How do you play your 24-bit FLAC files?

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The 24-bit FLAC files we offer full members of Society of Sound are proving incredibly popular. They are close to being the most popular of the three formats we offer, which is both reassuring, and a little bit surprising. Reassuring because we feel that they offer the best sound quality possible, and we know that like us you care about sound quality. Surprising, because they are a little trickier to handle than the other options – for example, Apple Lossless, which you can just dump them into the massively popular iTunes and listen to them.

So we’d like to ask you a question? How do you play them? On your computer, streamed to your hi-fi, copied to DVD or some other way?

561 Comments

  • Hunter says:

    Through MediaMonkey and then straight into a Headroom desktop amp and then into sennheiser 650 Headphones. Headroom desktop amp has DAC built in.

    Its a massive improvement over my Cyrus 8 series+B&W CM7 Hi-FI and really brings out the 24-Bit FLAC.

  • Lee says:

    Logitech Squeezebox touch using digital out into Onkyo THX Ultra 2 receiver driving B&W Theatre 684.
    When listening to Stereo music I’ll usually just drive the 684′s but will keep the Audyssey room equalisation settings.

    Lee

  • Wulff says:

    I play my 24bit files from my pc using jriver mediacenter 17 in wasapi event style mode to the arcam rDAC thats connected with a transparent usb cable to my Arcam amps wich have the B&W CM7 speakers wich i have bi-amped

  • TAKESHI KIMOTO says:

    I play 24-bit FLAC file in my Qnap 119 NAS using Foober 2000 in wasapi , by usb cable into Precision CH C-1 DAC,
    then by balance cable to Goldmund Mimeisis 37 preamplifier, Goldmund Telos 350 power amplifier, finally I listen
    from B&W 802 D, or JBL K2 9800 SE. In near futuer I wish to change B&W 802 D to 800 D. Now I’m satisfied very
    much ,but I hope if I could hear DSD file natively by this system.soon.

  • joan says:

    Gracias Amy por atender mi correo y solucionar el problema de la pista 4 de Jesca Hoop’s, ya lo he descarcado de nuevo y solucionado el problema

  • joan says:

    querida Amy me gustaria saber si pudieras darme una solucion a mi problema, compre el CD original new blood de Peter Gabriel en el interior tenia un cupon con un codigo para descargar en 24-bits .El otro dia mi hijo pequeño sin querer me borro el track 1 y ya no tengo manera de recuperarlo

  • Marijan says:

    My music is stored on 1TB hard drive. I use WD TV which is connected to over HDMI HK AVR247 (with front preouts connected to HK 2400 PA),
    Speaker setup is completely Bowers & Wilkins, 2 DM603 S3, 2 DM602, HTM61, and 2 M-1 speakers.
    Hard drive and WDTV makes practical to store music, videos and photos on one place.

  • Edward Musschenga says:

    I play my 24-bit FLAC files on a MacBook Pro via “Pure Music”. Pure Music is an inexpensive music player that is installed on top of iTunes. It is using iTunes as the library, but iTunes is not playing the music. Pure Music does it bit perfect. I was not having any experience with FLAC files, and only started playing them very recently. Doing this with Pure Music was very simple. The player has an option in its top menu bar called “Add FLAC or DSD files”. Once you click on this, a small window opens in which you can simply drag your FLAC files. Your music shows up in iTunes just like normal iTunes music or ALAC files. What Pure Music does, is install a simple link in iTunes that points to the directory in which you have your FLAC files. What I really like of this approach is that you can have iTunes music files, ALAC files and FLACfiles all in the same iTunes user interface. The FLAC files “look” exactly like all my other music, including art work, etc.
    From my MacBook, I send the music via a Chord USB to a Musical Fidelity V-Link (an asynchronous 24bit 96kHz USB to SPDIF converter), from where it goes via a Chord optical cable to my Musical Fidelity M1 DAC. Benefit of using the V-Link and the optical cable is that the computer is no longer electrically connected to the DAC, removing the possibility of computer noise. From the M1 DAC it goes to a Musical Fidelity M1 HPA headphone/pre-amp, a Musical Fidelity M1 PWR power amp (soon I will have 2 of them in mono-block mode), and then to a set of ELAC FS 247 Black Edition floor-standers and an ELAC SUB 2060 D subwoofer. All equipment is tied together with Chord cables.

