Difference between revisions of "Lossless comparison"

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== Introduction ==
 
== Introduction ==
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. Some people only take into consideration compression performance when choosing a codec, but as the following table and article shows, there are several other features worth taking into consideration when making a choice.
+
Given the enormous number of [[lossless]] audio compressor choices available, it is a very difficult task to choose the one most suited for each person's needs. Some people take into consideration only compression performance when choosing a codec, but as the following table and article shows, there are several other features worth taking into consideration when making a 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.
 
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.
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{| cellspacing="2" style="text-align:center; border:1px solid blue;"
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{| class="wikitable" cellspacing="2"
|width="120px"|'''Features'''
+
!width="120px"|'''Features'''
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#Free_Lossless_Audio_Codec_.28FLAC.29 FLAC]
+
! width="90px" | [[#Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)|FLAC]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#Apple_Lossless_Audio_Codec_.28ALAC.29 ALAC]
+
! width="90px" | [[#Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)|ALAC]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#WavPack_.28WV.29 WavPack]
+
! width="90px" | [[#WavPack (WV)|WavPack]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#Tom.27s_verlustfreier_Audiokompressor_.28TAK.29 TAK]
+
! width="90px" | [[#Tom's_verlustfreier_Audiokompressor (TAK)|TAK]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#Monkey.27s_Audio_.28APE.29 Monkey's]
+
! width="90px" | [[#Monkey's_Audio (APE)|Monkey's]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#Windows_Media_Audio_Lossless_.28WMAL.29 WMAL]
+
! width="90px" | [[#Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMAL)|WMAL]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#OptimFROG_.28OFR.29 OptimFROG]
+
! width="90px" | [[#OptimFROG (OFR)|OptimFROG]]
| width="90px" style="background: #00FFFF" | [http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison#True_Audio_.28TTA.29 TTA]
+
! width="90px" | [[#True Audio (TTA)|TTA]]
 
|- <!-- *** Encoding speed is very fast if > 150x, fast if >75x, average if >40x, slow if >20x, very slow if <20x *** -->
 
|- <!-- *** Encoding speed is very fast if > 150x, fast if >75x, average if >40x, slow if >20x, very slow if <20x *** -->
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Encoding speed{{ref label|speed|A|A}}
+
| Encoding speed{{ref label|speed|A|A}}
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
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| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
|- <!-- *** For decoding speed thresholds are doubled, i.e., very fast if >300x, fast if >150x etc *** -->
 
|- <!-- *** For decoding speed thresholds are doubled, i.e., very fast if >300x, fast if >150x etc *** -->
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Decoding speed{{ref label|speed|A|A}}
+
| Decoding speed{{ref label|speed|A|A}}
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very fast
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
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| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | fast
 
|- <!-- *** Thresholds for compression are at 56% and 58% *** -->  
 
|- <!-- *** Thresholds for compression are at 56% and 58% *** -->  
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Compression{{ref label|speed|A|A}}{{ref label|comp|B|B}}
+
| Compression{{ref label|speed|A|A}}{{ref label|comp|B|B}}
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 57.0%
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 57.0%
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 57.8%
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 57.8%
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| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 56.6%
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 56.6%
 
|-
 
|-
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | # presets
+
| # presets
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 9
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 9
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 2
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 2
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| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 1
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | 1
 
|-
 
|-
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Error handling{{ref label|error|C|C}}
+
| Error handling{{ref label|error|C|C}}
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
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| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
|-
 
|-
|align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Tagging
+
| Tagging
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | Vorbis tags
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | Vorbis tags
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | iTunes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | iTunes
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| style="background: #00FF00" | ASF
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | ASF
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | ID3/APEv2
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | ID3/APEv2
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | ID3v1/2
+
| style="background: #00FF00" | ID3v1/2 or APEv2
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Hardware support  
+
| Hardware support  
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
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| style="background: #FFCC66" | limited
 
| style="background: #FFCC66" | limited
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Software support
+
| Software support
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | very good
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| style="background: #CCFFCC" | good
 
