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WAV versus FLAC


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Okay thank you very much

I had the feeling after deactivating the streamer in Minim that it sounds better. But that can be deceptive.

2020-12-15 13_06_43-WAV versus FLAC - Page 3 - Network Music Players & Music Streamers - HiFi WigWam.jpg

Edited by Johannes
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1 hour ago, Johannes said:

I had the feeling after deactivating the streamer in Minim that it sounds better. But that can be deceptive.

You can simply delete the stream.transcode setting (or remove references to FLAC from it if, say, you are transcoding MP3 streams). MinimStreamer will not transcode anything without an instruction to do so.

David

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Yes, I had done that. But I had the impression that it sounded a bit better after deactivating the package, that's what I wanted to say. But as I said, I could have been mistaken.
My impression was that the treble is less harsh, in case anyone wants to test it. 

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23 hours ago, DavidHB said:

Naim used to say that using WAV rather than FLAC lowered the noise floor in their players

Naim told me that rips made with its server sounded better than Accurate Rips (dBpoweramp and XLD) even though the PCM content in the file was identical. I did ask them why FLAC didn't sound that great on their very expensive player and they did indeed suggest transcoding to WAV. Seems users on their forum suggest pumping the output through a Chord DAC is a significant upgrade. 

As a very happy Chord DAC owner I have tried pumping the output from my ADSM through a Chord DAVE and Hugo (not at the same time). The loss of Space Optimisation more than negated any perceived gains. 

So I'm a bit sceptical about Naim comments - perhaps biased because I was never a very happy Naim owner for reasons I've outlined in previous posts. I accept there are many very happy owners. 

With my ADSM, I honestly could not tell you whether the currently playing album was in FLAC 5, 6 or 8 or WAV or AIFF or ALAC, but then I can't tell a Mac mini running JRiver Media Server from an expensive Melco running Minimserver. I guess it is a case of if it sounds better then it is better. It is easy for folk to try for themselves. 

I do hear a difference with upsampling off and upsampling on (something I can do with my Chord DAC) and I definitely prefer it on. I also think the Katayst DAC is a definite improvement over the one it replace, which was pretty good in its own right. 

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My settings are simple...

flac:wav24, flac(>24;96):wav24;96

So put simply all flacs are padded out to 24bit wav. Anything greater than 24:96 is downsampled to 24:96 simply because my DS is not (yet) hardwired ethernet so I can occasionally get dropouts at higher sample rates with my home plugs.

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Using a Naim Uniti Core as source, I could just about discern that wav is better than flac, but the difference to my ears was so small that it could have been imagined. 
 

With all the discussion regarding quality degradation when changing formatting, I can understand why there is a school of thought that Roon degrades quality.  

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I have the Majority of my files in ALAC due to Apple mobile devices. Apple doesn’t do FLAC. CD Rips and transcodes from FLAC files done in DB Poweramp.

I tried AIFF a couple of years ago after a dealer suggestion, but, found no benefit to my ears and reverted to ripping and downloading in ALAC.

How do you good people rate the usability of the new Minim Server 2? I gave up on the old version a while back and bought Asset UPnP. Minim Server was good, though, I found some aspects annoying and it blocked updates to my Synology  NAS. 

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I use MinimServer/MinimStreamer with following option (semicolon at the end):

stream.transcode: flac:wav24, alac:wav24, mp3:wav24, aac:wav24, dff:dopwav, dsf:dopwav;

Upsampling (e. g. to 192 kHz) didn’t improve the sound; I guess it’s more stress for the DAC which leads to higher jitter,

Adding eight “0” to convert to 24bit brings a nice improvement.
 

It also worth to compare several converter in stream.converter 

I tried several version of ffmpeg.exe (2.0 - 3.4) and also avconv.exe: all versions sound different so it’s worth to try (my NAS is Microsoft based),

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Can you describe the sound change?

Where is the ffmpeg? For me, the Minim only says ffmpeg.

Can the streamer convert MQA from Tidal?

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13 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

I tried several version of ffmpeg.exe (2.0 - 3.4) and also avconv.exe: all versions sound different so it’s worth to try (my NAS is Microsoft based),

interesting, which version of ffmpeg did you think sounded best? 

8 minutes ago, Johannes said:

Where is the ffmpeg? For me, the Minim only says ffmpeg.

Not sure if this is what you're asking but you need to put the ffmpeg.exe in the opt/bin directory 

On Windows, the full path to the opt/bin directory is
 C:\Users\your-user-name\AppData\Roaming\MinimServer\opt\bin

more info in here

https://minimstreamer.com/userguide.html

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4 hours ago, Phobic said:

interesting, which version of ffmpeg did you think sounded best? 

Haven‘t testet the latest version, but 3.4 was really good. Check also the filesize (smaller is better, some versions have debugging info inside). The filesize of the files I checked was between 3MB and 73MB.

Im my system and for my ears AVCONV.EXE is no improvement but there are different thoughts about this converter.

The path to the converter could be changed in Minim options.

Edited by Ben Webster
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3 hours ago, Johannes said:

Can you describe the sound change?

Where is the ffmpeg? For me, the Minim only says ffmpeg.

Can the streamer convert MQA from Tidal?

It‘s hard to describe the changes: it‘s not night and day but on the long run quite important. I guess (!) some versions create lower cpu stress than others and so less jitter.

You can find more info and the latest version (4.3.1 Windows) at https://ffmpeg.org

As mentioned my latest testet version was 3.4 (Windows)

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On 15/12/2020 at 14:55, entdgc said:

My settings are simple...

flac:wav24, flac(>24;96):wav24;96

So put simply all flacs are padded out to 24bit wav. Anything greater than 24:96 is downsampled to 24:96 simply because my DS is not (yet) hardwired ethernet so I can occasionally get dropouts at higher sample rates with my home plugs.

Now I'm puzzled. If you have bandwidth issues, flac lossless compression should be beneficial. Are you saying, that downsampling a 192 khz flac to 96 khz, and converting it to wav yields a better SQ than playing the 192 kHz flac in the first place? As flac yields up to 60% compression, I'd assume that 192 kHz does not result in dropouts, if 96 kHz wav works. I'd expect that the loss of information should outweigh any potential gain of a reduced workload on the DSM (which should be designed to cope with this workload, anyway). But I never put this to a practical test.

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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On 16/12/2020 at 12:59, Johannes said:

Can the streamer convert MQA from Tidal?

I don't think we answered this question. The answer is no, for at least two reasons. The first is that Tidal and suchlike streams never go near MinimServer/MinimStreamer. The second is that MQA is an encrypted proprietary format. There really is only one thing we users can sensibly have to do with MQA, which is absolutely nothing. 

David 

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tried again with the latest version of FFMpeg and I'm finding pretty marginal, quite easy to put it down to expectation bias.

will try it with 3.4 later and see if that's a bigger difference

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