (Exact Audio Copy). Everyone including all the Audiophile crowd raves this is the best and only ripper that anyone should use! - http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/


Anyways, you're always welcome to come over, grab a beer at my place and listen to the difference a reference audio system makes when comparing different sources and source material.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:20 AM   #7
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There are audiophiles that claim that some CD players sound better than others. That is 100% correct, but usually, it's the fault of the DAC. Some also claim that tranferring files between harddrives causes them to sound different, even though the files are 100% bit for bit identical. This falls into the same category as $1000 power cables for your system. Basically, people claim to hear a difference, but since no scientific test in the world can PROOVE a difference, it falls into the realm of "magic", and these people are often ridiculed.

Now what redered says is right on the money ... a bit-for-bit accurate rip through a high end DAC (a USB DAC is probably not going to be super high end, but certainly far better than what's on your average audio card) has the potential to sound better than the CD being played directly.

Red Book specs unfortunately allow a LOT of errors to pass through (unlike data CDs, which allow for 0 errors), so technically it is possible for a CD being played directly to sound worse than a WAV file ripped from the same CD. The reality is that mose modern CD player have pretty good error correction and the stream being read is almost always 100% accurate.

A FLAC is a loss-less compressed WAV file. A FLAC player uncompresses it, and what you get is an exact copy of the WAV file that went in. There is no possible way it can sound any different than a WAV file (ie, ripped from CD). This assumes of course that your ripping software is 100% percent accurate, and that the information being read off the CD is properly error corrected.

Post the links ... I'd like to beef up my collection as well! MP3s just aren't cutting it for me, other than a quick preview listen.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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Holy, Mark you know your audio stuff Will wav files work on a car cd player ?
I wanna get some Rush and Journey songs !

Last edited by Robb; 02-06-2009 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:40 AM   #9
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Holy, Mark you know your audio stuff Will wav files work on a car cd player ?
I wanna get some Rush and Journey songs !
CDs are WAV files, so you might as well just play CDs I don't know if any car audio players support FLAC yet, though I'm sure they are coming.

Of course if you just use an AUX input and play it off your ipod or whatever, then yes, I suppose it does support WAV files indirectly.

And Journey? Seriously?
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #10
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Holy, Mark you know your audio stuff Will wav files work on a car cd player ?
I wanna get some Rush and Journey songs !
Scotch knows his stuff as well! Nice to see fellow audio guys on these boards! Great educational post man!

It doesn't make me look crazy for spending $1000+'s on speaker/anolog cables because its worth the subtle differences when dealing with $20,000 power/pre amps, and $5000 cd players.

Robb: I (and most of my family) have been buying and selling high end audio gear our entire lives. So its only natural to want to understand why we're spending so much money on Audio equipment (It's one of lifes passions for me). Growing up playing the Piano, guitar, drums, etc, being a musician in general, I wanted to hear every piece of music I listen to at home to the fullest extent; I want the most real-life-like experience possible (to having that musician or band right in front of you), and the only way to do this is to invest in high end equipment that shows every little detail and flaw in your source (cd player, turntable, PC, etc) and your Source Material ( CD, record, FLAC, etc) and every other piece of equipment, and wire in your system. When you have the trained ear, you do hear the differences.

The problem with people saying audiophiles are crazy for wasting all this money, IMO, is because they were never educuted on music, or how to pick up differences in sounds, tones, colorations, etc.

Okay I'll post some more links below of what you'll need to do to get the higher quality stuff in your car. The easiest way would to be buy better recordings. But there might be something better I think.

Here's a great site to buy HQ FLAC albums.

http://www.hdtracks.com/


This site is great for people like myself using an Audiophile Media Server for other systems in the house. I'm using the McIntosh version to stream HQ FLAC (96khz/24bit) to other 2 channel setups in the home.

http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-downloads-what.aspx



and ofcourse, FLAC's main site, offers some great information on the format, and links to other free and pay music sites.

http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-downloads-what.aspx

Last edited by rendered; 02-06-2009 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #11
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Here is a great link how to get FLAC on your portable device so you can play the better quality music in your car

From:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/porta...lac-files.html

Quote:
iPod will play FLAC's, but only if you are prepared to install custom software called RockBox onto it - however, i am not to sure if the latest iPod's (iPod Classic, Touch etc) are compatible with RockBox yet.

