Lossless versus lossy

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Post 16-Jun-2012 18:17

Topic has been split from 1985-05-18 Madrid new and improved

the Flea
 

Demian ®

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Post 21-Jun-2012 15:20

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I think it's totally wrong to convert (known!) lossy to FLAC (lossless) (if not for personal use!) and for that it should not be allowed here (even if I am alone with my opinion).
Per definition this is not what FLAC meant to be or most people are implying with FLAC!
And if someone's happy to have that concert now in "LOSSLESS audio" is faking himself! (and we are faking us)
If someone wants the audio of that video, well, it can be extracted and offered here as AC3/MP2 or what ever it is. I see no problem. And If someone wants to burn it on CD and doesn't have enough knowledge how to manage (with mp2/ac3/etc), they can ask the forum, maybe it can be shared in a different format and place (one-click hoster etc.). But it shouldn't be allowed "officially" here (lossy FLAC's).
It's already since a while that the LOSSLESS (audio) rules in this forum are getting weaker and weaker. :(
This forum (once) has given itself the label "lossless" and everyone was proud and happy about it.
"Smithstorrents" is not an isolated island (IMHO). FLAC is a "standard" and synonym outside this forum, and it stays for: lossless (-sourced)!
Stuff from here gets shared all over the places (as "LOSSLESS"). People are used to trust "FLAC" (as lossless sourced!), but with that we are becoming a source of spreading FAKES! :( And that's not funny!
Where is the resposibility and priority?    Just to have one more gig in the list...?! (would be a shame...)
To point it out: This is not a discussion about sound/audio quality!
I am aware that this LOSSY recording might sound better than a LOSSLESS one. But - as already said - that is not my point (of FLAC) and usually not here:
There are a lot of people having concerts, available as MP3-only (until now), but we are far away - at least I hope - to offer/allow those suddenly here as Pseudo-FLAC's (converted MP3's).
It doesn't matter to me, if one lossy is an upgrade/better than another, it has never a right to be called FLAC, in the same way as the best "normal" sparkling wine is not allowed to be called "Champaign" (per definition, even if it's better tasting).
Lossy stays lossy and never becomes FLAC!
If we allow LOSSY audio (FLAC's from lossy MP2/AC3), why not from MP3 too?
What difference does it make?
Thanks for listening.
P.S. I think we would be not very happy if another forum had soft(er) rules and allow FLAC's even from lossy MP3 ("but only(!) if over 160 kbps" ;)). And then those Smiths/Morrissey FLAC-concerts enter the web. What a mess... (and all trust in anything gone!)
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the Flea

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Post 21-Jun-2012 15:32 (after 11 minutes)

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Devil's advocate here: FLAC is a form of file compression. It doesn't purport that the contents are lossless, it just compresses what it is given without any more loss of quality.
If a music file is only available in a certain state and that state happens to be lossy. Then having it in FLAC format isn't bad, it just must be stated that it derives from a lossy format. And as can be seen in the above (original) post, it does state lossy origins ;)
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Demian ®

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Post 21-Jun-2012 16:31 (after 58 minutes)

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I don't agree with your devil's advocate, Flea (of course ;))
btw: I know what FLAC is (and that's a codec)
But as I wrote - it's also a synonym for lossless sourced (for most people)
Nice that you mentioned the (original) post here on Smithstorrents, I was talking about that the concerts get spread on the internet. This post here (mentioning it's lossy) might get lost in some time. What stays is the lossless format (implying it's lossless).
How many (copied) stuff do you think still have the original notes (I exclude archive-formats)?
If a music file is only available in a certain state and that state happens to be lossy. Then having it in FLAC format isn't bad, it just must be stated that it derives from a lossy format
Following your strategy, this means to me:
Convert all mp3-only gigs you have to FLAC and post them where ever you can (of course with the note it was originally a lossy!). Really?
How long do you think the lossy note will survive? Do you have all sources and notes of the FLAC's you ever downloaded? (Maybe you, but everybody else too?). Are all websites/trackers still up?
Come on, be a little more realistic.. ;) (btw: we are talking here about Smiths-stuff that is 30 years old, in 10 years 40 and I'm not sure if this forum will still exist)
Anyway, I don't understand why on this "lossless" Smithstorrents forum, we need definitly lossy audio, that could be - said carefully - easy mistaken (without reading the notes that might get lost some day because the forum does not exist anymore) and blown up (10x in file size) as lossless?
Simple question: What do you expect from a (single) FLAC-file you download in the first step?
I don't know your answer but I can tell you what I expect: A lossless sourced file.
And if it's not, I'm disapointed! (for the hoping and the 20 x bigger file size and hunting for it, because the lossy (but audio-bit-identical) file could be found at every corner)
 