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | good
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Hybrid/lossy
+
| Hybrid/lossy
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | LossyWAV
+
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | [[LossyWAV]]
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | LossyWAV
+
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | [[LossyWAV]]
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | LossyWAV
+
| style="background: #CCFFCC" | [[LossyWAV]]
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | RIFF chunks
+
| RIFF chunks
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
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| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Streaming
+
| Streaming
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
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| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Open source
+
| Open source
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
+
| style="background: #FFCC66" | no{{ref label|tak_os|F|F}}
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
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| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | Multichannel
+
| Multichannel
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
+
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes{{ref label|multichannel_ape|E|E}}
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #FF9900" | no
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | yes
 
|-
 
|-
| align="left" style="background: #FFFF99" | OS support
+
| OS support
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | All
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | All
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | All
 
| style="background: #00FF00" | All
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{|
 
{|
 
|-
 
|-
|{{note label|speed|A|A}} Speed and Compression are based on '''each encoder's default settings''' and are taken from the [http://www.audiograaf.nl/downloads.html this comparison].
+
|{{note label|speed|A|A}} Speed and Compression are based on '''each encoder's default settings''' and taken from [http://www.audiograaf.nl/downloads.html this comparison].
 
|-
 
|-
 
|{{note label|comp|B|B}} The Compression ratio is compressed size/uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.  
 
|{{note label|comp|B|B}} The Compression ratio is compressed size/uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.  
 
|-
 
|-
|{{note label|error|C|C}} Error handling means that a codec can detect a corruption (flipped bit) in a file and warn the user about it, but still decode the rest of the file.
+
|{{note label|error|C|C}} Error handling means that a codec can detect a corruption (flipped bit) in a file and warn the user about it, but it will still decode the rest of the file.
 
|-
 
|-
|{{note label|error_ape|D|D}} The official Monkey's Audio decoder does not support decoding through errors, but this may be achieved with FFmpeg or Winamp, though likely not when the "Insane" preset is used.
+
|{{note label|error_ape|D|D}} The official Monkey's Audio decoder does not support decoding through errors, but this may be achieved with FFmpeg or Winamp, though likely not, when the "Insane" preset is used.
 
+
|-
 +
|{{note label|multichannel_ape|E|E}} Since version 4.86
 +
|-
 +
|{{note label|tak_os|F|F}} Unofficial (but properly working) open source decoder is available as part of ffmpeg
 
== Codecs ==
 
== Codecs ==
  
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* Streaming support
 
* Streaming support
 
* Tagging support (QT tags)
 
* Tagging support (QT tags)
* Supports [[multichannel]] audio and [[high resolution]]s
+
* Supports [[multichannel]]. Limited to 8 channels. Only limited set of channels layouts is supported - https://github.com/nu774/qaac/wiki/Multichannel--handling
 +
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 
* Used by a few online stores
 
* Used by a few online stores
  
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* Error robustness
 
* Error robustness
 
* Streaming support
 
* Streaming support
* Supports [[multichannel]] audio and [[high resolution]]s
+
* Supports [[multichannel]]. Limited to 8 channels. Channel mask in [https://docs.microsoft.com/ru-ru/windows/win32/api/mmreg/ns-mmreg-waveformatextensible WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE] is supported but support is not included in official specification. With reference encoder undocumented option --channel-map=none is needed to encode some non-standard layouts (e.g. 4.1; FL,FR,FC,BC), but no special options are needed with ffmpeg's encoder.
 +
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 
* Tagging support (FLAC tags)
 
* Tagging support (FLAC tags)
 
* Supports [[RIFF]] chunks
 
* Supports [[RIFF]] chunks
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''' FLAC cons '''
 
''' FLAC cons '''
* No hybrid/lossy mode (but is [[LossyWAV]] compatible
+
* No hybrid/lossy mode (but is [[LossyWAV]] compatible)
 
* Does not handle 32-bit float and there is no encoder that can render to 32-bit integer
 
* Does not handle 32-bit float and there is no encoder that can render to 32-bit integer
  
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=== Monkey's Audio (APE) ===
 
=== Monkey's Audio (APE) ===
http://www.monkeysaudio.com/
+
https://www.monkeysaudio.com/
  
 
[[Monkey's Audio]] is a very efficient lossless compressor developed by Matt Ashland.
 
