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"Fake" lossless file from artist's store?
pinoniceusagi
post Sep 16 2012, 06:54
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Hi. I bought an ALAC-encoded album from an artists' official homepage a few days back. The file size was a bit smaller than I expected (and the "bitrate" displayed in foobar lower than 90% of my own lossless rips).

So, I checked the filed with this application called Audiochecker 2.0.

It reports the rip as being MP3s that have been transcoded into lossless format. I tried the same application on a lot of my own lossless rips, and it reports my own rips as "true" lossless rips.

Is there a way to confirm whether the album I bought really is a lossy to lossless transcode or not? I do not own the original CD, so I can't compare that way.
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EagleScout1998
post Sep 16 2012, 07:10
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This might not be an exact science, but you could burn the files onto CD as audio (not data), and then have Tau Analyzer scan the tracks on the CD. It should be able to tell you whether the source files were lossless (CDA) or lossy (MPEG). Although, it looks like your Audiochecker program does the same thing.
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eahm
post Sep 16 2012, 07:35
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QUOTE (EagleScout1998 @ Sep 15 2012, 23:10) *
This might not be an exact science, but you could burn the files onto CD as audio (not data), and then have Tau Analyzer scan the tracks on the CD. It should be able to tell you whether the source files were lossless (CDA) or lossy (MPEG). Although, it looks like your Audiochecker program does the same thing.

Sometimes they don't work really well the other way around (Lossy to Lossless), I've tested AuCDtect with an high bitrate compressed OGG Vorbis file, then reconverted to WAV. The software thought it was lossless.

High probability if the software says the file is lossy, it really is lossy/compressed from one. Do you think the artist knows?

This post has been edited by eahm: Sep 16 2012, 07:48
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pinoniceusagi
post Sep 16 2012, 08:01
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QUOTE (eahm @ Sep 16 2012, 00:35) *
QUOTE (EagleScout1998 @ Sep 15 2012, 23:10) *
This might not be an exact science, but you could burn the files onto CD as audio (not data), and then have Tau Analyzer scan the tracks on the CD. It should be able to tell you whether the source files were lossless (CDA) or lossy (MPEG). Although, it looks like your Audiochecker program does the same thing.

Sometimes they don't work really well the other way around (Lossy to Lossless), I've tested AuCDtect with an high bitrate compressed OGG Vorbis file, then reconverted to WAV. The software thought it was lossless.

High probability if the software says the file is lossy, it really is lossy/compressed from one. Do you think the artist knows?


The artist probably does not know. It's not like it's a very low-profile band, so I'm sure the artists themselves don't have anything to do with the digital downloads themselves.
Should I send them a mail or something?

I want a true lossless rip. smile.gif

This post has been edited by pinoniceusagi: Sep 16 2012, 08:03
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eahm
post Sep 16 2012, 08:16
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Absolutely please, email them.
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pinoniceusagi
post Sep 16 2012, 08:38
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Alright. I mailed the store selling the digital download. Should be interesting to see what the reply is. I paid for the download so I feel like I am entitled to get a proper lossless rip.
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eahm
post Sep 16 2012, 08:45
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You may want to email Amazon, Google and Apple as well for that smile.gif
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pinoniceusagi
post Sep 16 2012, 09:15
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The lossless version is only sold through the store I bought the download at, so it's not like it's spread all around the internet. I'm sure the lossy rip is all good smile.gif
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pdq
post Sep 16 2012, 14:25
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QUOTE (pinoniceusagi @ Sep 16 2012, 01:54) *
Hi. I bought an ALAC-encoded album from an artists' official homepage a few days back. The file size was a bit smaller than I expected (and the "bitrate" displayed in foobar lower than 90% of my own lossless rips).

In general I would expect the opposite. Lossy conversion adds noise, and noise is difficult to compress losslessly.

If this track is available on CD then you could bit compare against that.
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krafty
post Sep 16 2012, 18:41
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To the original poster, I need to say that I had a similar experience with the company that is in charge of supplying the digital downloads for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds official store, called Topspin. I bought 2 singles in FLAC format and found out that 3 out of 4 tracks were possibly MP3 encodes that were converted to FLAC. I did comparisons with ripped CDs on the net and the evidence was quite clear to me that some of the digital downloads tracks were sourced from lossy. Since then I stopped buying FLAC from artists store.

