I can easily hear the difference between wav and flac. To me also wav sounds better. I feel transcoding must have some musical loss, although ive never tried this myself. If you have enough storage then why not just rip to wav in the first place?
Loss of what? No bits are lost in transcoding.
Again (forgive my naivety -or stupidity), yet why is it then that I can (and many others) clearly hear a very distinctive SQ improvement when WAVE is used (in my case,a CD rip -using dB power & Foobar 2000 for playback.
Therefor, as Mr. H posted (and I experience nearly every single time) how is it that a bit-for-bit so-called "lossless compressed" FLAC file sounds clearly inferior to WAVE files (in my admittedly early, non-extensive) comparisons ? WAVE sound quality is superior -by a wide margin. It really is, an obvious, easily discernible difference.
Oh dear! As already said by others as well as me: because it is the effect of your renderer (Foobar and your computer) rendering the file into a digital music stream. Nothing to do with whether the two file formats contain exactly the same digital description of the music. Flac is just 'squashed up more', to put it crudely, and your renderer may be less good at teasing it back out unchanged. Other renderers may be more or less good at it, and some may be perfect (so some people may report no difference). Or it can be teased out in a process seperate from the renderer, either on-the-fly if the serving NAS or computer has sufficient power, as others have described, or some time earlier, e.g after downloading a flac file convert to wav before storing, with a program like dBPoweramp.
But note again, this is talking about a standard flac file, not MQA flac.
Now that I CAN understand. SImply put, this noob is (or may be) experiencing the limitations of a basic 'renderer' (Foobar 2000).
If I understands correctly; Foobar may have a 'preference' for WAVE, or I may be experiencing the limitations of encoding using dB poweramp whether program related or my computer processor/power supply/noise levels running in the background causing some interference (for lack of a better term) ? Naturally (I'd assume) A FLAC file would be more sensitive to (let's say) internal computer noise as it is computing compression as opposed to FLAC -that requires less a pristine recording/encoding or indeed decoding process.
I also understand (from what you've said) that a superior renderer may very well render (no pun) FLAC/WAVE much closer (in SQ) to what I've discovered thus far using the 'system' on hand.
Tell me I've got it ! (at least a bit -again, no pun) lol
Getting there, I think, but a few points to clarify
1) dBPoweramp's conversion (transcoding) is not in question (well, only by you!): it either converts [accurately] or it fails, and the effect of a lesser computer is simply a longer time to do the job, which is of no consequence because it is not playing it at the same time. So you can safely download, say, .flac files (not MQA) and convert to .wav with dBPoweramp before storing in your library, which is what some people do if they are concerned about either the renderer coping adequately with .flac, or the reliability of transcoding on the fly (see 4 below).
2) In rendering an uncompressed file that is in the format for which the renderer is designed (usually .wav, except maybe Apple renderers), it could be 'bit perfect' or not - hifi oriented renderers will always at least intend to be bit perfect - however, sound quality can be affected by other aspects such as jitter and superimposed electrical (RF) noise, depending on the susceptibility of the DAC that it feeds, which is where the argument "it's just 1s and 0s" can fall down.
3) How well any given renderer deals with a compressed file that needs unpacking (like .flac), or a non-native format that needs transcoding to the native one (possibly in your case this applies to AIFF), bears no relationship to the sound quality dealing with a file in the native format (commonly .wav), so one could have a perfect .wav renderer that sounds hopeless with other formats, or they could sound equally good (or equally poor).
4) Transcoding 'on the fly' before reaching the renderer, i.e while the music is being streamed from the store to the renderer, such as when done in the NAS, need not have any negative effect provided that the device has sufficient processing capacity to do that as fast as is necessary for the rate of streaming to be unaffected. But if processing power is limited, or, possibly, diverted due to something else happening in the NAS/computer, then it could adversely affect the process and hence the sound - the biggest risk of this may be if the processor is not dedicated to the music serving function, e.g. if the device is a computer being used at the same time for something else*, or perhaps a NAS simultaneously serving other files on the network. (*Which potentially could also affect the renderer's performance if the computer is also doing the rendering.)