Hello! I have been all over these discussions, have posted and have even gotten bashed for expressing an opinion that others didn't share... well sorry about that!
In another line of thought I have noticed that the main virtue of the USB Apple is that it contains FLAC files which are capable of providing the utmost sound quality currently available for the Stereo Remasters. I have read that some Hardware CD Players are available that can take full advantage of the FLAC format. Howerver, as far as I have been able to find out, the great majority of these players are software based, that is, they run on a computer. If I connect the computer to my Home Stereo I lose the digital aspect of the reproduction since I'm doing so with an analog cable and am degrading the quality of FLAC.
Maybe I have the concept of FLAC wrong and FLAC is simply a compression software in a way similar to ZIP and whatever is compressed in it is in another format.
What method are those of you who are praising the qualities of FLAC use? I have Windows in my PC... Thanks in advance for any help. Your advice might help in deciding if I should buy the USB Apple.
FLAC is just a particular compression method, but it is lossless compression. If your computer has line out, then you can still realize the benefits depending on the quality of your computer's audio components. There are dedicated high quality music servers, like Olive, that are sure to output a quality signal to your amplifier. Then there are lower quality servers, like Apple TV, which are still a considerable step up from a computer or iPod dock. The FLAC files can be copied directly to the server over WiFi.
FLAC is a lossless format. There is a way, while making them, to make sure they are lossless. So I feel better about them because of that. On FLAC web site (http://flac.sourceforge.net/), they give a list of hardware that play FLAC files. Unless you want the particular hardware mentioned, I don't know if that would suit anyone. I know a Western Digital Media Player will play FLAC files and it has a USB input, but I have never used one. Some people I gather are well equipped for playing them. I have a computer that plays them and I can get a digital audio output from it, so I can put that through my home theatre system. I also have a surround sound system connected directly to my computer that I already listen to the boxed sets on. I haven't received my USB Apple yet. A problem I have though is that the Creative Mediasource player can play 16 bit flacs okay, but not 24 bit ones. So I would probably use Winamp, or WMA when I set it up for flac. With analog output, the sound quality is very dependent on the quality of your sound card. FLAC won't be degraded by that, you can compare with 16 bit sound that way, which it should be an improvement on. The only reason I bought the USB is because it is in lossless 24 bit.
I don't know why you ask that really. The division of tracks has separation between Sgt Peppers from WALHFMF on CD and on mp3s made from the CD. It depends on the what you play it on whether there is a noticeable gap. A certain way to remove that is to edit the two wav files together yourself and remake the mp3 or flac file.
First of all, if there are ever ANY gaps between songs then you're doing something wrong. If you take the Pepper's CD (for example) and load it into Exact Audio Copy the first thing you do is detect the gaps (F4) then you can make either WAV or FLAC files. Once the WAV files are done you can load them directly into your favorite software (I recommend Nero) then burn to CD. Nero defaults to a 2:00 second gap between all tracks (and prior to the first track). Before you go on, go to Edit and choose Select All, then, while pressing the CTRL button, de-select the first track so that all tracks are highlighted EXCEPT Track 1. Then, go anywhere in that highlight area and right-click and choose Properties. Where is says Pause, change the '2' to a '0' and click apply and OK. Now, every track's pause should be 0:00 except the first one which should still be 2:00. You're ready to burn a gapless disc. Choose the Disc-at-once method.
Right now I have the mpg files copied to my ps3 and I really love the way it sounds through my 5.1 Home stereo system. My question is, if I convert the files from flac to wav using Goldwave and of course copy it to my ps3, it shows it in there, but when I try to play it, it reads unsupported format. Anyone try to copy this to a ps3 console. PS3 says it supports wav files. But also has anyone here been able to use flac files on a ps3 or that fact a home stereo system and can you hear the difference between the wav and mp3.
I would say PS3 may support wav files but you might want to check what bit rate it supports. It may only support 16 bit or 20 bit files? In which case you'll be needing to do a downconversion of those files yourself thus defeating the purpose of having the 24 bit files. At least for now. You'll still have them when hardware catches up.
