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What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Ok, i'm betting i'll make myself look stupid by asking this question but i'll press on anyway.

Basically I want to encode my entire CD collection the once and then be able to create files from whatever codec i choose. I've been happy using Lame 3.90.3 but i'd like to try out various codecs to see which ones suit my needs and also because i'm about to buy my dad an Ipod in the next month or 2 for his birthday so i need to pick a format best for quality and smaller filesizes than -APS.

Only one problem I've only just got used to doing my mp3 using EAC and Lame 3.90.3 [uberstandard way], I'm a self confesed lazy git, i dont wanna have to do 15 steps when i can do the same in 5. As you can gather i like to spend my precious few hours i get with the least stress possible.

Now for the big question what format should i use, as i have NO clue about the differences between lossless formats, all i do know is that I like using EAC in secure mode so i know i have an exact copy [pointless doing any other way]. I intend to backup my collection onto DVD's so I want all the cd cover pic, track info tags etc etc. If there any differences in the amount of compression between the various difference codecs.

I'm sorry if i appear to be rambling on, im not good at putting my thoughts to paper/screen  i'd appreciate any help

Doktor Lorenz

P.S. If people have any suggestions for alternative to Ipods, then feel free to comment

P.P.S. Just coz im english doesnt mean i can correctly use my language  so sorry about my bad spelling.
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #1
There are 3 serious choices:

Wavpack, FLAC and Monkey's Audio (APE)

Monkey's Audio has the highest compression ratio (but en- and decodes slower than the others).
FLAC has the fastest decompression (good for transcoding), but compresses relatively badly.
Wavpack is somewhere in between the two, supports hybrid compression, floats, and has the fastest compressor. It's the most feature complete AFAIK.

FLAC has hardware support. Wavpack may have it someday. Unlikely for APE.

All 3 support single-file encodings with embedded cuesheets.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #2
i haven't quite understood your problem with lossless    but for the alternative for the iPod, i can blindly recommend you the iRiver H120 http://www.iriveramerica.com/products/H120.aspx which includes a fm tuner, a microphone,  mp3 encoding capability, 2 times more running time, a goood remote control, the ability to download songs from the unit to another computer and last but not least, the iRiver can play ogg vorbis. Anyway, both iRiver and iPod seem very easy to play with, very ergonomics. If someone sees positive aspects of the iPod i should have mentioned, feel free to reply !

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #3
Quote
i haven't quite understood your problem with lossless    but for the alternative for the iPod, i can blindly recommend you the iRiver H120 http://www.iriveramerica.com/products/H120.aspx which includes a fm tuner, a microphone,  mp3 encoding capability, 2 times more running time, a goood remote control, the ability to download songs from the unit on another computer and last but not least, the iRiver can play ogg vorbis. Anyway, both iRiver and iPod seem very easy to play with, very ergonomics. If someone sees positive aspects of the iPod i should have mentioned, feel free to reply !
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Basically, I won't have that much time to really study every conceivable option as i'll be working long hours after this week [by choice, as i need the cash], also it takes a while for me to get used to doing something, ive had a go at doing my Rammstein CD using Flac [after this post] and i suprised myself when i got it right first time
I want to do all my CD's in a lossless now so i can mess about with the lossy codecs to my heart content without the need to keep re-encoding my cd's. I still havent got a clue what lossy one to use or even know the merits of each one. I was thinking about aac because of the Ipod, but that iriver does look nice and tasty but i'll be asking my dad first b4 placing order [i'd hate to get him a present he dont want that would be very costly]

Also is the cue sheet the same thing as clone cd one, still learning the ropes.

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #4
Just adding my .02

I use FLAC for all my CD archiving and for playback on my home theater PC. I can't say exactly why I chose it, but I read good things about it here on HA and tried it first. I have had zero problems with it, so I basically didn't even try Monkey's Audio or Wavpack.

I'll admit Wavpack looks pretty good, but I have already acrhived my entire CD collection in FLAC, and I'm not about to start that again. I like that FLAC is an open source project, I don't know about Wavpack or Monkey's, they may be closed source. Better check that yourself if that's an issue for you, sorry I'm getting pretty tired tonight otherwise I'd look...

