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Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Has anyone used the WMA9 Lossless codec? What are your experiences? How well does it work, how reliable is it, how is the sound quality?

And please, no Micro$oft ba$hing, I know that there is emotional animosity to MS here (with validity too ), but I want to hear the facts about this specific product.

And no, I do not care about how long it takes to encode/decode, its compression ratio, and its CPU usage.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #1
I never encountered it, but a preliminary reading of several related threads suggest that this codec has a lot more work to be done. FLAC and APE are still the better ones.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #2
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Has anyone used the WMA9 Lossless codec? What are your experiences? How well does it work, how reliable is it, how is the sound quality?

And no, I do not care about how long it takes to encode/decode, its compression ratio, and its CPU usage.

That's a lot not to discuss. I'm mostly on OSX (so use FLAC), but have screwed around a bit with WMA Lossless on a PC and was impressed by speed and CPU usage. Have used it on a problematic PC (part of the reason I switched to OSX) to make audio CD's (encode as lossless then burn to audio CD using WMP). The one thing that concerns me is the designation of being "mathmatically" lossless. Anyone know what this means?

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #3
I tried it once for lack of a better encoder at the time, bitrates were around 1100kbps and sound quality was perfect.  Winamp didn't play it back tho.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #4
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The one thing that concerns me is the designation of being "mathmatically" lossless. Anyone know what this means?

I think it means that the file can be decompressed to a bit-identical wave file as the original one you compressed from.

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I tried it once for lack of a better encoder at the time, bitrates were around 1100kbps and sound quality was perfect. Winamp didn't play it back tho.

wma pro9 and lossless are not supported by the default wma plugin in Winamp. I don't foresee support in the near future either.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #5
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Has anyone used the WMA9 Lossless codec? What are your experiences? How well does it work, how reliable is it, how is the sound quality?

And no, I do not care about how long it takes to encode/decode, its compression ratio, and its CPU usage.

That's a lot not to discuss.

Well, true, but I really think with hard disks costing less than $1/gb compression ratio is not a concern (unless for mobile use). And CPUs reaching 3ghz+ and oc'd fsb's of up to 1000mhz, and the fact that sound encoding, decoding etc. needs a fraction of that, who cares about cpu usage?

Well, not me, but that's my opinion. But I really do not want to sacrifice from sound quality, realiability, flexibility etc. ...

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #6
I don't mean this as M$ bashing, but personally I use FLAC because I don't want to support the M$ "machine" (any more than I already do).  They're big enough, and I'd like to see the playing field balanced by giving the newer and less-widespread codecs more use.  And I've got a great appreciation for the work Josh Coalson and his associates have put into a free, cross-platform lossless codec which is actually getting hardware support.

And speaking of hardware support, I have limited HDD space, and need to use the same audio format on my home PC and in my car, and want lossless for gapless playback and quality transcoding.  The PhatBox plays FLAC just fine, but I couldn't get it to recognize WMA9-lossless files (though it does play WMA-lossy's, strangely enough).  That might have been my fault somehow by not doing something right when I transferred them, but FLAC works fine, so I'm sticking with it.

I'm not sure about the decoder requirements of WMA-lossless, but FLAC is pretty efficient at decoding, and works well on the limited processor and memory in the PhatBox.  If WMA-lossless requires more decoding overhead, that *may* have been why I had trouble with it.  If you have no hardware limitations (as you say you don't) then this isn't an issue for you.

As for the sound quality of WMA-lossless, it's lossless.  Unless M$ is lying about that (or is not strict in their usage of the term), no human could ABX the difference between it, FLAC or the original PCM WAV file.


@blessingx:  About M$ claiming that it is "mathematically" lossless...I noticed that too, but I'm not sure what it means.  Hopefully, it means the same thing "lossless" does here, instead of perhaps partly-lossy-lossless-but-just-not-mathematically

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #7
what about the bitrates between wma9 pro loosless and FLAC? Are they the same? And, what kind of (software) player do I need in order to play FLAC files?
--alt-presets are there for a reason! These other switches DO NOT work better than it, trust me on this.
LAME + Joint Stereo doesn't destroy 'Stereo'


Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #9
FLAC files can also be played with dBpowerAMP Audio Player.