Remember, the Beatles were good for bringing hardware up in quality. They put speaker support systems in business when nobody could hear them playing at Shea Stadium and other venues through their PA system. They made people who listened to pop records want to own stereo equipment as good as classical listeners owned. They made EMI upgrade their equipment just to record them! LOL So the world will catch up to them on this USB.
I listened to mine and I am sure they were not the FLAC versions but the MP3 versions still sounded terrific! Surprised me. I only used the self-contained player on my Mac to hear them. My plan (although I haven't given it much thought) is to make DVD Audio files at 24 bit and copy each album to its own disc for playback. Once I try I'll post as to what I did to succeed at the task.
I'd like to find out how to access the image files to print the images if I wanted to do so.
YKMN: Use a screen capture program to get the images. My disk is being modeled after the Flash interface, I used those as the menus and linked everything to the song titles. It's time consuming, but so far so good.
Yea, that makes sense, maybe make a petition to Sony so they can make the PS3 system flac friendly. Hey, that's an idea to get it recorded to dvd. If if works, let me know what you did, like what program so forth.
"If I connect the computer to my Home Stereo I lose the digital aspect of the reproduction since I'm doing so with an analog cable and am degrading the quality of FLAC."
At some point you have to go analog so that there is actual sound... until they make a 24-bit brain implant with an S/PDIF connector!!! Just stay digital as long as you can from source til speakers. In my case I have a semi-pro sound card; analog outs fed directly into active near-field studio monitors and the flacs sound darn fine to me.
SteveM, I used the instructions on this page: http://a8t8.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2518DD508BB713E8!239.entry I did the bit with WMP Tag Support Extender lower down the page.
On another matter, which might be off topic. I looked into ways to join mp3 files without re-encoding. No programs actually do joins with no audible gaps. I tested with Sgt Peppers and With A Little Help From My Friends. But I did find a free program called mp3DirectCut which allows you to edit the mp3s. The gap seems to be at the very end of the first mp3, so you cut there before saving joined. I can't understand why no one attempts to imitate gapless playback on Winamp. The smallest cut is about 1/20 of a second which might be right. It's all very hands on though.
There is really no reason to physically join 2 files together to make them continuous or "gapless". The apps iTunes and Songbird will play these with no gaps, and WMP will as well. I haven't had an issue with any of them. If you try to edit mp3's as you know, they need to convert to wav, then converting to mp3 will further loose information.
Music Luver, iTunes does not play FLAC. Your iPod will not play FLAC with its standard software. There is a program called Rockbox which I have not tried yet (but intend to) that will essentially overwrite the iPod's software and allow it to play FLAC. Once that's done presumably it'll play the 24-bit files -- but you're still stuck with the iPod's digital-to-analog conversion and its headphone jack. I've never seen the specs on those, but I very much doubt they're any good. iPods are not made for good sound.
My 80GB PS3 will support up to 192khz/24-bit stereo PCM output. The 80GB PS3 is really a remarkable piece of equipment -- a Blu-ray player, a terrific DVD player, and an SACD player (in addition to playing those games I wasted my money on and never use).
AA: I knew that FLAC wasn't supported by iTunes. You would have to convert these to a format that is supported. My comment was simply to say that it is not necessary to manually join 2 songs together, if you use either of those apps, in the case of iTunes, it would have to be ALAC/WAV/AIFF. So a conversion is necessary.
I have both box sets ripped to ALAC and in both iTunes and the iPod 5G, there is no gap. The 24 bit FLAC files are loaded to Songbird and there is no gap, ie. Pepper and Abbey Road side 2 are perfect.
Where it does gap unfortunately is the USB Flash MP3 player, though it's not consistant, occasionally it won't. I blame that on the design of the player.
Hi Hector, in your case, I guess that would be best. I thought you had an iPod. I installed this app to check it out, it looks pretty straightforward. You haven't found any difference in sound I take it?