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Why’s FLAC ‘the’ lossless codec? Is it future-proof(able)? Comparisons, [TOS #6: was “Future proof lossless audio/codec” in General Audio]
IgorC
post Jun 25 2012, 18:59
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QUOTE (eahm @ Jun 25 2012, 14:47) *
it's inevitable in 10 years we will have to switch FLAC to something else when people will start wondering why no one use 64bit audio etc. etc. Same story repeating.

A sound can be recorded with 20-22 bits resolution in best case. This is why 24 bits is already overkill. A humanity won't need more than 24 bits in any circunstance.

This post has been edited by IgorC: Jun 25 2012, 19:02
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lvqcl
post Jun 25 2012, 19:14
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TTA is more future-proof than FLAC, Itanium is more future-proof than x86...

I fail to see why TTA is better as a consumer format. 192kHz/24bit is more than enough, and multichannel music is still rare.
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eahm
post Jun 25 2012, 19:15
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Jun 25 2012, 10:59) *
QUOTE (eahm @ Jun 25 2012, 14:47) *
it's inevitable in 10 years we will have to switch FLAC to something else when people will start wondering why no one use 64bit audio etc. etc. Same story repeating.

A sound can be recorded with 20-22 bits resolution in best case. This is why 24 bits is already overkill. A humanity won't need more than 24 bits in any circunstance.

Quoting from way back: a codec for everything. Will studio production ever need 64bit? What about 128bit? I have a 32/192 album so...someone does produce in >24bit audio.

MP3 is 19 years old, I am thinking 20 even 30 years ahead. The matter is not even this anymore, I completely understand what everyone means, "who cares about the future" was actually the best answer, let's enjoy what we have now and worry about new codecs/formats later. I am starting few companies and life in a completely different country the other side of the world and we just had a baby, I guess I am thinking for him now, what I have to fill my hard drive with to let him enjoy full audio experience without worry about replacing everything when he's 20 years old. I guess...

This post has been edited by eahm: Jun 25 2012, 19:20
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saratoga
post Jun 25 2012, 19:35
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QUOTE (eahm @ Jun 25 2012, 14:15) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Jun 25 2012, 10:59) *
QUOTE (eahm @ Jun 25 2012, 14:47) *
it's inevitable in 10 years we will have to switch FLAC to something else when people will start wondering why no one use 64bit audio etc. etc. Same story repeating.

A sound can be recorded with 20-22 bits resolution in best case. This is why 24 bits is already overkill. A humanity won't need more than 24 bits in any circunstance.

Quoting from way back: a codec for everything. Will studio production ever need 64bit? What about 128bit? I have a 32/192 album so...someone does produce in >24bit audio.


To be clear, the most you can record is ~20 bits. So while someone can save something in 1024 bit PCM if they want, there is not going to be actual information in those bits. So a distribution format supporting it would indeed be completely pointless, and this is not something that will change in the future.

QUOTE (eahm @ Jun 25 2012, 14:15) *
MP3 is 19 years old, I am thinking 20 even 30 years ahead.


Hopefully 30 years from now FLAC will be obsolete because mathematics and computers will have advanced enough that we have more efficient lossless formats available then anything we have access to now. But it won't be due to limitations on things like PCM format.
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JJZolx
post Jun 25 2012, 19:43
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Jun 25 2012, 12:35) *
Hopefully 30 years from now FLAC will be obsolete because mathematics and computers will have advanced enough that we have more efficient lossless formats available then anything we have access to now. But it won't be due to limitations on things like PCM format.


Thirty years from now there will be little reason to compress files as small as those used for audio. Network speeds and storage device capacity will dwarf what currently exists. It would be like bothering to compress an 80k spreadsheet today.
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lvqcl
post Jun 25 2012, 19:50
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QUOTE (JJZolx @ Jun 25 2012, 22:43) *
It would be like bothering to compress an 80k spreadsheet today.