[[Monkey's Audio]] is a very efficient lossless compressor developed by Matt Ashland.
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* Fast encoding
 
* Fast encoding
 
* Good software support
 
* Good software support
 +
* Supports [[multichannel]] (since version 4.86). Limited to 8 channels. Channel mask in [https://docs.microsoft.com/ru-ru/windows/win32/api/mmreg/ns-mmreg-waveformatextensible WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE] is supported
 +
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 
* Simple and user friendly. Official GUI provided.
 
* Simple and user friendly. Official GUI provided.
 
* Java version (multiplatform)
 
* Java version (multiplatform)
 
* Error robustness/decoding up to -c3000 (High compression)<ref>http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=98984&st=0&p=821420&#entry821420</ref>
 
* Error robustness/decoding up to -c3000 (High compression)<ref>http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=98984&st=0&p=821420&#entry821420</ref>
 
* Tagging support ([[ID3v1]], [[APE tags]])
 
* Tagging support ([[ID3v1]], [[APE tags]])
* [[High resolution]] audio support
 
 
* Supports [[RIFF]] chunks (only in the GUI encoder)
 
* Supports [[RIFF]] chunks (only in the GUI encoder)
 
* Pipe support (only in a [http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/ special] version)
 
* Pipe support (only in a [http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/ special] version)
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* Problematic license (source provided, no modification or redistribution rights)
 
* Problematic license (source provided, no modification or redistribution rights)
 
* Slow decoding
 
* Slow decoding
* No [[multichannel]] support
 
 
* No hybrid/lossy mode (and not [[LossyWAV]] compatible)
 
* No hybrid/lossy mode (and not [[LossyWAV]] compatible)
 
* Limited hardware support (Rockbox, some Cowon players); poor battery life due to complicated decoding (see [http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SoundCodecMonkeysAudio MP3 player benchmarks])
 
* Limited hardware support (Rockbox, some Cowon players); poor battery life due to complicated decoding (see [http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SoundCodecMonkeysAudio MP3 player benchmarks])
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http://www.thbeck.de/Tak/Tak.html
 
http://www.thbeck.de/Tak/Tak.html
  
[[TAK]] is a lossless codec developed by TBeck.
+
[[TAK]] is a lossless codec developed by Thomas Becker.
  
 
''' TAK pros '''
 
''' TAK pros '''
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* Very high efficiency
 
* Very high efficiency
 
* Error robust
 
* Error robust
* Supports multichannel audio and high resolutions
+
* Supports [[multichannel]]. Limited to 6 channels. Channel mask in [https://docs.microsoft.com/ru-ru/windows/win32/api/mmreg/ns-mmreg-waveformatextensible WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE] is supported
 +
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 
* Tagging support
 
* Tagging support
 
* Supports RIFF chunks
 
* Supports RIFF chunks
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''' TAK cons '''
 
''' TAK cons '''
* Closed source
+
* Closed source (but unofficial open source decoder is available as part of ffmpeg)
 
* No hybrid/lossy mode (but is [[LossyWAV]] compatible)
 
* No hybrid/lossy mode (but is [[LossyWAV]] compatible)
 
* No hardware support
 
* No hardware support
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''' TTA pros '''
 
''' TTA pros '''
 
* [[Open source]]
 
* [[Open source]]
* Supports [[multichannel]] audio and [[high resolution]]s
+
* Supports [[multichannel]]. Reference encoder/decoder  is limited to 6 channels. ffmpeg's encoder/decoder is limited to 16 channels. Channel mask in [https://docs.microsoft.com/ru-ru/windows/win32/api/mmreg/ns-mmreg-waveformatextensible WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE] is '''not''' supported
* Tagging support ([[ID3]]v1, ID3v2)
+
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 +
* Tagging support ([[ID3]]v1, ID3v2 or [[APEv2]])
 