I like that FLAC is asymetric, that is it decodes faster than it encodes, as Garf said. That means less CPU usage on playback, and probably a big reason why it's already found it's way onto a few portables.

As for portables, I have an iPod, 20GB 3rd gen. Had it almost a year and there are a few minor quirks, but overall I've been very happy with it.

- short battery life (6-7 hours typically, new 4th gen are supposed to have improved batteries)
- no gapless playback
- only supports MP3 and AAC (MP4), plus Apple Lossless (haven't tried that)
- easily scratched
- ear buds that come with it SUCK (like most other players earbuds)
- no proper replaygain support, only supports Apple's own "sound check" which is only track based

I rip all my music to FLAC and then AAC for my iPod. I use 192kbps for AAC, sounds really good, very close to LAME 3.90.3 aps. One more thing to consider, if you live in the EU, try to get a US or otherwise non-EU iPod. The iPods sold within the EU are volume limited and can't play as loud as US versions. Although this can be fixed in various ways, it's still a hassle.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #5
Quote
Just adding my .02

I use FLAC for all my CD archiving and for playback on my home theater PC. I can't say exactly why I chose it, but I read good things about it here on HA and tried it first. I have had zero problems with it, so I basically didn't even try Monkey's Audio or Wavpack.

I'll admit Wavpack looks pretty good, but I have already acrhived my entire CD collection in FLAC, and I'm not about to start that again. I like that FLAC is an open source project, I don't know about Wavpack or Monkey's, they may be closed source. Better check that yourself if that's an issue for you, sorry I'm getting pretty tired tonight otherwise I'd look...

I like that FLAC is asymetric, that is it decodes faster than it encodes, as Garf said. That means less CPU usage on playback, and probably a big reason why it's already found it's way onto a few portables.

As for portables, I have an iPod, 20GB 3rd gen. Had it almost a year and there are a few minor quirks, but overall I've been very happy with it.

- short battery life (6-7 hours typically, new 4th gen are supposed to have improved batteries)
- no gapless playback
- only supports MP3 and AAC (MP4), plus Apple Lossless (haven't tried that)
- easily scratched
- ear buds that come with it SUCK (like most other players earbuds)
- no proper replaygain support, only supports Apple's own "sound check" which is only track based

I rip all my music to FLAC and then AAC for my iPod. I use 192kbps for AAC, sounds really good, very close to LAME 3.90.3 aps. One more thing to consider, if you live in the EU, try to get a US or otherwise non-EU iPod. The iPods sold within the EU are volume limited and can't play as loud as US versions. Although this can be fixed in various ways, it's still a hassle.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=241522"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


That will probably explain why my sony minidisc brought for me last xmas by my ex gf isnt nearly loud enuff for my ears, my old aiwa walkman was much louder. I have relations in Toronto, so i can get my uncle to order it for me and send it over. To be honest i'm happy with Lame -aps but I want a lossless to futureproof my collection in case some other codec takes the world by storm, ive listened to radio stations on iTunes at 128k and was quite impressed [and no im not an audiophile but i liked it]

I appreciate your comments and time, so thank you. I'm glad i dont put up with 2nd rate audio files now and to think i used to think the AudioCatalyst at 128k was quite good. I found a few old backup cds of my old music and compared it to my new rips on eac + lame couldnt believe HOW i used to put up with such garbage lol

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #6
Quote
Quote
Just adding my .02

I use FLAC for all my CD archiving and for playback on my home theater PC. I can't say exactly why I chose it, but I read good things about it here on HA and tried it first. I have had zero problems with it, so I basically didn't even try Monkey's Audio or Wavpack.

I'll admit Wavpack looks pretty good, but I have already acrhived my entire CD collection in FLAC, and I'm not about to start that again. I like that FLAC is an open source project, I don't know about Wavpack or Monkey's, they may be closed source. Better check that yourself if that's an issue for you, sorry I'm getting pretty tired tonight otherwise I'd look...

I like that FLAC is asymetric, that is it decodes faster than it encodes, as Garf said. That means less CPU usage on playback, and probably a big reason why it's already found it's way onto a few portables.

