Does Cubase Mac FLAC?
December 8, 2009 2:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I make Cubase play nicely with FLAC files on OS X?

I'm working on some tunes with a guy living miles away, and want to be able to send him FLAC files instead of WAVs to save bandwidth.

He's using Cubase on OS X and I'm using Ardour on Linux. While I'm happy with doing all the WAV -> FLAC -> WAV conversion myself from the commandline, he's not. Searching Cubase forums hasn't turned up anything useful on FLAC integration, and I don't have OS X or Cubase myself, so I thought I'd ask here.

Does Cubase Just Work with FLAC if it finds the libraries? Is there a Cubase plugin for FLAC that I have failed to find? Will my friend have to get hold of one of the point and click FLAC -> AIF/WAV convertors and mess around with file conversion himself?

Or is there another solution I have not thought of, such as a lossless FLAC alternative that already works with Cubase?

Cheers in advance, hivemind.
posted by motty to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Interesting question. Perhaps there is something that will interface directly to Cubase. I don't know.

I do know that I was quite charmed by TwistedFLAC. You start it up, and it asks for a folder tree with FLAC files. Then it mounts that folder as a virtual drive, containing the FLAC files presented as WAV files that are decoded on the fly!

It also works in the other direction - save a WAV file on the virtual FLAC drive, and it magically appears as a FLAC file on your "real" hard drive.

Basically, ANY program that can load / save WAV files can now seamlessly save FLAC files. Such a cool idea.
posted by krilli at 3:15 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Does Cubase just auto Convert them to .wav in the 'audio' folder when he imports them? (I know it does with .mp3 files.)

I doubt that Cubase would work natively with FLAC as the decode / encode adds unnece4ssary load to the processing. and internally it is doing everything as 32bit float anyway.
posted by mary8nne at 4:01 AM on December 8, 2009

Best answer: Simple answer: No. You'll have to convert the file to an AIFF/WAV first. Whether you do so using TwistedFLAC or another FLAC frontend of your choice is up to you. They're all lossless formats so it doesn't really matter.
posted by mykescipark at 7:24 AM on December 8, 2009

I've used XLD with good results before. Drag and drop, remembers your settings.
posted by CharlesV42 at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2009

Response by poster: TwistedFLAC looks great for storing FLAC music collections that get played with players which know what WAVs are but don't know about FLACs.

Not so much for Cubase, where it'll be all about realtime mixing and effects processing, so the extra overhead of constantly decoding up to 20 FLACs on the fly simultaneously is going to bite eventually if not immediately even on the most high spec machine.

XLD looks interesting, ta.
posted by motty at 3:06 PM on December 8, 2009

I see what you mean - I'd still test the realtime flac decoding for speed. (Or rather, I hope to do so myself). FLAC was designed to be very quickly decoded so it should be OK. At least OK enough for convenience to matter over raw speed. Reading compressed data even saves some disk I/O, so it will be faster in some cases where the disk is the bottleneck.
posted by krilli at 2:39 AM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: Actually, thinking about it, if Cubase imports everything and makes its own copy, TwistedFLAC is ideal, as it makes the whole conversion process a no-brainer.
posted by motty at 4:46 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: Also note that Cubase only makes another copy when importing if you enable the preference to do so. Otherwise it will just use the version of the file wherever you left it (i.e., on your desktop) rather than copying it into the Audio folder for the session.
posted by mykescipark at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2009

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