* Embedded CUE sheets support
 
* Embedded CUE sheets support
 
* Error robustness
 
* Error robustness
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* Fast encoding/decoding
 
* Fast encoding/decoding
 
* Symmetric algorithm
 
* Symmetric algorithm
* Password protection
 
 
* Ultra low latency
 
* Ultra low latency
  
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* Error robustness
 
* Error robustness
 
* Streaming support
 
* Streaming support
* Supports [[multichannel]] audio and [[high resolution]]s
+
* Supports [[multichannel]]. Limited to 255 channels. Channel mask in [https://docs.microsoft.com/ru-ru/windows/win32/api/mmreg/ns-mmreg-waveformatextensible WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE] is supported
 +
* Supports [[high resolution]]s
 
* Hybrid/lossy mode
 
* Hybrid/lossy mode
 
* Tagging support ([[ID3v1]], [[APE tags]])
 
* Tagging support ([[ID3v1]], [[APE tags]])
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''' WV Other features '''
 
''' WV Other features '''
 +
* Can compress the Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) audio recording format
 
* Supports 32bit float streams
 
* Supports 32bit float streams
 
* Supports embedded CUE sheets
 
* Supports embedded CUE sheets
 +
* Accept audio files bigger than 4GB
 
* Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
 
* Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
 
* Can encode in both symmetrical and asymmetrical modes.
 
* Can encode in both symmetrical and asymmetrical modes.
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=== Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMAL) ===
 
=== Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMAL) ===
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/codecs/audio.aspx
+
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff819508(v=vs.85).aspx
  
 
WMA Lossless is the lossless codec developed by Microsoft to be featured in their Windows Media codec portfolio.
 
WMA Lossless is the lossless codec developed by Microsoft to be featured in their Windows Media codec portfolio.
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====LA====
 
====LA====
 +
http://www.lossless-audio.com/
 +
 
LA features an extremely high compression (on par with OptimFrog highest modes, but a bit faster), but it hasn't been updated for more than 10 years. Furthermore, backward compatibility is not guaranteed, so using it for archiving might pose a few problems. It isn't able to cope with file corruption either, software support is very limited and isn't open source.
 
LA features an extremely high compression (on par with OptimFrog highest modes, but a bit faster), but it hasn't been updated for more than 10 years. Furthermore, backward compatibility is not guaranteed, so using it for archiving might pose a few problems. It isn't able to cope with file corruption either, software support is very limited and isn't open source.
  
 
====MLP/Dolby TrueHD====
 
====MLP/Dolby TrueHD====
The [[MLP|MLP codec]] (of which the mathematical basis was used in Dolby TrueHD) it the codec used for DVD-Audio. It was mandatory in any HD-DVD implementation and optional for Blu-Ray in it's Dolby TrueHD form. It is known to support the 'wasted bits' scheme used in LossyWAV. As encoders are very expensive, its use outside DVD/Blu-ray mastering environments is non-existent. Its main use is encoding surround sound data.
+
The [[MLP|MLP codec]] (of which the mathematical basis was used in Dolby TrueHD) is the codec used for DVD-Audio. It was mandatory in any HD-DVD implementation and optional for Blu-Ray in its Dolby TrueHD form. It is known to support the 'wasted bits' scheme used in LossyWAV. As encoders are very expensive, its use outside DVD/Blu-ray mastering environments is non-existent. Its main use is encoding surround sound data.
  
 
====MPEG-4 ALS====
 
====MPEG-4 ALS====
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====Shorten====
 
====Shorten====
 +
http://www.etree.org/shncom.html
 +
 
Shorten was one of the first widely-used lossless formats, and it still occasionally found on the internet, especially in archives, for example etree.org. It is quite fast in both encoding and decoding, but doesn't compress very much. Furthermore, seeking has a troubled past as well as tagging. It is considered obsolete.
 
Shorten was one of the first widely-used lossless formats, and it still occasionally found on the internet, especially in archives, for example etree.org. It is quite fast in both encoding and decoding, but doesn't compress very much. Furthermore, seeking has a troubled past as well as tagging. It is considered obsolete.
  