Alternatively, you could convert your FLAC's to ALAC (Apple's version of FLAC).

But do you really need lossless on your iPod, or are you just doing it for the sake of it? Unless you are using a hi-end dock and HiFi, you wont tell the difference between lossless and hi bitrate lossy files (the iPod just aint that good).

Also keep in mind that large lossless files will reduce the battery life faster the smaller AAC/MP3's. This is because the lossless files will be larger than the iPod memory buffer and the iPod will need to access the battery draining HDD much more frequently. They will also fill your storage much quicker.

Something like Foobar2000 will batch convert all your FLAC's to MP3 with ease. This is what i do, i have FLAC's for my archive and Squeezebox's, and good quality VBR LAME MP3's for my iPods.
Remember, your sound quality you're going to get is only as good as your weakest link in your car stereo. So no point in playing high bit rate audio if your stereo won't cover the frequency range accuratly and properly.


So Start with a good Alpine headunit at least. I know you have plenty of them (you's a baller) There are other simple, clean looking headunits from Denon, and Nakamichi that I really enjoy, but there are going to be pricey.

Then you'll need an IPOD that will handle Apples Lossless format, I think all of them do (recent models). To convert your FLAC files to ALAC. Then with the newer Alpine decks you can use the Ipod hookup direct so there's no fooling around. Older Alpine decks have the option for the AUX-in through the CD changer port. This will be okay with a higher quality 3.5mm Mini jack cable.

To really make this all worth it, you should invest in the best car audio system money can buy, to hear the differences you'll enjoy with higher quality digital music.


not sure about the rest of your car audio system, but look into Boston Acoustics speakers, focal, Rainbow, DLS, etc.

Good clean efficient amplifacation from manufacters such as Audison, TRU, ARC audio, McIntosh, even the Alpine PDX amps are okay, etc.

And most of all, 0 or 4 guage power wiring so you get the voltage to your amps to make beautiful music, higher quality 12 guage (at least) speaker wire, and higher quality rca's/interconnects, and you'll have a world class car stereo that will blow away most people's home stereos.

Then again, it all costs money, and in the end, the car is the worst environment for good sound. This is most important factor, the environment your audio equipment is in. So it goes only as far as you're willing to get the ultimate sound in the places that you spend most of your time in.

Having said that, I've put together stellar Focal/Audison Stereos for $1000 and less in my older cars before I drove BMW's. And they blew away the most discerning audiophiles including my own father.

But remember, the car environment will never fully allow you to enjoy this higher quality music, and the soundstage/imaging, dynamic range, and reality it provides on a quality home stereo. You'd have to park your car in a soundproof room with the engine off to really notice the differences truly. But this IPOD/ALAC method can be used with a high quality dock/reciever for your home stereo as well!

Last edited by rendered; 02-06-2009 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:57 PM   #12
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I'll PM you guys about the torrent stuff
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #13
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Mark, Im actually in the process of builing a stereo off of my Alpine 7909 cd player as we speak. It will be going in the 1990 civic.

Up front I want a 6.5" 2 way component system, consisting of either Focal, or Boston Acoustics or CDT.

The sub, will be a 10" JL 10W7 in a sealed wedge box.

Im unsure of what amps I want, I was looking at the DLS A5 3 channel, or maybe some old school amps ? ie Hifonics,orion, etc

What do you think ?

btw, my deck has an Aux in RCA.

Btw, do you have any links for this stuff ?
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:06 PM   #14
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I forgot to mention I'm using an External USB DAC as well. But even so, with EAC, and FLAC format, its apparent there seems to be less Jitter involved compared to when passing CD information from the Transport to the DAC on a standalone player which would lead to slightly better reproduction in sound using EAC to rip and listening to FLAC with a player like Foobar, or mediamonkey (there are better but these are free and easy to get your hands on) It comes down to understanding Jitter and digital sine waves, a very involved conversation we would better have in person where I can demonstrate to you the differences your ears may hear on a Reference audio system.

Please don't take offence at all, you won't hear any differences with your equipment at all. Especially since you're using Windows Media to Rip and listening through headphones. Not to mention, the maximum bandwidth transmission of spdif is 1.5mbs even if you were to use half decent speakers with a new HT reciever, the new HD audio formats transmit from 2.5mbs to up to 6mbs, so your soundcard still wouldn't be sufficient transmitting through spdif. Creative doesn't make high quality (reference standard) sound cards to start with.

