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What's The BEST Universal Lossless Codec Would You Suggest?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I want a lossless codec that's universal. For instance I used to encode all my music in flac but Sony Mp3 players don't support Flac as far as I am aware.

 

I somehow lost 1/4 of music on my hard drive so I want to re-encode all my music cds onto my hard drive. I currently have a Cowon D2+ mp3 player. I notice Sony used to carry their Walkman players but they don't support flac.

 

Can you please help me out?

 

Thank You Very Much.

post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starsky5000 View Post

I want a lossless codec that's universal.

 

There really isn't one, if you include every platform. There are usually batch convertor programs that will make eg mp3s of entire flac albums though. 

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank You. I checked my back up hard ddrive it turns out i didn't lose as much songs as I thought I originally did. But i did lose a couple of cds.

 

I encode at Flac level 2. Does it really matter at what level flac I encode in?

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starsky5000 View Post

I encode at Flac level 2. Does it really matter at what level flac I encode in?

 

That's an interesting question:

 

- All flacs of all levels are perfect copies of the original - lossless is lossless

 

- What flac level does is control the tradeoff between how long your PC spends making a file and its size: the more compressed higher level flacs take more time to make

 

But flac is never *that* small; oggs (one of the lossy formats) set at quality 8 are about 4 times smaller and no one - literally no one - can tell the difference in blind testing.

 

Or if you want something more universal, download the LAME mp3 encoder and use a very high quality setting like "-b 320".  (Aka "preset-insane".) It won't be theoretically perfect like a FLAC, but it will be perfect inside the limits of human hearing, and even though you've used the funkier LAME encoder, it will still be an mp3 and everything will be able to play it - and it will be 1/4 the size of flac:

 

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=LAME

post #5 of 28

Whether they're audible losses or not, I'm not a fan of using a lossy format at any time I don't have to. For portable media players I use MP3 because frankly, trying to be an audiophile on the train is a waste of time, so I transcode to 192 MP3 when transferring onto my iPod, as Foobar and mediamonkey will both happily do this on the fly from FLAC sources.

 

Here's a little demonstration of how much data is lost using MP3 compression, even at 320CBR

 

https://soundcloud.com/gitbiz/sets/comparison-of-losses-between

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post

Whether they're audible losses or not, I'm not a fan of using a lossy format at any time I don't have to. For portable media players I use MP3 because frankly, trying to be an audiophile on the train is a waste of time, so I transcode to 192 MP3 when transferring onto my iPod, as Foobar and mediamonkey will both happily do this on the fly from FLAC sources.

 

Here's a little demonstration of how much data is lost using MP3 compression, even at 320CBR

 

https://soundcloud.com/gitbiz/sets/comparison-of-losses-between

 

Music is information, not data - information being, semi-technically speaking, data weighted by importance. So what a good algorithm does is to junk the data that doesn't matter. Which is why 320 lame/ogg/aac can't be distinguished from flac in blind tests while being a fraction of the size.

 

In fact, this data filtering may well improve "musicality". Why? Well, a lot of the data junked is high frequency stuff that most listeners can't hear. But this stuff will still cause distortion products with more audible frequencies, distorting them - so a more compressed file may be more pleasant and more accurate when it leaves the transducer.

 

Anyway, if anyone really needs a universally playable lossless format, then the closest thing probably is b320 lame - because it is universal (bar a few stupid freaks like the Tera) and you won't be able to tell it apart from lossless.


Edited by scuttle - 3/4/13 at 6:52am
post #7 of 28

As you learned with your Sony portable player, it all depends on what your devices support.  I use an Apple ecosystem, so I chose ALAC, files which work on my phone, iPod, iPad and computer audio.  I've never regretted the choice and I can always convert to another lossless format if I need to change in the future.

 

The other obvious choice is FLAC which is headed, I think, toward universal acceptance.  It's a good format and plays nicely with tags.

post #8 of 28

If you own a Mac, use ALAC.  If you own a Linux box, FLAC.  Windows either.  I wouldn't use windows lossless, don't remember what it's called.  I would probably go lossless at home and mp3 320 for portable.  

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyramid6 View Post

If you own a Mac, use ALAC.  If you own a Linux box, FLAC.  Windows either.  I wouldn't use windows lossless, don't remember what it's called.  I would probably go lossless at home and mp3 320 for portable.  


There is WMA Lossless, but no one uses it - flac is much more common on Windows.

 

And any iThing that can download and run apps can play flac: http://www.macworld.com/article/1157310/flac_on_ios.html. On a Mac you can just use VLC.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyramid6 View Post

If you own a Mac, use ALAC.  If you own a Linux box, FLAC.  Windows either.  I wouldn't use windows lossless, don't remember what it's called.  I would probably go lossless at home and mp3 320 for portable.  
Yep, I use both. I have FLAC for my lossless library, then I re-encode them all to 320 mp3 for portable. 2 libraries for me.
post #11 of 28

I think FLAC is one of the most popular lossless standard today. If you really want to hear hi-end audio while traveling, I suggested to upgrade new DAP which support lossless (FLAC). In my own opinions, MP3s at 192kbps+ are best for portable player. During traveling, you are affected by lots of noisy factors and difficult to enjoy the true benefit of lossless audio. FLAC and MP3 are my two favorite standards for all of my library.

post #12 of 28
I'd vote WMA-Lossless if you aren't using a Mac or FOSS OS, *lots* of commercial hardware support (including some Sony mp3 players). And WMP will encode it natively. smily_headphones1.gif
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

I'd vote WMA-Lossless if you aren't using a Mac or FOSS OS, *lots* of commercial hardware support (including some Sony mp3 players). And WMP will encode it natively. smily_headphones1.gif

I've never heard of any DAP besides a Zune supporting WMA lossless. I would never use it.

 

My philosophy? Rip to FLAC and high bitrate LAME or AAC for portable use.

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

I've never heard of any DAP besides a Zune supporting WMA lossless.

Cowon
Toshiba
Sony NWZ-A and S series (if not others) [and in the original post, a Sony player was mentioned]
B&O Serenata
Windows Mobile phones (which is a relatively large # of devices)
etc

A large number of "Windows Media Plays For Sure" devices will also support it, like the Xbox and Squeezebox. Not to mention native support in newer versions of Windows Media Player (which *ahem* is installed on something like 70% of all computers). Very broad support base overall, assuming you're using a Windows platform or have a mobile device that's designed for such. For Apple, as mentioned, ALAC is the better choice. flac will almost always require third-party software (for example, it's supported on Windows Mobile, with a separate decoder (similar to how there's a Vorbis plug-in for WMP)). For at-home use it really doesn't matter what you pick, as they're all lossless - my inclination is towards WMA-L because basically any modern Windows PC will read it out of the box, but flac, ALAC, or even raw wav, are all fine as long as you have the space and appropriate software package.

For portable players is where it gets more complicated - if you have a player that supports a given lossless format, that's basically what you use (if you absolutely just have to have lossless), otherwise stick to WMA or mp3 and be finished with it.
Edited by obobskivich - 3/6/13 at 5:51am
post #15 of 28

I ripped a CD in WMA lossless once, it didn't seem to work on a whole lot of media players.

 

FLAC seems to have the highest compatibility with media players, aside from the mainstream ones like iTunes and WMP(and I've made it work with WMP before).

 

They've all got their pros and cons when it comes to compatibility, but if you don't want to lock yourself into Windows only or Apple only stuff FLAC seems to work on more third party stuff.


Edited by chewy4 - 3/6/13 at 6:17am
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