As for portables, I have an iPod, 20GB 3rd gen. Had it almost a year and there are a few minor quirks, but overall I've been very happy with it.

- short battery life (6-7 hours typically, new 4th gen are supposed to have improved batteries)
- no gapless playback
- only supports MP3 and AAC (MP4), plus Apple Lossless (haven't tried that)
- easily scratched
- ear buds that come with it SUCK (like most other players earbuds)
- no proper replaygain support, only supports Apple's own "sound check" which is only track based

I rip all my music to FLAC and then AAC for my iPod. I use 192kbps for AAC, sounds really good, very close to LAME 3.90.3 aps. One more thing to consider, if you live in the EU, try to get a US or otherwise non-EU iPod. The iPods sold within the EU are volume limited and can't play as loud as US versions. Although this can be fixed in various ways, it's still a hassle.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=241522"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


That will probably explain why my sony minidisc brought for me last xmas by my ex gf isnt nearly loud enuff for my ears, my old aiwa walkman was much louder. I have relations in Toronto, so i can get my uncle to order it for me and send it over. To be honest i'm happy with Lame -aps but I want a lossless to futureproof my collection in case some other codec takes the world by storm, ive listened to radio stations on iTunes at 128k and was quite impressed [and no im not an audiophile but i liked it]

I appreciate your comments and time, so thank you. I'm glad i dont put up with 2nd rate audio files now and to think i used to think the AudioCatalyst at 128k was quite good. I found a few old backup cds of my old music and compared it to my new rips on eac + lame couldnt believe HOW i used to put up with such garbage lol

Dok Lorenz
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=241528"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


LAME aps is quite good and very few people even with expensive stereo components and speakers can tell it apart from CD audio in most cases. Unfortunately, the bitrate can spike up a bit high in some music, some of the music I listen to typically hits 220-230 kbps with LAME aps. The same music encoded in AAC at 192 would be very close to LAME aps, IMHO. I haven't actually tried to ABX it, but I don't really need to. It sounds good enough for my critical ears.

I too wanted to archive everything in lossless to prevent having to ever (within reason) do it again.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #7
Not yet another thread asking for best lossless codec... 

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #8
Well the bitrates/filesizes are my only real complaint with Lame, as i really cant tell the difference between Lame, flac and 192k aac [just did a quick rip of rammstein on itunes just to hear the codec]. I only have Harman/kardon champange glass 2.1 speakers from a dell pc and an onboard soundcard that comes with my gigabyte ga7nnxp [nforce2 dolby digital] mobo. So i cant really do any tests unless i get a good pair of headphones. I'll get better pc stuff as the money starts to roll in due to the long hours i'll be working soon. A good incentive to buy a decent 5.1 setup will be doom 3 as I think that will top the experience just fine.

Dok Lorenz

P.S. I WON'T be using iTunes for any serious encoding b4 u peeps get any ideas  hehe
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #9
Quote
Not yet another thread asking for best lossless codec... 
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=241531"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



I'm sorry if you seen this a 1,000 times before but I didnt even know where to start when it came to chosing a lossless codec to begin with. Once i've done all my cd's in the lossless, i can then fart about choosing a lossy codec but it all depends what hard mp3 player i get my dad for his birthday. Hopefully soon i'll know a bit more by trial and error.

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #10
Quote
I'm sorry if you seen this a 1,000 times before but I didnt even know where to start when it came to chosing a lossless codec to begin with.
How about the Search button?
This post of mine could prove a good starting point too, if I may say so.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #11
Quote
Not yet another thread asking for best lossless codec... 
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'll agree that these threads are pointless, but I think they come about as no-one ever really answers the question... because there is no definitive answer (which you would see if you search  ).

[a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=26109&view=findpost&p=234842]Polar's post[/url] is definitely a good place to start.  Check the poll for the general consensus.

I personally believe that, if you are just going for CD archiving and not regular playback, Monkey's Audio would suit.  FLAC excels for regular playback due to its fast decoding - but Monkey's Audio gets better compression - which is paramount if you are archiving numerous CDs.