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* Advanced Digital Audio (ADA)   
 
* Advanced Digital Audio (ADA)   
* Bonk
+
* [http://www.logarithmic.net/pfh/bonk Bonk]   
* Marian's a-Pac 
+
 
* AudioZip   
 
* AudioZip   
 
* Dakx WAV   
 
* Dakx WAV   
 
* Entis Lab MIO   
 
* Entis Lab MIO   
 
* LiteWave   
 
* LiteWave   
* LPAC
+
* [http://www.nue.tu-berlin.de/menue/mitarbeiter/ehemalige_mitarbeiter/tilman_liebchen/lpac_-_lossless_audio_codec_for_windows_and_linux/ LPAC]
 +
* Marian's a-Pac
 +
* [http://mp3hd-toolkit.soft32.com/ mp3HD (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III HD)]
 
* Pegasus SPS  
 
* Pegasus SPS  
* RK Audio (RKAU)   
+
* [http://www.free-codecs.com/download/rk_audio_compressor.htm RK Audio (RKAU)]  
* Ogg Squish
+
* Ogg Squish/Tarkin
 
* Sonarc   
 
* Sonarc   
 
* VocPack   
 
* VocPack   
* WavArc   
+
* [http://www.firstpr.com.au/audiocomp/lossless/wavarc/ WavArc]  
* WaveZip/MUSICompress
+
* [http://www.firstpr.com.au/audiocomp/lossless/WaveZip/ WaveZip]/MUSICompress
  
 
== See also ==
 
== See also ==
Line 446: Line 460:
 
* [http://www.audiograaf.nl/downloads.html Martijn van Beurden's comparison] - tries to compare all codecs and settings with a balanced pool of music (last updated 2015-01-05)
 
* [http://www.audiograaf.nl/downloads.html Martijn van Beurden's comparison] - tries to compare all codecs and settings with a balanced pool of music (last updated 2015-01-05)
 
* [http://www.squeezechart.com/audio.html Squeezechart audio] - tests as much codecs as possible, but not all their settings and with a limited test corpus (last updated 2013-10-31)
 
* [http://www.squeezechart.com/audio.html Squeezechart audio] - tests as much codecs as possible, but not all their settings and with a limited test corpus (last updated 2013-10-31)
* [http://synthetic-soul.co.uk/comparison/lossless/index.asp Synthetic Soul's comparison] (last update 2007-07-28)
+
* <s>[http://synthetic-soul.co.uk/comparison/lossless/index.asp Synthetic Soul's comparison] (last update 2007-07-28)</s>
 
* <s>Johan De Bock's speed oriented comparison</s> - best choices speedwise are indicated in green, mostly electronic music (last updated 2006-07-22)
 
* <s>Johan De Bock's speed oriented comparison</s> - best choices speedwise are indicated in green, mostly electronic music (last updated 2006-07-22)
 
* <s>Hans Heijden's</s> -- used as reference to build the table (last updated 2006-07-07)
 
* <s>Hans Heijden's</s> -- used as reference to build the table (last updated 2006-07-07)
* [http://synthetic-soul.co.uk/comparison/josef/ Josef Pohm's comparison, hosted by Synthetic Soul] (last update 2006-05-29)
+
* <s>Josef Pohm's comparison, hosted by Synthetic Soul</s> (last update 2006-05-29)
 
* [http://www.bobulous.org.uk/misc/lossless_audio_2006.html Bobulous' lossless audio comparison] — a look at six lossless formats in terms of speed and file size (last updated 2006-05-22)
 
* [http://www.bobulous.org.uk/misc/lossless_audio_2006.html Bobulous' lossless audio comparison] — a look at six lossless formats in terms of speed and file size (last updated 2006-05-22)
 
* <s>Jhan De Bock's size oriented comparison</s> - aimed only at the maximum compression setting for each codec (based on a somewhat limited set of samples, however) (last updated 2006-05-19)
 
* <s>Jhan De Bock's size oriented comparison</s> - aimed only at the maximum compression setting for each codec (based on a somewhat limited set of samples, however) (last updated 2006-05-19)
 
