Talk:Comparison of audio coding formats

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Suggestions[edit]

This article needs expanding and updating. Ace ofgabriel (talk) 18:30, 22 March 2008 (UTC) The licenses section should be limited to three or so of the more popular tools (e.g.: envolve encoding, for the most part).

Latest stable version could use some work. Perhaps split into reference tool version, and spec. version?

Perhaps narrow down the *nix OSs to just "*nix". I am aware that there is an open source decoder in the works for ALAC, however I think it's not released yet.

mplayer 1.0pre7 and above has native support for decoding ALAC.

The stereo column could use some detail as to what mid/side, intensity, etc mean. Also do we need a mono column? I do not think bits per sample applies to lossy codecs (for the most part store data in frequency domain, and most are able to output into floating point). Perhaps some explaination is due as well: bits per sample here means of the original waveform, not of the stored compressed version (see Wavpack's rate description). For the values in parenthesis I mean that the format specification supports the values, but the software available doesn't fully support it.

Some links to debates about which format is best would improve the article greatly. Cacophony 21:26, 29 December 2005 (UTC)


What is 'Hybrid' in algorithm in technical details table? would've been better if there was more info on that.. 61.17.227.44 11:30, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Dolby E is missing in this list 130.180.43.82 (talk) 14:32, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Probably a mistake on the sample rates[edit]

I'm not sure, but are all the sample rates correct? WMA, for example, has 48000kHz. Isn't it 48kHz? Some other values are strange too. --200.165.128.150 14:42, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

This article needs work. What is its encyclopedic context? Is it a sub-page of audio codec? If so, it should have a {{main}} tag.

What is the significance of the audio codecs selected? Do they each form a large, well-documented share of audio files? If not, why were countless other codecs excluded from this list? Why is WMA stated to be unsupported on Mac OS X, when a Windows Media Player has been available on the platform and Flip4Mac provides current support?

Why is the latest stable version mentioned? How are the stable version numbers being verified? Whose implementation is considered to be "the real codec" and why? —donhalcon 20:10, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

None of the Category:Software comparison articles are really sub-pages. They have been treated as encyclopedic as stand-alone entities. However, this aricle might benefit from the expansion of the short introductory paragraph (sofixit).
Note there is a request for expansion, so I won't comment on included/excluded codecs.
I do agree that WMA should probably state "supported" on OS X.
The latest stable version provides a check on how current the comparison is. These numbers may easily be verified by any number of methods (not the least of which is to check back with the documentation for the codec, itself. The version numbers and features appear to be for the reference implementation, but the OS support seems to be ANY implementation. Perhaps this table can be expanded to say whether there is a reference implementation or whether the only implementations are by someone other than the original author (particularly on the *nixes). --Karnesky 20:08, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

This Article needs expansion and updating. Ace ofgabriel (talk) 18:29, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Reliable sources[edit]

What do people here consider as reliable sources? My company has developed an audio codec which is mentioned in an article I am working on here, and would like to know where editors working on this comparison expect information to be published. Stephen B Streater 20:31, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

More codecs that should be added.[edit]

Of course, there's more at hydrogenaudio, but there's a couple more.

Some issues[edit]

  1. For the purposes of this article, what is the difference between "BSD" and "Unix" (from the "Operating system support" section)?
  2. The statement "this enables their use on any POSIX-complaint system" (from the same section, footnotes) is misleading. Typically, a string of other libraries is required (which are not part of POSIX), and some type of output system (ALSA, OSS, ...; also not part of POSIX).
  3. The use of "OSI" to refer to the open-source implementations is a bit confusing. Simply because the OSI approved the licenses under which the software was published does not mean that they endorse that piece of software, nor that that piece of software has any other affiliation with OSI. Perhaps "OSS" (open source software) or just "Open-source" would be more appropriate.
  4. Perhaps there should be some mention of whether samples are floating-point or integer in the heading "bits per sample" in the "Technical details" section.
  5. How exactly does WavPack do "2.2" bits per sample in lossy mode? Does every fifth sample get an extra bit?
  6. Is a "Monaural" column really necessary? Can it not be assumed that all audio formats support one channel of audio?