As you are lazy like me, you may find my guide for backing up CDs using EAC, Monkeys Audio, and PAR2 for potential restoration of corrupted files, of interest.  I've actually adapted my scripts locally to move all files created into an Artist\Album structure and append the details to a CSV file which will keep a record of the albums I've archived so far (I'm not organised enough to keep them in alphabetical order).
I'm on a horse.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #12
Quote
All 3 support single-file encodings with embedded cuesheets.

How does this work with Monkey's Audio. In the GUI I cannot select a cue-sheet? Or am I blind to find the option?
thanks

 

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #13
If you plan to transcode a lot then decompression times may be important. Flac and wavpack have fast default decompression. Wavpack is nearly as quick as flac and also compresses better + faster - like a bridge between MA and Flac. There is also another advantage to wavpack called 'extra encode processing' which is the -x switch. Here you can increase compression ratios with NO impact on decompression. The downside is that compression time is slowed down considerably. There is also the -h switch for better compression but overall slower compression / decompression (similar to MA).

For best current compatibility choose flac otherwise wavpack.
wavpack 4.8 -b256hx6c

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #14
Quote
Quote
All 3 support single-file encodings with embedded cuesheets.
How does this work with Monkey's Audio. In the GUI I cannot select a cue-sheet? Or am I blind to find the option?
thanks[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Monkey's Audio supports APEv2 tags.  If you add the cuesheet using the APEv2 tag "CUESHEET" it will be used by foobar to split the APE file into tracks, so you can easily skip between them (if you are feeling camp).

That said, you can store a cuesheet using any tag you want, e.g.: COMMENT.

I haven't used the MAC GUI for tagging, so I can't comment on the visible fields, but it is possible that you may have to use a 3rd party tagger, e.g.: foobar or tag, to add a CUESHEET tag.  Update: looks like [a href="http://www.mp3tag.de/en/index.html]MP3TAG[/url] is worth a mention as well as it now supports "reading and tagging of cuesheets".  Ooh! 

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Edit: added last sentence.[/span]
I'm on a horse.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #15
Quote
There are 3 serious choices:

Wavpack, FLAC and Monkey's Audio (APE)[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
There there, Garf. La, OptimFROG and TTA are very worthy contenders as well, in my view. They're worth mentioning, anyhow.

Quote
Monkey's Audio has the highest compression ratio (but en- and decodes slower than the others).
FLAC has the fastest decompression (good for transcoding), but compresses relatively badly.
Wavpack is somewhere in between the two, supports hybrid compression, floats, and has the fastest compressor.[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=241511"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Monkey's does not always encode slower than FLAC or WavPack. And it's not very nuanced to just call WavPack the fastest compressor either. It all just really depends on the settings you use.
In short: just look at [a href="http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossless/lossless.htm]HansHeijden's overview[/url] and that should clear things up.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #16
Quote
La, OptimFROG and TTA are very worthy contenders as well, in my view. They're worth mentioning, anyhow.


I believe they are not up to par with those other 3 in terms of features and/or license and/or source code availability and/or speed and/or compression performance and/or software support and/or possibility of hardware support.

I would never recommend those codecs to anyone, for the simple reason they dont have any additional things to offer (in normal usage!) over those 3, while they lack in one or more of the former areas.

Quote
Monkey's does not always encode slower than FLAC or WavPack. And it's not very nuanced to just call WavPack the fastest compressor either. It all just really depends on the settings you use.
In short: just look at HansHeijden's overview and that should clear things up.


Of course it depends on settings, but if you compare similar performing settings and the maximum settings possible to each other that is what you will conclude.

Edit: Fixed quotes

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #17
Quote
Quote
La, OptimFROG and TTA are very worthy contenders as well, in my view. They're worth mentioning, anyhow.

I believe they are not up to par with those other 3 in terms of features and/or license and/or source code availability and/or speed and/or compression performance and/or software support and/or possibility of hardware support.
I admit neither La or OptimFROG are any fast, far from. But the both of them do compress better than the whole lot of lossless codecs. OF even boasts a nice DualStream feature (similar to WavPack's hybrid mode) that still offers better compression than the vast majority of the competition.

TTA is a nice trade-off between speed and compression, I think.