  • Sergey Beketov says:

    I stream my digital collection of flac recordings to Logitech’s Squeezebox Duet and then via analogue interconnect to NAD C326BEE amp. The SB Duet’s DAC is Wolfson 24-bit DAC which together with gold-plated contacts for interconnect provide a very decent sound.

  • Arild says:

    NetGear NAS -> MacBook Pro -> NAD M51 DAC -> NAD M3 Amp -> B&W Matrix 804.
    The MacBook connects to the NAS over Ethernet. USB between the MacBook and the NAD M51 DAC. I have quite recently replaced a standard free audio/streaming application on my MacBook with Audirvana Plus (not free, but very affordable), – massive improvement, and a good companion to the excelent NAD DAC.

  • rjdtwo says:

    Hello All

    What can I play 24/96 or 24/192 FLACs from (without my PC on) that can be near my amp but which I can control from another room (where my speakers are), preferably with album art on the remote (or by way of iphone/android instead). I looked at the squeezebox duet (liked the look of the remote) but would like the “device” to have storage or accept USB HDD. Also thought of WD products but don’t want to have TV on to control the music navigation (and as I said would like the album art in another room with me). I do have a DAC to put betwwen the “device” and the amp if needs be. (USB and digital – Beresford – Gatorized)

    Thanks in advance everyone

  • Chris Jones says:

    Sigh. I cant, yet. But for now I down sample any 24 bit files to 16bit, then use Winamp with ASIO plugin out to my MF V-DAC, which ups them to 24/192, to my NAD C372 and B&W DM603 S3s.

  • rjdtwo says:

    Went with the Logitech Squeezebox Touch –> DAC –>amp–>B&Ws

    Excellent

    Thanks

  • Guy says:

    music on Synology NAS is processed by Yamaha NP-S2000 and sent to B&W 804D; WiFi controlled by DS Audio app (from Synology) on IPod, Touch

  • Francis says:

    I just bought the Denon rcd-N7 ceol receiver, took a little notebook that otherwise would rarely be used and put a media server software on it, hooked it up to my external disk drive and now I can play the whole library wireless through my home network on the receiver. By the way the Denon plays MP3, wav, Flac and many others.

  • Florianinside says:

    24-Bit-Flac is feeded into DBPowerAmp generating 24-Bit-Alac
    (at least i hope so, i haven´t found a way to check the Bit-Resoultion (not the Bit-Rate!)).
    iTunes feeds my Zeppelin Air via wireless Airplay with the 24-Bit-Alac´s
    And my Zeppelin is feeding my ears.
    At least i believe that i can recognice a difference between directly downloaded 16-Bit Alac and converted 24-bit Alac. But i´am not sure if the complete chain is free of downsampling. Is there any tool to check the Bit-Resolution of my Alac-M4a´s?

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Dear Florianinside
    The simplest way is to right-click on one of the converted tracks in iTunes and go ‘Get info…’ Under the summary tag, the Sample size and Bit rates are shown.
    Kind regards
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • Dennis says:

    In the den, Foobar 2000, Juli@ sound card analog output to Bryston B60, Paradigm Millenia One 2.0 speakers.
    To the living room via LAN to Logitech Squeezebox Touch, digital to Bryston B100 (with internal DAC), Paradigm Signature S1 V3 speakers

  • Florianinside says:

    @ Bowers & Wilkins:
    Fantastic! Thanks a lot! So at least i know that the conversion-chain is working. All i have do hope from now on is that Apple´s Airplay-Blackbox streams the file bit-exactly and the zeppelin-air-dac is allowed to do it´s very best :-)

  • José says:

    Since i handle two digital libraries, one in iTunes and the other in a NAS, I convert the 24 bit flacs to 24 bit ALACs using XLD. This software creates perfect bit copies in different formats. Once I have the ALACs, I load them into iTunes and sync it with the library in my NAS.