* <s>Gruboolez'</s> -- comparing only classical music (last updated 2005-02-27)
 
* <s>Gruboolez'</s> -- comparing only classical music (last updated 2005-02-27)
* <s>[http://members.home.nl/w.speek/comparison.htm Speek's]</s> (last updated 2005-02-07)
+
* <s>Speek's</s> (last updated 2005-02-07)
 +
*[http://www.firstpr.com.au/audiocomp/lossless/ Lossless Compression of Audio] Much information about oddball formats including comparison of them. (last updated 2005-10-21)  
  
 
''' More on lossless compressions '''
 
''' More on lossless compressions '''

Latest revision as of 13:35, 28 September 2019

The lossless comparison page aims to gather information about lossless codecs available so users can make an informed decision as to what lossless codec to choose for their needs.

Introduction[edit]

Given the enormous number of lossless audio compressor choices available, it is a very difficult task to choose the one most suited for each person's needs. Some people take into consideration only compression performance when choosing a codec, but as the following table and article shows, there are several other features worth taking into consideration when making a 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.

Note: for latest comparison of lossless compression, scroll down to the Links section of this page.

Comparison Table[edit]

Features FLAC ALAC WavPack TAK Monkey's WMAL OptimFROG TTA
Encoding speed[A] very fast fast very fast very fast fast fast slow very fast
Decoding speed[A] very fast fast fast very fast slow average very slow fast
Compression[A][B] 57.0% 57.8% 57.1% 56.0% 55.1% 58.4% 54.6% 56.6%
# presets 9 2 > 10 > 10 5 1 > 10 1
Error handling[C] yes no yes yes yes[D] yes yes yes
Tagging Vorbis tags iTunes ID3/APEv2 APEv2 APEv2 ASF ID3/APEv2 ID3v1/2 or APEv2
Hardware support very good very good limited no limited limited no limited
Software support very good very good good average good good average good
Hybrid/lossy LossyWAV no yes LossyWAV no LossyWAV yes no
RIFF chunks yes no yes yes yes no yes no
Streaming yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes
Open source yes yes yes no[F] yes no no yes
Multichannel yes yes yes yes yes[E] yes no yes
OS support All All All Win/Wine All Win/Mac Win/Mac/Linux All
A Speed and Compression are based on each encoder's default settings and taken from this comparison.
B The Compression ratio is compressed size/uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.
C Error handling means that a codec can detect a corruption (flipped bit) in a file and warn the user about it, but it will still decode the rest of the file.
D The official Monkey's Audio decoder does not support decoding through errors, but this may be achieved with FFmpeg or Winamp, though likely not, when the "Insane" preset is used.
E Since version 4.86
F Unofficial (but properly working) open source decoder is available as part of ffmpeg

Codecs[edit]

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

Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)[edit]

https://alac.macosforge.org/trac

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

ALAC pros

ALAC cons

  • Limited software support
  • No error detection/robustness[1]
  • No hybrid/lossy mode (and not LossyWAV compatible)
  • Not very efficient

ALAC Other features

  • Fits in the MP4 container

Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)[edit]

https://xiph.org/flac/

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

FLAC pros

  • Open source
  • Very fast decoding
  • Very fast encoding
  • Very good hardware support (Android, Marantz, Sonos, many others)
  • Very good software support
  • Independent encoder implementations available: flake/ffmpeg, FLACCL
  • Error robustness
  • Streaming support
  • Supports multichannel. Limited to 8 channels. Channel mask in WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE is supported but support is not included in official specification. With reference encoder undocumented option --channel-map=none is needed to encode some non-standard layouts (e.g. 4.1; FL,FR,FC,BC), but no special options are needed with ffmpeg's encoder.
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Tagging support (FLAC tags)
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Pipe support
  • Used by a few online stores

FLAC cons

  • No hybrid/lossy mode (but is LossyWAV compatible)
  • Does not handle 32-bit float and there is no encoder that can render to 32-bit integer

FLAC Other features

  • Supports embedded CUE sheets (with limitations)
  • Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking as standard
  • Fits the Ogg and Matroska containers

