Lossless comparison

From Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
Revision as of 22:22, 10 April 2005 by Rjamorim (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Given the enormous 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.

For example, users wanting good multiplatform compatibility and robustness (E.G, people sharing live recordings) would favour WavPack or FLAC. Another user, looking for the very highest compression available, would go with OptimFrog. Someone wanting portable support would use FLAC or ALAC, and so on.

En fin, this is not a matter worth getting too worked up about. If you later find out the codec you chose isn't the best for your needs, you can just transcompress to another format, without risk of losing quality.


http://www.rarewares.org/images/lossless.png

  • Encoding speed, Decoding speed and Compression ratio are based on each encoder's default settings.
  • Flexibility refers to the amount of encoding choices offered to the users (Fast/low compression, Slow/high compression and everything inbetween)


These are the most popular lossless codecs, in alphabetical order:

==ALAC - Apple Lossless Audio Codec== http://www.apple.com/itunes/import.html

ALAC is a codec developed by Apple for usage in iPod and AirPort Express.

PROS

  • Very fast decoding
  • Open source (decoding only)
  • Hardware support (iPod, AirPort Express)
  • Streaming support
  • Tagging support (QT tags)
  • Excellent hardware-software-lossy format integration with iTunes/iPod.

CONS

  • Closed source (encoding)
  • Few software support (iTunes)
  • Doesn't support multichannel audio and high resolutions
  • Compression efficiency not on par with other lossless codecs
  • No hybrid/lossy mode

Other features

  • Fits in the MP4 container
  • Can be used with the AirPort Express gadget


==FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec== http://flac.sourceforge.net/

FLAC is a lossless codec developed by Josh Coalson. It's part of the Xiph multimedia portfolio, along with Vorbis and Theora.

PROS

  • Open source
  • Very fast decoding
  • Hardware support (Karma, Phatbox, etc.)
  • Very good software support
  • Error robustness
  • Streaming support
  • Supports multichannel audio and high resolutions
  • Tagging support (FLAC tags)
  • Pipe support

CONS

  • Compression efficiency not on par with other lossless codecs
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • Doesn't support RIFF chunks


Other features


==LosslessAudio - LA== http://www.lossless-audio.com/

LA is a lossless codec developed by Michael Bevin.

PROS

  • Very high compression
  • Tagging support (APE tags)
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Pipe support

CONS

  • Closed source
  • Very slow encoding and decoding
  • No hardware support
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • Bad software support

==='It's important to mention that the LA foobar plugin is buggy and doesn't produce lossless streams!==='


==LPAC== http://www.nue.tu-berlin.de/wer/liebchen/lpac.html

Lossless Predictive Audio Coder (LPAC) is a lossless codec developed by Tilman Liebchen. Development of it has been halted in favour of development of MPEG4 ALS.

PROS

  • Reasonable compression ratios
  • High resolution audio support
  • Tagging
  • Supports RIFF chunks

CONS

  • Closed source
  • No error robustness
  • Slow seeking
  • No multichannel support
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • No hardware support


==Monkey's Audio== http://www.monkeysaudio.com/

Monkey's Audio is a very efficient lossless compressor developed my Matt Ashland.

PROS

  • Open source
  • High efficiency
  • Good software support
  • Error robustness
  • Java version (multiplatform)
  • Tagging support (ID3v1, APE)
  • High resolution audio support
  • Supports RIFF chunks (only in the GUI encoder)
  • Pipe support (only in a [url=http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/]special[/url] version)

CONS

  • No multichannel support
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • No hardware support

Other features

  • Supports embedded APL sheets (similar to CUE sheets)


==OptimFROG== http://losslessaudiocompression.com/

OptimFROG is a lossless format developed by Florin Ghido to become the champion in audio compression.

PROS

  • Very high compression
  • Good software support
  • Error robustness
  • Streaming support
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Hybrid/lossy mode
  • Tagging support (ID3, APE)
  • Supports RIFF chunks

CONS

  • Closed source
  • No multichannel audio support
  • No hardware support
  • Quite slow decoding

Other features

  • Supports 32bit float streams
  • Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
  • ReplayGain compatible


==RealAudio Lossless== http://www.realnetworks.com/products/codecs/realaudio.html

RealAudio lossless is the lossless codec developed by Real Networks for their multimedia portfolio

PROS

  • Very fast decoding
  • Streaming support

CONS

  • Closed source
  • No multichannel and high resolution audio support
  • Few software support (Real Player)
  • No hardware support
  • Compression efficiency not on par with other lossless codecs
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • No pipe support


==Shorten== http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shorten/

Shorten is a very old and featureless lossless codec developed by Tony Robinson at SoftSound.

PROS

  • Open source
  • Fast decoding
  • Very good software support
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Pipe support

CONS

  • Quite inefficient
  • No multichannel or high resolution audio support
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • No error robustness
  • Not streamable
  • No hardware support
  • No native tagging


==True Audio (TTA)== http://tta.corecodec.org/

TTA is a new lossless codec developed by a team of russian programmers.

PROS

  • Open source
  • Good efficiency (not as good as Monkey's or OptimFrog, but not as bad as SHN or ALAC)
  • Hardware support (obscure DVD player)
  • Supports multichannel audio and high resolutions
  • Tagging support (ID3v2)

CONS

  • No streaming support
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • Doesn't support RIFF chunks
  • No pipe support

Other features

  • Fits the Matroska container
  • ReplayGain compatible


==WavPack== http://www.wavpack.com/

WavPack is a fast and featureful lossless codec developed by David Bryant.

PROS

  • Open source
  • Very fast decoding
  • Good efficiency (not as good as Monkey's or OptimFrog, but not as bad as SHN or ALAC)
  • Error robustness
  • Streaming support
  • Supports multichannel audio and high resolutions
  • Hybrid/lossy mode
  • Tagging support (ID3v1, APE)
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Hability to create self extracting files for Win32 platform
  • Pipe support
  • Good software support

CONS

  • No hardware support

Other features

  • Supports embedded CUE sheets
  • Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
  • Can encode in both symmetrical and assymmetrical modes.
  • ReplayGain compatible


==Windows Media Audio Lossless== http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/codecs/audio.aspx

WMA Lossless is the lossless codec developed by Microsoft to be featured in their Windows Media codec portfolio.

PROS

  • Streaming support
  • Very good software support
  • Supports multichannel audio and high resolutions.
  • Tagging support (proprietary)

CONS

  • Closed source
  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • No hardware support (but it's likely to appear sooner or later)
  • Doesn't support RIFF chunks

Other features

  • Fits the ASF container


Some links to lossless format compression comparisions: Hans Heijden's Speek's Guruboolez's - comparing only classical music.