I have observed (heard and then tested so as to confirm) the following “condition” as it relates to the widely debated issue of FLAC quality. The purpose of this topic is to gather opinions as to whether or not your observations are similar too – and therefore support – my own.

It is widely understood and accepted that a FLAC file while “compressed” is “lossless” as compared to its corresponding WAV file. Let’s assume (i.e. not debate) this is completely true. What I am noticing is that when the FLAC file is “played” via any FLAC player it sounds different from the sound of the “same” (equivalent decompressed FLAC) WAV file when played back via the same player that was used to play the FLAC file. This is specifically noticeable (to me) in the low frequency spectrum. The WAV has considerably more “sonic energy” that manifests itself as appearing to be a bit louder, wider in frequency range and perhaps even dynamic range as compared to the FLAC equivalent.

I’m curious as to your findings when you compare a FLAC file played natively as compared to the WAV equivalent played via the same player (for example, play both the FLAC and WAV via VLC media player) or practical equivalent, such as if the FLAC was burned to CD and you are comparing the FLAC played via VLC and the CD played via a CD player.

I am further assuming that the WAV file is a more accurate representation of the audio than the FLAC. This is to say that should you agree with the aforementioned, it would be preferable to play the WAV file or decompress the FLAC file before using it.

PS DirectStream is the one DAC that doesn’t handle input jitter at all, you will hear differences all the time with that DAC. Even $200 consumer receiver handles jitter better than the PS Audio DAC.

I’m so glad I was able to get rid of it at a big loss to me.

btw: jplay reduces jitter of PC audio output, you’ll hear a difference with that DAC. On the other hand with a properly designed DAC like the Emotiva DC-1 which has a built in reclocking circuitry, there will be no differences what so ever between formats/players.

You are correct about FLAC compression level 0 and uncompressed FLAC. FLAC 0 is not uncompressed. I stand corrected. And dBPoweramp offers uncompressed FLAC.
ddruveman - I think I started the idea that  flac 0 is uncompressed here. But now we know that flac 0 is not uncompressed. I have have had it wrong for a while. You need to go to dBpoweramp to actually get uncompressed. Personally I still used flac 5 or 6, since I cannot hear any difference.
jwm - look at my data above. Flac 0 is less compressed, but not by much - 39% for level  0, 42% for level 6 for my file. And, according to the flac gurus decompressing for 0 or from 5 or 6 takes essentially the same amount of processor time.