I’m doing comparisons between the Azel FLAC soundtrack which was just posted from this site, and the two sets of complete Azel mp3 soundtracks I have. Unfortunately, the FLAC encode sounds more like the 128 kb/s mp3 encode of the soundtrack I downloaded off the newsgroups years ago - many sounds are muffled and barely audible in the background. The other mp3 encode I have, I downloaded recently off ffshrine. The main song I am doing comparisons with is Premonition of War (my favorite track) - if you compare this variable bitrate encode with the FLAC version, you will find that the VBR version is far superior; not only is it louder, but all of the barely audible sounds in the background are clear. This leads me to believe that the FLAC version was created from an MP3 encode, and not true source material - I can think of no other explanation for the inferior sound if source material was used, other than something may be wrong with the FLAC encoder, itself.
You can download the Premonition of War mp3 I am using to do the comparison with at: gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/570
You will need to skip to 1:42 - 2:08, as that is the main chorus with the hard to hear sounds in the background.
LAME VBR > FLAC.
I know FLAC is lossless, but LAME VBR sounds exactly the same (when taken from the primary source of media), and it obviously takes up less memory.
I still have some FLAC soundtracks, though.
After comparing the two files for myself, there definately does seem to be a difference in quality, but I’m really lost as to why this would be. The FLAC soundtracks on the site were encoded directly from CD images mounted in Alcohol 120% with Exact Audio Copy, and then converted from Wav to Flac with the FLAC Frontend utility. I acquired the cue and bin files for the Azel Memorial Album from Lance, which I believe were ripped directly from the original CD (Lance, could you confirm this?) so therefore the files would have never at any stage have been encoded into MP3s.
I’ll see if I can find a solution to the problem, though, Kadamose.
Like you said, U K Narayan, there aren’t really any noticeable differences between high quality VBR MP3s and lossless FLAC files (well, FLACs that have been encoded properly at least!). The reason that I decided to use FLACS instead of a smaller format like MP3 or OGG is that, since the files are lossless, they can be converted from one format to another without losing the original quality. Whether that’s back to WAV to burn onto an audio CD, MP3 or OGG to play on your portable music player, or some other format that is created in the future that has even better compression or quality than those currently available. It just gives TWotA users a bit more choice.
That was definitely the case; do you still have that disc image I sent you, Solo? If you do, could you try mounting it and listening to it, comparing it with those FLAC and MP3 versions?
I remember getting my copy off of that place Arcie used to go to… um… i think it had azel in the name as well or something. Anyways that VBR version I have is pretty good… i can upload it if anyone wants another track to compare with.
That was definitely the case; do you still have that disc image I sent you, Solo? If you do, could you try mounting it and listening to it, comparing it with those FLAC and MP3 versions?[/quote]
Yeah, I’ve still got all your images Lance. Good idea, I will make some comparisions soon.
What version of Alcohol are you using? If you are using the Virtual Drive in one of the earlier versions, it has a tendency to cut out half of the audio spectrum, if you’re using an ISO image to extract audio. This bug only occurs when extracting audio, and has been fixed as of the latest version, I believe. If all else fails, use Daemon Tools to mount your ISO images.