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Do you use RF64?
Old 18th May 2016
  #1
Do you use RF64?

A question for the group:

Do you use RF64 at all for file sizes larger than 2GB? I regularly do mastering and archiving at 96/24, but need to find a robust, supported format that can run past the 2GB limit without splitting into separate files. AFAIK, RF64 is not reliable/not fully supported/not recommended by several DAW manufacturers.

If this is truly the case, what are some better options?

Thanks in advance!
Old 18th May 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Hi Jeff,

first of all there are essentially two existing solutions for storing of audio files in wav files >4G, this creates confusion sometimes.
First one is called Wave64 (by Sonic Foundry) and second is called RF64 (EBU Standard), there are some fundamental differences.
There is article by Bjorn Roche about that
bjorg: WAVE64 vs RF64 vs CAF
Personally I also like cleaner approach of Wave64, as I believe in this case, the clear cut is more appropriate solution. If files will be from the beginning treated separately and had dedicated extension .w64, it would save many involved parties from implementations issues and confusions.
Although RF64 is kind of hack to me, is currently more widely accepted among various SW/HW vendors (mainly because its official acceptance by EBU) and it's de-facto winner.
If it is implemented correctly, then it isn't inherently less reliable.. also if some vendor needs to support handling of audio files larger than 4GB, than there isn't other choice from interoperability standpoint.

So I would recommend to create some RF64 test files >4GB and test it at all programs/hardware, you're using at your workflow. If something doesn't work out of box, there is always way, how to split files using some another program, possibly some programs can work directly with FLAC files which doesn't have such inherent limitation. Of course it's up to you, if you can accept it as a workarounds.

Last time, when I did the comparison using software, we or our collaborators use, it was like this..

nuendo 5.5, cubase 7 - rf64
protools 10 - rf64
izotope rx 2-4 (5 as well according to reports), ozone standalone - none (even large FLAC fails)
reaper 5 - rf64, w64
samplitude 11 - rf64
audacity - rf64 (w64 via ffmpeg libraries)

saracon - rf64
korg audiogate - none, flac works
foobar2000 - rf64, w64
flac 1.3 commandline utility - rf64, w64
sox 14.4.2 commandline utility - rf64
ffmpeg commandline utility - rf64, w64

What sucks the most from my point of view is absence of support in iZotope RX, which even doesn't open FLAC file, which has larger uncompressed file than 4GB. So from workflow point of view, all restoration duties for long material in hi-res has to be handled by parts and finally assembled in other DAW. This isn't usually big problem as it isn't exactly comfortable to work with hours of material there, but it naturally affects also its use as batch audio file processor (eg. for rate conversion and redithering for CDs, where you can't use larger sources). Other DAWs are quite fine with it and lot of open source programs also handles RF64 as well, so I wouldn't afraid to use it. Even if you'll need to send materials somewhere else, you can also append some notes to use free multiplatform Audacity for instance, when they found RF64 files are incompatible with software, they use.
Best current support of that from software, I know has Reaper, because it can natively work with both kinds of 64bit wave files and also with lossless formats, which are perfect for archiving like FLAC or WavPack.. including full support of project translation from working WAVs to lossless files incl. all metadata (full BWF headers, markers, regions etc.).

Michal
Old 18th May 2016
  #3
Thanks Michal. I knew Wave64, but didn't know much about how well it worked, or who used it besides Sony.

I'm using both SADiE and Sound Forge in different environments right now. SADiE can handle large files via AES31 ADLs, but doesn't recommend it. It keeps their actual files at <2GB (due to disk formats on hard drives), and stitches them together with an "ADL". So I'm seeing what it can do right now.

And thanks for the article link. My guess is that if we can't create true >4GB files, it's probably not going to fly. You are correct in that they are too large and hard to work with. But for an archive, it's important to have one file per tape.

Thanks again,
Jeff
Old 18th May 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I've never worked with Sadie (it's bit esoteric system here), but I'm quite surprised, no variant of large waves is actually supported. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe, I've read somewhere, they were part of that initiative.. but it's long time.. ten year maybe at some press release about RF64.
You're true, that underlying file system has to support such continuous file lenght, so FAT32 or older variants of HFS won't cut there.. but it definitely shouldn't be problem with NTFS or HFS+ at OS X.

Hmm.. just looking into latest downloadable Sadie 6 manual and they state, Wave64 is supported for recording and they seem to also support RF64 (although they call that BWF - WAV64). Page 305 in manual (p 310 in PDF)
http://resources.prismsound.com/sd/S...ser_Manual.pdf
According to header of paragraph, this applies also to Editor version 5.4.

Soundforge works well with Wave64 naturally. At the end, if it is for your own archive, you can pick one, which works better for you. Additionally if you'll be interested in further data exchange, then you can use mentioned programs, which supports both flavors for some batch conversion. Both foobar2000 and ffmpeg are free and handles conversions back and forth pretty well, although former one is command-line program, but can be wrapped to nice GUI with appropriate settings. If you're interested, I can upload preset and short guide for you.

Michal
Old 19th May 2016
  #5
Well, Sadie seems to have a problem with their on-the-fly conversion to 64-bit addressing. It never really worked properly.

The more people I speak to, the more hesitant they are about RF64, like it's not really "ready for prime time". Perhaps in a few years...

Thanks again for your help!
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