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Best lossless codec

Which lossless codec would people recommend for general archival use?

I've got a load of vinyl I want to get rid of once I've got the music off it, so I thought I'd dual-encode once I've got it on the PC; to AAC for computer and iPod use, and to a lossless format for archive to DVD.

FLAC seems to be the de facto standard, but is it 'the best' option? My priorities are balanced between compression ratio and probable future compatibility (which is why I suspect FLAC will be the best choice)

If I do choose FLAC, does it make much difference which encoder I use?

thanks for any advice on this.

Best lossless codec

Reply #1
There have been tons of posts with the same question here that you simply could have searched for.

Anyway, IMO theres 3 major codecs worth using:

-Flac - its made for playback, thus it decodes very fast, but doesnt offer very good compression, its also accepted as the standard for lossless so it has alot of hardware and software support.

-Monkey's Audio - has good compression, but a bit slow on the decoding/playback.

-WavPack - its everything between flac and monkey's audio.  on fast and normal settings it offers close decoding speeds to flac but with better compression and on high+x* settings you get Monkey's Audio compression with higher decoding speeds.

OptimFrog is pritty good too. Also Apple lossless which you might wanna take a look at if you have an ipod or a mac

So basically if you are gonna play those filse alot and also want support take a look at flac. . . if you want good compression take a look at Monkey's or OptimFrog. . . if you want everything of both worlds try WavPack.

My personal choise is Wavpack (normal) -x4 -m as it offers better compression then flac with pretty close decoding speeds

Best lossless codec

Reply #2
Quote
-WavPack - its everything between flac and monkey's audio. on fast and normal settings it offers close decoding speeds to flac but with better compression and on high+x* settings you get Monkey's Audio compression with higher decoding speeds.


Sorry but this is incorrect. AFAIK Wavpack in high mode encodes/decodes slower and less than monkey's in normal mode with any x value... Decoding speeds and compression are indeed close, but monkey's is better on average...

See here: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossless/lossless.htm

Best lossless codec

Reply #3
yes, ive seen this.  i am new to wavpack myself and on my machine wavpack plays smoother then monkey's audio. 

anyway, bare in mind that the link you are giving me reviews 4.0. . 4.1 is faster. . . and 4.2 even more!  its also being optimized for speed as we speek Link

so basically your information is a bit outdated.

Best lossless codec

Reply #4
Quote
There have been tons of posts with the same question here that you simply could have searched for.
yeah, sorry. i'm not really familiar with the site yet, and was also being a little lazy!

i'm probably not going to be playing the lossless files, it's just for archiving, so it sounds like APE might be the best choice for me.

When I talked about compatibility being important, I guess what I was referring to was future support; I wouldn't like to archive hours of music in a format that software support might dry up for in a few years' time. I don't suppose I need to worry about this with APE though?

Best lossless codec

Reply #5
Quote
When I talked about compatibility being important, I guess what I was referring to was future support; I wouldn't like to archive hours of music in a format that software support might dry up for in a few years' time. I don't suppose I need to worry about this with APE though?
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=255819"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


IMHO, I think that you'd be safer with FLAC or Wavpack, for future support.
flac>fb2k>kernel streaming>audiophile 2496>magni>dt990 pro

Best lossless codec

Reply #6
This question seems to get asked about once every month...

Anyway, here is a recent thread you can check out, and here is a poll.
Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.

Best lossless codec

Reply #7
Quote
This question seems to get asked about once every month...


OK, now I am beginning to feel sheepish...  I won't be doing THAT again! 

Anyway, thanks for the advice. 

Best lossless codec

Reply #8
Quote
yes, ive seen this.  i am new to wavpack myself and on my machine wavpack plays smoother then monkey's audio. 

anyway, bare in mind that the link you are giving me reviews 4.0. . 4.1 is faster. . . and 4.2 even more!  its also being optimized for speed as we speek Link

so basically your information is a bit outdated.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=255812"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Sorry again, but this is speculation. Did you or anyone test wavpack 4.1 or 4.2 against monkey's audio on a meaningful sample of different genres for speed or compression levels? If that's the case, please point me to the results and I'll agree with you...

I don't want to seem harsh or a monkey's audio zealot (I also backup to wavpack), but before stating such things you have to be able to prove them. Please, don't take this personally, it's just my opinion.

Best lossless codec

Reply #9
Are you serious?

I can only assume you didnt read the links i provided (note that "4.2" is a clickable links as well)

Best lossless codec

Reply #10
yes I am dead serious, and yes I've read the links you posted. Thanks for that info.

Show me in the table you provided where wavpack compresses better or equal to monkeys audio normal as you stated here:

Quote
-WavPack - its everything between flac and monkey's audio. on fast and normal settings it offers close decoding speeds to flac but with better compression and on high+x* settings you get Monkey's Audio compression with higher decoding speeds.