If you have a PhatBox or Music Keg in your car, then you'll have a copy of PhatNoise Music Manager, which can play them also, but it can't do gapless playback with any format. 

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #10
I used WMA lossless ripping with EAC and playing in WMP9. Very impressive sound, but that is what lossless is about. I did not like the 10% processing time WMP used to play WMA lossless.  And, as the bashers point out, I did not want get 'locked' in a Microsoft proprietary format or deal with the threat of DRM.

I now use FLAC for lossless and Winamp 2.91. The library function in Winamp was critical for me and once the FLAC plug-in was fixed to work in the library, I was sold. Processor time is about 1% now. There seems to be a lot more tools and players for FLAC than WMA lossless.

 

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #11
If you are not intrested in encode/docode time nor compression ratio then what are you intrested in at a lossless codec. Quality? Isn't it the same as the original. Isn't this the idea of lossless codec?

I think that if you decod a song from a lossless codec you will obtain an identical wav file as the original. Thats why the compression ratio is as rar,zip or cab.

So if the ratio (as the CPU usage is less important with today computers) is the only think that mathers WMA lossless definitly sucks: it's compression ratio (I only encoded one song) is somewhere at 65%. Let me remaind you that APE's average is just under 50%.

I'm new on this forum and I am verry sorry if anything I said is wrog. If so please corect me I am open to learn new things.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #12
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So if the ratio (as the CPU usage is less important with today computers) is the only think that mathers WMA lossless definitly sucks: it's compression ratio (I only encoded one song) is somewhere at 65%. Let me remaind you that APE's average is just under 50%


Agree that M$'s compression is 65% but I never get APE files at 50%. APE ranges between 60 and 70%, closer to 60 usually. And I use high compression setting, not quick.

WMA lossless is, as said - lossless, not much to compare. Its a huge file size with perfect sound. One nice thing about it, if you use flash portables, you can store your music on your PC in WMA lossless and WMP automatically converts to WMA 128 when copying to a portable. If you can accept this 'default' sound quality - this is a VERY convenient feature. Too bad it will not convert to WMA Pro (another discussion).

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #13
My HDD is quite smal (20 GB) and I don't have some hi-fi sound system so I am quite content with an mp3 at 128 kbps so I've used Monkey Audio only for a few times just for curiosity.

Here (where I took the information from) is a link at the FLAC homepage

http://flac.sourceforge.net/comparison.html

It seems verry credible.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #14
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So if the ratio (as the CPU usage is less important with today computers) is the only think that mathers WMA lossless definitly sucks: it's compression ratio (I only encoded one song) is somewhere at 65%. Let me remaind you that APE's average is just under 50%.

I must somewhat disagree. I have 'tested' WMA, FLAC, and Monkey's Audio for quite some time before I settled into FLAC. They all are pretty close in file size. I don't think I ever saw a 50%/65% difference of the same file. I don't use any higher compression settings, just the normal. Monkey and FLAC definately process much quicker than WMA. I also noticed that WMA seems to have a lot of extra tag information when editting tags from WMP9. By the way, the most compression I've seen with lossless is 4 to 1 with some piano music. Typically though, I'm lucky if I get close to 2 to 1.

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WMA lossless is, as said - lossless, not much to compare. Its a huge file size with perfect sound. One nice thing about it, if you use flash portables, you can store your music on your PC in WMA lossless and WMP automatically converts to WMA 128 when copying to a portable. If you can accept this 'default' sound quality - this is a VERY convenient feature. Too bad it will not convert to WMA Pro (another discussion)


The beauty of lossless here. When needed, you convert to the format of choice whether it be MP3, WMA, or whatever while leaving the original untouched. I make mp3 CD's to take to parties. Depending on the audio system, I make either 128 or VBR alt preset standard from the lossless formats. If you're going to do this, check out dbpowerAMP.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #15
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If you are not intrested in encode/docode time nor compression ratio then what are you intrested in at a lossless codec. Quality? Isn't it the same as the original. Isn't this the idea of lossless codec?

