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Considering Chaning my format of choice to flac.., I currently use mp3...
joeg
post Mar 3 2003, 20:57
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just a few questions...

1) From the research i've done... it looks like flac is the best lossless codec to use if you're going to play your music, not just archive it... (am i right?)
2) are there any negatives to this format?
3) how big is a 5minute cd rip (about?) (mp3 is basically about 8 megs or so with aps insane, right? maybe a little more)
4) do any hardware players play flac?
5) is there anything i should know about encoding? i want exactly what the cd has... how do i achieve this? bitrates/settings/etc...


should i hold off and stick to mp3? or is flac ready to be the next widespread format?
thanks...

<--- lossless newb biggrin.gif
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Amadablam
post Mar 3 2003, 21:50
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Trying out lossless, eh? FLAC was my choice, mostly because of its open-source and multi-platform nature. I spend a lot of time working in both Windows and Linux, and I'm not sure that any other lossless codec is as flexible across both platforms. You can play FLAC in Windows in Winamp, dBpowerAMP, foobar2000, or a number of other applications. I can't say it has a lot of negatives, but that doesn't mean that FLAC has reached it's full potential. Since FLAC recently joined Xiph.org, in the future we should see tighter integration with FLAC, Vorbis, and Speex. Since FLAC and Vorbis are my codecs of choice, I'm really looking forward to tools that integrate all the Xiph codecs. In my experience, FLAC compresses music to sizes that are 50% - 75% of the original wave file. For example, No Doubt's "Underneath It All" is 5:02 in length and compresses (using the default settings) to 36.3 MB, which is 71.3% of the original. Less "intensive" music will obviously compress more, but you'll still need a lot of disk space if you have a large music collection. There are a few hardware players that can play FLAC - check the FLAC website (http://flac.sourceforge.net/) for a list and more details. Finally, I can't say there's much you need to know about encoding. Remember, because FLAC is lossless, every FLAC you make will be exactly the same quality as the original. There are some settings that allow you to make FLAC "try harder" to produce smaller files (I use --best occasionally), but the resulting differences are only a few percent from the default, and the compressing time can take considerably longer.

As for FLAC becoming "the next widespread format", I'd have to say that I doubt it. Most people will likely continue to use mp3 for quite a while, even though there are alternatives (Ogg Vorbis, MPC, AAC, etc.) with advantages. In the lossless area, however, I think FLAC is here to stay.

Hope this helps...good luck!
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joeg
post Mar 3 2003, 22:52
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yes, that was definately of much use... thanks!!


36mb, yeah, thats gonna eat through the HD space pretty quick.... but this definately looks like its a promising format... i'm gonna keep my eye on it... and start playing around with the encoder a little...
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spoon
post Mar 3 2003, 22:59
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Thing is with any Lossless audio format, if you don't like it because super player XZY does not support it, just convert it to another lossless format. FLAC, Monkeys, Shorten, WMA-Lossless, etc go for the one most supported by your programs.


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joeg
post Mar 4 2003, 00:10
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well, i'm a foobar2k user... so pretty much anything is gonna work fine...

i'm just trying to find whats most practical...

i just played with flac... and using every compression enhancing switch... it took a while to compress, and still turned a 45mb wav into 31mb... which is less than satisfying to do on all future rips...


what lossless format gives the smallest files? i'm willing to sacrafice compression time to get smaller files... (they're all going to be the same 'lossless' quality, right? theres no comparison there?) but again, i plan to PLAY my files, not just store them somewhere...
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joeg
post Mar 4 2003, 00:23
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hmm i just did some looking, and apparently they're all in the same size ballpark... flac looks like the one i'd go with... but i don't think i'm quite ready to jump to 30-45mb a track yet...

the same file that was 31mb with flac, is 10.2mb with "--alt-preset insane -m s -b 192 -B 320 -F -q 0 -V 0 -Z -k"

(btw, if those -q and -V statements are redundant, let me know... i didn't feel like finding out the long way...)

true, the 10.2mb mp3 isn't "lossless" but even with the quality of equipment i'm using, i'd probably be hardpressed to heal a difference worth 20mb a track... (my mp3 archive is 50gigs and running...)


maybe i'll just hang in there until things develop further...
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Jens Rex
post Mar 4 2003, 00:39
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QUOTE (joeg @ Mar 4 2003 - 12:23 AM)
"--alt-preset insane -m s -b 192 -B 320 -F -q 0 -V 0 -Z -k"

List of recommended LAME settings
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Volcano
post Mar 4 2003, 00:53
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joeg:

Dunno if this is of any use to you, but here's the commandline I use within EAC to have FLAC files tagged directly on encoding:

-T "TITLE=%t" -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "ALBUM=%g" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%n" -T "DATE=%y" -T "GENRE=%m" %s -o %d

Make sure you disable "Add ID3 Tag".

Also, make sure you configure EAC not to delete any digital silence ("EAC Options | Extraction") or to leave out pre-track gaps or something like that, for the sake of being able to easily create a 1:1 copy of an album later on.