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the Flea

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Post 21-Jun-2012 17:38 (after 1 hour 7 minutes)

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Speaking for myself here (personal opinion) but what happens to the music beyond SmithsTorrents is purely up to the people who decide to take it beyond SmithsTorrents. If they decide to remove or conveniently "lose" the "lossy" information, that's completely up to them. We are not the guardians of The Smiths live music on the net, we are the guardians of The Smiths live music on SmithsTorrents. I would like to think that the information would remain with the music but people will be people ;)
I disagree with your statement that FLAC is a synonym for lossless sourced (for most people). I have never heard anyone say that, and doubt most will think it.
I disagree again on your follow on strategy, I never mentioned MP3. I mentioned lossy files which cover many forms (one of which is sadly MP3). In recent years many gigs were recorded using MiniDisc which were usually recorded in ATRAC format to save on space. ATRAC is/was a lossy compression.
If a The Smiths gig were to appear on here in FLAC format from a concert we never knew was recorded and it happened to come from a MiniDisc, I'm sure the uploader would be hailed as a star, not as a lying fake music spreader.
The simple question you ask: what do I expect from a FLAC file?
Answer: I expect a piece of music that is either lossless or hasn't lost any audible or "non-audible" (see the original laughable MP3 plaudits for that meaning lol) information from its original state. The information that comes with the file will give me that knowledge. As I mentioned before, what happens beyond SmithsTorrents, I have no control over.
The above is purely MY personal opinion. DavidA and the Soundsville team may disagree with me, I don't know.
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Demian ®

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Post 21-Jun-2012 19:55 (after 2 hours 17 minutes)

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You never mentioned mp3, ok. ;)
But I think we agree that is as lossy like mp2 (which is quite often used for TV digital broadcasts beside AC3).
Sorry, but I cannot see any difference between mp2/192 kbps and mp3/192 kbps.
Except that mp3 could have better quality because usually only 192 kbps or 256 kbps fixed bitrate are used for mp2 digital broadcasting. And as far as I know - maybe you can correct me - there is not a more advanced audio compression implemented in mp2 (quality/bitrate).
I know about ATRAC and its lossy compression algorithm and I see also this as a problem.
There is for me no(t a big) difference if I record a concert with a recorder that supports only MP3 or ATRAC. They are lossy and should stay in the format they are (means: no flac).
I think we look at the lossless aspect from different kind of view.
I have always also in my mind if something is proofable lossless, e.g. Frequencies etc.
If the source is lossy, everything after will be lossy. No proof of anything (e.g.: a simple lossless of a lossy source, a re-encoding for the 7th time (e.g. 192 to 320 kbps and back), a lossy of a lossless available source and so on).
A "true" lossless makes this much more easy to decide (in most cases).
You - if I understood you correctly - just make the difference if that "lossless" is lossless encoded of that particular source (even if that was lossy).
Also we have completely different views about "Smithstorrents". For me "we" - in a way - are part of the whole (internet) world, for you: the isolated island.
Some torrents here came from other trackers and others from here find their way out. Over the times and/or "connections" a lot of info get lost (even Steve does not know anymore everything about all the stuff he recorded - and if it's not your own experience/memory (instead just a file or a forum that will maybe disappear) it will get worse and then there is no proof). Just like in normal life...
Compared to a picture, I'm just interest in the pictures (if it's real or the third copy) and if that is proofable and don't want to wait if there is a note that tells me (that might be even lost).
I can agree with you on your definition of "lossless" but it's not mine (on that level) and I find it far to risky because I think less isolated. For me it's not just Flea, Demian, Dave or Steve (and all the others here) interested in the Smiths (and maybe lossless Smiths).
I disagree with you on the synonym "lossless" (lossless-sourced) but we obviously share different relationships and spend our times in different forums.
(And of course, this is just my personal point of view and I'm always glad to see things from another (like yours))
P.S. Still got not a real answer why to re-encode/transcode a lossy format into a "lossless" instead of simply offering the lossy format [MP3/MP2/AC3] - in general and what should be the advantage. The dis-advantage is confusion (IMO) and the 10x larger file size.
 