Kbolino 10:03, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Implication of inferiority of patented formats[edit]

By using red for patented formats and green for free formats, we are clearly implying their inferiority, which in my neck of the woods is called POV. Recommend neutral coloring for that section. - 211.28.81.162 03:24, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Since this issue has been around for a while & there have been no arguments FOR the use of the "but no" and "but yes" templates, I'm going to remove them. --Karnesky 01:46, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
But it's still non-neutral POV! The patented ones are now green and the free ones are red, again, implying inferiority of the free ones. This is no good either, this is not the same as a feature checklist where it makes sense to imply missing features are somehow inferior. Not being encumbered by patents is not a missing feature. The neutral thing to do in this case is to just use the words "yes" or "no" without the colorizing templates; or even better perhaps the descriptive more neutral words "patented" and "unencumbered". Use of colors in this column adds no value at all and just implies favoritism one way or the other. - Dmeranda 21:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
"green" means "yes" and "red" means "no." Neither means good/bad/inferior/superior/etc. --Karnesky 22:00, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
For more than one person, they have meant good/bad/inferior/superior/etc, personally it was that way, even before reading what it says in the box, it seems that what is unencumbered is "evil". Colors should be removed. --Nando.sm 06:51, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Further in technical details, it still seems "bad" that not having a constant bit rate. What could be done, and if you like (i know this is for everyone, and not for only a small group of people, but if they agree) to have checks and crosses for has and has not. Don't know if it could work, but options have to be given. --Nando.sm
On the template talk pages, there was general consensus that green meant yes, rather than "good." It seems inappropriate to disregard this recent opinion which was advertised on all pages which used the templates for one particular page with far fewer readers. There was also a poll on checks, etc. If you think the templates should be improved, clearly the place to discuss it is on the template talk page. That the templates are called and have the self-proclaimed mission of substituting for "yes" and "no" suggests they can be appropriate in those columns. --Karnesky 16:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
It seemed evil before, but now it looks ugly... i will be killed for this, but wikipedia has reached concensus, so I will accept it. For information about color tags in tables go to table cell templates. Now in other things why not use the yes2 and no2 they are not so color saturated so it could have less appeal to the human eyes. Nando.sm 17:35, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The question is "Patented" the answer is "yes" so it should be green, but it is red. Similarly with DRM. Also, free is green, with cost is red, and OSI implementations are green, proprietary implementations are red. (I see it's actually magenta and cyan, not red and green, but give me a break!) The table is ugly and therefore hard to read, and still expresses bias. The switch to magenta and cyan just dodges the issue. I suggest shades of tan/yellow/off-white/etc. 216.254.64.90 (talk) 19:43, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

What constitutes "one codec"?[edit]

Some of the format compared in this article really comprise multiple separate codecs, in that no decoder program could decode all variants of them. For example, "AAC" lumps together several variants: LC-AAC (the standard version), HE-AAC (an enhanced version), HE-AAC v2 (a revision of HE-AAC), etc. A decoder that only understands the baseline LC-AAC won't be able to play back HE-AAC. By comparison, any reference-compliant MP3 decoder should be able to decode any MP3 file... whether it's encoded with some ancient Fraunhofer encoder, or the latest version of LAME.

In addition to AAC consisting of multiple incompatible codecs, ATRAC also has incompatible variants, and RealAudio uses numerous variant codecs (it's more of a container format than a codec). WMA may refer to multiple incompatible codecs as well (WMA 1/2, WMA Pro, WMA lossless, WMA voice). It seems that these "codecs" should be more properly described as brand names of loosely related codecs.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to convey this confusing state of affairs in the article? MOXFYRE (contrib) 17:53, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

A codec is a device or computer program capable of encoding and/or decoding a digital data stream or signal. This article is about comparison of audio compression formats. There should be also an article about comparison of audio codecs - but there should be various comparison:
- comparison of FAAC, Nero AAC Codec, iTunes AAC encoder/decoder (codec), Winamp encoder/decoder ... for LC-AAC
- comparison of aacplusenc, Nero AAC Codec, iTunes AAC encoder/decoder (codec), Winamp Pro encoder/decoder ... for HE-AAC
- comparison of LAME, Fraunhofer l3enc, MP3Enc, BladeEnc ... for MP3
- comparison of TooLAME, FFmpeg, SCMPX ... for MP2
... etc
--89.173.68.106 (talk) 08:01, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Comparing codecs or formats[edit]

I find it very unclear if we're comparing codecs or formats here. The title says “Comparison of audio codecs” while the table apparently compares formats — i.e. AAC to MP3 instead of LAME MP3 codec against Nero MP3 and QuickTime AAC. The table even has an “implementation” entry. Shouldn't the comparison be between those? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.243.206.5 (talk) 10:43, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that this article is not correct. Audio formats are not audio codecs. RealAudio is not a codec, it's multiple codecs that constitute a format. Some of the information here needs to be moved and/or deleted. Sapwood2 18:32, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

ffdshow & ProRes 422[edit]

Where would ffdshow & ProRes 422 fall in this comparison? —IncidentFlux [ TalkBack | Contributions ] 17:37, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