(Creating a CUE sheet for each album would be a good idea for this, too: Make sure "Action | Append gaps to previous track" is selected, press [F4], and choose "Action | Create CUE Sheet | Current Gap Settings".)


QUOTE
what lossless format gives the smallest files? i'm willing to sacrafice compression time to get smaller files...


Monkey's Audio usually squeezes a few more % out of the files than FLAC, at the cost of highly increased CPU usage on decoding. (IMHO, those super-high compression modes aren't worth using at all - saving perhaps 1 MB per song, but sacrificing (at least) twice the encoding/decoding speed, isn't really a good compromise.)


By the way, the compression ratios achieved by lossless codecs vary a lot, depending on the music you encode. I have had many cases where FLAC achieved more than 70% compression - average is probably somewhere around 60%.


QUOTE
--alt-preset insane -m s -b 192 -B 320 -F -q 0 -V 0 -Z -k


:x You aren't serious about this, right?

- First off, --api is a CBR profile, hence specifying a minimum and maximum bitrate is totally senseless.
- Same applies to -F - because it's CBR, 32kbps frames for silence wouldn't be used at all.
- Simple stereo is not recommended because Joint Stereo provides better quality with LAME.
- -q 0 is an experimental mode and has some quality issues - -q 2 is a lot better.
- -V 0 - --api is a CBR profile, no idea what you're trying to do here...
- -k - why the heck are you using lossy compression if you don't want any frequencies removed? You know that this actually decreases quality, do you?

Seriously... if all those weird-ass switches did actually improve quality, Dibrom would have made the alt-presets use them in the first place.

CU

Dominic

This post has been edited by Volcano: Mar 4 2003, 01:09
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joeg
post Mar 4 2003, 01:17
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few things:

1) you mean "fill up missing offset samples with silence" and "no use of null samples for crc calculation" right? should they both be checked or unchecked?

2) apparently i have no idea what the F i'm doing with my mp3 compression... lol... i just got lame last week, and haven't really explored it fully... (which is painfully obvious at this point biggrin.gif )



a question about -k though.... using alt preset insane wouldn't there be plenty of bits for those extra frequencies?

This post has been edited by joeg: Mar 4 2003, 02:29
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jcoalson
post Mar 4 2003, 01:44
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QUOTE (joeg @ Mar 3 2003 - 06:10 PM)
what lossless format gives the smallest files?  i'm willing to sacrafice compression time to get smaller files... (they're all going to be the same 'lossless' quality, right? theres no comparison there?)  but again, i plan to PLAY my files, not just store them somewhere...

See http://flac.sourceforge.net/comparison.html; it includes encoding and decoding times for common codecs.

The default compression is almost always sufficient for CD audio. You can try --best if you don't care about the encode time but it rarely makes a large improvement.

Josh
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joeg
post Mar 4 2003, 01:48
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QUOTE (jcoalson @ Mar 3 2003 - 07:44 PM)
QUOTE (joeg @ Mar 3 2003 - 06:10 PM)
what lossless format gives the smallest files?   i'm willing to sacrafice compression time to get smaller files... (they're all going to be the same 'lossless' quality, right? theres no comparison there?)   but again, i plan to PLAY my files, not just store them somewhere...

See http://flac.sourceforge.net/comparison.html; it includes encoding and decoding times for common codecs.

The default compression is almost always sufficient for CD audio. You can try --best if you don't care about the encode time but it rarely makes a large improvement.

Josh

yeah, thats what i saw which prompted the post after that... they all are around the same give or take a few megs...
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Jens Rex
post Mar 4 2003, 18:55
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QUOTE (joeg @ Mar 4 2003 - 01:17 AM)
a question about -k though.... using alt preset insane wouldn't there be plenty of bits for those extra frequencies?

No.

The --alt-presets are tweaked to maximum "performance". If there was any command that could be added to the commandline, Dibrom (the developer of the presets) would have already added it to the preset.

The only thing there really is to explore with LAME (in that sense) is the link I gave you previously.
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joeg
post Mar 4 2003, 19:11
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QUOTE (JensRex @ Mar 4 2003 - 12:55 PM)
QUOTE (joeg @ Mar 4 2003 - 01:17 AM)
a question about -k though.... using alt preset insane wouldn't there be plenty of bits for those extra frequencies?

No.

The --alt-presets are tweaked to maximum "performance". If there was any command that could be added to the commandline, Dibrom (the developer of the presets) would have already added it to the preset.

The only thing there really is to explore with LAME (in that sense) is the link I gave you previously.

yeah, i encoded a cd with aps insane, and it sounded great... i didn't run any tests, but i'll take your word that its better... it sounds like cd...

is aps insane more/less transparent?? even though its still "lossy"??


(btw, i appreciate the info you guys have given me here... i'm really on the right track, now...)
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voltron
post Mar 4 2003, 19:24
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pretty much as transparent as you're going to get with mp3 without using freeform.
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