And again, the tests you linked to were performed on a limited set of musical styles (classical music only, as informed by guru in the beginning of the page). One cannot state that the codec has the same performance regarding speed (although I believe that this must be the case) for EVERY type of music without testing it extensively.

I know I'm being a bit anal about this, but think about other people that may read this thread and are not so versed about lossless compression. They might get the wrong impression.

Anyway enough is enough. I think I've already made my point here and I won't spend more time discussing this.

Best lossless codec

Reply #11
No worries I'll update the graphs again when the time is right! For example when wavpack 4.2 goes stable.
Meanwhile just extrapolate from guruboolez' results, they are quite similar because his PC is nearly the same!

Best lossless codec

Reply #12
Code: [Select]
Monkey's Audio (normal) vs WavPack (High) 

______________________________________
File: Faithless - Bring My Family Back|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference/   |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   | Speed Increase|
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (40.83 MB)    | (41.14 MB)   | (0.31 MB)     |
                | 42,812,000    | 43,137,378   | 325,378       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   23.4x       |   28.0x      |  19.7%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   26.03x      |   39.00x     |  49.8%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|

_________________________
File: Eminem - My Name Is|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (25.37 MB)    | (25.70 MB)   | (0.33 MB)     |
                | 26,605,056    | 26,952,518   | 347,462       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   23.6x       |   27.4x      |  16.1%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   26.26x      |   38.34x     |  46.0%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|

_____________________________________________________________
File: Barry White - You're The First, The Last, My Everything|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (28.17 MB)    | (28.42 MB)   | (0.25 MB)     |
                | 29,541,636    | 29,798,560   | 256,924       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   23.6x       |   27.8x      |  17.8%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   25.92x      |   38.78x     |  49.6%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|

____________________________________________
File: Bob Marley - Turn Your Lights Down Low|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (36.06 MB)    | (36.42 MB)   | (0.36 MB)     |
                | 37,810,388    | 38,188,390   | 378,002       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   23.4x       |   27.2x      |  16.2%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   26.67x      |   38.81x     |  45.5%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|

_________________
File: Korn - Lies|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (24.18 MB)    | (24.37 MB)   | (0.19 MB)     |
                | 25,349,816    | 25,551,600   | 201,784       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   21.7x       |   26.8x      |  23.5%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   25.75x      |   37.76x     |  46.6%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|

____________________________________
File: Delerium - Window To Your Soul|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (46.69 MB)    | (47.34 MB)   | (0.65 MB)     |
                | 48,962,312    | 49,637,108   | 674,796       |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   24.9x       |   27.5x      |  10.1%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   27.39x      |   39.91x     |  45.7%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  

_______
Average|
_______________________________________________________________
                |               |              |               |
codec/encoding  | Monkey's Audio|  WavPack     | Difference    |
 settings       |  (Normal)     |  -h (High)   |               |
_______________________________________________________________|
                |               |              |               |
Size            | (33.55 MB)    | (33.90 MB)   |   <1%         |
                | 35,180,201    | 35,544,259   |               |
                |               |              |               |
Encoding speed  |   23.4x       |   27.4x      |  17.1%        |
                |               |              |               |
                |               |              |               |
Decoding speed  |   25.67x      |   38.77x     |  47.5%        |
                |               |              |               |
_______________________________________________________________|


Pentium 4 2.26GHz
DDR-SDRAM PC2700 166 MHz (512x2)

foobar2000 with foo_ape 1.1 and foo_wavpack 2.2b using speedmeter for tests


Well, I am probably a bit too biased to make a conclusion, but here it is for what's worth it.  I have WavPack vs FLAC too if anyone is interested.

It was done for about 1 hour and a half  so I can't guarantee the calculations either  I am pretty much just posting it for reference until someone comes up with a reliable one.

Edit: for typos and minor table fixes

Best lossless codec

Reply #13
Quote
When I talked about compatibility being important, I guess what I was referring to was future support; I wouldn't like to archive hours of music in a format that software support might dry up for in a few years' time. I don't suppose I need to worry about this with APE though?

Just burn the codecs inside the DVD's where are the backups. This way you can use your files for the rest of your life.
Alguém pare o mundo que eu quero descer!!

Best lossless codec

Reply #14
Now we're talking!! 

I assume that this is wavpack 4.2. Really significant speed increase...

Best lossless codec

Reply #15
Quote
When I talked about compatibility being important, I guess what I was referring to was future support; I wouldn't like to archive hours of music in a format that software support might dry up for in a few years' time. I don't suppose I need to worry about this with APE though?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

WavPack has an interesting feature. Like zip self-extractor, you can add to .wv files a small decompressor. Just rename the .wv to .exe => the original PCM file will be decoded on Win32 system. Tagging, playback... everything is identical. Files are just 30 kb bigger (unsignificant space for full tracks in lossless format).


