HDX - Convert WAV to FLAC - what compression?

I am getting ready to move away from my HDX, and dip toes into Tidal etc, my question is:

given that the naim WAVs are not easily compatible (metadata etc) i was considering moving them to Flac. I have a full copy of my music (not a backup, so it will not be converted by my HDX when i convert the store to Flac) and want to convert, but don’t know what compression FLAC the HDX uses.

I have done a test on a file and the info on my player does not give me any clues.

thanks all

has anyone else done the conversion and regretted it?

As far as I’m aware you cannot set the compression level, so it’s just a case of doing it. I and many others converted from WAV to flac using either HDX or UnitiServe without problems.

I have never seen anyone express regret at the results of letting an HDX or Unitiserve do this conversion.

And of course you can always get the HDX to change them back again if you don’t like the results. The whole conversion process is lossless in both directions.

1 Like

If you can select a choice, the normal ‘default’ is level 5, some go for level 4.
Also once the file is initially encoded (compressed) there is little to no extra load/time taken, or any changes in SQ, to decode (uncompress) between level 0 or level 8.
Also keep in mind that compression level 0 is still compressed, its the ‘uncompressed’ level that is truly uncompressed …
… see pix for comparison of file sizes for levels 0, 5, 8 & uncompressed

However if you have dBpoweramp and once you’ve used the HDX to make the conversion from the Naim specific WAV format into FLAC, then you can use dBpoweramp to ‘convert’ the file from FLAC to FLAC at your chosen compression level.

1 Like

As far as I’m aware Naim have never said what compression level they use. I would guess 5, but frankly I don’t think it really matters.

Bear in mind that in order to preserve the metadata in your Naim WAV rips you will need to do the conversion to FLAC on the HDX before you get rid of it. If you use a third party converter the metadata will be lost. (There is a version of SongKong that can handle it, but as you already have the HDX you can just use that.)

1 Like

Thanks for doing that, Mike. I note that level 8 is hardly any smaller than level 5, so I shall stick with it.

Me too HH ….

Having read a lot of theory about this over the years, noting there was no real consistency backed up with convincing evidence, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for some time …

I’m not planning to change dBp’s default level 5 or whatever the downloads get shipped with.

I’ve noticed you have an nDac.

You don’t need to get rid of the HDX, just buy a Primare NP5 (or similar streamer without a DAC) to stream Tidal.

I’m using an NP5 into Ndac, sounds very good with Ifi power supply and VDH optical cable. Although I’m not impressed with the app.

1 Like

I simply set my HDX ripping mode to “FLAC” and it converted all of the previously ripped tracks from WAV to FLAC.
It did take quite a while to do it (days) in part as it won’t convert whilst it’s being used, such as for playback. Conversion continues when the HDX is at idle.
I have no regrets since doing it.


Box count is a concert for my other half

252, sc, ndac, xps, hdx

Looking to replace the last 3

I was under the impression that some sq would be lost based on the compression you use. ie 1 would sound better than 5


The compression word is a bit misleading if you are thinking in analogue .
This is digital, lossless digital, 1’s and 0’s, data bits, it cannot change. The so called compression is just optimising free space that’s available in the file package.
It’s like a .zip file that you use to space save your digital documents.
Unzip it and it’s exactly the same unchanged, unblemished document as it was when it was zipped.

1 Like

Some great tech info on this Thread.

If You Want To know, Ask… on thw Naim Forum.

So, I have backed up a album, logged the file size at 457,943,171 bytes, converted to Flac, it lands at 269,786,891 bytes.

i have then used the HDX to convert back… 457,943,003 bytes

all sizes are actual size, not size on disk.

I have repeated this 3 times, and the values are always the same. i always start from the backed up wav (same source file and check the size before starting)

where are the 168bytes going???

i know it is a rabbit hole i am going down, but when i move over to a roon device, with everything in flac i will not have a HDX to convert back.

and i know that a roon core will automatically name the albums, but having moved a chunk of my HDX files to a roon core, 5% of my Wavs are not in the roon database, and selecting ‘uses file metadata/tagging’ does not work

Rosie Meek and the open road being one of my albums that Roon just can not find.

not looking for answers, just sharing my journey

now need to figure out what to replace my HDX and nDac with.

given the drop from 457.9mb to 268.8mb any idea what compression it is using? a stupid question i know.

Once you have FLACs with metadata added by the HDX you can use other converters if you choose to use WAV again in future. It’s just the initial conversion that needs to be done on the HDX.

thanks, not sure if there will be a difference in flac vs wav but will see.