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Thread: FLAC or ALAC or both?

  1. #16

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    So, Garym, let me try to summarise all your advices, so that I should be ready to go:

    1) As I am living in an Apple environment, I will use the Apple Lossless format ALAC as my main audio format, that works well with Roon, Sonos, and iTunes to combine it also with iTunes Match.
    2) I will keep a backup of this on a separate USB drive and keep it somewhere else (not same house).
    3) To be ready for the future or a situation, where ALAC cannot be used, I could make a FLAC copy of the full ALAC library by using the dbpa batch converter, when i am done with my full ripping project, and in this case the FLAC Files will also have this important checksum by default.

    Does this make sense? THANKS.

  2. #17
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apple-Fan View Post
    So, Garym, let me try to summarise all your advices, so that I should be ready to go:

    1) As I am living in an Apple environment, I will use the Apple Lossless format ALAC as my main audio format, that works well with Roon, Sonos, and iTunes to combine it also with iTunes Match.
    2) I will keep a backup of this on a separate USB drive and keep it somewhere else (not same house).
    3) To be ready for the future or a situation, where ALAC cannot be used, I could make a FLAC copy of the full ALAC library by using the dbpa batch converter, when i am done with my full ripping project, and in this case the FLAC Files will also have this important checksum by default.

    Does this make sense? THANKS.

    Yes, Correct. One aside, you mention a "future where ALAC cannot be used". This is unlikely. Both FLAC and ALAC are codecs that will likely have encoders and decoders available for many, many years. And if they do fall out of favor, there will be plenty of time (decades) to convert them to the new flavor. And since they are LOSSLESS, the conversion to the new flavor in the future will be LOSSLESS too. For example, the first LOSSLESS, but size compressed codec I was familiar with was a SHN file. Concert tapers/traders used that for many years. You can still run across SHN files, but they are easily converted to FLAC or any other format, with available converters.

    The benefit I mention of the FLAC and embedded checksum comes up in situations like this (and I know of these exact situations). Say you have a harddrive failure. And it turns out that your backups are not up to date or also have a problem, etc. So now you work hard to get all those files moved from the failing/failed harddrive (sometimes at a great $$$ expense) and now you have the files on a new drive. But when playing them, you start noticing that every so often a file is corrupt and won't play. So you'd like to know once and for all which of the files are corrupt. With WAV or ALAC or AIFF you have no way of easily doing this. But with FLAC, you point a program at the top of your music directory, selecting ALL your files in a single batch, and run a TEST. Let it run, and when done, it will tell you which files, if any, are corrupt. Most people never need this. But if needed, it becomes very important.

  3. #18

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    Yes, Correct. One aside, you mention a "future where ALAC cannot be used". This is unlikely. Both FLAC and ALAC are codecs that will likely have encoders and decoders available for many, many years. And if they do fall out of favor, there will be plenty of time (decades) to convert them to the new flavor. And since they are LOSSLESS, the conversion to the new flavor in the future will be LOSSLESS too. For example, the first LOSSLESS, but size compressed codec I was familiar with was a SHN file. Concert tapers/traders used that for many years. You can still run across SHN files, but they are easily converted to FLAC or any other format, with available converters.

    The benefit I mention of the FLAC and embedded checksum comes up in situations like this (and I know of these exact situations). Say you have a harddrive failure. And it turns out that your backups are not up to date or also have a problem, etc. So now you work hard to get all those files moved from the failing/failed harddrive (sometimes at a great $$$ expense) and now you have the files on a new drive. But when playing them, you start noticing that every so often a file is corrupt and won't play. So you'd like to know once and for all which of the files are corrupt. With WAV or ALAC or AIFF you have no way of easily doing this. But with FLAC, you point a program at the top of your music directory, selecting ALL your files in a single batch, and run a TEST. Let it run, and when done, it will tell you which files, if any, are corrupt. Most people never need this. But if needed, it becomes very important.
    Thank you so much, your input was/is much appreciated. And know I also got what is all about this famous checksum, that hopefully I will never need:-) Once again, thank you!

  4. #19
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    You're welcome.

  5. #20

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Dear Garym,

    I am already in contact with Spoon (maybe you have seen my new post),however, since you had really an answer for every question, that I had so far, I hope you can also help me with the following topic:
    As discussed with you, I started my ripping project and went for ALAC as my preferred ripping format. Everything went well so far, and I could see my results including Cover Art for every file in the mac finder in my AlAC folder, which is stored on my Synology NAS. Yesterday I realised, and I really don't know, what happened, since I didn't change anything in my setting, that the mac finder has problems in showing me the cover art, although it must be there, since Roon, iTunes, and Sonos can visualise them. I also made a check by using right click on a file and then -services-edit tags with dbpoweramp or perfectTunes. In both cases, the embedded cover art shows up, so I think I am using the software correctly.
    However, I would like to see the cover art also when navigating through my files in the mac finder and I simply don't understand, why Apple is showing in some cases the embedded cover art, in other cases it was there, and now it disappeared. In other cases, it shows in almost every file of that specific album, but not in all files.

    Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong or how I could solve this issue? Thank you.

  6. #21
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    I've seen other people posting on not seeing the album art in their Mac file browser. Sorry, I don't use Macs and this is definitely some sort of subtle Mac issue, likely caused by some of the Mac operating system updates changes in recent time. But unfortunately I have zero clues or experience on this issue. Good luck.

  7. #22

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    okay, thank you!

  8. #23
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apple-Fan View Post
    I would like to see the cover art also when navigating through my files in the mac finder and I simply don't understand, why Apple is showing in some cases the embedded cover art, in other cases it was there, and now it disappeared. In other cases, it shows in almost every file of that specific album, but not in all files.
    Have you tried posting in the Apple Community?

  9. #24

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    no, not yet, since I hoped to find here in this forum already the answer or solution...

  10. #25

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Dear @garym,

    Happy new year!

    We were in contact some months ago with regards of the right choice between FLAC or ALAC. My project is still running, but I do make progress:-) However, was recently remembering your point regarding the checksum, that was the main reason why you prefer FLAC over ALAC. Please allow me 2 follow-up questions on this:
    1) When I convert first to ALAC (because I have a Mac household) and do at a later stage a copy from ALAC to FLAC for backup reasons of my whole library, will this copy also have this checksum, or only in case I would rip directly to FLAC?
    2) One great feature of dbPoweramp is Accurate Rip when ripping. Is this not also a kind of checksum to prove that the ripping of a CD was error-free and bit-correct, and is also saved as information in the audio-file of each track? If this is correct, what is then the difference between the accurate rip check-sum and the FLAC check-sum you were referring to?

    Thank you so much in advance,
    Christian

  11. #26

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Happy new year to all!
    As I am doing progress on my project ripping my full library into ALAC (mac user), I realised, that I do prefer Roon and would like to skip iTunes forever. Having that said, it comes back to my mind, that FLAC was recommended to me instead of ALAC due to the CRC checksum, that ALAC doesn't have.
    Now, 2 questions on this:
    1) If I convert existing ALAC files (one third of my full library is already ripped to ALAC) into FLAC files, will they also have this CRR Checksum, or only, in case I would rip directly the CDs to FLAC? (for this job I would use the Batch Converter tool).
    2) Since I am using DbPoweramp with Accurate-Rip for my ripping project, I do not understand the difference between the CRC Checksum that only FLAC files have and the Accurate Rip check sums, that also compare my ripping results to the ones of other users, which is for me also a kind of proof, if the files are bit-perfect and without any corruptions.

    Thanks!
    Christian

  12. #27
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    AccurateRip checksums proof that you have ripped tracks without errorfree. Flac checksums proof, that the file is still ok and you had not loss due to failures of the storage.

    When you convert into flac those falc checksums will be calculated and stored within the flac file.

    Dat Ei

  13. #28

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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    I am currently planning to re-rip my full library to have them ideally in accurate rip (about 1,200 albums). I am a mac User, but I am using next to iTunes (for iphone) also Roon and Sonos in my house. So my question is, should I go for ALAC or Flac or both? Apart from the fact, that iTunes only understands ALAC and not Flac (while Roon and Sonos can handle FLAC), is there anything else that speaks for or against one of them? Are there any technical limitations, I am not aware of?
    Hi. Sorry for getting late to this discussion.
    I thought I would like to drop a light in here.

    I used to ignore iTunes. After I bought Apple TV 4K, I thought I'd give a try.
    Everything simple works. If you create m3u8 files, it will recognize and add it in the playlist. You can create the playlists with foobar2000.
    It recognizes album art, embedded. It plays IMPECCABLY gapless music.
    The navigation experience is fast and very well polished.
    Cover arts have a shining glow when selected. It reads basic metadata very well.

    After this experience, I started to re-rip my collection to ALAC.

    ALAC is now open-source, it is not going away anytime soon.
    While FOSS/other project fails miserably to bring up some competition to this, I decided to not spend another 2 DECADES to see FLAC supported as ALAC is in a box like ATV4K. I'd be long dead until this happens.

    As far as my experience goes, I have researched a lot of media boxes. AppleTV 4K was pricy but, like DBPA, it is worth every penny. It is homologated / probated product. It is well built and constructed. It has support. It is not like some weird Western Digital media, which has horrible user interface and God knows when this will disappear from shelves or market. I remember a product called Zensonic/Ziova. It was pretty much diffused in the US and Europe. It played FLAC. Suddenly the company shuts down and disappears from the net. This won't happen with Apple products. Not that I love Apple or am a die hard fan of Apple. I have never been. But when the winner is clear, it's the winner. Until something beats it -- and there's not to this product IMHO.