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the Flea

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Post 21-Jun-2012 20:11 (after 15 minutes)

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To put this in some perspective. I am a fan of Hank Williams Snr. music and a few of his concerts were recorded on dire, absolute rubbish recording equipment. Yet this music which is considered "lossy" and never gets beyond 5Khz (and remember MP3 cuts at 16Khz) is priceless.
The same was said of a few Buddy Holly songs when a bootlegger recorded them on a cheap tape recorder hidden under his jacket and released them in MP3 format. This was all that was available of these songs so they were considered gold. Thankfully they have since been released by the Holley family in true lossless quality.
Each of us has the ability to scan a FLAC file in an audio programme to see its spectral frequencies or even use TLH to check for lossy lineage. its not that hard to see whats what.
You have my idea of lossless wrong. A lossless file is, and should only ever be a lossless file. A FLAC file can be either lossy or lossless depending on the files original lineage.
Should an MP3 file remain an MP3 file and not re-encoded to FLAC ?
That's a difficult one, some people see MP3 and don't go near it under any circumstances, they consider it garbage. They see the exact same music in FLAC format, they love it. I myself can't abide MP3 music but if that's the only format, then I will have it, gladly.
Take Dime-a-Dozen for instance, they consider MP3 as the devils work and you will be banned no questions asked if you upload an MP3. Yet if you upload a FLAC file that has lossy ancestry and can show it as only available with lossy ancestry then they will allow it.
Perhaps its snobbishness, perhaps its file standardisation, we accept SHN's but prefer FLAC. I can't answer that one, perhaps others can.
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savbomb

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Post 22-Jun-2012 00:26 (after 4 hours)

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Sigh.
OK, if the torrent has broken a house rule, then I really don't mind it being removed.
But, to answer the questions that have been raised...
1) If the source is lossless, wouldn't it be better to re-encode it in a lossless format? No, because every time you do that you lose information. In maths terms, lossy + lossy = more lossy. I'm a bit surprised I'm having to explain that.
2) Should this site stick to posting "true" lossless recordings? No, because it would find very little to seed. Fourth generation cassettes and CDs of FM radio broadcasts are not lossless in any sense that is useful. The DVD source I have used here undoubtedly has much greater fidelity than 90+% of what is available here. Not that I have a downer on cassette sources or whatever. But I think it would be perverse to rule out DVD as a source simply because it means loss which, though imperceptible, happens to have occurred in digital encoding.
I'd still be interested to know how my driving is. Does the recording sound OK to you? If you're familiar with the video, have I improved the quality of the sound or just made it worse?
Cheers.
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Demian ®

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Post 22-Jun-2012 08:30 (after 8 hours)

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Hi savbomb,
this all is not about you, honestly. Please don't get me wrong or take it personally.
It's more a general discussion, what should be allowed here and what not.
I agree with you (and Flea) in some aspects (but there is always a big "but" in my head)
And no, you don't have to explain the "maths terms", they are clear to me (I'm into audio encoding for about 15 years and recording since 40 years).
Again, this is not a discussion from my side, what sounds better or "is" better! (or: if "Sgt. Peppers" is a better song than "Golden Lights" and for this if it should be shared here)
There are other forums/websites sharing lossy stuff (or Beatles). And in my opinion, that's the wrong place for lossy audio (the way I understood the forum).
And of course, a FM-audio is usually cut at about 15,000 (16,000) Hz and other hardware has other limitations. But again, that's not my point. (because that's about quality and a complete other discussion!)
My concern: a big inflation of converted lossy tracks.
And I'm quite sure, if more new lossless gigs of The Smiths/Morrissey had entered this forum in the last months, nobody would "feel the need to put something on" that's obviously converted from lossy. It's opening the doors for taking MP3-concerts (independently of the bitrate), play a bit with the equalizer and make FLAC's of them (to give them a billiant value compared to a (previous) only "shitty" mp3).
The only bad on MP3 is - and that's why is has a bad reputation in most audio communities - all you can say about it: it's lossy and lost any control about the rest!
A lot of people (silly enough) were re-encoding them from lower to higher bitrates (thinking they would become better and/or increasing their value "uuh, it's 320!"). That process is out of any control because you loose any measurements when it's a lossy format. Is it transcoded or not, is it really 320kbps or not?! That's the main difference on lossless and that's why a lot of people prefer FLAC's (true lossless). You can follow the chain or better: the chain has no influence. Lossless stays lossless what ever lossless processing you are using and it's always proofable. NOT so on lossy, nothing is proofable, only that it's lossy.
Nobody can really say (and proof) if you simply transcoded a 128 kbps lossy recording or a 256 kbps one, "played" with it and saved it as FLAC.
Example:
I am (or anybody else is) taking your enhanced recording. For what reason ever (e.g. disc space), I save them as MP3 (320 kbps)-
After some time, maybe years, I will take those MP3 files, play with the equalizers (enhancing it) and then save them as FLAC again ("of course"!).
Hmmm... now it's really transcoded! But that is not proofable. All we can say, it's lossy (and nothing more)! AND THAT IS THE MAIN TROUBLE!
That's why MP3 (lossy) has its bad reputation (IMO). There would be no problem if everybody can be sure that 192 kbps is really 192, taken from the original, but you cannot! (And people do...)
...and just another lossy and even transcoded (MP3) entered the world "as FLAC".
I don't want to see FLAC go the same way as MP3 did.
Do you understand what I mean?
@the Flea: What do you think is the reason why other people say "MP3 is garbage"? ;)
SHN and FLAC (or WV, APE, ALAC etc.) don't make any difference (except for encoding speed and size/flexibility/support), they are all lossless (means: You can decode them and you will get the bit-identical audio to the original/source). You can transcode between them without any loss (as long as the source is 44.1 kHz, 16-bit, stereo/mono - but I don't want to get too technical). I think this FLAC preference is for having here not a so many different file formats (standardization): It's easier to support only one format ("how can I...listen/burn...?" etc.). And FLAC is available on all platforms (Windows, Linux, Apple etc.), it's very flexible and open-source. (In my mind comes only one SHN (one of the oldest lossless formats) and I think there was here also even one uncompressed WAV torrent, right at the beginning)
 