Monkey's Audio (APE)[edit]

https://www.monkeysaudio.com/

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

APE pros

  • High compression
  • Fast encoding
  • Good software support
  • Supports multichannel (since version 4.86). Limited to 8 channels. Channel mask in WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE is supported
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Simple and user friendly. Official GUI provided.
  • Java version (multiplatform)
  • Error robustness/decoding up to -c3000 (High compression)[2]
  • Tagging support (ID3v1, APE tags)
  • Supports RIFF chunks (only in the GUI encoder)
  • Pipe support (only in a special version)

APE cons

  • Problematic license (source provided, no modification or redistribution rights)
  • Slow decoding
  • No hybrid/lossy mode (and not LossyWAV compatible)
  • Limited hardware support (Rockbox, some Cowon players); poor battery life due to complicated decoding (see MP3 player benchmarks)
  • Higher compression levels are extremely CPU intensive

APE Other features

  • Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
  • Supports APL image link files (similar to CUE sheets)

OptimFROG (OFR)[edit]

http://www.losslessaudio.org/

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

OFR pros

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

OFR cons

  • Closed source
  • No multichannel audio support
  • No hardware support
  • Very slow decoding
  • Slow encoding
  • More than one tagging method allowed (ambiguity possible)

OFR Other features

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

Tom's verlustfreier Audiokompressor (TAK)[edit]

http://www.thbeck.de/Tak/Tak.html

TAK is a lossless codec developed by Thomas Becker.

TAK pros

  • Very fast decoding
  • Very fast encoding
  • Very high efficiency
  • Error robust
  • Supports multichannel. Limited to 6 channels. Channel mask in WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE is supported
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Tagging support
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Pipe support
  • Streamable

TAK cons

  • Closed source (but unofficial open source decoder is available as part of ffmpeg)
  • No hybrid/lossy mode (but is LossyWAV compatible)
  • No hardware support
  • Average software support
  • Doesn't support Unicode (yet)

TAK Other features

  • Optional MD5 checksum

True Audio (TTA)[edit]

http://tta.tausoft.org/

TTA is a lossless codec developed by a international team of programmers.

TTA pros

  • Open source
  • Supports multichannel. Reference encoder/decoder is limited to 6 channels. ffmpeg's encoder/decoder is limited to 16 channels. Channel mask in WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE is not supported
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Tagging support (ID3v1, ID3v2 or APEv2)
  • Embedded CUE sheets support
  • Error robustness
  • Pipe support
  • Average compression
  • Fast encoding/decoding
  • Symmetric algorithm
  • Ultra low latency

TTA cons

  • No hybrid/lossy mode
  • Doesn't support RIFF chunks
  • Limited hardware support

TTA Other features

  • Fits the Matroska container
  • Password protection

WavPack (WV)[edit]

http://www.wavpack.com/

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

WV pros

  • Open source
  • Fast decoding
  • Very fast encoding
  • Good efficiency
  • Error robustness
  • Streaming support
  • Supports multichannel. Limited to 255 channels. Channel mask in WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE is supported
  • Supports high resolutions
  • Hybrid/lossy mode
  • Tagging support (ID3v1, APE tags)
  • Supports RIFF chunks
  • Ability to create self extracting files for Win32 platform
  • Pipe support
  • Good software support

WV cons

  • Limited hardware player support (RockBox)
  • More than one tagging method allowed (ambiguity possible)

WV Other features

  • Can compress the Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) audio recording format
  • Supports 32bit float streams
  • Supports embedded CUE sheets
  • Accept audio files bigger than 4GB
  • Includes MD5 hashes for quick integrity checking
  • Can encode in both symmetrical and asymmetrical modes.
  • Fits the Matroska container

Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMAL)[edit]

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff819508(v=vs.85).aspx

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

WMAL pros

WMAL cons

  • Rather low efficiency
  • Closed source
  • No hybrid/lossy mode (but is LossyWAV compatible)
  • Doesn't support RIFF chunks

WMAL Other features

  • Fits the ASF container

Other Formats[edit]

Aside from the formats mentioned above, there are in fact quite a lot of other lossless formats. To keep the table and list brief and readable, a few formats have not been mentioned.

