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Check if FLAC file is a true FLAC (and not some lossy recode)

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  • Check if FLAC file is a true FLAC (and not some lossy recode)

    Hello guys,

    This tutorial is for music freaks like me who love to have lossless audio stored on their computer. As you all may already know the .flac format is a really famous music format among music enthusiast because it is a Free Lossless Audio Codec, which means you can store music in your PC without losing any data.
    I'm not going to discuss it here if it doesn't matter which format you use because .mp3 just removes frequencies we can't hear and blablablabla. The point is: do you like .flac files? Do you want to check if the file you downloaded is a real .flac file? If "yes", this is a tutorial for you!

    In the past I used to use a software called "Lossless Audio Checker", but I realized it is not very accurate and it left me some doubts sometimes. The method I'm going to show you is based on a visual check. You will look the "music waves" to see if any frequency was removed.

    First things first: You will need a software called "Audacity". It is a software for audio editing, but in our case we won't make any modifications on the file we will just use it to check the "sound waves".
    You can download it here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/?lang=en-US

    After you download it and install it, it will open like this:



    Now, click on "File", then on "Open...":



    Now you have to select the .flac file you want to check (In this example I'm using the song "Sk8er Boi" by Avril Lavigne, but it's just for the example, you can select any file). It should load pretty quickly, but if you are checking a .flac that is an entire CD in one file, it may take longer. It will load like this:



    Now we have to change it from "Waveform" to "Spectrogram". Click on the black triangle near the sound waves, then on "Spectrogram":



    It will change to this (do not despair, you will understand what it means!):



    The spectrum will load "zoomed", we need to do a zoom out. Put you mouse over the frequency column and the mouse pointer will change to a magnifying glass (the column that shows 8k, 6k, 5k...). Click with the RIGHT mouse button as many times as necessary to zoom out at maximum:



    Now we just need to look! You see how the spectrum goes all the way up past 22k? So we have evidence to believe that this is a true .flac file!
    Now you can close it, and if it asks to save changes, say "NO".

    Now, wanna see what a FAKE .flac file would look like? This pic shows both files: On top, a REAL .flac file and above it, a FAKE .flac (it's a .mp3 320 converted to .flac):



    Guys, it is a known fact that humans CANNOT hear anything that goes above 20k, that's why lossy formats like .mp3 remove this frequencies from the file to make it smaller in size! And once they are removed they can never be restored!

    That's it guys! Hope you like it! Any doubts write it down below and I'll try to help! Suggestions on improvements and critics are welcome!!

  • #2
    i'm old and can't hear much difference on my equipment, so i convert flac to mp3...
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Nice post, I have some FLAC here, some are too small size and some are HUGE, I have Dark Side of the Moon on FLAC, but I assume I cannot keep it anymore, don't have properly software/Pc and hardware system to play them =(

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      • #4
        What tools do you use on FLACs, I used Flac2CD to burn CDs & XrecodeII to extract MP3s from large FLAC/CUE files, is there anything better?
        sigpic

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        • #5
          [MENTION=56997]TheWickerMan[/MENTION]

          You should try dBpoweramp to convert flacs to mp3. It has multicore feature so you can convert large flacs pretty fast if you have a milticore cpu.
          You can also select the quality of mp3 in which you want to convert the flac like should it be VBR, CBR, ABR etc.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The_Newbie View Post
            @TheWickerMan
            You should try dBpoweramp to convert flacs to mp3. It has multicore feature so you can convert large flacs pretty fast if you have a milticore cpu.
            You can also select the quality of mp3 in which you want to convert the flac like should it be VBR, CBR, ABR etc.
            ok, thanks, was just using switch file converter.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The_Newbie View Post
              @TheWickerMan

              You should try dBpoweramp to convert flacs to mp3. It has multicore feature so you can convert large flacs pretty fast if you have a milticore cpu.
              You can also select the quality of mp3 in which you want to convert the flac like should it be VBR, CBR, ABR etc.
              works great (y)

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              • #8
                Glad to have found this thread, thank you for all the information. I've been a casual Audacity user for years and never known it could render spectrograms. Instead, I've been using Spek which is a simple yet decent little freeware tool. What would be really handy is if Audacity could pop out a spectrogram into a separate window, which could then be fullscreened for better visualization and screenshots.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by vector View Post
                  Glad to have found this thread, thank you for all the information. I've been a casual Audacity user for years and never known it could render spectrograms. Instead, I've been using Spek which is a simple yet decent little freeware tool. What would be really handy is if Audacity could pop out a spectrogram into a separate window, which could then be fullscreened for better visualization and screenshots.
                  I think Adobe Audition has that feature.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The_Newbie View Post
                    I think Adobe Audition has that feature.
                    Thank you The_Newbie, downloading it now and will check it out.

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                    • #11
                      I usually use Audacity for checking for transcodes, it's lightweight and suitable. Thanks for the tutorial.

                      Spek seems like a nice program.





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                      • #12
                        thank you this is great, but I have one that looks smushed I think because it is a entire album maybe. is there a way to stretch it out? any opinion on legitimacy please.

                        https://image.torrent-invites.com/im...titledZrBW.jpg

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                        • #13
                          As noted already, Spek is a great tool for visual frequency verification.

                          Even better... It has a TINY footprint so I added it to my regular music player as a toolbar item.

                          I simply click on the button after selecting a track and poof! it's up and outputting to the screen in under a second, it is a great accompaniment and a must have tool for your desktop (Windows, Linux. or Mac) And is far faster at getting the actual task done than loading the fine audacity.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dorc View Post
                            thank you this is great, but I have one that looks smushed I think because it is a entire album maybe. is there a way to stretch it out? any opinion on legitimacy please.

                            https://image.torrent-invites.com/im...titledZrBW.jpg

                            thank you,

                            this one seems cool to but wont load more than ten minutes.

                            http://spectro.enpts.com/screenshots.php

                            I have found a problem in a flac file I downloaded from a open source site. Audiochecker has identified a MPEG track after I split it with cuetools. from what I read online it isn't necessarily fake. I am wondering if it is something that happened when the original cd was made. please could someone that knows better than me help?

                            full album spek:
                            https://image.torrent-invites.com/im...albumUFhcv.jpg

                            track n question:
                            https://image.torrent-invites.com/im...stionjQ3ZV.jpg

                            I also have all the logs.

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                            • #15
                              Okay so you first linked to a different tool and say you have an issue with that tool not loading more than 10 mins.

                              Then you say you have a problem, haven't described anything about what the problem is, not provided any links to logs, yet ask for help.

                              Finally you linked to screenshots for the tool that was recommended to you.

                              Conclusion, you leave me completely confused and unable to help you, sorry but I need more organised information.
                              Last edited by GameOn; August 28, 2015, 02:30 PM.

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