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Thread: FLAC vs other lossless formats among BT users.

  1. #1
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    In searching through various forums and BT sites, I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer to a question I have had for some time now. Why is it that FLAC seems to have become the de facto lossless format among bit torrent users over all the other available lossless formats?

    I ask becuase I have numerous albums in my collection that are in other lossless formats, such as APE or WavPack (WVs seem just as good or better than FLAC), and the quality seems to be at least on par with FLAC.

    FLAC does not seem to be the most efficient format available nor is it the only open source codec available. Obviously some formats are better than others, but as long as the codec allows for a lossless archiving, then it matters little to me which codec was used. That, however, is only my opinion. I am curious how others feel on the subject. Thanks for any responses.

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    Quylui's Avatar YAY FOR TRADING
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    Explain to me how you're comparing the quality of lossless codecs... they should all be lossless, and therefore they should all sound the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quylui View Post
    Explain to me how you're comparing the quality of lossless codecs... they should all be lossless, and therefore they should all sound the same.
    I agree that the various lossless formats should sound the same. But, not all lossless codecs perform the same nor do they all support the same features. For instance, when comparing the compression rates of various codecs, FLAC is significantly less efficient than the Monkey's Audio codec allowing APE files to be smaller than FLAC files. One could also compare available features, encoding flexibility, encoding/decoding speed, error handling, streaming capability, software/hardware support, etc, etc. So, all lossless codecs should be able to produce a lossless file that sounds the same across the board, but there are still numerous points in which some lossless formats fail. I'm really just curious why FLAC seems to have been chosen as the de facto lossless format for BT users. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against FLAC. In fact, I think it's a very good format...better than most. I'm just curious, that's all.

  4. BitTorrent   -   #4
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    Why the popularity of FLAC over other lossless formats is a valid one though.

    As explained by Wiki:

    FLAC is specifically designed for efficient packing of audio data, unlike general lossless algorithms such as ZIP and gzip. While ZIP may compress a CD-quality audio file by 10 - 20%, FLAC achieves compression rates of 30 - 50% for most music, with significantly greater compression for voice recordings.



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  5. BitTorrent   -   #5
    orfik's Avatar 20th Century Boy BT Rep: +3
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    Quote Originally Posted by emperorIX View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Quylui View Post
    Explain to me how you're comparing the quality of lossless codecs... they should all be lossless, and therefore they should all sound the same.
    I agree that the various lossless formats should sound the same. But, not all lossless codecs perform the same nor do they all support the same features. For instance, when comparing the compression rates of various codecs, FLAC is significantly less efficient than the Monkey's Audio codec allowing APE files to be smaller than FLAC files. One could also compare available features, encoding flexibility, encoding/decoding speed, error handling, streaming capability, software/hardware support, etc, etc. So, all lossless codecs should be able to produce a lossless file that sounds the same across the board, but there are still numerous points in which some lossless formats fail. I'm really just curious why FLAC seems to have been chosen as the de facto lossless format for BT users. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against FLAC. In fact, I think it's a very good format...better than most. I'm just curious, that's all.
    FLAC is open-source, more stable, offers better multi-platform support and is still under development. APE has been abandoned, as far as I know. Wavpack encodes a little faster, decodes slower, and in my experience is less reliable.
    Last edited by orfik; 04-01-2008 at 02:22 AM.




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  6. BitTorrent   -   #6
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    Apple Lossless has even better quality/compression, if I remember correctly. Just saying.

  7. BitTorrent   -   #7
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    I would say that FLAC just won the popularity contest as well as does anything the user wants.

    First of all I don't think FLAC takes long to encode, so that point isn't valid. I spend maybe 5 minutes decoding an entire FLAC CD into .wav and making it into mp3 using Lame. As for Encoding it probably takes even less time than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Monkey’s Audio is suitable for distribution, playback and archival purposes. However, it is a proprietary software, it is often too slow to decode on portable audio devices, and it has limited/problematic support on software platforms other than Windows. There are alternatives that provide the user with more freedom and official support for more platforms, such as the FLAC format.
    APE has been almost abandoned as mentioned above. Many other lossless formats have some kind of patent linked to them. FLAC has very good multi platform support, as well as good Vorbis comment support.

    I mean it shows up in your player as well as an mp3. Even better than mp3 in many cases, since the idv tag in mp3 isn't standardised.

    Oh and one last reason. The FLAC format and especially encoding is being continually worked on and improved. How many other formats can that be said about?

    I'm not familiar with wavpack, but I know .wav does not have good tag support. Does wavpack?
    Last edited by Blue_Skies; 04-01-2008 at 02:43 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheFoX View Post
    In the old days, if you misbehaved on a tracker, you got disabled, or worse, IP banned.

    Nowadays, there are more trackers than there are members, so if your tracker misbehaves, they get bookmark removed, or worse, URL deleted.

  8. BitTorrent   -   #8
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    I didn't know APE was the name for it. My bad, I'm a n00b and just remember reading about it somewhere a while back.

  9. BitTorrent   -   #9
    Night0wl's Avatar GoaHead BT Rep: +6BT Rep +6
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    It isn't. APE is Monkey's Audio something or other. And I assure you Apple Lossless is not open source. And BTW a Lossless format cannot be more lossless than another, so how can quality be better? If it's better then the other format isn't truly lossless.

    http://www.monkeysaudio.com/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless
    Last edited by Blue_Skies; 04-01-2008 at 02:41 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheFoX View Post
    In the old days, if you misbehaved on a tracker, you got disabled, or worse, IP banned.

    Nowadays, there are more trackers than there are members, so if your tracker misbehaves, they get bookmark removed, or worse, URL deleted.

  10. BitTorrent   -   #10
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    Yes, that is true APE has not been updated for some time now. However, there are a number of other reasons as to why it is inferior to FLAC or other lossless codecs. Personally, I prefer the WavPack codec over FLAC as it is has similar features, but offers better compression, more features and can also create a unique hybrid/lossy file that is relatively smaller in size and when combined with a correction file, provides a full lossless restoration. So, I guess I'm really wondering why the seeming strict adherence to FLAC among many BT sites. I've also noticed that a number of sites have a category for SHN files. Does anyone know why anyone would still use this incredibly outdated and useless(?) codec?

    I suspect the answer to my initial question is simply that a standard lossless codec had to be chosen and FLAC was ahead at the time and perhaps Wavpack (my preference) will likely go the way of ogg. In any case, i suppose it really doesn't matter since converting between lossless formats shouldn't yield any degradation of quality.

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