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    Defending my use of FLAC.


    I've recently been getting some critical comments on one of my contributions because it is encoded in flac format. The commenters argue that because they've never heard of it, or that it is unsupported in the software they use that I should not be using it. I've decided to post a small message as to explain my choice...

    Why did I use flac? Because it is a lossless, open source, highly portable audio format. I can hardly be held accountable that the companies that make certain software are too slow or unwilling to support lossless codecs. It is a pointless argument since you can easily convert a flac file back to wav or aiff with a simple program.

    I also use flac to show my support for Freesound. Disk space and band-width aren't free. If everyone who was uploading wav or aiff files switched to flac, it would potentially cut disk and bandwidth use for Freesound by 30%-40% which is a signficant amount when you pause to consider the demands on the site.

    --------- ------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - - - k.m.krebs \ 833-45 : http://833-45.net/ --------- ------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - - -
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    I support the use of FLAC.
    Most of my samples are in high-quality OGG Vorbis, but my most recent one was FLAC-encoded and I'm thinking about re-encoding my old ones in FLAC from the masters.

    FLAC is free, FLAC is lossless, and FLAC has compression (which makes it better than wav or aiff.) This is similar to a debate going on at wikipedia; people don't like that all their audio is vorbis-encoded because vorbis is not as widely supported as MP3 or wav.

    Well, guess what. If we don't use less-supported formats, they're never going to get supported. OGG is definitely making inroads, and I want FLAC to as well.

    And as mentioned, it can be painlessly and losslessly converted back to AIFF. Storing files as FLAC saves space AND bandwidth on the freesound server.

    So people, bite the bullet and spend five mintues to get a FLAC converter.

    Freesound Admin Official Acclivity Fan Club - Member Stuck with FLAC? Check the FAQ.
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    190 sounds
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    How can i convert flac back to wav or aif in mac OS X ?

    Can i do the same with ogg ? if i can't, do you know any way to open ogg (or flac) into max msp ?

    Thanks.

    Jaume Ferrete www.jaumeferrete.net
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    18 sounds
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    plagasul, FLAC Supports Os X.

    http://flac.sourceforge.net/download.html

    Download the encoder/decoder here.

    For Ogg files:

    http://www.vorbis.com/setup_osx/

    Google is your best friend.

    And I agree, FLAC is lossless, and it compresses pretty well. Uploading uncompressed Wav files to a website does not make sense to me at all. Bandwidth and disk-space are not free, and it takes more time to upload/download. A total waste for me.

    Lossless compression should be supported.

  • avatar
    121 sounds
    1545 posts


    I support flac, hence freesound supports flac, hence flac shall not be bashed smile

    go flac go!!

    go 833-45 go!!

    - bram

    Warning: if you break the rules, see my avatar. Freesound Admin, Moderator, Ex-Freesound-Coder & Benevolent Dictator For Life.
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    3055 sounds
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    833-45

    Why did I use flac? Because it is a lossless, open source, highly portable audio format ...

    There is a great difference between uploading 40 vs 80 Mb of sound, so I agree with you completely. Futhermore, serious portable devices - like my beloved iRiver :wink: - do play flac, can you believe it?

    cheers

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    230 sounds
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    For those using Audition or CoolEdit (yay!) on a PC, you can download free FLAC filters here:

    http://www.vuplayer.com/audition.php

    For those of us who are code monkeys, you can also grab the source code there too.

    Inky
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    89 sounds
    97 posts


    I don't know why I didn't think to convert my earlier submissions to FLAC, but I'll try to remember in the future! (I doubt I'll have time to go back and convert my existing entries, though.)

  • avatar
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    Hi. I'm the guy that started this argument - though I've seen many other people having problems with .flacs. Although I admit did not check up on the specs of flac before lambasting it - As a music tech student I've grown sick of people describing various compression methods as lossless and CD transparent when they aren't. It was late at night with a deadline approaching and I got a wee bit annoyed, so I apologise for that. However, the qualities of the codec was not the point of my rant. The problem for me was that as Pro-Tools does not recognise flacs, using them represents a major interruption to workflow. The soundscape piece for which I was using the file in question (for a uni assignment) used hundreds of samples from many sources. For each one of these files that is a flac I would have to quit Pro-Tools, open another program and convert them, quit that program, re-open pro-tools and import the converted sample. This is all assuming that I have a program that can do the conversion, which is no problem at home but as we're not allowed to install software on our macs at uni that leaves me and others students on my course unable to use them. I would in fact have to drive home, convert the files and bring them back! Now I'm not saying that for this reason flac sucks - far from it. I am and have always been a user and supporter of free and open source software. I actually think that flac is a great idea which deserves support, but for me and many others it is currently an incredibly awkward format to use. Consequently, when I come to upload files to Freesound they will be .wavs for short detailed sounds and high quality mp3's for longer files, simply because I want as many people to be able to use them as easily as possible.

