WAV or FLAC & why

About to start re-ripping just under 9000 mp3 songs via my Unity Star (CD collection) should I rip WAV or FLAC? Is there a big difference between the 2 in file size? and roughly what size external drive will I need to store it on
Would appreciate some advice :+1:

I’d rip to flac. Naim rips to WAV in a weird way and you’ll struggle to play the albums on other equipment. Flac is smaller. I have nearly 50,000 tracks on my nas, many in much bigger high res files, and they fit in under 2TB. Storage is cheap and it’s worth getting more than you think you need. High res downloads can chew up a lot of space, with albums at 1.2GB or more.


I have tried both … to me Naim seems to sound a little better with flac … I also don’t particularly like DSD on Naim… Flac is superb…even std 16bit if recorded well is amazing…

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Endorsement of HH’s comments. I started with WAV on my UnitiServe, but began to run short of space after 2,000 CDs.
I converted everything to FLAC and am now up to 4,500 albums on the 2TB hard drive, with room to spare. The backup (Synology 3TB NAS) plays back perfectly if needed. I’m unable to detect any difference between the two on playback, although I do have the US set to transcode back to WAV.

I have a question:
My Melco storage can be set up to Flac or Wav. So if I have mostly albums on Flac, it’s better to set up it to Flac.
However I discovered today that I prefer, but not sure yet, AIFF.
If I listen finally more in AIFF, is it better to configure my Melco in Wav or Flac ?

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@MarkCH I have tested Wav vs Flac ripped via a Melco D100 and downloaded from Qobuz/Bandcamp and Wav sounds better. Noticeable better to my ears on my system.

One option which maybe worth considering if you are going to rip a lot of CD’s is to but a NAS instead and rip via DB Poweramp on the computer straight to the NAS. That was you avoid the funny Naim Wav files and will probably end up with a better serving solution vs an external USB hard drive.

The difference between Wav and Flac was less noticeable on my Nova btw but I still preferred the Wav. I seem in a minority on this thread though! Wav takes up about double that of Flac.

Definitely FLAC

WAV to me, on my system, with my ears, is clearly better.


Using my Melco D100 ripper I always rip to WAV for best results. Hard disc storage is not expensive and so the extra space that WAV files take isn’t so much of a problem. I use DB Poweramp or MP3Tag to edit metadata and images and again it all works fine with Naim streamers.

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How come FLAC takes less space than Wav when FLAC contains album artwork and Wav doesn’t?

Wow new to all this - thought this would be quite a straightforward query!! Seems a lot of conflicting opinions- thanks for all of the reply’s though :+1: think I’ll rip in both formats and have a listen - will likely always stick with Naim gear so not too fussed about the possible incompatibility issue if moving away from Naim in future

I guess all the information about the FLAC format can be found here:

–> https://xiph.org/flac/

(check the F.A.Q)

In short, FLAC is container for music encoded in PCM. It also provides a non destructive compression algorithm (but it also offers many other nice features like MD5 checksum, extensive tagging, etc.)

It’s because flac is compressed.

That is not correct, WAV has cover art just the same as FLAC, it’s packaged differently, but as far as the user is concerned in application, it has the cover art.

Re what sounds best is very system dependent, I’ve tested on my NDX & also on other brands. WAV is best for my legacy NDX, I don’t hear any different on my mates Linn.
I started streaming with WAV & kept with that for 5 years up to about 6 months ago. But as I now had Asset UPnP software & its excellent transcoding, plus I was on the downhill side of HDD storage capacity, I batch converted all to FLAC, saving a lot of HDD space and with transcoding my NDX gets WAV. Happy days.

First, there’s no documentation of Naim’s “Music Store” functionality (including ripping and metadata creation).

My understanding is that there is nothing non-standard about the .wav files created by Star ripping but that the metadata created in association with the .wav files does not work properly when opened on non-Naim equipment. Perhaps someone else on this board can confirm. Generally both .wav and flac produce very good sound but .wav slightly better. Flac are compressed and thus smaller.

The Star’s ripping technology is good (I love the error checking and reporting) but for my purposes–organizing classical CD rips-the software for organizing/cataloging the rips (“metadata”) is beyond pathetic. It is completely useless. You say you have 3000 “songs” and it is possible it will work for you. Run a few tests.

The metadata fields are totally inadequate for classical music and there is no way to create custom fields. It doesn’t recognize multi-CD sets and creates separate records for each separate CD, often getting the metadata from different sources.

Here’s a particularly horrible example.

I ripped a CD with 6 Chopin pieces played by Krystian Zimmerman. The software grabbed metadata for this CD in reissued format as CD 111 of a 111 CD set. It then automatically populated the “composer” field of the search feature of the software with the names of every composer of every piece of the entire 111 CD set! Yet in the metadata record for each individual CD, there is no access to the composer field at all…just artist, album, genre, and track. There is no way to delete the 50-150 faux composers and their erroneous connections to this single Chopin CD.

What I’ve wound up doing is ripping with the Star but discarding the metadata completely and creating it separately via other means.

BTW, otherwise, I love the Star otherwise. Hope everything works for you.

You have the Unitserve I think. Like you I preferred Wav when I had the Serve.
Now, with Melco, I prefer Flac. Or AIFF.

Apologies for quibbling a bit. Neither flac nor wav “contain” cover art. The cover art is in the metadata that can be associated with either format. (As Mike-B says, “As far as the user is concerned…it has the cover art”…if there is metadata associated with the flac or wav file).


Am I missing something here? The OP states he has 9000 songs in mp3. You could Re- rip them to any format and they’ll still be crappy MP3’s
Now if what you meant to say is you originally ripped you CD’s to mp3 and you want to re-rip to a lossless codec then .flac is a wonderful choice. So what do you plan to use to rip with? I think dbPoweramp is an excellent program. Easy to use lots of support works well on Mac or PC.


Well observed!
@MarkCH, did you mean you intend to transcode from mp3, or did you mean you are going to rip from CD (again)? If the latter, then the question is relevant, but if former, you have lossy compressed files and they will not improve recoding as some other format - you might as well leave as mp3.

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“About to start re-ripping just under 9000 mp3 songs via my Unity Star (CD collection)”

Yeah, maybe you missed a few details: re-ripping, Unity Star, CD collection. Whaddaya think?