Quote
-e  = create self-extracting executable (needs wvselfx.exe)

WavPack can be used to create self-extracting archives (Windows only) with a .exe extension. In this way it is possible to distribute compressed audio without having the recipient install any other programs (or have any dlls) to unpack the archives. When the .exe file is run (directly or by double-clicking) it extracts the original .wav file into the same directory. If it can't (because the file exists or it is run on a read-only device) then it displays a standard Windows "Extract to" dialog box and allows the user to specify the destination. The self-extracting feature can be used with WavPack's hybrid modes as well as pure lossless. If a .wvc file (with the correct name) is present in the same directory as the executable, then a lossless extraction is automatically performed. It is possible to turn the .exe file back into a valid WavPack by simply changing the extension back to .wv (although the extra 30k unpacking header will still be there).

To convert an existing WavPack 4.1 file into a self-extracting executable use the DOS copy command to prepend the self-extracting stub (wvselfx.exe) to the .wv file:

C:\music_files>copy/b wvselfx.exe+music.wv music.exe

[a href="http://wavpack.com/wavpack_doc.htm]Source[/url]

Best lossless codec

Reply #16
Brink, that's a great idea, and one I should have thought of myself.

Of course, putting my super-paranoid hat on... what if our computer OS's change so much that the codecs don't work anymore?! 

Best lossless codec

Reply #17
Quote
Of course, putting my super-paranoid hat on... what if our computer OS's change so much that the codecs don't work anymore?! 
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=256128"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Indeed, paranoia. Windows "changed so much" that binaries compiled for DOS 5.0 still work on Windows Server 2003

Of course, if you were on Linux you should worry, since often binaries don't work with different versions of the same distro :B

Best lossless codec

Reply #18
Quote
Of course, putting my super-paranoid hat on... what if our computer OS's change so much that the codecs don't work anymore?! 
assuming you are using Windows, Microsoft is a company with a huge marketshare and quite some resources. Windows will be around for a long time to come, the next ten years should be granted, and even twenty years is quite probably IMO.
after that, nobody can really tell what's going to be the next 'standard' (a paradox really in this case) or what is being (still) supported / worked on.
so there really is not much sense in spending a lot of sleepless night on this issue, as most probably you will not able to influence the way it goes in a meaningfull way, at least not as one can tell from today's POV.
eventually, operating system will most likely change, be it in terms of compatibility regarding older versions, or in another way. codecs will change accordingly, so you will have the chance to reencode in time in the worst case.

edit:
Quote
Indeed, paranoia. Windows "changed so much" that binaries compiled for DOS 5.0 still work on Windows Server 2003 smile.gif
hehe
Nothing but a Heartache - Since I found my Baby ;)

Best lossless codec

Reply #19
Monkey's Audio: Better compression than Flac, well supported in various software apps.

Flac: Possibility of hardware compatibility.
Faster decoding is only good for people who transcode their entire collection to lossy every time a new version of their favorite codec is released.

Wavepack:  Never tried it, but I can't think of anywhere I have ever heard of it being used except at HA.

Personally, I prefer Monkey's for the better compression.

Best lossless codec

Reply #20
Quote
Brink, that's a great idea, and one I should have thought of myself.

Of course, putting my super-paranoid hat on... what if our computer OS's change so much that the codecs don't work anymore?! 
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I backed up my CDs to 26 DVDs recently (using Monkey's Audio) and I put a collection of useful software on every DVD - including EAC,MAC,Tag,PAR2 and Foobar. I think it was 7MBs worth in total - about 0.15% of a DVD's capacity.

Not only do I have the applications for the future, but I could use the disc on any PC (with a DVD drive, e.g.: a friend's) to recover the CDs contained.

I [a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=25841&view=findpost&p=234029]still[/url] don't understand why people use "future-proofing" as a reason to use a certain codec to archive.
I'm on a horse.

Best lossless codec

Reply #21
Quote
I still don't understand why people use "future-proofing" as a reason to use a certain codec to archive.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=256134"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Paranoia.

And people give their music collection more importance than it deserves. Backup methods turn into matters of life and death.

I love my music, but heck, if all my CDs get broken at some point, I'm pretty sure I'll manage to live with it. It's just music...

Best lossless codec

Reply #22
Quote
And people give their music collection more importance than it deserves. Backup methods turn into matters of life and death.

I love my music, but heck, if all my CDs get broken at some point, I'm pretty sure I'll manage to live with it. It's just music...
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=256136"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Nooooo!    I'd rather have a digit removed than loose my CD collection.
daefeatures.co.uk

Best lossless codec

Reply #23
See? This is the kind of madness I'm talking about. Thank God it's pretty much limited to HA and RAO.

Best lossless codec

Reply #24
Quote
I love my music, but heck, if all my CDs get broken at some point, I'm pretty sure I'll manage to live with it. It's just music...

What I dont get it is why people are so paranoid with dvd-rs backups when they have the original pressed cd. For me, this represents a kind of TWO backups. Use only the ripped versions, if somehow you lose your dvdrs, you still have the originals and can rip them all again.
Alguém pare o mundo que eu quero descer!!

 
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