    The solution? I think that flac needs the same kind of useability as standard archiving software. It's fine building support into programs but if you're streaming a large amount of audio from a hard drive that requires on-the-fly decompressing, it's going to affect performace. However, any zip file can be uncompressed to the same folder in any windows dialogue. If the same thing could be done with flac then it would have my wholehearted support. Ideally, of course, Digidesign might build flac support into the next PT release - and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

    Further to all that, I just wanna thank 833-45 for adding the file in the first place. Believe me, there is nowhere else that has the sound of rain on a car roof, and however awkward it was for me to use the file (I had to grab it from the preview with Audio Hijack and filter out the artifacts), I'm glad it was there.

    Peace.

  • avatar
    121 sounds
    1545 posts


    ------------------------

    However, any zip file can be uncompressed to the same folder in any windows dialogue. If the same thing could be done with flac then it would have my wholehearted support.

    I think you still don't fully understand flac... Flac works EXACTLY the same as zip. You can convert from and to wav from flac via command line, and via many utilities you can find on the web. Additionally you can stream flac files directly decoding them, but this isn't requited at all!!

    > flac music.wav
    will create a file called music.flac

    > flac music.flac
    will create a file called music.wav

    Notice this is even more simple than using ZIP.

    ------------------------
    PT isn't the only program in the world. there are many audio programs that read flac just fine (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC )...

    All formats were unfamiliar and unsupported at one stage. Should we use zip (once patented, now free)? should we use mp3 (owned by a large multinational who charges rediculous prices for it)? should we use AAC (I bet you wouldn't have trouble with freesound supporting AAC as it's built in by Apple into OSX!).

    ------------------------
    Freesound just shot over 1terra-byte per month (as you can read on the front-page), flac can help.

    ------------------------
    Possible sollutions: perhaps try dropping to the command shell in osx and type "flac". With a bit of luck you will have a decoder already installed on the system.Here's a nice player which has support for all the formats on freesound, on mac osx: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cog_%28software%29

    ------------------------
    Other than all of this I guess we could have a system which decodes all files on the server and have a "download as WAV". However, this would stress the server quite badly, hence it's probably a really bad idea.

    - bram

    Warning: if you break the rules, see my avatar. Freesound Admin, Moderator, Ex-Freesound-Coder & Benevolent Dictator For Life.
  • avatar
    178 sounds
    740 posts


    However, any zip file can be uncompressed to the same folder in any windows dialogue. If the same thing could be done with flac then it would have my wholehearted support.

    If you install dbpoweramp converter and the flac plugin, you can convert flac files from the context menu in windows explorer just like a ZIP file.

    If you can't install software on the mac... tough shit. You can probably fit MacFLAC or xACT on a usb key, but I think they require the flac commandline tool to run.

    Freesound Admin Official Acclivity Fan Club - Member Stuck with FLAC? Check the FAQ.
  • avatar
    546 sounds
    351 posts


    I downloaded and installed the Flac filter for Cool Edit. It integrates very well and is easy to use. Hence, I prepared to upload my two latest samples (Train1 and TwoToneDoorbell) as Flac, and was pleased to achieve a 3:1 size reduction, BUT ... then found that the FS built-in applet for uploading doesn't support .fla files - it wouldn't list them in the source directory!!! So I gave up and uploaded them as wav.

    Come on, Bram, get your act together!

    Freesound Moderator "Close your eyes, and you're almost there!"
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    546 sounds
    351 posts


    It looks like I need to manually change my file names from .fla to .flac after saving.
    Is that right? What a fag.

    Freesound Moderator "Close your eyes, and you're almost there!"
  • avatar
    178 sounds
    740 posts


    Uh... I was able to upload .flac files with an external FTP client, but I have never tried uploading .fla files or uploading anything with the FTP applet.

    On an unrelated note, I just saw this in the FAQ:

    Bram
    Freesound prefers:
    1. uncompressed WAV or AIFF.
    2. Then FLAC
    3. Then mp3 or ogg at bitrate 192kbps or higher
    4. all else...

    So Bram, has the list ordering changed?

    Freesound Admin Official Acclivity Fan Club - Member Stuck with FLAC? Check the FAQ.
  • avatar
    121 sounds
    1545 posts


    hehehe,

    strange, flac files should have an extension "flac" and not "fla", mike! But, perhaps cool edit doesn't like longer extensions (quite possibly a left-over from the old win95 days).

    I'll add the *.fla extension to the applet.

    Thanks for noticing yet another small bug smile

    [edit] should be fixed now [/edit]

    - bram

    Warning: if you break the rules, see my avatar. Freesound Admin, Moderator, Ex-Freesound-Coder & Benevolent Dictator For Life.
  • avatar
    59 sounds
    13 posts


    Bram

    strange, flac files should have an extension "flac" and not "fla", mike! But, perhaps cool edit doesn't like longer extensions (quite possibly a left-over from the old win95 days).

    Yes, it's a know problem with Cool Edit / Audition -- it is only capable of handling 3 letter file extentions. Why this hasn't been addressed yet is beyond me.

    --------- ------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - - - k.m.krebs \ 833-45 : http://833-45.net/ --------- ------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - - -

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