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WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Hello friends,
I am interested to encode some albums i don't really need, from lossless (WavPack) to lossy (?). And i was thinking about WavPack Lossy around 320kbs or more.
I will only listen to them on my PC, so the compatibility problem doesn't matter.
Can you please tell me if wavpack lossy is better than mp3 (Lame)? Or maybe should i choose Nero AAC @ 320-400?
Thank you in advance for your replies.

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #1
From my own experience the wavpack lossy quality relative to mp3/aac etc is like this (wv - mp3):

200 - 64
250 - 135
300 - 190

Below 300 k WV lossy and the hybrids don't compete as well for demanding HQ encoding - though a lot of stuff sounds great . The only artifact is white noise that is usually low in amplitude. It sounds like a hiss or sometimes notes are 'dusty'. I still prefer this to traditional distortions of mp3 / aac but this is a matter of taste. Because of the major differences, Its hard to say if transparent wavpack bitrate is better than high bitrate mp3 as it will come down to samples that pose problems for both encoders. Recently wavpack adopted a 'dynamic noise shaping' which helps transparency on most signals and it works very well. Auto joint stereo also helps and is activated by adding -x switch.
@ 320 k wavpack you already have great quality with extreme high quality from 384..448k & a true transparency for any signal @ 500k and above. The possible advantage vs other codecs lies in extreme high bitrate zone . Also WV did great in transcoding tests to mp3 above 300k and also to itself: very little noise is added on each transcode and mp3 will sound completely screwed up after several generations . . Another area of advantage over other codecs is encoding speed - extremely fast using normal/ fast modes and still faster than most with the high modes. Of course there is the nice correction file feature which can restore the file to its lossless state . An encoder with a simple signal path like Wv or lossywav are less complex than mp3/ aac / vorbis and can have high quality in short time versus many years with traditional encoders. The downside is a higher bitrate due to a very simple psymodel vs a complex one.

ATM - the encoder is using constrained VBR (no true quality mode), Thus quality varies according to compression / decompression modes. The -x switch can give better compression / quality with NO decoding time penalty, though compression time is slower. For true VBR modes check out Lossywav as it can work well with wavpack too (lossywv)
wavpack 4.8 -b3x6c

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #2
If it's definitely only for PC use so you have no compatibility issue at all I wouldn't consider to use mp3.
If you are most positive about rather low bitrate I'd use AAC with a quality setting which yields an average bitrate of roughly 230 kbps (for instance latest Nero AAC -q 0.65).
But on a PC you don't have to bother about bitrate very much (with HD prices that low most people are fine with a lossless codec), so wavPack lossy or lossyWAV are the
most interesting ways to go IMO, but - as said by shadowking already - you should use a quality setting yielding roughly 380 kbps or more in order to really get the
benefits of these codecs.
As you are used to wavPack probably wavPack lossy is the codec of choice for you. In case you want to give lossyWAV a try I suggest to try the -P --altpreset setting and to
use latest TAK as the final lossless codec (lossyWAV is a preprocessor to FLAC or TAK or wavPack) as this is the best choice for a PC when compatibility isn't a problem.
lame3995o -Q1.7
opus --bitrate 140

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #3
Thank you both for your quick answers.
I ABX some Lossy Wavpack vs. Lossless WavPack High, and yes, i can clearly hear white noise. Finally i choose the WavPack Lossy @ 400kbs (High Mode) included in Easy CD-Da Extractor. (the bitrates are between 400-430kbs) Do you think i can get other (better) results  with command line switches? Foobar see those files as: Codec: WavPack, Codec Profile: WavPack High, hybrid.
Are you sugesting to try something else, or Easy CD-DA EXtractor's settings are enough for good quality encodings?
Thank you.

@shadowking: Should i choose 500kbs, just to be sure?
@halb27: "TAK is the best choice for a PC" - from what point of view?

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #4
For the highest quality for PC use -hh instead of -h. Encoding  / decoding is still fast but the very high mode is more robust with certain problem samples. @ 400hh i never found a problem with a collection of 350 CD's

For high quality use ;

-x 4-6

for highest quality:


For 400..450 my preferred way:

-b400x4 (HQ)
-b400x (faster encoding)
-b400fx4 (fastest decoding)

For 450 i'd go for more relaxed settings:


Basically at 400 and above you can relax a little. Try you samples with -b400fx4 . That is the fastest decoding and encoding is still fast. I found it to work very well.

Try some of your samples with -x4 or better , -hh, -hhx4 @320 . You'll likely hear an improvement. So for more insurance use the switches as i described rather than pumping bitrate to 500k
wavpack 4.8 -b3x6c

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #5
I tried to play a little bit with the switches, with WavPack Frontend, but it seems there is a problem registering TABCTL32.OCX even if i have this file in the same folder...
I will try to find the solution for this problem and then i will try your settings.
Thanx a lot!

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #6
[quote author=yulyo! link=msg=678966 date=1263122500]...@halb27: "TAK is the best choice for a PC" - from what point of view?[/quote]
From an efficiency point of view (quality is the same of course no matter what final lossless codec).
lossyWAV uses a variable audio data bitrate on a 512 samples block basis. This rather small blocksize must be
used also by the final lossless codec. With this restriction TAK is more effiicient than FLAC which is more
efficient than wavPack.
lame3995o -Q1.7
opus --bitrate 140

WavPack Lossy vs. Lame

Reply #7
Allow me to add the 2 cents of someone who doesn't have golden years at all, after more than 25 years of live hardcore punk and extreme metal gigs: I can ABX  WavPack 4.5/4.6 -hx4b256 against LAME 3.98 -V 2 MP3 only very rarely, just some definitely tolerable hiss on the silent/sparese parts.

On a side note, I listen to lossy WV on my Symbian S60 smartphone thanks to CorePlayer Mobile, which supports a few platforms, so playback isn't limited to the PC at all, see here.
WavPack 5.1.0 -b384hx6cmv / qaac 2.64 -V 100

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