I think that if you decod a song from a lossless codec you will obtain an identical wav file as the original. Thats why the compression ratio is as rar,zip or cab.

I could not see your point, but yes I am interested in lossless for quality. I have an older decent hi-fi system, and I do not want to sacrifice any quality at all by computerizing my CDs. From what I am reading, all the decent lossless formats are close enough for me, 1% cpu usage or 10% cpu usage. What will I do with the remaining 90%? Nothing. Just listen to pure quality music. 55 or 60% compression? It amounts to around maybe 2 gb per 100 CDs. $2... I am rich enough for that 

I realize the sound quality "should" be the same whichever lossless format is used, but like everything else, there are idiosyncrasies with every format and player out there. I don't know, are there pops/snaps between songs? Does it take a long time to switch from one song to next? Does it convert back to other formats easily? Any other peculiarities? Things that someone who used it extensively would know. (I guess there arent many people who have chosen WMP9 for archiving)

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #16
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I realize the sound quality "should" be the same whichever lossless format is used, but like everything else, there are idiosyncrasies with every format and player out there. I don't know, are there pops/snaps between songs? Does it take a long time to switch from one song to next? Does it convert back to other formats easily? Any other peculiarities? Things that someone who used it extensively would know. (I guess there arent many people who have chosen WMP9 for archiving)

Lossless, in my moderate experience of using it, is *perfectly identical* in sound quality across any truly "lossless" format.  In the brief time I've been an HA member, I have done countless searches for info on this and many other subjects, and I have yet to see *anyone* say "Hey, I can ABX FLAC from LPAC", for example (two examples of lossless formats).  There are no "idiosyncrasies" in sound quality that I have heard of.

If processing time and minor variations in file size are of no concern, then I would think that only platform compatibility would make a difference for you.  FLAC is great for this, as it has some hardware support out there beyond PCs, and is one of the few (if not the only) lossless codec that does.  The trouble I have had with WMA-lossless on the PhatBox might be my fault or it might be a compatibility issue, but FLAC playback never gave me a problem.

As for your question about gapless playback and fast seek times, even my PhatBox, with a 74MHz ARM processor and 32MB of RAM, can playback FLAC files perfectly, and I have yet to hear any hesitation.  It is truly gapless playback as well.  Seek times seem as fast for me as MP3 seek times are.  So if FLAC can work that well on hardware with those kind of limitations, then I don't think you'll never have a problem with it on a more capable platform.

FLAC (or any other lossless format, in fact) can always be converted back to the exact same WAV file it came from, and can therefore be trancoded to any other format with *exactly equal quality variance* as converting straight from PCM WAV.  dBpowerAMP Music Converter is great for easy (in three clicks) conversion from FLAC to lossy formats, single files or a batch, and I think there are other products with similar capabilities.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #17
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http://home.wanadoo.nl/~w.speek/comparison.htm
http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossles...ss/lossless.htm

Flac is playable with Winamp and Foobar2000.

So according to the graph wma9 lossless compresses better than FLAC? I actually like wma a lot and would stick with it
--alt-presets are there for a reason! These other switches DO NOT work better than it, trust me on this.
LAME + Joint Stereo doesn't destroy 'Stereo'

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #18
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Quote
http://home.wanadoo.nl/~w.speek/comparison.htm
http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossles...ss/lossless.htm

Flac is playable with Winamp and Foobar2000.