Last edited by Demian on 2012-06-22 08:37; edited 1 time in total
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the Flea

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Post 22-Jun-2012 08:31 (after 1 minute)

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You can transcode between them with[out] any loss.
I hope I've misunderstood you here. Are you saying you can convert a shn file directly to a Flac without decompressing ?
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Demian ®

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Post 22-Jun-2012 08:37 (after 6 minutes)

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sorry, already corrected
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the Flea

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Post 22-Jun-2012 08:51 (after 13 minutes)

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No I naturally assumed the error. Its the shn to flac part I was querying
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Demian ®

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Post 22-Jun-2012 10:10 (after 1 hour 19 minutes)

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I hope I've misunderstood you here. Are you saying you can convert a shn file directly to a Flac without decompressing ?
That depends on what you mean with "without decompression" (but did I mention somewhere "without decompression" or gave a hint for it?)
To be strict (technically): Possibly all transcoding/re-encoding is done with decompression and if this is done just in the computer's memory (and invisible for you).
If you play a FLAC in your favourite player it has to be decompressed for that (in memory).
And talking about that kind of "invisibility": Yes, you can find software (depends on your platform) that does that job for you, means: in one step (for you!) from SHN to FLAC.
I am using a PC and there are tools where I can put in SHN and get FLAC "with one click" (if that's what you were asking for)
e.g. "Trader's Little Helper" for PC (Windows). "xACT" for Apple.
Sorry, I don't understand your "I hope I've misunderstand you here". Why should you hope that? (or are you just trying to test me? ;))


Last edited by Demian on 2012-06-22 09:46; edited 4 times in total
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the Flea

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Post 22-Jun-2012 10:28 (after 17 minutes)

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Sorry my mistake, I was under the impression that if I edit a Flac file in an audio program and then save it as a shn file it would have become lossy because of the editing whilst still a Flac. This is apparently not the case.
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Demian ®

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Post 22-Jun-2012 13:18 (after 2 hours 49 minutes)

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Sorry my mistake, I was under the impression that if I edit a Flac file in an audio program and then save it as a shn file it would have become lossy because of the editing whilst still a Flac. This is apparently not the case.
You're right, it's not the case.
In a way all the lossless like FLAC, SHN etc are like ZIP, RAR etc. They are only specialized on audio and contain the original WAVE file. A lossy component/prosessing/compression simply does not exist with these formats!
The only difference is how fast and how much they can compress (some have additional "features", like the possibility for comments, ID-tags etc. but they are not touching the original WAVE inside).
When you edit a FLAC file in the audio editor:
- The audio edior will decode/decompress the WAVE (the original) for you from the FLAC (even if you don't see it and it's a lossless processing).
- You edit the WAVE (original, lossless -> becoming new-original, lossless (if you don't apply any rude frequency filters)
- You save (encode/compress) the WAVE (new original) file in the lossless format you like (lossless encoding -> can be extracted to it's identical new-original WAVE)
If you convert SHN to FLAC, the original WAVE-Audio inside will not be touched. It's just another packed (compressed) container for it (like ZIP and RAR are)
If you convert a RAR to a ZIP the original files inside are just transfered to another compressed container and kept to it's original. And if you like to have them as ARJ it's just the same, another container (compression algorithm), another file type, another file size but your files inside are still the same (original). And so you can do between all lossless formats (RAR, SHN, FLAC, ALAC, WV, ZIP, 7z, APE, ARJ etc., they are lossless interchangeable, the original(s) inside kept untouched).
Easy to proof: Take a WAVE, convert or encode it to any of the lossless formats mentioned above (ZIP, FLAC, RAR, SHN etc). Then extract or decode it again to a WAVE. Now compare the two WAVES. The audio part will always(!) be bit-identical (it's what we call "lossless")!
And in the same way you expect "Winrar" or "7-Zip" (or any other archiver supporting that format) is opening a ZIP-file correctly (lossless), you can expect an audio editor is doing the same with the audio format (the process is the same).
 
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