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Thread: Quality question at FLAC

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    28

    Unhappy Quality question at FLAC

    We rip CDs for customers. With the Acronova Nimbie robot.
    Today a customer reports that our results are terrible. He says our FLAC sounds as bad as MP3.
    He would be very disappointed with the sound quality.
    He uses a Mac with the XLD software and would have significantly better results.
    He says the difference is immediately audible when he rips a CD for test purposes.

    At the moment, the customer still owes us proof of the quality of its ribbed versions.
    Therefore we ask here in advance.

    Could it be because of the FLAC converter?
    We use the secure option and all results are accurate.
    We are currently using dbPowerAmp version 16.5.

    Is there anything known or could anything be improved?
    Or does someone have an idea what could be wrong?
    Please help.

  2. #2
    dBpoweramp Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    3,721

    Re: Quality question at FLAC

    I have 3 questions:

    1. Are you definitely ripping to the flac format?
    2. Are you definitely getting accuraterips (you stated accurate)?
    3. You are NOT using any DSPs, when ripping?

    If you answer yes to all questions, then the ripped audio will be identical to that on the CD.

    Your customer's playback system is unknown here, but I suspect this is where the problem lies.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    28

    Re: Quality question at FLAC

    Yes to all 3 questions.
    The customer's playback system is unknown. But if he rips a few himself - and compares them to ours - the playback system is identical. So he shouldn't be able to hear a difference.
    I asked the customer to upload an example to us. My fear is that there are quality differences in the FLAC converters.

  4. #4
    dBpoweramp Guru
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    1,292

    Re: Quality question at FLAC

    Flac is lossless. You can convert it back and forth to different compression levels or wav without any loss of audio data. So as long as you rip accurately your Audio CDs with 16bit, 44,1 kHz without DSPs you will have 1:1 copies.


    Dat Ei

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    28

    Re: Quality question at FLAC

    Thank you.
    That calms me down a bit. So I'm waiting for what the customer uploads to me as a comparison. Maybe he is looking for an excuse not to have to pay.

  6. #6
    dBpoweramp Guru
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    4,615

    Re: Quality question at FLAC

    As noted, something is odd here, and it is NOT the FLAC codec in dbpoweramp. There seem to be a few oddballs out there that start claiming that a WAV file copied from one computer to another sounds different (impossible unless an error, and this is easy to check). The other thing is that if you are adding replaygain values, and his player uses these, then maybe his rips do not include ReplayGain tags, and his rips are louder (and thus sound "better" to him).

    If I was you, I'd do the following.

    1. Have him send you one of his own rips (which he thinks sound good) of a CD that you also ripped for him. Then you can do a bitcompare to prove to yourself that the two rips are bit identical.
    2. If the audio is bit identical (be sure to use the dbpa tool that only compares audio data, not the tag data).
    3. If all bit indentical in the audio, then look at tags, ReplayGain tags in particular.
    4. If you determine that these files are truly idendical then do the following:

    take a few of his tracks (his own rips) and your FLAC rips, strip out all the tags, naming, etc. Send him back a set of these with tracks marked only as "A" or "B" as name (use file date manager, to change the creation date of both to be identical). Then have him play all these comparisons, without knowing which is which (he doesn't know that in some cases A is your rip and B is his rip). Have him report preferences. You might find that in a blind test like this, he can't even pick out what he thinks is best.

    have fun. And he sounds like a customer I'd rather not have.

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