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Thread: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

  1. #1

    FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    I know in Spoon's guide he suggest that we use the -5 switch but I have been talking to friends and they all prefer the 8 switch. Besides the difference in files sizes is there a noticeable difference in the switches?

    I know with MP3 you want the lower switch since you are losing some quality in audio in compression (ie V0 vs V4) but is there a difference in one lossless switch versus another one? Is there any particular reason why -5 is recommended?

  2. #2
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Since FLAC is lossless, the only difference between the settings (other than file size) is the time it takes to compress and decompress. I use the -8 switch personally, but it has been suggested that -5 is the "sweet spot" between how much compression you get and how long it takes.

  3. #3

    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Thanks. I was curious to see if others could tell a difference since I know there are some true audiophiles here. I did a test and only a saw small increase in file size going from 8 to 5, like 27.4 MB to 27.5 MB and like 4kbps in bitrate according to Winamp. Files sounding exactly the same to me.

  4. #4
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by playboysmoov View Post
    Thanks. I was curious to see if others could tell a difference since I know there are some true audiophiles here. I did a test and only a saw small increase in file size going from 8 to 5, like 27.4 MB to 27.5 MB and like 4kbps in bitrate according to Winamp. Files sounding exactly the same to me.
    It's lossless. They will always sound exactly the same, regardless of compression level. When they are decoded, they decode to an identical bytestream.

    Brendan

  5. #5

    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Thanks everybody for the swift responses. I decide to go with -6. Doesn't take as long as 8.

  6. #6
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by playboysmoov View Post
    Thanks everybody for the swift responses. I decide to go with -6. Doesn't take as long as 8.
    Huh? We are talking thousandths of a second difference?

  7. #7

    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    Huh? We are talking thousandths of a second difference?
    Yeah but being that the 8 only saves me a tenth of megabyte during my tests encodes, does it really matter? I initially thought I was losing some quality but now that I know that its all the same then I will stick with 6.

  8. #8
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by playboysmoov View Post
    Yeah but being that the 8 only saves me a tenth of megabyte during my tests encodes, does it really matter? I initially thought I was losing some quality but now that I know that its all the same then I will stick with 6.
    I agree that 6 is fine, and lossless is lossless (i use 5, just because 8 doesn't save that much space relative to 5, and 5 was the default under dbpa when I first installed it ;-)

  9. #9
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I agree that 6 is fine, and lossless is lossless (i use 5, just because 8 doesn't save that much space relative to 5, and 5 was the default under dbpa when I first installed it ;-)
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that some of the hardware devices out there that initially supported FLAC had some decode issues at the higher compression levels, so most people just recommend using the default compression level, esp. as the space savings is so minimal.

    Brendan

  10. #10
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    Quote Originally Posted by bhoar View Post
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that some of the hardware devices out there that initially supported FLAC had some decode issues at the higher compression levels, so most people just recommend using the default compression level, esp. as the space savings is so minimal.
    Strange. FLAC decoding is very efficient -- on my foobar2000 and at -8, it decodes some 50% quicker than mp3. The decompression effort is fairly close to invariant over compression levels (I suspect the non-monotonicity is due to it being constrained by I/O (i.e. decoding quicker than it can read) even in that test -- though probably not on a portable player).

    But what you might have picked up, is the non-subset settings, which potentially go beyond the reference encoder's "-8". The "subset" specification should ensure streamability on more or less everything. While the reference encoder creates subset files unless specifically told not to, other FLAC encoders like Flake might not ensure this.

    (I guess non-subset FLAC is a bit akin to 'free format' mp3s with bitrate > 320 -- also in the fact that it is hardly in use by anyone.)
    Last edited by Porcus; 04-09-2012 at 06:26 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: FLAC switches (-8 vs -5)

    my only experience is that 24/96 FLACs at -8 had a bit of trouble in the SqueezeBox Transporter with some older Transporter firmware. This problem was solved with updated firmware (but a workaround at the time was make sure they 24/96 FLACs were encoded at -5 rather than -8).

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