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8 thoughts on “Welcome to 2020: A New Decade for Audio Masters

  • January 5, 2020 at 11:25 am

    One thing I’ve never understood is why FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) isn’t used for streaming. It gets approximately a 50% reduction in file size with no information thrown away. Like a zip file, FLAC looks for repeating patterns, which it uses to create a glossary at the head of the file, with a short nickname for each such pattern, which is replaced in the file by the nickname; the original patterns are then substituted back into the file in place of the nicknames as it is played back. FLAC also supports the same tags – even cover art – that mp3 supports, with the same tag editors able to work on it.

    Being intentionally created for the public domain, FLAC is widely supported by music programs (like Foobar2000, Twonky, and BubbleUPnP) since there’s no charge for using it. I play FLAC files over the internet from my hard drive with no performance or fidelity hit. The only reason I can see why FLAC is not used for streaming is that there’s no company behind it for support.

    • January 5, 2020 at 11:33 am

      FLAC is in essence, a zip file for PCM – PCM being the format used by CDs and high resolution audio of the sort used by recording studios and distributed by AIX, iTrax, HDtracks, etc. (WAV is just another name for PCM.)

      • January 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm

        Thanks Phil. PCM is the name of the process of encoding and WAV is the name of the format container.

    • January 5, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      And the FLAC process is part of the MQA process…only free.

  • January 6, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Steven Stone posted a link to the same article inside the High Fidelity Stereo Facebook community(a relatively quiet place considering the subject matter) and it has only one comment. No pro/anti-MQA arguments(it’s there on a few earlier posts)

  • January 16, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I am not an audiophile and would appreciate any suggestions from the audiophile community as to which DAC for listening to music via my iPhone Xs Max is best? I just signed up for a trial subscription with Amazon HD Music. I chose Amazon since they do not use the MQA process that Dr. Waldrep and others seem to question. I have read good reviews on the Dragonfly Cobalt but it uses the MQA processing. Would this interfere with the streaming from Amazon HD since they do not use MQA? Thanks everybody, especially Dr. Waldrep for his insight and GUTS in telling us how it really is when it comes to listening to good audio.

      • January 23, 2020 at 5:43 pm

        Thank you Chooke. Are you implying that the Black does not include the MQA processing but the Cobalt does?
        I just don’t want any DAC that would degrade streamed music that is not encoded with MQA, such as Amazon . If a DAC that includes MQA has NO affect on non-MQA music that is streamed, I would be interested in their product.
        And while we’re at it, which portable DAC would you recommend, if any?
        Thank you for your reply.

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