Just thinking about how to minimize the data footprint of all of my raw field/SFX recording. To be honest, I simply don't trust .rar archives. I've had too many get corrupted and mulch valuable work.

What are your opinions on Flac? The converter I have can do sample-rates up to 96k, which is what I'm mostly recording at, so I won't be losing quality that way.

Or am I being naive in thinking that I will be able to just convert everything back to .wav files and skip off into the sunset, over peaceful green meadows, munching on strawberries and sipping dandelion wine?

2 Answers 2


FLAC is a lossless format so, yes, you can convert files back to WAV as and when required - as long as you saved your FLAC file using the same sample rate and bit depth as the original WAV.

It actually uses a similar process to RAR or ZIP, with the biggest advantage of FLAC being that you can play back the files without having to extract them first. Secondly, should your file somehow become corrupted, you can usually recover a good portion of it.

RAR, on the other hand, provides you with an option to build redundancy into your files by including a recovery record. Obviously this will mean a bigger file, but a bit more peace of mind with it. Personally, the only time I have ever had problems with RAR files is when downloading them or receiving them via e-mail and, even then, have usually managed to recover most of the contents by selecting the "Keep broken files" option.

The cost of hard drive space has come down so much that, unless you are seriously financially challenged, you should have at least one backup copy of all your important files on an external that can be stored off-site (i.e. in a different location). Also, more and more companies are offering indefinite free cloud storage (e.g. ADrive - 50GB), so you should definitely consider this as an additional fail-safe.

In the archiving fraternity we refer to LOCKSS - Lots of copies keeps stuff safe!

  • Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!
    – g.a.harry
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 13:50
  • Same sample rate and bit depth are not the only parameters of a PCM (WAV) sound encoding process. Some WAV files may use IEEE floating point numbers ("32-bit float") instead of simple integers to represent the levels. This provides superior dynamic range but FLAC does not support float. The original FLAC encoder won't even accept a float WAV for the input. ffmpeg can convert 32-bit float WAV to FLAC which is usually going to sound the same but you are hardly going to get the original once you decompress FLAC to WAV then.
    – Ivan
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:02
  • And I am very curious about which algorithm to use for perfectly lossless compression of 32-bit float WAV files: sound.stackexchange.com/questions/46818/…
    – Ivan
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:03
  • By the way I've been using RAR since the days of DOS and floppy disks (for many eays, until I ditched it for 7zip) and always included a recovery record - there have been not a single time when it actually helped to recover a broken file so I have finally concluded it's a waste.
    – Ivan
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:11

Drives are so cheap is it really worth the cost of the time involved?

  • Drives are cheap (yet not cheap enough for everybody to buy enough to backup everything) but phone (and MacBook Air) memory is limited. So I convert all the MP3s to OPUS (more than twice as capacity-efficient) and all the WAVs to lossles to have more with me.
    – Ivan
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 23:15

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