Determining FLAC compression levels?

I’ve seen examples in audio articles where the Windows 10 properties window will contain a unique tab for Audio Properties which shows the compression ratio next to file size, but I see no such tab when I click on the Properties option for a FLAC file. How do I access compression ratio info for my FLAC files?

The authors may have had additional software installed. dbPoweramp, for instance, provides an audio properties tab in Explorer that does list a compression percentage. You can also use a free utility called Trader’s Little Helper, to view file compression rates, but only within the program and not as an Explorer tab. Note that some anti-virus programs such as MalwareBytes think the TLH site is very scary. You’ll be fine.

Thanks, it was indeed an option that was added with dbPoweramp. I was curious about how compressed or uncompressed my FLAC files were, including those I had gotten from HDtracks, after reading the Tom Gibbs article about file compression in issue 143 of Copper. Sure enough many of my files were 40-50% compressed. Gibbs used dbPoweramp to uncompress his library and swears he notices a difference, so I had to test it out empirically. So I opened Yours Is No Disgrace by Yes, the Steven Wilson remix that I recently got from HDtracks. It was 37% compressed. Then I converted it to “uncompressed” using dbPoweramp, which increased the file size from 209 kB to 329 kB. Then I loaded both up into Adobe Audition, both files showed 96,000 Hz sampling frequency at 32 bit resolution. I zoomed into an identical section of both files, and both appeared identical. Not to trust my eyes, I did an FFT analysis of both sections and again, identical results. Lastly, I couldn’t tell any differences in sound quality between the two. So Mr. Gibbs, care to do a blind listening test on 10 songs, compressed vs. uncompressed, and see if your chances of distinguishing compressed vs. uncompressed are better than chance???


Now maybe if I had started with an uncompressed file, and then compressed it to see if any information was lost, the results would be different, I don’t know. But in the Gibbs article, he takes his compressed files and uncompresses them with dbPoweramp and says it’s an improvement in sound quality. I remain unconvinced. And for the record, when I rip an LP at 192/24, Adobe Audition compresses it at 50%, even with “quality” set at 100. But I’m happy with the results.

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FLAC files are losslessly compressed…no data is lost in the compression or the decompression process.

I use a Roon Core → Roon Endpoint → DAC configuration. The Roon endpoint gets the same exact data whether or not the original music file is compressed. I have never heard a difference between compressed and uncompressed music files in that setup.


Some report hearing a difference between an uncompressed WAV file and a FLAC file.

They hypothesis is one hears the impact of the system working to decompress the file.

The bits themselves are of course, identical.

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I always do uncompressed as I run many resource grabbing programs which may (or may not) interfere with decompression. And, as storage is cheap, why bother with compression? I remember my first 1GB drive, a Metropolis for $1000 (1983 I think). Thank goodness storage has gotten so incredibly inexpensive.


I have a dedicated system acting as my Roon music server. It runs a low latency Linux-based OS and also runs HQPlayer Embedded. The OS and HQPlayer run from an SSD. It uses an internal hard drive to house the music files. The only music files not compressed are the DSF files.

Because servers with SSDs and hard drives generate a lot of electrical, electromagnetic, and RFI noise, I use an HQPlayer NAA endpoint which is a very low noise special purpose design (ultraRendu). The Ethernet connect does a great job of isolating the NAA and the DAC from the server. Any noise the server might generate from the extra work decompressing the FLAC files is not going to be passed on via Ethernet. I would note that the extra time reading the larger uncompressed music files may generate as much noise as decompressing the FLAC files. Regardless, the same data is passed over Ethernet whether or not the source file is compressed.

Another reason to FLAC over WAV is that WAV does not have a standard for attaching metadata while FLAC does.

Note: I don’t think you get 1GB storage is 1983*. At least not on a personal computer. Heck, the first 20MB hard for the Macintosh was the HyperDrive. It came out late 1984 and it cost $2795!

*The Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 came out in 2007 and was the first 1TB for desktop computers.

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The 1GB Metropolis drive may not have been 1983, but couldn’t have been much later, as I was living in Langley Park, MD at the time, and only lived there in the 80s. IBM introduced the first 1GB hard Drive in 1980, but it cost $40,000 and was BIG. Metropolis was the first 1GB HDD to come down to $1000. At that time, everyone else was closer to $2000. This was at the time prices were falling faster than a skydiver without a ‘chute. Also, Mac drives were far higher priced than PC drives, and much lower capacity.

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It looks like 1992 is when the first 1GB or bigger hard disk came out.

And those were the days… I worked for Maxtor starting in 1990 to 99…

Once SCSI became a standard on the Macintosh in 1986, hard drive prices became comparable. The SCSI drives cost a bit more but performed better. Capacity were pretty much the same…

Did you build your Roon server and if so which Linux version did you use? My intel Mac Mini will soon be unsupported by Apple with the advent of Apple processors and I’m thinking of moving to Linux. It runs just fine on my 2014 Mini. I’m considering an Auralic Aries G2.1 as my network streamer.

No. I bought a sonicTransporter i9. Even though I am a software engineer with experience managing Unix systems, I decided I wanted an appliance that was updated via a web interface with no effort on my part other than pushing the right buttons.