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Old 22 December 2020, 13:49   #1
Foebane
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FLAC is the only way to appreciate recorded WinUAE Amiga audio

I have devised a method of recording WinUAE audio as internal WAV files and then encoding them to FLAC, to make it easier for playback on items like phones, etc which don't support live emulation.

Previously, I used this process with AAC audio, but I discovered that the audio compression ends up sounding muddy and artifacty, even at high bitrates, and so I thought I would try FLAC for the first time.

Luckily, Audacity comes with just the export tools I need, so after I record the audio in WinUAE, then I can edit it with Audacity (I only trim the start and ends) and then export to FLAC, and the file is done!

The idea is it makes the audio more portable, and I can listen to the audio of my favourite demos without having to run WinUAE each time, and it's great to have an Amiga jukebox when you're out and about!
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Old 22 December 2020, 14:01   #2
chip
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You will soon find FLAC recordings on this site

https://www.paula8364.com/
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Old 22 December 2020, 14:30   #3
no9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foebane View Post
Previously, I used this process with AAC audio, but I discovered that the audio compression ends up sounding muddy and artifacty, even at high bitrates, and so I thought I would try FLAC for the first time.

Is it possible you can provide examples? I'm curious of that difference.
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Old 22 December 2020, 14:46   #4
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Is it possible you can provide examples? I'm curious of that difference.
I encoded 12 files in the default AAC bitrate of "160", whatever that was, in Audacity. I didn't notice much of a problem in most cases until it came to Mortality by Tulou, where the samples are rather harsh and scratchy, and compared to the original WAV, it was like night and day: certain sounds were crisp and clear in the WAV, but "muddy" and distorted in the AAC.

I don't even know if the highest rate AAC bitrate would prevent those problems, but AAC is lossy, and just for once, I wanted to try a lossless codec like FLAC.
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Old 22 December 2020, 15:17   #5
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Can you upload those files somewhere to download?
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Old 22 December 2020, 15:21   #6
Foebane
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Can you upload those files somewhere to download?
I no longer have the original files, but I can easily recreate them even if it's just a short sample, it will just take some time. Have patience.

EDIT: The comparison file is in the Zone, hear for yourself, carefully, with earphones. You can discern the anomalies in the M4A audio easily compared to WAV and FLAC.

Last edited by Foebane; 22 December 2020 at 15:43.
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Old 22 December 2020, 16:03   #7
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160 is on the low side. iTunes default is 256 for purchased files and you won’t be able to hear any difference then.
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Old 22 December 2020, 18:14   #8
no9
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Originally Posted by Foebane View Post
EDIT: The comparison file is in the Zone, hear for yourself, carefully, with earphones. You can discern the anomalies in the M4A audio easily compared to WAV and FLAC.

Thanks for uploading it. Yeah, I know there is a difference, but to say honestly: having such short and strange piece of audio that sounds so bad in the first place I can't say if the degradation have any significany. In my own reception at least.
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Old 22 December 2020, 18:48   #9
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160 is on the low side. iTunes default is 256 for purchased files and you won’t be able to hear any difference then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by no9 View Post
Thanks for uploading it. Yeah, I know there is a difference, but to say honestly: having such short and strange piece of audio that sounds so bad in the first place I can't say if the degradation have any significany. In my own reception at least.
Seeing as how data storage is so cheap these days, does it really make sense to compress lossily?

Also, while the audio doesn't sound very good, I still love that demo for its atmosphere.
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Old 23 December 2020, 00:07   #10
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You mean lossy. I only allow Autobooks to be in AAC but then, has to be high quality or they sound horrible. MP3 is the same way. 160 is indeed on the low end of the spectrum. I've converted all my CDs to FLAC/cue or APE/cue..as MP3 or AAC are horrible for archiving in since it's a loss of full quality, even at 320.

If you have a MicroSD card for your Phone that's "large" then use FLAC - personal preferences. I use Android - I left Apple and their restrictions. I'm all about quality when it comes to audio (huge Rush fan). So, that was a good test to notice the difference that you did. If you really want to use AAC..stay at or above 192 CBR..do NOT use VBR (It'ssssssss okay for music). Remember, Amiga Audio wasn't always done at high quality...for the 80s and 90s so if you're encoding low quality, to Low quality...yeah, not a good result. Haha!
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Old 23 December 2020, 01:38   #11
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You mean lossy. I only allow Autobooks to be in AAC but then, has to be high quality or they sound horrible. MP3 is the same way. 160 is indeed on the low end of the spectrum. I've converted all my CDs to FLAC/cue or APE/cue..as MP3 or AAC are horrible for archiving in since it's a loss of full quality, even at 320.

