[Flac-dev] Idea to possibly improve flac?

Jørgen Vigdal jorgen at anion.no
Fri Jan 7 14:42:15 PST 2011

Hi Brian.

I also agree with you on these points you mention. If you guys are familiar on how the piracy groups work on the internet, you are aware that they have "releases" with their names on it. In the piracy "scene", some groups are competing on getting the first release out, and could only be beaten by another group releasing another higher quality release. Some groups (or even individuals) are releasing their stuff that is being "ripped off" another release, and they transcode the original release (mp3 320kbps for example) to a flac release (that really isn't a flac). 

Some of these groups or individuals are young people, tinking that they know everything. My idea was based on this. It would be fun stopping this, and also, as you mention in your answer, having fun and experimenting with the flac code.


On Jan 7, 2011, at 11:22 PM, Brian Willoughby wrote:

> First of all, I am not aware of any official source of FLAC files  
> that provide MP3 sourced data.  I meticulously check the music I  
> purchase, especially when it is 24/48 or 24/96 material, because this  
> is new technology, and sometimes people get it wrong.
> However, you should be aware that many modern producers use software  
> to create their music, and when the software stores sound clips in  
> MP3 format, what you end up with is music that sometimes looks like  
> MP3.  I recently purchased a second release of an old download from  
> an artist who has his material re-mastered.  Since he made such a big  
> deal about the re-mastering, I took a close look at the quality.  For  
> some reason, the second track looked like an MP3 source, but I'm sure  
> it just has to do with the software that was used to create the music  
> originally.
> In other words, if you try to shut down the FLAC encoder based on an  
> FFT, you might have a lot of false triggers!
> I purchase a great deal of music, exclusively in FLAC format.  I  
> purchase from LINN Records, Bleep.com, Warp Records, and also  
> directly from artists like Nine Inch Nails who provide FLAC files.  I  
> have never seen anyone provide MP3 quality.
> For that matter, OggFLAC seems to be a format that has never been  
> used.  Ever.  I have simply never come across a legitimate source of  
> music for purchasing which used the OggFLAC format.  I have seen FLAC  
> come and go and come back again.
> Various online record labels started out with FLAC for bandwidth  
> reasons.  Then they seemed to switch over to WAV as bandwidth became  
> less of an issue, and I assume that their customers were confused by  
> FLAC because of the lack of support in iTunes and other highly  
> popular players.  Meanwhile, hardware such as the Sound Devices 700  
> Series, the Squeezebox, and many other professional products has  
> started with FLAC and stuck with it.  The sites who switched to WAV  
> are now bringing back FLAC, but none of them have ever used OggFLAC.
> Finally, I think that people who are not embedded firmware developers  
> do not understand why the FLAC sources have stopped changing.  What  
> we have here is a rare case of a professional set of sources which do  
> not have bugs, and which represents a solid standard that does not  
> need changing.  People are selling hardware devices in droves, and  
> they cannot afford to change their firmware every time some random  
> change happens in the FLAC source.  It's actually way better that  
> FLAC is not changing.
> Even when Apple came out with ALAC, their version of FLAC, I noticed  
> that they could not consistently beat FLAC on coding speed and file  
> size.  Some audio turns out smaller with ALAC, other audio turns out  
> smaller with FLAC.  Overall, the average performance is identical.   
> Apple hired some of the most amazing geniuses of physics to design  
> ALAC, and if they can't beat the performance of FLAC in all  
> situations, then what makes you think there is any reason to make a  
> single change to the FLAC sources?
> While I'm writing, I also want to respond to the question about how  
> to change FLAC so that all of the third party tools pick up the  
> change.  Well, I don't think that is possible.  Many tools run the  
> command-line flac utility behind the scenes.  Others use the FLAC  
> library directly.  The problem is that both of them often run with  
> out of date versions of the FLAC code, so no matter which way they  
> incorporate the official FLAC sources, you cannot make them update to  
> your anti-MP3 version.
> On that last note, I want to encourage you to experiment and have fun  
> trying to create an MP3 detector that could warn users about quality  
> issues.  However, I believe it is extremely unlikely that you would  
> ever be successful in getting your code into the official FLAC  
> sources.  This kind of change has nothing to do with the official  
> FLAC format, and thus I doubt there would be any professional  
> interest in changing things just for the sake of change or "newness."
> Brian Willoughby
> Sound Consultinf

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