Luckly, they refunded me after they've seen the comparisons between spectrograms. But they had insisted even after redunding me, that the sources were lossless.
I believe the people behind those comments are not audio literate, and the people who are working on producing the files are a bunch of amateurs who use a script to mass convert from sources they don't even know what it is.

Until we have a proper MD5/SHA control of files plus full HD PDF booklets, I will pass.

This post has been edited by krafty: Sep 16 2012, 18:44
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Kohlrabi
post Sep 16 2012, 19:49
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To be fair, I doubt that you nowadays can be sure that the tracks which are on CDs have not been lossy encoded somewhere in the processing chain. So even a comparison with the CD might be futile.


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krafty
post Sep 16 2012, 20:44
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Kohlrabi,

In my case it was a night and day situation. But I can understand your point, it is true.
However, I would imagine that manufactured CDs follow a much more strict protocol to not have such sloppy processes like an online store.

This post has been edited by krafty: Sep 16 2012, 20:53
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punkrockdude
post Sep 16 2012, 20:50
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It is hard to trust stores. I once bought Propagandhies song Night Matters from their album Support Caste from iTunes and it is clearly encoded from lossy or by subpar encoding even though it is 256kbps AAC. The sound is really "wobly during a guitar riff part" which Spotify's 160 version don't even have.
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Dynamic
post Sep 18 2012, 07:09
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QUOTE (punkrockdude @ Sep 16 2012, 20:50) *
It is hard to trust stores. I once bought Propagandhies song Night Matters from their album Support Caste from iTunes and it is clearly encoded from lossy or by subpar encoding even though it is 256kbps AAC. The sound is really "wobly during a guitar riff part" which Spotify's 160 version don't even have.


It's quite possible for this to have been encoded from lossless but that it's a problem sample for iTunes/Quicktime AAC encoder, and it might be worth reporting to Apple, as they seem keen to discover and correct problem samples and tune and improve their proprietary encoder and will have the lossless original to compare it against. It's probably encouraging that Ogg Vorbis (used in Spotify) copes well with it.

If someone reading has a lossless original of it, it could help to improve encoder tuning to upload a short clip (<30 sec) of part of the wobbly guitar riff part, in accordance with TOS#9, to the Uploads forum.

Even at high bitrates, well tuned encoders like Quicktime AAC and LAME VBR still have a few problem samples. This one sounds like it might be the class of sample that I suspect relates to tonal sounds simultaneous with transients (e.g. Angels Fall First sample reported in Uploads forum is one, though 'lead-voice' and 'trumpet_myPrince' are probably worse).
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_mē_
post Sep 27 2012, 21:31
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QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 16 2012, 15:25) *
In general I would expect the opposite. Lossy conversion adds noise, and noise is difficult to compress losslessly.

If this track is available on CD then you could bit compare against that.

Lossy often cuts off high frequencies that are hard to compress.

And, BTW, I've seen ex-MP3s placed on original CDs more than once already. With digital downloads I would be even more suspicious.

This post has been edited by _mē_: Sep 27 2012, 21:32
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Lemphek
post Aug 21 2013, 09:25
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QUOTE (pinoniceusagi @ Sep 16 2012, 06:54) *
Is there a way to confirm whether the album I bought really is a lossy to lossless transcode or not? I do not own the original CD, so I can't compare that way.


Hey mate, can you open the using Audacity's spectral analysis tool?
Use the following settings:


having a visual look at the file will help smile.gif
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Kohlrabi
post Aug 21 2013, 09:59
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QUOTE (Lemphek @ Aug 21 2013, 10:25) *
having a visual look at the file will help smile.gif
No it won't. You don't have access to the master, so you cannot make a comparison, and just looking for a lowpass is not an evidence. It's advisable to treat anything bought online or ripped from CD as a first-generation file, and base your decision which file to keep on finding out which one sounds best to you, and not which one looks best in a spectrogram.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Aug 21 2013, 10:00


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