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Which is the best lossless codec?, Discussion thread
rjamorim
post Jan 24 2005, 01:28
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QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 23 2005, 10:13 PM)
my comment about AIFF was tongue-in-cheek to try and lead you to this conclusion but failed.  if a format completely supports RIFF WAVE then it must be able to store and recreate any RIFF WAVE file regardless of what it contains.  but then why not then also support AIFF?  and matroska?  and soundforge files with audio and cakewalk .bun files?  they are all containers used for audio, and different enough that they have to be hard coded into the lossless format.

so what will FLAC-the-format do with multiple linear PCM 'data' sub-chunks?  merge them into one audio stream or treat them as separate chained streams.


Well, the day flac-the-format starts supporting Matroska, Cakewalk .bun and so on, it means that the understanding of those containers has been gathered, and therefore one can do the decision about storing chunks or discarding them.


What about AIFF? The day one of the mentioned formats starts supporting aiff, it means that the developer has researched how AIFF works. And then why not go ahead and add data chunk support?


also: "if a format completely supports RIFF WAVE then it must be able to store and recreate any RIFF WAVE file regardless of what it contains. but then why not then also support AIFF?"

Maybe because WAV is, by far, the most popular audio container?

I think the decision about supporting this and that container's extra data should be the same as precisely supporting this and that container's audio data: container popularity.

Also, if a lossless format like WavPack provides a way of storing these extraneous data chunks for one format (wav), someone wanting to support another format (AIFF, Matroska, .bun or whatever suits your fancy) can take the sources, adapt them to his format of choice and store the data chunks in a similar way, in that fashion guaranteeing compatibility (for the audio part) with standard decoders. IMO that's a great advantage of Wavpack 4, since it was coded with so much extensibility in mind.

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Jan 24 2005, 02:21


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Skymmer
post Jan 24 2005, 02:11
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Jan 24 2005, 02:05 AM)
Thanks for that test you did. I am considering adding "RIFF data support" to the table and the summaries. It tends to be a sought-after feature among people dealing professionally with Audio.


You're welcome.

QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 24 2005, 03:13 AM)
so what will wavpack/mac/optimfrog do, both as codecs and as tools?  you didn't answer that.

Josh

Yes I didn't and will not but I see how FLAC, WMA and TTA failed in this simple test and realy don't like it just because I want lossless compressor to pack my audio and return me in that form as it was before compression not wiping out anything it can't compress.
Trifle but hole in FLAC, WMA and TTA functionality. Nothing more.


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adlai
post Jan 24 2005, 02:35
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my take as a dumb end-user.

MAC is the best. Best encoding speeds, best compression, easiest to use. and, it's integrated into EAC pretty well.

FLAC is good enough so that I don't convert them to MAC files. But it's clearly inferior, with the exception of seeking (it seeks alot faster than MAC) and portable support (which really is pretty much useless).

SHN is horrible. bad compression, and no tagging!
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Skymmer
post Jan 24 2005, 02:57
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QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 24 2005, 04:35 AM)
MAC is the best. Best encoding speeds, best compression, easiest to use. and, it's integrated into EAC pretty well.

You're wrong. MAC is not the fastest and doesn't provide best ratios like LA and OptimFROG but it reaches good (I could say third after LA and OFR) ratio while running quite fast. The golden mean in short.


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kjoonlee
post Jan 24 2005, 03:01
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QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 24 2005, 09:13 AM)
2. what will flac-the-commandline do with multiple linear PCM 'data' sub-chunks?  currently it will only encode the first one and tell you so.  I've never gotten any complaints about that.
*

Warn that you need to make Ogg FLACs, and encode the first one as native FLAC. Optionally encode them separately as Ogg FLACs and concatenate them when they're all done.


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jcoalson
post Jan 24 2005, 08:57
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QUOTE (Skymmer @ Jan 23 2005, 08:11 PM)
QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 24 2005, 03:13 AM)
so what will wavpack/mac/optimfrog do, both as codecs and as tools?  you didn't answer that.

Yes I didn't and will not but I see how FLAC, WMA and TTA failed in this simple test and realy don't like it just because I want lossless compressor to pack my audio and return me in that form as it was before compression not wiping out anything it can't compress.
*

will not? if it were me I would want to know if the format I was using really did support the storing and reconstruction of every kind of WAVE format I would throw at it before using it for that.

QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 23 2005, 08:35 PM)
FLAC is good enough so that I don't convert them to MAC files. But it's clearly inferior, with the exception of seeking (it seeks alot faster than MAC) and portable support (which really is pretty much useless).
*

yes, clearly.