    Now, when I want to fully enjoy, I play the digital ALACs in my NAS through a Linn Sneaky DS hooked to a Yamaha RZ11 with a pair of CM5s or Monitor Audio RX8, defending on the room I am.

    If I go AirPlay, I play the music through iTunes so my Zeppelin Air can receive the tunes without any issue.

    Also, syncing the libraries help me have a backup in case one of them fails…

  • Phil says:

    I have a naim uniti (which plays flac files but not apple lossless) with a nas drive so i can simply download your music files and copy them across to the nas drive to play from there. I use itunes to copy cds onto the system and occasionally buy the odd track/album from them too but i then have to convert them to flac format using xld before copying them to the nas drive.
    My main problem is the lack of suppliers for 24bit flac. The only reasonable source i have is Real World Records (yes im creeping) whose music i really like and the price for flac is very good indeed. The only other one i’ve found is HDtracks but they dont always like selling to me in the UK. Perhaps some information about other sources and availability as part of Society of Sound would be beneficial for a lot of users.

  • Jon says:

    I use a Squeezebox with it’s digital output connected to a Hegel HD11 DAC. In a addition to the FLAC-24 files I have ripped all my CDs to 16 bit FLAC on a USB hard drive connected to the Squeezebox. The Squeezebox’s internal DAC does not do the FLAC-files justice, hence the HD11.

  • Wayne says:

    I utilize a Mac Mini in my audio set up that has Pure Music installed. The files are sent through HDMI to my Anthem D2v. Sheer bliss!

  • Dave says:

    (F)ree
    (L)OSSLESS
    (A)udio
    (C)odec

    FLAC is lossless, meaning it is bit-perfect to .wav. When the two are played back they are completely 100%, totally identical. Any perceived difference in sound quality is in your head.

  • George S says:

    I also store flac files to a WD hard drive, which is connected via USB to a WD media player which connects to a Denon 5ch amplifier. Output is heard through a B&W MT20 speaker system, using Denon’s multi-channel stereo capability.

  • ontheapex says:

    PC to store and manage the files (in a different room due to fan/hdd drive noise)
    Foobar2000 player
    Digital output into my Arcam AVR300 receiver’s DAC
    Usher R1.5 amp
    B&W 802 Matrix

    I’ve been contemplating on a NAS & dedicated network player solution, but still can’t find something I really like and can afford at the same time…

    @Phil, HDTracks are indeed a handful to deal with when not in the US, let alone when living in Greece.

  • John says:

    PC in another room, networked to Oppo 105 via Cat5.
    Easy.

  • Alain says:

    I convert FLAC to ALAC using MAX software.
    All my music is then stored in a NAS (QNap).
    I read it with a Mac mini an Audirvana+ though a USB connected CLASSE CP-800, 4 CLASSE M300, and a pair of B&W 800D.
    I must say that I am very close to musical heaven!!!

    Alain

  • Chris says:

    I save the FLAC files to a NAS (currently a 1TB MyBookLIve that will be upgraded, hopefully in the not-too-distant future) which are then played via a Naim ND5 XS feeding into an Arcam A38 and then B&W 704s. Very, very happy with the sound quality!

  • Jim says:

    I use DLNA services to stream from computer to receiver:

    - I run TVMOBiLi media server on my iMac (with transcoding disabled)
    - my internal Gigabit network connects the iMac and a Pioneer SC-68 (11.2 receiver with 192kHz DACs)
    so FLAC data is streamed directly into the SC-68′s Media Sever input. Internally the DAC handles the signal.