QUOTE
Office Open XML (also informally known as OOXML or OpenXML) is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft for representing spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents.
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saratoga
post Jun 25 2012, 19:58
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QUOTE (JJZolx @ Jun 25 2012, 14:43) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ Jun 25 2012, 12:35) *
Hopefully 30 years from now FLAC will be obsolete because mathematics and computers will have advanced enough that we have more efficient lossless formats available then anything we have access to now. But it won't be due to limitations on things like PCM format.


Thirty years from now there will be little reason to compress files as small as those used for audio. Network speeds and storage device capacity will dwarf what currently exists. It would be like bothering to compress an 80k spreadsheet today.


Aside from some legacy formats, all modern spreadsheets are always zipped today. Contrary to what you're assuming, better technology doesn't excuse inefficient or bad design. This will be no less true in 30 years.
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IgorC
post Jun 25 2012, 20:00
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It might be the case that the next step will be not higher bit-depths of sampling rates but 3D representation of sound.
That would change a lot of things.
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Porcus
post Jun 25 2012, 20:06
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Jun 25 2012, 21:00) *
It might be the case that the next step will be not higher bit-depths of sampling rates but 3D representation of sound.
That would change a lot of things.


Yeah. It would require 4 channels ...


(Agree with you, though.)


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benski
post Jun 25 2012, 20:14
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Jun 25 2012, 15:06) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Jun 25 2012, 21:00) *
It might be the case that the next step will be not higher bit-depths of sampling rates but 3D representation of sound.
That would change a lot of things.

Yeah. It would require 4 channels ...


For height, it would require at least 6 (assuming Ambisonics format)

This post has been edited by benski: Jun 25 2012, 20:14
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eahm
post Jun 25 2012, 20:23
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QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 25 2012, 11:14) *
TTA is more future-proof than FLAC, Itanium is more future-proof than x86...

I fail to see why TTA is better as a consumer format. 192kHz/24bit is more than enough, and multichannel music is still rare.

QUOTE (saratoga @ Jun 25 2012, 11:35) *
Hopefully 30 years from now FLAC will be obsolete because mathematics and computers will have advanced enough that we have more efficient lossless formats available then anything we have access to now. But it won't be due to limitations on things like PCM format.

Thank you.
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Porcus
post Jun 25 2012, 20:41
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QUOTE (benski @ Jun 25 2012, 21:14) *
QUOTE (Porcus @ Jun 25 2012, 15:06) *
QUOTE (IgorC @ Jun 25 2012, 21:00) *
It might be the case that the next step will be not higher bit-depths of sampling rates but 3D representation of sound.
That would change a lot of things.

Yeah. It would require 4 channels ...


For height, it would require at least 6 (assuming Ambisonics format)


I know nothing more about Ambisonics than can be found at Wikipedia, but that article says 4 channels (reproduced by six speakers, but that's something else). In theory, four points span space (like three span the plane).


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hlloyge
post Jun 25 2012, 22:41
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To return to the original question, I think EAC has a lot to do about popularization, since FLAC started coming with the installer, and since audio pirates started using EAC as preferred tool for ripping audio CDs.
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greynol
post Jun 25 2012, 23:20
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Nah, EAC has had (and still has) internal support for Monkey's Audio, provided you get a copy dll and put it in the EAC directory. Even if the dll had been included with the installation I don't think this would have changed anything. For a long time MAC was a complete PITA for non-Windows users.

I am under the impression that flac became the standard even before it became bundled with EAC. In fact it being the standard was more likely why it was bundled with EAC in the first place. For me, the question remains why flac and not WavPack?


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Porcus
post Jun 25 2012, 23:23
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Jun 25 2012, 23:41) *
To return to the original question, I think EAC has a lot to do about popularization, since FLAC started coming with the installer, and since audio pirates started using EAC as preferred tool for ripping audio CDs.


When was that, anyone? FLAC isn't even mentioned in the EAC changelog. But it mentions Monkey's Audio (and Shorten) as early as May 2000, which was pre-FLAC.

I've had the impression that Monkey's and Shorten were/are more popular among filesharers than among general (lossless) users, but then, I've had a focus on bootlegs. (That's a conservative bunch. Still lots of them insist on .shn or .wav for audio, and .txt or .nfo rather than tags.)