    After the rip, you can run a foobar2000 component called foo_audiomd5. It has an option to register same MD5 as FLAC would in a tag, you need to tweak this component so it computes the hash from PCM data only for lossless files (the default behaviour computer MD5 for lossy, so it will not render same MD5 as FLAC - so pay attention to this). It will be just like as FLAC files. In foobar2000, if you suspect of a corruption, you can just verify the files with this component, which will do exact the same thing as FLAC. (Thanks to the good altruist soul of Janne Hyvärinen. All credits deserved!)

    I am still using EAC to extract the CUE files (non-compliant). I also keep CUETools to fix some problematic rip. It is working well. Just in case I will ever need to burn a perfect bit CD. This satisfies a bit of my OCD. So, having the WAV files extracted and the cuesheet, I'm guaranteed, although I think I don't think I will ever burn another CD-R in my lifetime and God bless technology for this.

    I mean, no experience is so satisfactory with the Apple Ecosystem right now.

    I bought a program that plays FLAC and m3u8 files (FE Pro - file explorer). It works OK, but it is not gapless. It displays album art. It also has one issue: m3u8 needs to be in the same folder as music files, otherwise the m3u8 is unusable.

    I also tried VLC for Apple TV. UI sucks a lot. It does play FLAC. No album art, and not good metadata reading. Huge gaps.
    They say an sort-of implementation is coming to version 4, but I could bet my life on this that this is not going to be the same experience as Apple Music + iTunes.

    The only downside of iTunes is that you need that running to get the share up. SMB/CIFS won't do it.

    And, worst case scenario, due to ALAC being supported now even in Linux out of the box, I don't see a reason to stick with FLAC.
    Latest Ubuntu, it ran ALAC in Rhythmbox as a charm. For mobile, I also go with the same files. No duplicated libraries. And lastly a backup.

    This way I can only have ONE library. No lossy and no worries about not being able to play my lossless files.

    FLAC is all good, all the best, all praised, but it decided to drop that towel. It shocks me that in so many years, no one comes with a iTunes killer. Practically, all hardware implementations of FLAC lacks gaplessness and album art or replaygain. It sucks. (Notice: I'm not talking about software/PC apps).

    One VERY ANNOYING thing that is pushing my away from FLAC is the running-out space of PADDING block. No one never considered in always maintain a permanent final padding BLOCK to the file upon FLAC file creation. Every time the PADDING block gets filled, with PICTURE block or something, the file, when has its tags updated, will always re-write itself. This could be a huge issue if the hardware gets problematic and errors start popping up - and these files would render no playback at all I think. I don't like that. I hate when I see the files getting a new happy re-write. Thanks we have SSD these days, but it is also not practical to reserve PADDING -- say 1MB or 2MB... If you don't use the full PADDING, the file will always have a wasted space in storage - this sucks big time. The right thing that would have been done is that it will place more metadata, but it would always preserve a last small quantity of PADDING so the file will handle an update without re-writing itself. Don't get me wrong, I love FLAC. But I have to admit ALAC is catching up. We have now a component that can make our life easy in foobar2000, but when ALAC gets an error robustness into it, then FLAC people will be sorry. It will be like MP3 and AAC. AAC grew a lot in the past decade competing with MP3. The MP4 container today is more popular than the MKV itself, which was supposed to be the de-facto standard container for every daily use.

    I keep foobar2000 to do the swiss-knife audio checking/transcoding jobs.

    My 2 cents, and I've been happy as hell since I bought DBPA.

    -- krafty
    Last edited by krafty; 01-04-2022 at 10:52 PM.

  14. #29
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Your flac player struggles with gapless and playlist files? . But I thought you have foobar2000? It has no issues. I use foobar2000 on my office computer for playback. My main flac player in home system is LMS server running on rPi with piCorePlayer OS feeding my Squeezebox players. Works well. about 9000 flac albums. Feeds 4 room systems, either synched or something different to each room. VLC good for video but not great for music. I started with iTunes many years ago, but find it very bloated now. I also like cuetools for minor repairs.
    Last edited by garym; 01-04-2022 at 10:28 PM.

  15. #30
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    Re: FLAC or ALAC or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by krafty View Post
    FLAC is all good, all the best, all praised, but it decided to drop that towel. It shocks me that in so many years, no one comes with a iTunes killer.
    Because iTunes is a very poor library/player application, riddled with issues that have existed for years. Apple developers can't be bothered to address some issues, I guess, because they want users to abandon there older hardware and splash out again, for new iThings.

    Personally, I prefer software developers to support their end-users, something Apple used to do way back in the 1990's, but since then, their prime motivation seems to be monetary.

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