    - for control, I just use Pioneer’s 2012iContaolAV app on my iPhone (a version also available for android phones),
    so this means I don’t need a TV or projector to be on, and the iPhone acts like a wifi remote (can use it in any room
    in the house), and allows me to control just about everything on the SC-68.

    I’ve been able to play up to 192 kHz FLACs at bitrates up to 8467 kbps so far, with all files just kept on the computer.

  • BlingoAli says:

    1) On speakers: FLAC files stored on mediaserver PC, streamed over powerline LAN to home-built media PC, running Mediaportal software. Mediaportal PureAudio plug-in feeds bit-perfect audio to Arcan rDAC then Exposure XV amp into Ruark speakers

    2) On headphones: FLAC files stored on mediaserver PC, streamed to laptop running Foobar2000. USB Dragonfly DAC feeds (WASAPI Event) directly into AKG K550 headphones

  • brkd44 says:

    I store music in hd wd 2tb and pc.
    Out via usb upsampled to 24bits to absolutely briliant benchmark media dac1 HDR
    Then through xlr to amplifier.
    No chance for better sound even from the most expensive cd player.
    BR
    brkd44

  • Mike Middleton says:

    I use J.River media center version 16 streaming from NAS drive through a Lenovo laptop via USB through a Benchmark DAC 1 USB via Roksan kandy to B&W PM1 speakers. Stunning.

  • Juan says:

    My smart TV has a SD-card connector and a media player which supports FLAC24.
    I managed to connect the TV to my analog amplifier using the only analog audio output I found on it: a scart I/O port intended for AV recorders.

    The thing is I know nothing about the DA converter used for this audio output and wether I’m getting really 24-bit 48KHz audio quality.

    The recommended audio output in my TV is a HDMI output for ARC-compliant amplifiers and the second choice is coaxial digital output.

    I wonder if anybody knows about digital HDMI and/or coaxial to analog RCA adapters.

    Thanks,

    Juan

  • Lelle says:

    I use jRiver to play flac files on my computer.
    Uses coaxial input on my Hegel HD25.
    Allows custom music reach my ears via two Dynaudio Focus 110 Active and two Dynaudio SUB 250th
    It sounds wonderful ……

  • aljen says:

    My T+A Music Receiver can play 24 Bit FLAC by itself, so all I have to do is to copy the files to an external USB hard disk, which I connect to the Music Receiver then. It works flawlessly.

    Streaming via network is not an option for me, since I would have to keep my Mac on all the time (or, even worse, obtain and maintain a server solution) in this case. So I choose simplicity and enjoy.

    On my Mac / iPod, the 24 Bit FLAC files don’t play, so I convert them to Apple Lossless using an inexpensive „Pro Audio Converter“ app. Considering today’s hard disk capacities, the storage space is not an issue.

  • spil says:

    Clementine under Linux – definitely the best audio player.

  • Erik says:

    VLC Player under Windows 7, using SP/DIF output (optical, using my HTPC’s onboard Realtek HD audio card) and D/A conversion done by my Marantz SR 4003 receiver.

  • Keith Graham says:

    Winamp with Maiko WASAPI addon (WASABI is a method of by-passing the windows mixer and delivers the stream in a more pure form).
    Chord Company USB SilverPlus USB A-B Digital Interconnect ->into Musical Fidelity V-link192 ->
    Chord Company Prodac VEE 3 Digital Coaxial Interconnect ->into a 24bit mini DAC ->
    QED Reference Audio 40 -> into a vintage Quad 303 /34 combo ->
    Chord Company Rumour 2 Speaker Cable finally through a pair of Focal Aria 901′s.

    I have to say a 24/192 track sounds utterly wonderful, hard to believe it is digital – it almost rivals my Planar 3, and I don’t have to keep changing records.

  • Henk Beijsens says:

    Apple Lossless on iTunes, playing through my Zeppelin Air or my installation (Bowles and Wilkins CDM NT series) or multiple (house full of sound).

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