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Old 07-09-2009, 07:07 PM   #1
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Default Audio Formats

I'm pretty bored, so I actually started searching different audio formats, because I know this sounds stupid, but I'm kind of bored with MP3.


FLAC & MONKEY'S AUDIO:

Lossless formats are becoming increasingly common, where hard drive prices are dropping, and people are starting to rip their music collection in these formats.

FLAC sounds amazing, as its lossless, but compressed, so the original file is the exact quality as the original CD source. Its a lot smaller than an uncompressed WAVE though.

Another lossless audio format is Monkeys Audio (.APE) format, but I haven't been able to get a file converted to that to play yet even with a plugin, so FLAC wins

FLAC plays on quite a few portable MP3 players now (I-Audio being my personal favourite), and the file is quite a bit smaller than a uncompressed WAVE file, but quite a bit larger than an MP3.

I ripped two albums in FLAC and it was 1GB in size however.

Monkey's Audio files seem to be a tad bit smaller, but they don't have the same support as FLAC files do, on pretty much anything.

OGG VORBIS:

I then decided to search for more file formats, and came across OGG Vorbis, which I had heard about, which is a compressed, lossful format, so it is like MP3, in the way it loses bits of data it doesn't think you'll be able to hear.

Wow, though, it sounds tonnes better than MP3, especially at lower bitrates..

http://www.xiph.org/vorbis/listen.html

Download the first file in WAVE which is uncompressed, and so sounds the best it can, and then download the OGG vorbis 64kbps file, and then the same 64kbps file in MP3.

I didn't expect much, but the 64kbps OGG file sounded exactly the same to me as the original WAVE file, even though it was only 500KB in size, compared with the 5MB WAVE for the 30 second file...
The same file in MP3 though sounded crap.

I suggest you try it if you are bored like me

BUYING ALBUMS:

I'm now hunting for places to buy albums in these formats, but so far I haven't found anywhere that is popular enough to house well known bands, in for example FLAC format.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Audio Formats

OGG is great. Unfortunately it's not very well supported... That's the only thing that's stopping it taking off. However, put linux on your ipod and you're sorted!

FLAC is by far the best lossless audio codec out there this side of 4 figure licensing fees. Great for stuff that you need lossless (audio testing bits), or while you're working on a project. I wouldn't rip albums in it though, it can usually manage about half the size of the equivalent WAV but that's still pretty huge...
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Audio Formats

Yeah, haha, though OGG is still supported on quite a few players I've looked at.

I'm so surprised how good the 64kbps file sounds...

Do you know of any sites that let you buy well known bands in FLAC or OGG format? i.e if I was looking for Pendulum for example
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Audio Formats

There's some if you google around, but their selection tends to be limited and you tend to have to pay a bit extra for the FLAC download - http://www.musiczeit.com is an example. One of the reasons why I still prefer to buy CDs rather than download is the fact I've got it in an external, lossless format still

In terms of OGG, it's entirely possible to download good quality, large MP3s and then swap it to OGG at a lower bitrate to reduce the file size.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Audio Formats

Thanks for that link. I'll have a look

Yeah, but they say on the site not to do that, as it takes away the point of encoding in OGG in the first place

I now support OGG, and finally, I'm not bored. Woo!
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Audio Formats

True it's not ideal and does take away some of the point, but I would've thought you should be able to squeeze a bit more space out of them if that's the issue. I should point out this is purely from a theoretical standpoint, I might be wrong (never needed to try it myself!)
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Audio Formats

Haha, I don't have an issue with space.
I just felt bored, so wanted to experiment with something, and chose audio formats... I'm weird aren't I...

I think its time to re-rip all my CD's!

Seeing .OGG instead of .MP3 looks better in my books at the moment...

I'm really worried about my ears though, or is 64kbps for an OGG perfectly acceptable?...
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Audio Formats

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorbis

Half way down the page - that would seem to imply your ears are fine

Quote:
I just felt bored, so wanted to experiment with something, and chose audio formats... I'm weird aren't I...
Hey when I was bored I started a topic about adding temperatures together... I win
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Audio Formats

Check out http://musicishere.com/.

Seems OK to me... Not THAT many record labels though...
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Audio Formats

Thanks you too

Its a shame the formats are not supported more. Especially FLAC...

Its kind of weird that when you buy an album from a shop, you know you are getting uncompressed, lossless audio, but then you buy an album online for not that much cheaper, and you are losing quite a bit of data, and audio quality as a result.

I know I may be going too far saying this, when you consider I've been using 320kbps MP3's for a long while with no complaints, but it still raises the question.

If I was to download an album though, digitially, I would want it lossless, I know that much.
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