Flac to Wav. are there differences?

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Vincent Kars

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Re: Flac to Wav. are there differences?
« Reply #20 on: 25 Mar 2011, 08:11 pm »
A lot of testing has been done.
All these test yield the same result, expanded FLAC and WAV are bit identical.
If 2 files are bit identical, can they sound different?

PC based audio is PCM audio, you have the samples and the sample rate.
Correct reproduction requires to things:
•   the right sample, any alternation to the bits will alter the sound
•   the right time, any unaltered sample arriving to early or to late will alter the sound
Yep, the second one is known as jitter.
A logical conclusion, as PCM audio consist of 2 components, both must be right.
Any comparison of possible differences e.g. between audio formats should take both aspects into account.
What happens if you play WAV?
A codec will interpret the content, translating it to raw PCM.
As the content is almost identical to raw PCM, this codec has almost nothing to do so have very little impact on CPU use.
What happens if you play FLAC?
Exactly the same, a codec will interpret the content, translating it to raw PCM.
However, as the audio is compressed, it must be unpacked. This requires more CPU.
If you do hear a difference this might be because the increased demand on CPU induces some disturbance in the DA conversion.
If this is true, the implication is that the sound quality of your system varies with system load.
I’m inclined to say that this is like have your screen starting to blur the more cpu activity there is.
In other words I do think hearing a difference between WAV and FLAC indicates a system error.


Re: Flac to Wav. are there differences?
« Reply #21 on: 15 May 2011, 09:29 pm »
I've been playing with both FlAC and WAV this afternoon on a Bryston BDP-1 and I agree there is definately a difference between the two.  After lots of back and forth listening, I'm almost certain it is only a slight volume increase on the Wav files and nothing more.

Quality wise, everything appears to be the same and the dynamic range is identical, but the FLAC file plays a little quieter, which gives me more granularity on my volume control, which I like.