Josh
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Synthetic Soul
post Jan 24 2005, 09:38
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QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 24 2005, 07:57 AM)
QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 23 2005, 08:35 PM)
FLAC is good enough so that I don't convert them to MAC files. But it's clearly inferior, with the exception of seeking (it seeks alot faster than MAC) and portable support (which really is pretty much useless).
*
yes, clearly.

Josh
So clearly inferior, in fact, that 54% of the (voting) idiots that frequent this forum use it as their lossless codec of choice wink.gif


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m0rbidini
post Jan 24 2005, 10:23
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Is it difficult to guarantee full reconstruction of these "metadata chunks" that may exist in a valid WAV file (supposing there's a proper standardization of these metadata fields)?

I only asked this because jcoalson hinted that it may not be a trivial thing to do (or at least that's the impression I got).

I understand perfectly that developers may think that storing this kind of information isn't the job of a lossless audio encoder and I respect their opinion. It's also true that a big part of lossless users don't care about this. However, my personal opinion is that having the option of storing this information in the encoded file is good, guaranteeing a full reconstruction of the original file and not just the audio information. And if I had to choose (not having the option in the encoder) between 1) never store this data and 2) always store this data, I'd choose the latter.

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rjamorim
post Jan 24 2005, 14:52
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QUOTE (Synthetic Soul @ Jan 24 2005, 06:38 AM)
QUOTE (jcoalson @ Jan 24 2005, 07:57 AM)
QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 23 2005, 08:35 PM)
FLAC is good enough so that I don't convert them to MAC files. But it's clearly inferior, with the exception of seeking (it seeks alot faster than MAC) and portable support (which really is pretty much useless).
*
yes, clearly.

Josh
So clearly inferior, in fact, that 54% of the (voting) idiots that frequent this forum use it as their lossless codec of choice wink.gif
*



No flamewars in this thread, please crying.gif


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Synthetic Soul
post Jan 24 2005, 20:43
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Jan 24 2005, 01:52 PM)
No flamewars in this thread, please  crying.gif
I'm not sure if this was a joke, but I don't think it was, so I thought I best clarify:

My statement was meant to clarify Josh's enigmatic response, in an equally sardonic way.

I thought, by pointing out that the members of this forum voted FLAC as their collective favourite codec (in two major polls now I believe), I may go some way to disprove adlai's statement that it is "clearly inferior" to MAC.

I use MAC, but would never agree that FLAC was "clearly inferior". They each have their pros and cons. FLAC is clearly superior in some areas.

Apologies if my statement seemed offensive.

Obviously the fact that it is so popular doesn't discount it from being a pile of shite, but I have some faith in the choices made by the members of this forum (in such matters).


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Mindaxiz
post Jan 24 2005, 21:11
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QUOTE (Synthetic Soul @ Jan 24 2005, 02:43 PM)
QUOTE (rjamorim @ Jan 24 2005, 01:52 PM)
No flamewars in this thread, please  crying.gif
I'm not sure if this was a joke, but I don't think it was, so I thought I best clarify:

My statement was meant to clarify Josh's enigmatic response, in an equally sardonic way.

I thought, by pointing out that the members of this forum voted FLAC as their collective favourite codec (in two major polls now I believe), I may go some way to disprove adlai's statement that it is "clearly inferior" to MAC.

I use MAC, but would never agree that FLAC was "clearly inferior". They each have their pros and cons. FLAC is clearly superior in some areas.

Apologies if my statement seemed offensive.

Obviously the fact that it is so popular doesn't discount it from being a pile of shite, but I have some faith in the choices made by the members of this forum (in such matters).
*



I am sure he understood you right as i did by reading your post. He just quoted the last post related to adlai and wanted to keep the tread productive.

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rjamorim
post Jan 24 2005, 23:33
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QUOTE (Mindaxiz @ Jan 24 2005, 06:11 PM)
I am sure he understood you right as i did by reading your post.  He just quoted the last post related to adlai and wanted to keep the tread productive.
*


Right, I'm not complaining about Synthetic Soul or anyone else in particular, I would just like to keep this thread clean from zealotry towards or against this or that format.


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rjamorim
post Feb 2 2005, 04:54
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QUOTE (Erich w/ an h @ Jan 10 2005, 07:22 AM)
are the percentages in the original post based on comparisons of stereo files? LA offeres the best encoding of stereo files, but I dont think it offers encoding comparible to OFR, APE, PAC, and even RKA (rkau from http://www.msoftware.co.nz/) for mono files. Obviously I cant make that generalization based soley on compressing one mono file in 9 formats, but the difference between LA and OFR, both set for best, was a good 3%
*


That's interesting information. The table indeed refers to compression of stereo files, since that is by far the widely used mode. But I will add a note on LA's cons about it being reportedly not so efficient on mono files.