"FLAC files can be imported into many media players, such as the Linn DS digital stream player, but unfortunately Microsoft does not yet support high bit-rate FLAC, so these files will not play in Windows Media Player. There are many other FLAC players available such as Media Monkey and Foobar." - http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-formats.aspx

You should be using EAC (Exact Audio Copy). Everyone including all the Audiophile crowd raves this is the best and only ripper that anyone should use! - http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/


Anyways, you're always welcome to come over, grab a beer at my place and listen to the difference a reference audio system makes when comparing different sources and source material.
Don't worry, no offense taken. But what do you mean I won't hear any differences with the equipment that I have? Listening to music through headphones especially if they are a high end piece is not a limiting factor at all. Yeah, the fact that I am listening to music using a sound card that is not "reference standard" is a limiting factor, but I'm sure that if I put a Cardas cable on my headphones and hooked them up to a high end system (lehmann preamp etc..) that it would sound very good.
Flac files can be played in wmp, you just need to get the right codecs for it. And when comparing flac to wma lossless, they are both lossless formats so for all intensive purposes they are the same. flac just has the advantage in that it is open source so it has better hardware support, and it's not regulated by the demon microsoft.

I realize that when it comes to audio it becomes very involved and scientific. Eventually I'll start building up some good equipment but for now I'm happy with the equipment that I have (ie cant be spending all my money when I need it for school). I know that I have much to learn, and you appear to be fairly well schooled. At some point in the coming years I'll start spending more time around the audiophile/stereophile websites, but for now I have to focus on other things

If I lived closer to TO I probably would come by for a beer.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:14 AM   #15
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Don't worry, no offense taken. But what do you mean I won't hear any differences with the equipment that I have? Listening to music through headphones especially if they are a high end piece is not a limiting factor at all. Yeah, the fact that I am listening to music using a sound card that is not "reference standard" is a limiting factor, but I'm sure that if I put a Cardas cable on my headphones and hooked them up to a high end system (lehmann preamp etc..) that it would sound very good.
Flac files can be played in wmp, you just need to get the right codecs for it. And when comparing flac to wma lossless, they are both lossless formats so for all intensive purposes they are the same. flac just has the advantage in that it is open source so it has better hardware support, and it's not regulated by the demon microsoft.

I realize that when it comes to audio it becomes very involved and scientific. Eventually I'll start building up some good equipment but for now I'm happy with the equipment that I have (ie cant be spending all my money when I need it for school). I know that I have much to learn, and you appear to be fairly well schooled. At some point in the coming years I'll start spending more time around the audiophile/stereophile websites, but for now I have to focus on other things

If I lived closer to TO I probably would come by for a beer.
No don't worry, your setup is great for what you're using it for! and everyone has their priorities, and you're right, not everyone cares to have the best quality sound at home all the time through every peice of music they listen to.

Your setup is great, well rated headphones up there with Grado no doubt. It could really benefit from an External DAC/headphone amplifier as well in the future if you wanted to upgrade and keep things simple but more on the audiophile level. Although headphones will never be able to re-create the grand sound stage a Hifi 2 channel stereo does so easily, but its all based on room acoustics, frequency response, etc.

The whole point in my oppinion of Hifidelity audio is to re-create the Live performance of your favourite artist to the best, most realistic terms in your own home through Audio equipment. Try to make the experience as good as being live enjoying that musician as if they were right in front of you playing away, or sitting in right in front of them in the recording studio as they play track after track of your favourite music.

The best way to re-create this, is invest in some good stereo equipment, clean amplifaction, quality source, good speakers, quality speaker/analog cabling to reduce the sound colorations, improve clarity, and improve dynamics, frequency range, and response, to allow a life-like soundstage projected in front of you in your sound room at home to mimic that of which the artists would actually play on, or the studio they would record in.

Its hard to explain, I just enjoy the feeling the music gives me when it plays out through my speakers, I feel submersed in the music and amazed how life-like and real the re-creation is of the sound coming from the speakers/system is compared to the live/studio performance of any one particular musician/band/trio/orchestra. I just fade away for hours in the music, Its personally such a relaxing feeling of Bliss.

I'm sure and I hope everyone can experience the same feeling of Bliss no matter what type of music they're listening to, and no matter what equipment they're listening on.
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