Meridian Lossless Packing

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The Meridian Lossless Packing logo
The Advanced Resolution logo

Meridian Lossless Packing, also known as Packed PCM (PPCM),[citation needed] is a lossless compression technique for PCM audio data developed by Meridian Audio, Ltd. MLP is the standard lossless compression method for DVD-Audio content[1] (often advertised with the Advanced Resolution logo) and typically provides about 1.5:1 compression on most music material. All DVD-Audio players are equipped with MLP decoding,[2] while its use on the discs themselves is at their producers' discretion.

Dolby TrueHD, used in Archival Disc Blu-ray and HD DVD, employs the MLP codec, but compared with DVD-Audio, adds higher bit rates, 32 full-range channels, extensive metadata, and custom speaker placements (as specified by SMPTE).[3]

Standard DVD has a maximum transfer rate of 9.6 Mbit/s, around 70 percent of the bit rate needed to store 6 uncompressed audio channels of 24-bit/96 kHz. Should MLP not be able to compress the stream below the maximum transfer rate – or in case there is a need to reduce the size to fit overall disc capacity – it can exploit (lossy!) pre-quantification zeroing out least significant bits when necessary.[4][5][6] The MLP stream can also contain "substreams", like surround and stereo downmix, which need not be of the same bit depth or sampling frequency – this further enables (lossy) pre-processing to save space. TrueHD streams cannot do this[7] (likely because Blu-Ray discs have higher storage capacity).

MLP is streamable: A decoder can pick up the stream and start decoding from that point on nearly instantly, where the encoder has inserted a "restart block" in the stream.[8] Typically, restart information is inserted approximately every 5 ms in the audio,[9] about the same as a typical 96 kHz FLAC stream.

MLP in packaged media formats[edit]

Media format Status Channels Max. bit rate
HD DVD Mandatory 2 to 8 18 Mbit/s
Blu-ray Optional 2 to 8 18 Mbit/s
DVD-Audio Mandatory 1 to 6 9.6 Mbit/s
DVD-Video Not available

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "It's Official: DVD-Audio Version 1.0 Finally Set". Stereophile. 14 February 1999. Archived from the original on 25 August 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  2. ^ "MLP mandatory for DVD-Audio players" (PDF) (Press release). Huntingdon: Meridian Audio. 27 February 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  3. ^ Dolby Laboratories. "Dolby TrueHD (MLP) high-level bitstream description". 2018 p. 6.
  4. ^ Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) in a Nutshell.
  5. ^ "MLP Lossless Compression" by Bob Stuart of Meridian Audio, Ltd.
  6. ^ "A Proposal for the High-Quality Audio Application of High-Density CD Carriers" proposal by Bob Stuart, 1996, Table 3.
  7. ^ MLP on MultimediaWiki
  8. ^ Dolby Laboratories 2018, section 2.4
  9. ^ Robert C. Maher. "Lossless Compression of Audio Data". p. 266.