As far as their being closed source, you're right.

They're indeed not very popular soft and hardwarewise, but come to think of it: what came first, the chicken or the egg ?

Edit: Lack of hardware support is a property of any lossless compressor, BTW, with the sole exception of FLAC, and then still.

Quote
I would never recommend those codecs to anyone, for the simple reason they dont have any additional things to offer (in normal usage!) over those 3, while they lack in one or more of the former areas.
I use La for archival to my own satisfaction, and if you use it for just that, i.e. if you don't expect the flexibility and usability of FLAC or WavPack, I could recommend it to any Windows user looking for sheer compression power.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #18
Quote
I like that FLAC is an open source project, I don't know about Wavpack or Monkey's, they may be closed source.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
WavPack's fully open source too, and even Monkey's Audio is, [a href="http://www.monkeysaudio.com/developers.html]to a certain extent[/url].

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #19
A big thank you to all who have replied to my post, it is much appreciated.

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #20
May i ask you which portable you chose ? I'm just upset that so many people blindly buy an ipod without comparing price and features...

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #21
Quote
May i ask you which portable you chose ? I'm just upset that so many people blindly buy an ipod without comparing price and features...
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=242912"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


To be honest i've not chose one yet, as i have until mid october before i make my mind up, a few peeps seem to recommend iriver ad the other being rio karma. I'm not sure yet as it's NOT for me but my father. He was interested in a 3 gen iPod but is concerned with the battery issues and doesnt like the 4 gen iPod.

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #22
I have been seriously looking at getting a harddrive player too (and sorry for changing the topic from lossless compression here), and personally this is what I've come up with through research.

iRiver - Very nice, also very expensive. They support mp3, ogg, wma and are firmware upgradeable. They just came out with a new version of it, the 300 series, but if you want a cheap iRiver you could probably still find the old 100's for sale. At first glance, it seems the new 300's only add color screen and some more bells and whistles. It also has optical in/out and a realtime mp3 encoder, fm tuner, remote. They claim 16 hours battery life. However, if you peruse the iRiver forums, you'll also see that the customer service/support they provide is terrible in most peoples opinion. Their firmware upgrades come out months later then they say they will, and person-person support is said not to be that great either.

Creative - They have several versions of their Zen series of HDD players. Plays only WMA, WAV, MP3. They are said to have superior audio quality (through the headphone jack I mean). That said, I think I read that there were some serious problems with the headphone jack failing, and people having to open the unit up and having to solder the jack after they lost one channel. Battery life is reported by them to range between 14-20 hours depending on the unit bought.

Neuros - I only just learnt about them, but they look pretty slick. Of note: massive HD capacity (up to 80GB), run off of a linux shell, the myFi feature (broadcast your songs onto an unused FM frequency, meaning you can listen to your player while you drive sans-wires). Also have a HiSi feature, you press the button while you are listenting to the radio, and once you get back home and connect the internet it will tell you what you just heard playing. Officially supports MP3, ogg, wav, wma. The firmware is released by them, but the entire platform is opensource, so I don't see why you couldn't use an alternative firmware with it (risky though). 10hours battery life.

Rio - Their Karma player has a 20GB harddrive player, and looks like it is geared towards the serious audiophile. Support for FLAC, mp3, ogg, and I assume wav and perhaps wma. Downside is no remote and what looks (and I've heard feels) like a clunky design. Claims 15 hour battery.

Apple - I don't really think they are that great, and because they only support mp3, aac and apple lossless I don't think I would choose this player apart from the cool/flashy factor.

In the order I would choose the players from 1st to last:
iRiver, Neuros, Creative, Rio, Apple

Once you do decide let us all know what you chose, and maybe post first impressions too, it would be helpful to later buyers perhaps.

-Duncan

PS: If I've left something out or quoted something wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me.

What Lossless Codec To Use ?

Reply #23
Cheers for that Duncan, ultimately i'll be buying this for my dad and he'll decide which one he wants. I'll see what he goes for then i'll see my wallet instantly empty itself LOL  looks like my thx 5.1's will have to wait a while

Dok Lorenz
Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace. (Oscar Wilde)

Doktor Lorenz

 
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