If you have a MicroSD card for your Phone that's "large" then use FLAC - personal preferences. I use Android - I left Apple and their restrictions. I'm all about quality when it comes to audio (huge Rush fan). So, that was a good test to notice the difference that you did. If you really want to use AAC..stay at or above 192 CBR..do NOT use VBR (It'ssssssss okay for music). Remember, Amiga Audio wasn't always done at high quality...for the 80s and 90s so if you're encoding low quality, to Low quality...yeah, not a good result. Haha!
I used to make MP3 recordings for everything, just so I could stick everything on a modest MP3 player (standalone, not even an IPod), and if there was one thing I noticed early on, it was that Amiga audio was different to stuff I'd bought on commercial MP3 or ripped from Spotify (also commercial).

Amiga audio is 100% digital, and has a lot of stuff in it that makes it unfeasible for lossy compression, compared to old commercial or even classical music, with natural sounds.

The main reason I chose FLAC this time was to simply capture audio as I would play it from WinUAE normally, but record it so I could make it portable as media.
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Old 23 December 2020, 02:05   #12
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Interesting, the Amiga sound is so particular and it's a wast if MP3 modify it.
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Old 23 December 2020, 03:45   #13
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@ Foebane

Yeah, I got that about why. WAVe, and other formas are 100%.. Amiga audio wasn't the only. Though it was first with stereo. Any digital signal may be converted to lossy. Or kept as lossless. I was only commenting about the quality.

@ TEG

Naaaah.. I've compressed a lot of Amiga sounds through many, many years.. Playing around with sound. It's only particular due to machine. Eventually *almost* everything become convertible.
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Old 23 December 2020, 10:16   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC/DC HACKER! View Post
You mean lossy. I only allow Autobooks to be in AAC but then, has to be high quality or they sound horrible. MP3 is the same way. 160 is indeed on the low end of the spectrum. I've converted all my CDs to FLAC/cue or APE/cue..as MP3 or AAC are horrible for archiving in since it's a loss of full quality, even at 320.
May I ask what encoder are you using? Try Lame for mp3, and qaac or NeroAAC for AAC and then do the ABX test, preferably with foobar2000 and ABX component. Xing's mp3 encoder was the worst piece od c**p ever and it is what gave mp3's bad rap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC/DC HACKER! View Post
If you have a MicroSD card for your Phone that's "large" then use FLAC - personal preferences. I use Android - I left Apple and their restrictions. I'm all about quality when it comes to audio (huge Rush fan). So, that was a good test to notice the difference that you did. If you really want to use AAC..stay at or above 192 CBR..do NOT use VBR (It'ssssssss okay for music).
Please elaborate on why CBR is OK, and VBR is a no-no. I expect objective detailed explanation, with technical details, and not something subjective like "because it sounds better"

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC/DC HACKER! View Post
Remember, Amiga Audio wasn't always done at high quality...for the 80s and 90s so if you're encoding low quality, to Low quality...yeah, not a good result. Haha!
Amiga audio, while indeed advanced for a 1985 home computer, was never even close to a high quality sound.
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Old 23 December 2020, 10:40   #15
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Amiga audio, while indeed advanced for a 1985 home computer, was never even close to a high quality sound.
14 bit audio without the audio filter on A1200 sounds pretty good.
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Old 23 December 2020, 10:53   #16
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You can use something like foobar to easily convert FLAC to 320kb mp3 and save yourself heaps of space. I bet you won't be able to tell the difference either.
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Old 23 December 2020, 13:31   #17
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I use ModPlayer on PC to play Amiga PT modules and convert them to WAV, fire up AIMP tools to make a 320kbs MP3s and use my stereo to play the MP3s on a loud volume level. The sound is outstanding.
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Old 23 December 2020, 15:10   #18
Foebane
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Amiga audio, while indeed advanced for a 1985 home computer, was never even close to a high quality sound.
I'm absolutely sure it WAS. Where else are you going to find hardware that allows you to create music via tracker software for sub-£500, using samples, in the mid-1980s?
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Old 23 December 2020, 15:18   #19
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@Foebane, I agree with you there.
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Old 23 December 2020, 15:26   #20
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I'm absolutely sure it WAS. Where else are you going to find hardware that allows you to create music via tracker software for sub-£500, using samples, in the mid-1980s?
And could you honestly call the music created on the Amiga high quality, soundwise? I'm not talking about quality of composing, because some of the tracker musicians on Amiga really did wonders, but the end result, as far as the SOUND QUALITY is concerned, leaves a lot to be desired.
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