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.
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 article 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.
Note: for latest comparison of lossless compression, scroll down to the Links section of this page.
|Flexibility**||very good||very good||very good||very good||very good||bad||bad|
|Tagging||Vorbis tags||ID3/APE||APEv2 (exp.)||ID3/APE||ID3/APE||Quicktime||ASF|
|Hardware support||very good||limited||no||limited||no||good||limited|
|Software support||very good||good||average||good||average||bad||good|
|Replay Gain||yes||yes||yes||no||yes||sort of||no|
|Open source||yes||yes||no||yes||no||yes (decoding)||no|
|OS support||All||All||Win/Linux Wine||All||Win/Mac/Linux||Win/Mac||Win/Mac|
(table continued below)
|Features||Shorten||LA||TTA||LPAC||MPEG-4 ALS||MPEG-4 SLS||Real Lossless|
|Software support||very good||bad||average||average||bad||bad||bad|
* The Compression ratio is calculated with the division of compressed size by uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.
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)
Other lossless compressions comparisons
Sorted based on last update date.
- 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)
- Synthetic Soul's comparison (last update 2007-07-28)
- 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)
- Johan 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)
- Guruboolez' -- comparing only classical music (last updated 2005-02-27)
- Speek's (last updated 2005-02-07)
More on lossless compressions
- The Lossless Audio Blog - by windmiller, is a reliable and complete source of news about lossless compression.
- Go to the Hydrogenaudio thread to discuss this article.