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Compression Question

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Anonymous
June 5, 2005 7:59:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It is sometimes necessary to FTP, email, or mail available for download
compressed audio files. Has anyone done a comparison to determine which
format compresses the most while retaining the highest degree of
quality? It is easy to compress to MP3, which is the de facto standard,
but I would not object to using another format, if better. (The files
are not for public consumption, so I don't care about the receiver
having to have the correct player.) It seems that WMA files are smaller
and may be a good choice. Someone suggested FLAC, but I have never tried
it. OGG seems to be showing up in a lot of converters. I have some
RealAudio files, believe it or not, that are quite small for the
content. RA used to be horrible, but these are the best sounding
download files I've heard. If I convert these RA files to MP3 64K mono,
the MP3s are at least 50% larger than the source RA files.

More about : compression question

June 5, 2005 7:59:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 15:59:41 GMT, mcp6453 <mcp6453@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>It is sometimes necessary to FTP, email, or mail available for download
>compressed audio files. Has anyone done a comparison to determine which
>format compresses the most while retaining the highest degree of
>quality? It is easy to compress to MP3, which is the de facto standard,
>but I would not object to using another format, if better. (The files
>are not for public consumption, so I don't care about the receiver
>having to have the correct player.) It seems that WMA files are smaller
>and may be a good choice. Someone suggested FLAC, but I have never tried
>it. OGG seems to be showing up in a lot of converters. I have some
>RealAudio files, believe it or not, that are quite small for the
>content. RA used to be horrible, but these are the best sounding
>download files I've heard. If I convert these RA files to MP3 64K mono,
>the MP3s are at least 50% larger than the source RA files.

You and only you are the judge and besides you know your requirements
better than we do.

I've heard good things about LAME for low bandwidth MP3 files. Ogg
too. FLAC will not give you the smallest file size if that is your
main objective. If your objective is to get the smallest file size
but best quality, you simply have to experiment. When pushed to the
limits each codec sounds better for certain types of music. For
example, one test I heard of concluded ATRAC sounded best at its low
bandwidth settings for classical music but had artifacts with
electronic and techno music. Ogg and LAME sounded better with this
type of music but not as good at clasical. Actual mileage my vary,
but the bottom line is you'll have to use your ears and decide for
yourself. And also, if mono is acceptable, you can get a lot more
quality for your file size by going mono.

Julian
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 9:48:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 15:59:41 GMT, mcp6453 <mcp6453@earthlink.net>
wrote:

>It is sometimes necessary to FTP, email, or mail available for download
>compressed audio files. Has anyone done a comparison to determine which
>format compresses the most while retaining the highest degree of
>quality? It is easy to compress to MP3, which is the de facto standard,
>but I would not object to using another format, if better. (The files
>are not for public consumption, so I don't care about the receiver
>having to have the correct player.) It seems that WMA files are smaller
>and may be a good choice. Someone suggested FLAC, but I have never tried
>it. OGG seems to be showing up in a lot of converters. I have some
>RealAudio files, believe it or not, that are quite small for the
>content. RA used to be horrible, but these are the best sounding
>download files I've heard. If I convert these RA files to MP3 64K mono,
>the MP3s are at least 50% larger than the source RA files.

I am just starting to look into this question for a community radio
station with a hugh CD and record library. The reports that I have
read from other radio stations lead toward OGG as the (current) best
compromise of compression ratio vs. audio quality.

I learned very quickly that it is important to test with a WIDE
variety of source material. If you listen only to pop/rock and spoken
word, mp3 is good. If you include jazz, classical, choral, solo piano,
electronica, folk, whatever, the limitations of mp3 become painfully
audible.

By the way, ATRACS is pretty good (as used in MD recorders), but it is
proprietary to Sony. Remind you of Beta vs. VHS video tapes?

Mike T.
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 10:46:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

mcp6453 wrote:

> It is sometimes necessary to FTP, email, or mail available for download
> compressed audio files. Has anyone done a comparison to determine which
> format compresses the most while retaining the highest degree of
> quality?

I personally prefer Ogg myself. It works on most platforms, although
Windows doesn't currently support it out-of-the box. The quickest and
easiest way to play back Ogg files in Windows is to install Winamp,
although there are directmedia codecs available.

The quality is definitely very good, and the files tend to be quite
a drop in size over the equivalent MP3 file.
In normal use I cannot tell an Ogg file from the original, although
I recently discovered that using a surround processor (either software
or an SPL Vitalizer Jack) will cause artifacts to occur. I believe this
is caused by a glitch the joint-stereo system. I'll have to upgrade
and see if that fixes it.

One of the chief benefits of Ogg is that it is easy and free to
integrate into software. MP3 requires a license and royalties.
Obviously, if that's not what you're planning to do, it doesn't really
matter.

For voice-grade audio, there is also an alternative format called
'Speex' which is designed for low bitrates rather than high quality.
It doesn't seem to have the penetration that Ogg has at the moment.

FLAC is lossles, I believe it has a compression rate of about 30%
(i.e. 30% smaller, 70% of the original size) but the file will be
bitwise identical to the original source.

--
JP Morris - aka DOUG the Eagle (Dragon) -=UDIC=- jpm@it-he.org
Fun things to do with the Ultima games http://www.it-he.org
Reign of the Just - An Ultima clone http://rotj.it-he.org
d+++ e+ N+ T++ Om U1234!56!7'!S'!8!9!KAW u++ uC+++ uF+++ uG---- uLB----
uA--- nC+ nR---- nH+++ nP++ nI nPT nS nT wM- wC- y a(YEAR - 1976)
!