Saturday, January 17, 2009

Which format do you archive your audio files with?

Good question. It used to be... No doubt that as time passes by, even if storage is order of magnitudes cheaper than it was 10 years ago, the most popular format is mp3. I remember when I started enconding mp3 files: my poor Pentium 133 could encode a standard audio CD in one night. I used the vintage Fraunhofer encoder at 128kbit/s. And the quality was obviously bad.

I get really angry when I hear or read the words "CD quality" associated with mp3. The possibilities are:
  • people just repeat what they hear without testing
  • people really don't have an idea of what they're speaking about
  • people don't even know what sampling and Shannon theorem is...
Whichever the reason, it's not that hard making a test to discover that it's not that hard to hear how it sounds different after an encoding. Even Apple's iTunes AAC codec is not that good, after all.

If you're interested to detail, you can check this. Or better, rip a dynamic CD such as a classical music CD and test various lossy encoders in their full range of options. You'll easily discover where the loss is.

Don't say no to good music, just use FLAC or another lossless codec of your choice.

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