DTS-HD Master Audio[edit]

Similar to the MPEG-4 SLS format, this format has a core track in an older, more widely supported format, DTS. This core lossy track is made lossless by a secondary track with correction data. It is an optional codec in Blu-ray implementations. Its main use is surround sound encoding, and as is the case with MLP, the price of the encoder ensures it is only used in mastering of Blu-ray discs.

LA[edit]

http://www.lossless-audio.com/

LA features an extremely high compression (on par with OptimFrog highest modes, but a bit faster), but it hasn't been updated for more than 10 years. Furthermore, backward compatibility is not guaranteed, so using it for archiving might pose a few problems. It isn't able to cope with file corruption either, software support is very limited and isn't open source.

MLP/Dolby TrueHD[edit]

The MLP codec (of which the mathematical basis was used in Dolby TrueHD) is the codec used for DVD-Audio. It was mandatory in any HD-DVD implementation and optional for Blu-Ray in its Dolby TrueHD form. It is known to support the 'wasted bits' scheme used in LossyWAV. As encoders are very expensive, its use outside DVD/Blu-ray mastering environments is non-existent. Its main use is encoding surround sound data.

MPEG-4 ALS[edit]

MPEG-4 ALS is the successor to LPAC, which it was based on. It has been as a ISO standard and there is a reference encoder/decoder, but like TTA, it does not have features that make it stand out from other codecs, nor backing by a large organisation, so it hasn't much software and no hardware support.

MPEG-4 SLS[edit]

MPEG-4 SLS is a special codec, having a AAC core track and a 'correction track'. Also known as HD-AAC, SLS stands for Scalable to Lossless. However, there is to date still no affordable software to play, encode or decode (the lossless part of) SLS files.

Shorten[edit]

http://www.etree.org/shncom.html

Shorten was one of the first widely-used lossless formats, and it still occasionally found on the internet, especially in archives, for example etree.org. It is quite fast in both encoding and decoding, but doesn't compress very much. Furthermore, seeking has a troubled past as well as tagging. It is considered obsolete.

Real Lossless[edit]

Part of the Real codec suite, Real Lossless too hasn't any very special features that make it stand out. Just like WMA Lossless and Apple Lossless, it was created to fit in a codec suite, but unlike WMA Lossless and Apple Lossless, there is no hardware support and software support is limited. Compression is on par with most other codecs, but it is rather slow to encode.

Oddball formats[edit]

There are a few archaic formats of which encoders and decoders are hard to get by. Most of those would have disappeared by now, but some of them are being preserved for posterity at rjamorim's

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Other lossless compressions comparisons Sorted based on last update date.

  • Martijn van Beurden's comparison - tries to compare all codecs and settings with a balanced pool of music (last updated 2015-01-05)
  • Squeezechart audio - tests as much codecs as possible, but not all their settings and with a limited test corpus (last updated 2013-10-31)
  • Synthetic Soul's comparison (last update 2007-07-28)
  • Johan De Bock's speed oriented comparison - best choices speedwise are indicated in green, mostly electronic music (last updated 2006-07-22)
  • Hans Heijden's -- used as reference to build the table (last updated 2006-07-07)
  • Josef Pohm's comparison, hosted by Synthetic Soul (last update 2006-05-29)
  • Bobulous' lossless audio comparison — a look at six lossless formats in terms of speed and file size (last updated 2006-05-22)
  • Jhan De Bock's size oriented comparison - aimed only at the maximum compression setting for each codec (based on a somewhat limited set of samples, however) (last updated 2006-05-19)
  • Gruboolez' -- comparing only classical music (last updated 2005-02-27)
  • Speek's (last updated 2005-02-07)
  • Lossless Compression of Audio Much information about oddball formats including comparison of them. (last updated 2005-10-21)

More on lossless compressions

References[edit]

  1. HA forum post discussing ALAC robustness
  2. http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=98984&st=0&p=821420&#entry821420