QUOTE (Skymmer @ Jan 22 2005, 01:36 AM)
Here is another suggestion and test...


Thanks for your findings, just added them to the table and the post smile.gif


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guruboolez
post Feb 3 2005, 08:19
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I've selected one mono album for my classical music comparion (ORFF - Carmina Burana):
http://foobar2000.net/lossless/details.htm

nothing wrong with LA on this mono album.
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p0wder
post Feb 3 2005, 10:10
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I recently converted from FLAC to Wavpack in order to save a little bit more disk space. I'm not worried about any lost data that FLAC may or may not have thrown away, but I did decode a FLAC file to Wav, encoded the same FLAC file to Wavpack, and then decoded the Wavpack file to Wav and compared the two (Wav files). Also, I ripped the track straight from CD and compared and all were bit identical in foobar2000 and had the same md5 hashes. I only tested one song, but I don't think you will find many Wav files with extra non-audio data from a music album.

Edit: forgot to mention something important. crying.gif

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Polar
post Feb 3 2005, 12:39
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QUOTE (p0wder @ Feb 3 2005, 09:10 UTC)
I'm not worried about any lost data that FLAC may or may not have thrown away, but I did decode a FLAC file to Wav, encoded the same FLAC file to Wavpack, and then decoded the Wavpack file to Wav and compared the two (Wav files). Also, I ripped the track straight from CD and compared and all were bit identical in foobar2000 and had the same md5 hashes.
Hence the term lossless compression. It's a good attitude not to take just anything for granted, but did you expect anything else?

Any codec not decoding to WAVs that are bit-identical to the original ones, be it because of a bug or not, does not deserve the predicate lossless, if you ask me. I'm referring to reports about ALAC acknowledging this: 1, 2 and 3.

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rjamorim
post Feb 3 2005, 15:30
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QUOTE (guruboolez @ Feb 3 2005, 05:19 AM)
I've selected one mono album for my classical music comparion (ORFF - Carmina Burana):
http://foobar2000.net/lossless/details.htm

nothing wrong with LA on this mono album.
*


Hrm... interesting.

Erich w/ an h: Could you please post the results of the test you performed where LA had issues with mono streams?

QUOTE (p0wder @ Feb 3 2005, 07:10 AM)
I only tested one song, but I don't think you will find many Wav files with extra non-audio data from a music album.
*


Right, that's not the kind of information a ripper would write. I think I only saw one CD ripper that would optionally write RIFF chunks to a WAV file with CDDB information, and I don't even remember what it was :B

This kind of data is mostly used on audio editors. Anyway, if you ran a file with this extra information through FLAC, it would discard it. That's the point of Skymmer's test.


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rutra80
post Feb 8 2005, 20:35
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How about adding to the "Tagging" row the type of tags that given format supports (APE, ID3, etc.)?
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WaldoMonster
post Feb 11 2005, 15:46
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Adding "PIPE support" to the table would make it complete tongue.gif


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rjamorim
post Feb 11 2005, 19:31
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QUOTE (rutra80 @ Feb 8 2005, 05:35 PM)
How about adding to the "Tagging" row the type of tags that given format supports (APE, ID3, etc.)?
*


Great idea. I will do so.

Any idea about the types of tags supported in LA and LPAC (if LPAC even supports tags natively, I don't know...)?

QUOTE (WaldoMonster @ Feb 11 2005, 12:46 PM)
Adding "PIPE support" to the table would make it complete  tongue.gif
*


Well, I would gladly add this information if someone did the testing himself, like Skymmer did about the RIFF chunks...

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WaldoMonster
post Feb 11 2005, 22:43
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Feb 11 2005, 10:31 PM)
Well, I would gladly add this information if someone did the testing himself, like Skymmer did about the RIFF chunks...


Here are my results so far for stdin/stdout support:

FLAC 1.1.0, 1.1.1 & 1.1.2
stdin: Yes
stdout: Yes

Monkey Audio 3.99u4
stdin: Yes (only special compile from http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/)
stdout: Yes (only special compile from http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/)

Shorten 3.6.0
stdin: Yes
stdout: Yes

WavePack 4.1
stdin: Yes
stdout: Yes

TTA (all versions until now)
stdin: No
stdout: No


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buzzy
post Feb 12 2005, 18:27
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QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 23 2005, 08:35 PM)
MAC is the best  .... [etc]
This is not a flamewar, just underscoring what is all-too-often missed: The whole point is, best for what uses and users?

