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Lossless not lossless?

A discussion on file sharing led to this on iRiver's forums;

http://www.iriver.com/community/discussion...=&p_name=&word=

uncool cat's posts intrigued me. Does he have a point? He's by far the most competent person on that board IMO, so I don't want to deem him wrong right off the back. Anyone here have something to say?


Lossless not lossless?

Reply #1
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Well, on the scale that lossy formats are just that - lossless is still 'lossy' just on a diffent (less) level. If you treat transparency on the level that the most outspoken lossless supporters talk of.., then lossless may give a great archival semblence of 'transparency'.. but to call it lossless is still way off the mark - facsimile would be far more accurate .. as 'lossless' is as transparent as any decent facsimile system is for imagery .. 'lossless' to a mathematical accuracy, but if the archival replica is reversed.. it will always be less than the original - and that's a simple reality.
This person is either trolling or doesn't really have a clue what 'lossless audio compression' means.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #2
Buoooy, this is even better.
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I really dont care if the backward decode of lossless files is digitally considered authentic (i.e. the hashes etc), as it is still less of (in absolute terms) of what was there in the original - hence it is a mere facsimilie.
I smell "audiophile science" about "differences" between bit-identical streams.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #3
He is the most competent person on iriver board???  Umm.. ok.. 
Juha Laaksonheimo

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #4
Heh, I thought so.    Thanks. B)

Read around a bit, he is one of the smarter apples in the bunch...

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #5
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Quote
Well, on the scale that lossy formats are just that - lossless is still 'lossy' just on a diffent (less) level. If you treat transparency on the level that the most outspoken lossless supporters talk of.., then lossless may give a great archival semblence of 'transparency'.. but to call it lossless is still way off the mark - facsimile would be far more accurate .. as 'lossless' is as transparent as any decent facsimile system is for imagery .. 'lossless' to a mathematical accuracy, but if the archival replica is reversed.. it will always be less than the original - and that's a simple reality.
This person is either trolling or doesn't really have a clue what 'lossless audio compression' means.

It sounds more as though uncool cat is trying (albeit not with the highest degree of successful literary transparency) to explain that any digital sampling process invariably introduces stepping, and thus interpolation between the steps. In that sense, something has been "lost": the actual, continuous non-interpolated waveform as it originally existed between those steps. But to argue that that implies a "lossy" method of archival is to ignore the implied acceptance of the digitized waveform as the reference by which loss is measured.

    - M.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #6
Still, "crippled" digitized signal is all he can get out of CDs. And I fail to see what this has to do with lossy/lossless formats, he should flame the way audio CDs work instead.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #7
Agreed, but you know as well as I do that there will always be some element of the population bent on flaunting their "knowledge," whether or not it's truly the most appropriate application.

    - M.


Lossless not lossless?

Reply #9
Actually, he seems to be saying that if you encode to a lossless format, then convert back to WAV, your file doesn't exactly match the original - it's just a "facsimile."

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I really dont care if the backward decode of lossless files is digitally considered authentic (i.e. the hashes etc), as it is still less of (in absolute terms) of what was there in the original - hence it is a mere facsimilie.
...
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I did, for a time, work with those app specific 'lossless' formats til i returned to working with WAV - the reason, simply, was there was loss which for my purposes, was not acceptable.


He also states the following, which is just as ridiculous:

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'Lossy' is clearly good enough, for portable purposes, for most buyers.. else MP3 owners would have ditched their players and either gone for MD/ATRAC (which is far closer to 'lossless'), or waited on a lossless portable player.. or simply returned to CDDA til such times as they got what they really wanted.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #10
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Actually, he seems to be saying that if you encode to a lossless format, then convert back to WAV, your file doesn't exactly match the original - it's just a "facsimile."

What it sounds like is saying is the losslessly encoded file is decoded it is not the original file. I suppose that is true in the sense that a master tape is the only "original" recording.

Other than that abstract POV it sounds like he is dead wrong.
"Something bothering you, Mister Spock?"

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #11
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i do not need the losses that are involved in lossless encode/decode

What a character, contradicting himself within the same sentence.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #12
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Read around a bit, he is one of the smarter apples in the bunch...


Thanks for all the compliments, I also use the iRiver forums.
If I am not mistaken certain persons were happy to frequent there when they were looking for info on buying an MP3 CD Player. 

Must people take the higher ground/ holier than thow attitude, it's great to be able to judge people from behind a computer but stuff like that does this forum no favours. 

While I agree there are some "silly" posts, (mostly from anons) it's only meant to be a forum for people to discuss their iRiver players. Give them a break !!

Tom Kat does his best to help people out or contribute to the forum, but his posts can get overlong and complicated to follow. In my case, I usually end up not reading them fully as he sometimes assumes a technical knowledge on behalf of the other posters, which some don't have (or need/ want). 

I wouldn't get too caught up in analysing his posts 

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #13
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He also states the following, which is just as ridiculous:

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'Lossy' is clearly good enough, for portable purposes, for most buyers.. else MP3 owners would have ditched their players and either gone for MD/ATRAC (which is far closer to 'lossless'), or waited on a lossless portable player.. or simply returned to CDDA til such times as they got what they really wanted.

Jesus Christ ... how can it be that such a person can be called knowledgeable ?

For me, it seems that he 1. is not able to articulate his thoughts on the matter (which could be possible, if english isn't his mother language) or that 2. he does not know at all what digital storing of music is all about ...

I own 2 MD recorders and consider ATRAC 4 as being a transparent way of compressing "raw" PCM data (although I miss VBR in ATRAC  ) .... MD bitrate is roughly at 300 kbps and thus comparable to software encoders (which work far more efficient at the present time).

