Lossless file formats

Uncompressed vs Compressed
Is there a difference beyond how much space it takes?
Also, at how much of a difference does it stop being worth paying more for a lossless file format vs a lossy format?

Well you want lossless, but there typically isn’t a difference if the lossless is compressed or not on modern pc’s phones, and players.

To clarify: lossless is lossless audio, the whole thing, lossy is lossy, not the whole thing

Compressed audio is like flac, still lossless but smaller than uncompressed like wav, but they sound the same

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worth is all you buddy. for many its worth that extra $10 a month for lossless. it depends on how much you really can discernt the differences. I personally can if I really focus but its not worth the extra to get tidal for me I just buy a physical cd or just buy the straight up flacs for albums and songs that I want to keep forever though and just for the sake of having that flac file. used cds are cheap

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I’m not super clear what you’re asking. If the difference is between a compress flac file and an uncompressed wav file, then no, not really. If your question is about the difference between a losselss file vs a lossy file, then yes. Lossy compressed files take less space because data has been removed from the lossless (.wav or .flac commonly) version. Using the mp3 format as an example, the first thing they do is remove all the data above about 17KHz (although this cutoff does depend on the amount of compression - 128kbps vs 320kbps, for example). Then, the compression algorithm usually combs through the song and removes quiet sounds right after loud sounds and other subtle details that most people aren’t going to hear very often. Essentially a lossy file is the result of an algorithm that is asking the question “How much data can we remove and yet still convey the structure and core sound of the song?” Turns out, that amount of information is quite large. And we should all tip are caps to how well mp3, aac, and other lossy formats can do this because without them music distribution and access would not be what it is today.

As to the value question? I agree with @RiceGuru, that’s a question only you can answer.

I use tidal hifi and flac files… technically they’re both lossy but I notice enough of a difference from 320 for it to be worth it to me

I’d say it’s worth while to get a few albums or songs in tidal and spotify and flac and wav and compare and make your own conclusions

I was fairly certain of the answer of compressed lossless(FLAC) vs uncompressed lossless(WAV), but wasn’t absolutely certain.
As for the worth… There are certain songs I can’t find anywhere in a lossless format, and thus have written it off as a lost cause, and will typically cave into just buying the mp3. However, with some songs, I can only find a lossless format in a singular location. A more recent one, for instance, I can find on Amazon for $1.30, but is only sold as mp3 (it’s $.99 on iTunes Proceeds to choke on my dinner trying to make a re-appearance). However, I can only find it on BeatPort lossless in WAV or AIFF for $2.74. For someone with a already tight budget, more then twice the cost can be a bit harder to swallow.
Most of my library is mp3 built up over roughly ten years. I’ve found I can tell the difference between FLAC and MP3, lest we’re talking about a FLAC that’s recorded like dog shit, and MP3 that’s been well recorded.

Theres a big difference between compressed and uncompressed. Especially when you get better audio gear. I buy used CD’s on ebay 3$ and rip them to my computer and just listen to the WAV’s. With storage being so cheap and huge these days theres no need to worry about compression. Also the ultra hd and masters quality is better than the CD quality audio. And remastered music is usually better than the un-remastered.

WAV and flac should sound the same, they do on my machine (and most people’s)


Yeah wav and flac should sound the same. what im saying is why bother?

Because not everyone has that much space, with a large library that can quickly add up. I see no reason to not compress unless you are editing that audio


I hear that. When I run into that I consider how I’ll usually be listening to that track or album. Is this a critical listening situation? If so, lossless. Is this an OK track that goes into a work shuffle, workout playlist or on a driving mix? Ok, mp3 is fine. Just questions I ask myself. Also, what music? If it’s some cool new stuff you should share on the “Listening to tonight” thread if possible.

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With mutli terabyte harddrives selling so cheaply these days? you have a hell of a collection

Not everyone plays from their pc’s, and also yes I have a large library. An uncompressed high rez wave, say for example like 24/96 can get very large in size, and it doesn’t make sense to not compress when it’s no cost to quality. If you don’t want to compress that’s fine, no harm done. But not everyone can get away with that


Some people do. As it is, my laptop and desktop are both primarily for gaming and learning different software to stream, record audio/video, color correction, video editing, ect. As stated earlier, I don’t have a terribly flexible budget. Simply purchasing a larger hard drive can easily become out of the question in my present situation.
For me, it generally depends. I don’t necessarily have tracks purely for critical listening, nor any that are purely for pleasure. While I can say that there are some, particularly with a better DAC, AMP, and more revealing headphone, I can better hear the issues with the recording quality, while with other combinations, I can’t hear it quite as well. I’ve found this more prevelent with some of the IEMs I’ve tried vs say my K550.

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It also doesn’t exactly take long. Even the highest level of FLAC compression only takes a few seconds on modern CPUs.

Yeah it’s a pretty painless process to do. I wouldn’t do it at max compression to avoid issues with older playback devices but yes its fast and easy

mlti terrabyte hardrives are really cheap these days regardless.

do they have terrabyte sd cards for phones yet?

Yes, I use two 1tb microsd cards in my m11, and it def can’t hold my library