Edit: Gargamel beat me at it.
(Greynol: Above here, Bryant has linked to some thoughts on why WavPack didn't succeed.)

This post has been edited by Porcus: Jun 25 2012, 23:25


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saratoga
post Jun 25 2012, 23:42
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 25 2012, 18:20) *
I am under the impression that flac became the standard even before it became bundled with EAC. In fact it being the standard was more likely why it was bundled with EAC in the first place. For me, the question remains why flac and not WavPack?


My vague and probably incorrect recollection is that flac was pushed really hard in the very early 2000s as a more cross-platform replacement for SHN that supported native seeking among people taping and trading live concerts. For instance, searching some old SHN FAQs brings up plenty of discussion about FLAC:

http://userpages.umbc.edu/~hamilton/shnfaq.html

And very little about wavpack. As for why they didn't seem to be aware of Wavpack, I'm not sure. You'd probably have to dig through old mailing lists and try to figure out where the first interest in FLAC originated. My guess it was a few users who by chance heard of FLAC and spread it.
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lvqcl
post Jun 26 2012, 00:14
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From 2009 ripping/encoding general poll:

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krafty
post Jun 26 2012, 00:34
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I think FLAC is popular because it was on the internet scene first. Its public is a niche though. For the past 2 years I tried to talk 3 people into FLAC format and none of them had the smallest consciousness of what means a lossy vs. lossless format. I was sad, because that means people in general just don't care. It is sad because this dictates a bit what we see on hardware support. If people start demanding a format and stop buying things like unsupported FLAC devices, then the scene will change. But since people themselves don't have a clue..........
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Destroid
post Jun 26 2012, 01:18
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Which I guess brings the question of, "How easy is [lossless format] to implement into software/hardware?" As I am not a fluent programmer perhaps libs/API of some lossless formats are easier (or more license compatible) for developers.

My scenario: discovering lossless audio when starting home recording; gleefully finding Monkey's Audio had plug-in's for all the software I was using bundled in one installer; result- got a lot more done in less time and saved significant costs of archival CD's all thanks to a cleverly written suite of lossless tools. (I still do some occasional Cooledit Pro remixing wink.gif )


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saratoga
post Jun 26 2012, 01:36
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QUOTE (Destroid @ Jun 25 2012, 20:18) *
Which I guess brings the question of, "How easy is [lossless format] to implement into software/hardware?" As I am not a fluent programmer perhaps libs/API of some lossless formats are easier (or more license compatible) for developers.


check out my benchmarks here on ARM:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....=0&p=716976

The FLAC, Wavpack, TTA and APE decoders are quite well optimized for embedded use (in some cases by the developers of the format).
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greynol
post Jun 26 2012, 04:08
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QUOTE (krafty @ Jun 25 2012, 16:34) *
I think FLAC is popular because it was on the internet scene first.

There once was a lossless codec called shorten.


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onkl
post Jun 26 2012, 04:32
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FLAC has a nice sounding name. I believe one of the reasons Apple used ALAC as a name was because of this popularity.
Just like MP3 is so much nicer to pronunce in comparison to OGG, WMA, AAC, ...
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Zarggg
post Jun 27 2012, 07:39
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One could argue that "WMA" and "AAC" are just as easy to pronounce as "MP3" and that "Ogg" is actually easier (completely ignoring the fact that the lossy codec is actually called "Vorbis," of course.)
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bandpass
post Jun 27 2012, 08:36
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Onkl's point was that the names are nicer sounding: MP3 sounds a lot like the word 'empathy' (a nice thing to have); OGG sounds like a noise one might make prior to vomiting.

However, FLAC does not sound nice to anyone cognisant of WWII; the phrase 'taking the flak' (originally meaning being shot at) is still in use.
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Porcus
post Jun 27 2012, 08:39
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So, what's in a name?

yalike, Offer my4ay? assless Lay, WavePeck Bonk Marian's-a-pac? owMa'hell, Alas, Monkey's shorten flaccid ... :-(


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