For example, as a music sharing format across OS platforms, shn is still a widely used format because it's well understood. flac is rapidly replacing it.

And think a bit harder about what you care about - you might think you don't care about hardware playback or streamability - but lots of people will soon enough. That's definitely where a large part of the lossless users are moving.

Anyway:
QUOTE (rjamorim @ Nov 25 2004, 11:14 PM)
Given the sheer amount of lossless audio compressor choices available, it is a very difficult task to choose the one most suited for each person's needs.

Several people only take into consideration compression performance when choosing a codec. But as the following table and post shows, there are several other features worth taking into consideration when making that choice.
An example or two might help the users understand that, especially newer users.

Also, in the Pros for alac - by far what's driving the rapid growth of this otherwise somewhat lackluster format is the integration - iTunes/iPod provides a total solution for users: ripping, database lookup, tagging, playback, portable / hardware, transcoding to lossy. All in a pretty usable interface (as long as you don't need control or need to know what's going on). So it might be worth adding "integration with software and hardware" or something.
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johnsonlam
post Feb 12 2005, 18:48
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To be short: Everyone who create a free loseless codec is hero.

But too many free codec floating around, only confuse the users and creating too much standards. Problem is some of their development already slow down or even stopped, some of the codec design lack expandability, some of them even not popular ...

User always equal to a loser because the codec creator surrendered under to the human nature (ants don't compete), instead of joining force to make a better codec, they compete and try to make a better codec, scattered the effort.

I'm sorry if anyone really having this kind of idea, and sorry if you're upset by me. But I've waited too long for a good codec, this is my honest words.

Best codec didn't exist until some of the inferior retired and concentrate on one codec that's fit both hardware and software.

(sorry for bad english)


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rjamorim
post Feb 12 2005, 23:17
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QUOTE (buzzy @ Feb 12 2005, 03:27 PM)
An example or two might help the users understand that, especially newer users.


I don't understand what exactly you want examplified. Could you give me one... example? :B

QUOTE
Also, in the Pros for alac - by far what's driving the rapid growth of this otherwise somewhat lackluster format is the integration - iTunes/iPod provides a total solution for users:  ripping, database lookup, tagging, playback, portable / hardware, transcoding to lossy.  All in a pretty usable interface (as long as you don't need control or need to know what's going on).  So it might be worth adding "integration with software and hardware" or something.
*


Excellent point. I will do so.

QUOTE (johnsonlam @ Feb 12 2005, 03:48 PM)
To be short: Everyone who create a free loseless codec is hero.

But too many free codec floating around, only confuse the users and creating too much standards. Problem is some of their development already slow down or even stopped, some of the codec design lack expandability, some of them even not popular ...

User always equal to a loser because the codec creator surrendered under to the human nature (ants don't compete), instead of joining force to make a better codec, they compete and try to make a better codec, scattered the effort.

I'm sorry if anyone really having this kind of idea, and sorry if you're upset by me. But I've waited too long for a good codec, this is my honest words.

Best codec didn't exist until some of the inferior retired and concentrate on one codec that's fit both hardware and software.

(sorry for bad english)
*


One sentence: competition is good.

Also, I'm pretty confident a lossless codec done by a group would suck. Josh would want slow encoding and fast decoding for hardware support. Matt would want symmetrical encoding/decoding for efficiency. Bryant would want lossy and hybrid, others wouldn't. Ghido would want the very highest compression ans screw speed. They would quarrel endlessly and noone would ever see the result of their work.


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johnsonlam
post Feb 13 2005, 17:32
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QUOTE
One sentence: competition is good.


I agree.
But it'll become Linux, a hundred different codec floating around ...

QUOTE
Also, I'm pretty confident a lossless codec done by a group would suck. Josh would want slow encoding and fast decoding for hardware support. Matt would want symmetrical encoding/decoding for efficiency. Bryant would want lossy and hybrid, others wouldn't. Ghido would want the very highest compression ans screw speed. They would quarrel endlessly and noone would ever see the result of their work.
*


Maybe I'm wrong about joint-force, my idea is someone take care of the interface, others the core, different platform's binary, and also optimization.

I can see some of the codec creator keep doing their job well (all of them you talked about) but feel they're working alone, if each of them can have some help then they can concentrate on the codec core.

Here I want to thank all those who helped them such as John33 for front-end, many other help tuning and adjust, too bad I'm still learning how to ABX so can't help.

Many people STILL use WMA, I consider this is: we're losing the battle over M$, maybe we're not GOOD enough, easy to use, hardware support ...

Good to hear FLAC have some hardware support, looking forward to some DVD players such as Philips or Samsung support them, great!


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