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Zipped FLACs

Discussion in 'audio' started by Zombie, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    I just bought a download from Deutsche Grammofon. To my amazement I can downloadi t as a zipped file. What's the point in selling "lossless" when they are zipped?
    Anyone know the facts ablout zipped FLACs?
  2. Michael J

    Michael J pfm Member


    It seems that you don't.
  3. Greg

    Greg 2t5b

    a flac file is a compressed (to a greater or lesser extent) lossless file.

    Without knowing anything about your download, I guess you have the option to download a zipped version which you then unzip, but given flac is almost essentially that anyway, I don't see the gain.
  4. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    FLAC compression is optimized for audio. ZIP compression is general purpose and will probably not further reduce FLAC file sizes significantly.

    The main reason to ZIP FLACs is to combine multiple files in a single download. That's probably why it was done in this case.

    Hope this helps.

    - Garry
  5. cansav

    cansav pfm Member

    Otherwise, it would ensure that the browser will not mishandle the file and simply either save it to the Downloads folder or invoke an extraction utility. Many browsers simply open the file as plain text when the file type (MIME) is unknown and clearly that would be a nuisance.
  6. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    A zipped file is lossless, ie. if you zip a file and then unzip it, you will end up with a copy identical to the original.
    Zipping an already compressed file may or may not lead to any further compression, but it may help the various apps/GUIs/gateways/scanners handle the file.
    So basically, don't fret about it.
  7. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Yes, it could be to ensure the file is dealt with sensibly by the browser.

    The other point to make is that ZIP, like FLAC, is an entirely lossless compression system, so ZIPping doesn't reduce the sound quality of the file. Don't worry - your lossless file is still lossless!
  8. matt303

    matt303 pfm Member

    All the FLAC and WAV album downloads have (using and boomkat) come as a zip file, just a simple way to package everything up into a single download. Does not affect the packed data in anyway.
  9. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    I bought a FLAC album at Deutsche Grammofon, as stated above, through smth called Universal Music and as their download utility didn't work as expected I opted for a plain zip dnload. The file sizes are almost the same, the zip makes them a couple of hundred bytes smaller. The file in the download utility is 2 MB bigger, so that also raises questions about the format.
    If they use Zip and the files are already compressed, why not use the "archive" which doesn't compress the files at all?
  10. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    Let's make it clear: ZIP FILE COMPRESSION IS NOT LOSSY.

    On the choice of ZIP:

    • ZIP is a standard cross-platform format that can be used to combine files into a single archive and/or can be set to be ignored in email and network scanners.
    • Using a single standard format for all files can make things easier to process.
    • It can also (inherently) confirm that the data arrived intact.
    • ZIP support is built into Windows and ZIP files open as if they were folders, so there is no need for add-ons.
    • As you have observed, compressing already compressed files may not result in a smaller file, but the combination into a single standard format file is still worth doing.

    Basically there is nothing to complain about there.
  11. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I doubt ZIP will (losslessly) compress a bunch of FLAC files any further as FLAC is a far more efficient way of (losslessly) compressing an audio file.

    As Matt states, this is just a way of packaging a bunch of files together into a single download.
  12. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    Why not take a WAV file and (a) convert it to FLAC, and (b) ZIP it? You wil then be able to see if it is far more efficient.
    (I think the compressions would be roughly the same.)
  13. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I guess I could but I'm not sure I can be fagged tbh. Life's just too short. ;)

    FLAC certainly claims to be more efficient:

    FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio
  14. spur07

    spur07 pfm Member

    Do you feel better now?
  15. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    I did a quick google, and found a discussion that gave an example of WAV vs FLAC vs ZIP:

     90212324 Jan 5 08:19 concerto.flac
    204871004 Jan 5 08:19 concerto.wav
    176709325 Jan 5 08:20

    So (based on that one example) it looks like FLAC way beats ZIP for audio compression.

    At a guess, ZIP-ing a FLAC file really just embeds it in the archive as-is, and without any compression at all.

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