Hmm ... I wonder if that guy could ABX between FLAC/APE and WAV ... or does he really state that a facsimile is an identical copy of the original ? 
The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #14
I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe he's somehow come to understand that lossless only means totally transparent, and that compression throws out bits (which it does...otherwise there would be no compression) that don't come back when you decompress (which, of course, they do...that's the whole point of lossless algorithms).  He also mentioned something about program-specific propriatary lossless formats, which also make me think he's accidentally come to use the word lossless in the incorrect context.

This really isn't a big deal, and certainly nothing worth bashing anybody about, but sometimes we all need to step back and realize that it takes a little patience to educate the public about audio encoding, and there are a lot of ways for a person to become misinformed.  I'm guessing this guy will figure it out eventually, just like the rest of us did...

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #15
That guy is flat, dead-wrong, and has no idea of what he's talking about, period.

If that guy is one of the most knowledgeable, how can be the non-knowledgeable ones?? Instead, I guess that he is among the ones that *look* most knowledgeable, which is not same thing as being really knowledgeable, because obviously he's not. This happens sometimes with esoteric "audiophile" equipment owners, whose rethoric can shine but has nothing relevant behind.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #16
There is quite some difference between trolls and uneducated people (eg. trolls know that they're writing BS). This one's posts even look similarly styled to those written by some other popular trolls.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #17
Am I the only one who thinks that he is meaning "there's a loss" as in bytes? I picked up that he means because the compressed file is byte-wise smaller, it's somehow not the same audio data.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #18
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Am I the only one who thinks that he is meaning "there's a loss" as in bytes? I picked up that he means because the compressed file is byte-wise smaller, it's somehow not the same audio data.

If you compress any random file with eg. ZIP, it's (usually) smaller, isn't it ? And decompression results are exactly same as source file. Perhaps some people don't realize that.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #19
I didn't read that thread. But from the quotes above, I think that he doesn't know the existence of lossless codecs (Flac, Lpac, etc), and only talk about lossy audio, using the word lossless completely out of context.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #20
I think, IMHO, that he is taking issue with the name lossless. His post does not seem to be relevant to anything else.

As far as he is concerned the de-compressed lossless file is not the same as the original, for whatever reason, and shouldn't be called lossless in the first place.

Actually this is typical of his posts, a minor comment from another poster results in a huge response. Eg explaining why he does not think Lossless should be called lossless. He does not say what he thinks is lost in the re-forming of the source, so it is pointless.

Opinions are like ar**h**** everybody has one.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #21
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Opinions are like ar**h**** everybody has one.

...and most of them stink.   

----------------------
Quote by Tom Kat...
I really dont care if the backward decode of lossless files is digitally considered authentic (i.e. the hashes etc), as it is still less of (in absolute terms) of what was there in the original - hence it is a mere facsimilie.
----------------------
From yourDictionary.com...
fac·sim·i·le - n. - An exact copy or reproduction, as of a document.  See fax. - adj. - Of or used to produce exact reproductions, as of documents.  Exactly reproduced; duplicate.
----------------------

Maybe he's assuming a loose application of the word 'exact'?  Seems like a pretty boolean term to me, and a very easy word to define and use.

It's a mere exact copy?      That would be merely good enough for me, and I'm a pretty anal person.

As for his statement that "...it is still less of (in absolute terms) of what was there in the original..."  :buzzer sounds:  Sorry sir, you are incorrect.  Raw PCM > FLAC > Raw PCM?  Checksum don't lie, brother!  Or is he complaining that the resulting "exact copy" WAV that comes from WAV > FLAC > WAV isn't lossless because it's not the same file?  I mean the exact same file...taking up the same space in the universe?  Uh...well, even his 'perfect', never-been-compressed files don't even meet that criteria.

Bottom line...IMO, it sounds like he's vying for attention and trying to impress DAE newbies.  I'm a newbie.  I'm not impressed.  The debate I had with Pio2001 and David (2Bdecided), on the other hand, impressed me (and educated me).

I'd only agree with Tom Kat to the point of, as I've argued before, "standing vigil in front of the word lossless", as it is practically a holy term in digitial audio.  But even as a newbie, I know that FLAC, LA, Monkey's, and the like are indeed truly "lossless" when compared to the source PCM WAV they are encoded from.

And just for sport, I'd *really* love to have him sit down and do an ABC/HR comparison between PCM WAV, FLAC and some of my Vorbis -q 4.25 encodings.  I think he'd be surprised and amazed at the results.  Just before the denials and rationalizations started anyway...

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Lossless not lossless?

Reply #22
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And just for sport, I'd *really* love to have him sit down and do an ABC/HR comparison between PCM WAV, FLAC and some of my Vorbis -q 4.25 encodings.

Give up. This is the exact kind of guy that says DBTs are worthless.

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #23
Doesn't one of the lossless codecs use Joint Stereo if the user so desires? In that unique case, then, lossless wouldn't be quite lossless, not would it? Or would the Joint Stereo work differently that Lame-MP3's mid-side/left-right joint stereo does?

Lossless not lossless?

Reply #24
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Doesn't one of the lossless codecs use Joint Stereo if the user so desires? In that unique case, then, lossless wouldn't be quite lossless, not would it? Or would the Joint Stereo work differently that Lame-MP3's mid-side/left-right joint stereo does?

Yes, it would be just as lossless.  What makes you think that joint stereo is "lossy" because it's used in lossy compression?

 
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