So according to the graph wma9 lossless compresses better than FLAC? I actually like wma a lot and would stick with it 

Beating FLAC isn't a big challenge I suppose. FLAC has other advantages, like very fast decoding (needed for easy hardware support) and maybe others (streamable format, something like error correction, etc...).
On the other side, WMA lossless isn't brilliant at any level : encoding/decoding speed, compression ratio, tagging system, software integration... Two advantages in my mind :
- universal support for Win32 system (no need, for absolute newbies, to download another player and/or plug-ins)
- some hope for hardware support (It's a Microsoft product).

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #19
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Quote
http://home.wanadoo.nl/~w.speek/comparison.htm
http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossles...ss/lossless.htm

Flac is playable with Winamp and Foobar2000.

So according to the graph wma9 lossless compresses better than FLAC? I actually like wma a lot and would stick with it

"Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?"

Read your XP and/or WMP EULA carefully and then decide if a couple percent difference in compression ratio is worth it.

Josh

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #20
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"Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?"

Read your XP and/or WMP EULA carefully and then decide if a couple percent difference in compression ratio is worth it.

  I second that emotion.  Open is good.  Not-open is baaaaad.  Just my opinion, though.

Let's apply the issue of the 1% difference in compression (according to the chart linked above) between FLAC and WMA to a real world scenario.  I just finished compressing as much music as I could onto a 20 GB DMS for my Music Keg.  Now, after the Keg allocates space for it's system partition and some other overhead, my FS shows 18.3 GB available on the completely empty data partition.

My music compressed in FLAC to an overall average of 60.1% of size of the original PCM WAV files.  Using the comparison chart, WMA would theoretically do 59.1%, since there is no psychoacoustic model or anything else to cause any other measurable variances.

The space available on an empty data partition of the DMS translates to 19,725,156,352 bytes.  Compressed with FLAC, I have 722 songs on it now, which take up 19,587,634,828 bytes of space.  If I had used WMA, and assuming it would be compatible with my hardware in the first place, the same music would take up 19,261,717,443 bytes of space.  That a difference of 325,917,385 bytes, or 318,279 KB, or 311 MB.

Now, each of my songs averages ~26 MB.  So that means I could store about 11 more songs on the same 18.3GB drive partition with WMA than I can with FLAC.

722 in FLAC or 733 in WMA?  Barely one albums-worth of difference.  I'll take FLAC, thank you.  For me, a compression difference of 1% (and 11 songs on 18.3GB of total capacity) doesn't beat the benefits of an open codec.  But then again, this is just what's important to me.  Each person has to decide what's important to them.

Edit:  Oops!  Made a math error!  Dropped 1% from the FLAC # to repesent WMA rather than correctly dropping from the WAV #.  Fixed it. (Just in case anyone might find this thread someday and refer to these figures...I didn't want to be branded a liar!)

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #21
Sorry, but lossless WMA is not lossless. Rip a WAV, save it, save as a lossless WMA, convert that WMA back to WAV, take one WAV in any audio editor, invert it, copy it, mix it onto the other WAV? The result? Not silence. If it was lossless, that line would be completely straight when zooming in.
Project Leader of DDResampled

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #22
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Sorry, but lossless WMA is not lossless. Rip a WAV, save it, save as a lossless WMA, convert that WMA back to WAV, take one WAV in any audio editor, invert it, copy it, mix it onto the other WAV? The result? Not silence. If it was lossless, that line would be completely straight when zooming in.

Sounds more like there's something wrong with your test procedure...

-Eugene
The  greatest  programming  project of all took six days;  on the seventh  day  the  programmer  rested.  We've been trying to debug the !@#$%&* thing ever since. Moral: design before you implement.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #23
What tools are you using to encode and decode WMA lossless?

I used dbPowerAMP here, and I did a binary comparision instead of invert mixing. The files (original one vs. decoded one) were bit-identical.

So, I suggest you check your facts straight before coming here and trying to spread bullshit.

Anbody have experience with WMA9 lossless?

Reply #24
I've used Cool Edit Pro 2 to encode, decode and test.
Project Leader of DDResampled

 
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