Convert Flac to Wav - how to & HD space need?


Have all my CDs ripped to FLAC, and want to convert them to uncompressed WAV files.

I currently have 1100 CDs, using up 308 GBs(In FLAC).

Which software do you recommend to convert to WAV?
How much more space will I need on my HD?

Media Monkey will convert it and still allow tagging.
I think the compression ratio is about 40% for FLAC. So 600-700 gig. Remember a 750gig drive formats out to way less.

Curious why you want to switch to WAV?

06-05-07: Cytocycle
Curious why you want to switch to WAV?

To answer your question:

Want to create CDRs(superior to original CDs) and are best done with WAV. Reff:


The digital guro Steve Nugent claims WAV (or uncompressed) is superior to FLAC for "higher end"computor playback.
Something on Nugent:
Cytocycle - Know of a program that will convert Apple lossless files to WAV? My friend is convinced that WAV sounds better than APLL. I go back and forth. If HD space isn't the limiting factor, I'm guessing WAV would be the way to go. Yes? No?

I've got 170 gigs of APLL files on my 500gig HD. I'd like to be able to batch convert them rather than one-at-a time.

Lossless compression does not affect quality at all. If it somehow does, something is really wrong with your computer and/or the program used to play the files. It really is a storage-based compression, used to minimize disk space only. When you play such a file on your computer, the file will be decompressed to raw PCM before playback, in real time. So, both in theory and practice, playing back a losslessly compressed file or a WAV file is absolutely identical. There is no jitter involved here either, since when the data is fed to the soundcard/DAC it is already raw PCM in both cases. Jitter may happen from the buffer (in the case of a computer, this will be RAM) where the PCM is stored to the final destination of the data, the DAC. This applies to all compression methods, including MP3, Real Audio or whatever you can think of. At the time of playback, the data is raw PCM. But of course, for lossy compression methods, the damage is done when encoding the files, I'm just telling it as an example.

Saffy, there are several CD burning apps that will burn FLAC files directly to disc (it decompresses them automatically when burning), so there's no need to decompress them manually first. :) I use Roxio Toast on my Mac, but there are many others I'm sure. Nero works well in Windows for instance.

Kenl, if you want to decompress Apple Lossless, just use iTunes. The same argument as above applies though - there is no way a losslessly compressed file can sound different than a WAV file, unless something is seriously wrong with the application that plays it.
I use a program called Max on an iMac to do the convertion. Max can convert between 30 some different audio formats. It works really well especially for its price - free.

WAV file generally requires about 2.5 times as much space as FLAC.
Osgorth - Thanks for the info. It puts my mind at ease.
Osgorth - first thanks

Are you sure there is nothing that could effect the sound going from a compressed file to CD-r VS uncompressed?

This Guy: recommending uncompressed after two years of research.
Saffy, yeah, if the end result is not identical, then the software used is doing something very wrong indeed (i.e. corrupting the data when decompressing it). The process is the same as playing the files, e.g. before burning the burning application has to decompress the files into memory. So when the actual burning takes place it reads uncompressed PCM from memory and puts it on disc.

I think the confusion comes from the idea that the file is "compressed". It sounds bad, we don't want compression do we.. But, a losslessly compressed file is only compressed while stored on your hard drive. As soon as you want to DO something with it, like playing it or burning it to CD, the file must first be decompressed to its original raw PCM form. And, all lossless compression algorithms have been verified numerous times; they indeed reproduce a bit-for-bit copy of the original PCM data. This is in contrast to the popular "lossy" algorithms like MP3, WMA, AAC and countless others, which apply psychoacoustic models to the music and permanently removes "redundant" information. These files are certainly not identical to the original, and there is no way to reproduce the original bitstream but rather an approximation. When people talk bad about compression, this is often what they're talking about, and that I totally agree with! :) Lossless compression however, is just what it says: it loses nothing.

I had a look at the Genesis web site but couldn't find anything related to compression there. Do you have a direct link to where he talks about this? It would be interesting to see. :)
The thing about lossless compression is that is widely used for software. If you compress a software program and when it is decompressed if even one bit is off the program will probably not operate at all. So lossless has to be truly lossless. I can't understand how it could make any difference whether it is uncompressed or lossless. But then I can't understand how most audiophile tweeks can work.

Compressed VS Un compressed

Here's something he wrote me in an email - I'm sure he won't mind this re-print:

"When I first started doing this, I found that any compression (lossless or not) make some sonic difference. There is a sonic signature to everything from Apple Lossless to FLAC to Monkeys. So, I have generally kept away from them."

Question: So if one goes by that, should I be I concerned To go directly from FLAC compressed to a CD-r, or better First convert the FLAC to back to Lossless?

Try this Link:
If he really found audible differences, well.. If it isn't a software problem then I'm afraid I have to call it placebo.

