Lossless Music Archive Format

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Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:41 am

I am getting ready to re-rip my entire CD collection to a lossless format for archive. I plan to keep a lossless version of all of my music and transcode down to MP3 or WMA from that when I am taking any of the music with me on a portable device. The big question is what is the most solid and steady format to use for my lossless rips? I intend on using dbpoweramp to do the actual CD ripping so I have that figure out, but should I go with FLAC, .WAV, WMA lossless? I also should mention I boot multiple operating systems and would like to be able to handle the files on both a windows and linux environment. I am not worried about disk space (I already have mirrored TB drives for the data), I am leaning toward uncompressed lossless due to that fact. What would be the recommended choice and furthermore, why?
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:58 am

Stick with FLAC.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:01 pm

Another vote for FLAC.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:03 pm

FLAC.

From Wikipedia: "FLAC's free and open source royalty-free nature makes it well-supported by many software applications."

Supported by Windows, OS X, and Linux. Supports tagging and album art. 30-50% compression rate.

Seems like an ideal candidate, especially since you'll be using MP3s for portable players, which are more widely supported.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:04 pm

Any particular reason? Being open source I am worried it might go out of favor and become an abandonded format at some point. Then I am stuck with a lossless archive which is not well supported.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:07 pm

Momento Mori wrote:Any particular reason? Being open source I am worried it might go out of favor and become an abandonded format at some point. Then I am stuck with a lossless archive which is not well supported.

Since it is an open source format, you're guaranteed to be able to covert it any other format at any point.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:18 pm

Momento Mori wrote:Any particular reason? Being open source I am worried it might go out of favor and become an abandonded format at some point. Then I am stuck with a lossless archive which is not well supported.


I would actually take the inverse of your position, and argue that you should be more worried about a closed source format being abandoned. Then you would be stuck. Being open-source seems like much better protection, because then anybody can work on it, or work on conversion software. Plus, because FLAC is open source, I see it staying a popular lossless format for years to come.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:34 pm

Another vote for FLAC. I rip my CDs in that format as well, using Linux almost exclusively as my OS at home (my DVR box runs Windows and I still play a few games in Windows, but most of my time is spent in Ubuntu). It's supported out of the box in Ubuntu (as are Ogg Vorbis and Theora for audio and video, respectively), unlike DVDs, MP3, WMA and other proprietary formats which require additional packages to be downloaded before they can be used. Though I haven't tried ALL of the various Linux distros, I'd be surprised to find one that doesn't have native support for FLAC in an audio program.

If FLAC were to ever be "abandoned", or a newer, better lossless format came along, there'd be no reason for open source projects used for audio (gstreamer, ffmpeg, vlc, etc) to drop support for it. And, as has been said, converting it to another format is trivial if you decided to do that.

I've even found media player devices that support FLAC, though personally I prefer to convert files to Ogg Vorbis before putting them on a portable, to save space.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:10 pm

Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I will go with FLAC as suggested.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:20 pm

Yes yes, choose FLAC. I used it to rip my cd collection, and with it being lossless, you don't lose any fidelity. And no matter what operating system you choose, it either plays back natively or there is always a plugin for it.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:45 pm

I am doing the same thing.
I decided to use .wav as the archival copy and am transcoding to mp3. Space is not an issue, absolute fidelity is....
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:48 pm

Why choose FLAC over WAV?
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:53 pm

FireGryphon wrote:Why choose FLAC over WAV?

Smaller file size.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:55 pm

Xylker wrote:Space is not an issue, absolute fidelity is....

Encode something to FLAC while keeping a WAV copy. Expand the FLAC back to WAV and byte-check the two files. Tell me what you see.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:55 pm

FireGryphon wrote:Why choose FLAC over WAV?

FLAC uses lossless compression. It'll use only half to two-thirds the disk space of WAV.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:04 pm

FireGryphon wrote:Why choose FLAC over WAV?

Smaller file size, same quality, and the ability to include tagging information.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:26 pm

If I have to use lossless, Flac without a doubt.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:32 pm

If you can believe there's an International Association that deals with such a project. In a nutshell, and these people seem to be quite nuts, is, basically two uncompressed original 'preservation' copies, and a third that you would compress (lossless or lossy) and use (the access copy). This, of course, is a pain.

I just keep the WAV and then use the FLAC. Migrate the collection to new/better storage often, to avoid obsolescence.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:48 pm

drsauced wrote:If you can believe there's an International Association that deals with such a project. In a nutshell, and these people seem to be quite nuts, is, basically two uncompressed original 'preservation' copies, and a third that you would compress (lossless or lossy) and use (the access copy). This, of course, is a pain.

Nuts? They're trying to think through the landmines of archival (i.e for as close to eternity as possible) preservation of digital audio formats. Given the rapid shifts in digital storage technologies and the inability to guess which one will be a survivor for 20 years (let alone archival times), massive redundancy in the digital domain is the only way to go.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:42 pm

FLAC is great, but WavPack gives it a run for its money (it's also open-source and cross-platform). Try both on a typical sample of your source material and see which one fits the bill.
http://www.wavpack.com/

More info on lossless audio compression:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php ... comparison
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:45 pm

drsauced wrote:If you can believe there's an International Association that deals with such a project. In a nutshell, and these people seem to be quite nuts, is, basically two uncompressed original 'preservation' copies, and a third that you would compress (lossless or lossy) and use (the access copy). This, of course, is a pain.

This is pretty clearly meant not for personal use, but for archives -- at the extreme end, the Library of Congress.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:28 am

Spyder22446688 wrote:
Momento Mori wrote:Any particular reason? Being open source I am worried it might go out of favor and become an abandonded format at some point. Then I am stuck with a lossless archive which is not well supported.

I would actually take the inverse of your position, and argue that you should be more worried about a closed source format being abandoned. Then you would be stuck. Being open-source seems like much better protection, because then anybody can work on it, or work on conversion software. Plus, because FLAC is open source, I see it staying a popular lossless format for years to come.

I agree. I've heard this "I don't want to use an Open Source application because it may be abandoned" argument before, and it really does not hold up. Companies go out of business all the time; they can also choose not to support a particular platform, or require you to pay for a new version whenever you change/upgrade your OS.

An Open Source application -- provided you choose a reasonably popular one -- probably has better odds of being supported down the road than a commercial one. Even if the original developer(s) stop supporting it for whatever reason, or take the application in a direction that the users don't like, someone else will step up and keep it going (or fork it).
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:55 am

In a similar situation, I'm using Exact Audio Copy to rip my discs to FLAC (with the folder creation and tagging done automatically by EAC's scripting, and including creating cue sheets so that the original CD can be recreated if necessary), then batch converting FLAC to MP3 for portable use using Foobar2000. It's a pretty painless process other than having to use something like Album Art Downloader to locate album art.
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Re: Lossless Music Archive Format

Postposted on Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:06 am

Momento Mori wrote:Any particular reason? Being open source I am worried it might go out of favor and become an abandonded format at some point. Then I am stuck with a lossless archive which is not well supported.

FLAC is very well supported. There are a lot of devices that support it.

It is unlikely to drop out of favor anytime real soon. The digital audio industry is really picking up steam as more devices that support FLAC become available on the market.

And FLAC is my format of choice.
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