Have a listen yourself, can you hear any differences?

Osgorth - I'm with you,

But what we have here is a real credible sourse thats' been researching this for 2 yrs...

Are all bits created equal? logically yes - but based on other anomolies, and other crazy exceptions in this hooby i would have to believe that they might not be in this circumstance.

No: I have not got to the stage of personal testing.

Osgorth - I'm with you,

But what we have here is a real credible sourse thats' been researching this for 2 yrs...

Are all bits created equal? logically yes - but based on other anomolies, and other crazy exceptions in this hooby i would have to believe that they might not be in this circumstance.

No: I have not got to the stage of personal testing yet.
It doesn't really matter if he hears a difference. Good for him I'd say, to each his own. :)

This isn't a "all cables are identical" or similar debate though, don't get that impression. I'm telling you though that within the domain of a computer, everything is fully predictable and follows a strict set of logic. I am a professional programmer and analyst since the early 90s so I know very well how computers work. All bits are equal, yes. Audible differences can only occur if you treat those bits in some fashion, or somehow manage to corrupt them in the process. The latter is certainly possible given a sloppy software design, but I'd say it's quite rare. Use a good and well-respected player such as Foobar 2000 and I can guarantee you that there is zero difference between any lossless formats.

As soon as the bits leave the computer domain however, all bets are off. Typically this is via a digital output on the computer to an external DAC. From the point where the bits starts travelling from the digital output, they are susceptible to jitter. This is when you enter the world of hifi. Not before!

Still, I believe the confusion comes from a lack of understanding how data compression works, and a default prejudice against compression. "Surely an uncompressed file sounds better". :)

By the way that link you're posting doesn't work, it looks truncated?

Your point is well taken.

Ok - I will start by using FLAC to make my CD-Rs using Nero as you suggested, them make one with uncompressed.

Any important settings or pifalls to using Nero?

Here it is complete:
Saffy, thanks for the link :) Interesting paper, I read all of it and it seems to be well researched!

There is no mention of losslessly compressed files in it though. He mentions to stay away from MP3 compression, and that I completely agree with. MP3 is a lossy compressor and will irrevocably destroy the data. Not so with a lossless compression utility, which reproduces data that is 100% identical. So I think you misunderstood his mentioning of MP3, which is an easy mistake to make. :)

I haven't used Nero in years, I changed to Macintosh and haven't looked back. If I remember correctly it's straight-forward enough, just drop your audio files into the program and burn at a slow speed (1X-4X). Make sure your screensaver is turned off so it won't launch in the middle of the burn, that'll cause problems for sure.. Don't use the computer while it's burning either, let it burn in peace and you'll be fine. :) Good luck!
So I know this thread hasn't had any posts lately, but I figured it would be best to post here than start a new thread based on the same ideas.
So I am dealing with the same questions as which format I want to go with, flac or wav. Already I have my collection in flac. What I was wondering is that if I uncompress these flacs to wavs will the wavs be the exact same thing as an original cd ripped to wav or will the so called sonic differences in lossless codecs still be there when I uncompress? Just want to know, cause I could just re-rip directly to wav, or just do a batch conversion flac->wav if thats all I need to do.
tmesselt, from the above posts it looks like the WAVs will be the exact same thing as the FLACs, but take up more space. You don't need to uncompress your FLACs, because your computer does that for you every time you use the FLAC.

Leave the FLACs alone; they have the same bits as the WAVs and they're smaller.

Like Osgorth, I too am a computer programmer/analyst and share his skepticism about "ghosts in the machine." The only difference between a FLAC and a WAV file is that a FLAC is stored using a type of "zip" file compression that reduces physical space. When played back, there is zero difference between how it resolves to the PCM output stream after the FLAC is unzipped.

The ONLY possibility is that the computer the tester was using had difficulty "unzipping" the file because of a slow processor, insufficient memory, a fragmented disk, or bad software. This would be an extreme situation which would likely cause problems elsewhere too. In the end, it's a placebo effect; if you think it's better, then it is better.

If you really want to be thrown for a loop, read this article by SonicFlare's Danny Kaey. According to his tests, ripping to LAME .mp3 and back to CD _IMPROVES_ sonic quality:

At least this one has some merit because the process fundamentally alters the file. And I can see how it might improve some older or overly compressed offerings. Sometime when I have a free week-end I intend to try this myself on a variety of recordings to see what I get.

As for software, my favorite software for batch processing and burning audio CDs is Poikisoft;

In the end, so long as you are having fun and enjoying the music, that's all that really matters.
There is no difference. One can easily find this by examining the WAV files via their spectrums. There are plenty of software packages for this. In the end, so long as the compression algorithm is doing its job, there is absolutely NO difference.

As for batch processing the standard among OCD folks like myself is dbPoweramp or using FLAC->WAV in Foobar2000.