FP means...[edit]

Several references to "fp internally" are used in one table without any reference to what "fp" means. Could someone in the know please clear this up? User:Michael Daly --24.138.146.91 (talk) 02:39, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

It means floating point. Although it's a little misleading: some formats (like MP3) that are usually implemented with floating point have fairly tight integer constraints internally and as a result don't have (much) more dynamic range than 16bit audio. --96.231.29.35 (talk) 17:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
This is true but misses the point. MP3 has no specific restraints on bits per sample output, and one can create a valid MP3 stream with > 16 bit dynamic range provided it is simple enough to fit into the bitrate available. In reality mentioning a bits per sample for any MDCT codec is extremely misleading because dynamic range is defined in teh time domain, while these codecs are encoded in the frequency domain, so arbitrarily large dynamic range is possible for signals that are compact in time. The reverse is also true, with signals being compact in frequency potentially having poor SNR when measured in time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.3.198.221 (talk) 02:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Avoiding a revert war[edit]

A AIP keeps undoing the change I made that MPEG-1 Layer II audio is not under any active patents. All current MPEG-1 related articles, with the exception of this one, reports no patents are being enforced against implementations of MPEG-1 Layer II. Given the MPEG and ITU processes that encourage patent exposure, it's less likely that any active patents apply to this pre-1991 technology than, say, Ogg Vorbis.

As an aside, reverting my change demanding "I explain first", when I gave full explanations in the summary field, and when you've made no attempt to explain your position, seems like a very poor breach of etiquette.

I think the way to go here is to work on the baseline that if someone cannot cite a patent, the page should not claim a format is patented. If there are no serious objections, I'll go forward tomorrow and update the Layer II information. --208.152.231.254 (talk) 14:23, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

It's not "a" AIP, but two (and not the same person), so I would suggest to wait more than 24 hours. Are you really convinced that none of the (several) patents that apply to MP3 do not apply to MP2? --CE 62.178.80.242 (talk) 16:18, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
You're correct, I thought it was one.
However: First, we don't need a question answered with another question, still less one that expects me to prove a negative, but an answer. If MPEG 1 Layer II audio has a valid patent being enforced against it, then you should be able to cite it. To put it another way, you should be able to stick <ref>US Patent 391837491</ref> after the claim that it's patented. You can't expect me to prove a negative. Would you really feel that it's valid to put <ref>It hasn't been proven that the patents applying to MP3, which deviates from MP2 in many substantial and dramatic ways, do not apply to MP2, which is a format based on technologies from the mid-eighties</ref>
As I said above "Given the MPEG and ITU processes that encourage patent exposure, it's less likely that any active patents apply to this pre-1991 technology than, say, Ogg Vorbis."
If nobody here can list a specific patent applying to MPEG 1 Layer II audio, then we need either to mark the patent status of MPEG 1 Layer II and all formats currently marked as free (including Ogg Vorbis) as "Unknown", or we need to mark it as free. It's not hard. It's a simple question: if patents are being enforced against MPEG 1 Layer II, you should be able to find a patent that's being enforced. 208.152.231.254 (talk) 17:52, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I added now a reference about some patent issues. - Kuro5hin.org (2008-07-20) Patent Status of MPEG-1,H.261 and MPEG-2. I would like to notice that "MP2" (MPEG Layer II) is also defined in MPEG-2 Part 3. Maybe there are different patents for MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 audio. --89.173.68.106 (talk) 20:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The above reference (with others) is used by the MPEG-1 article to claim that MPEG-1 is patent free with the exception of MPEG 1 Layer III Audio. I do believe that Fraunhoffer claims patents with the surround sound extensions to MPEG-2 Layer 1-3 audio. I wonder if we should separate MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 out here, as the patent situation is clearly different with both. 208.152.231.254 (talk) 14:00, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
FYI, RedHat specifically refuses to include TwoLame, a MPEG-1 Audio Layer II encoder because of patent issues [1] On the whatwg mailing list Greg Maxwell listed US 5,214,678 [2] as a possible Layer II patent. Jrincayc (talk) 03:21, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
I think this is a dubious justification. I'm aware of organizations refusing to have anything to do with the Ogg family of codecs because they believe patent issues may exist. What we need is a source demonstrating that patent is actively being enforced against an MPEG 1 Audio Layer 2 implementation, otherwise we should word the Vorbis and Layer II entries the same way. --173.230.137.120 (talk) 14:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

This seems to still be a problem with the article - in fact, the entire row has become even more dubious with a claim that there are no free encoders/decoders for the format. I agree that if Ogg Vorbis, which patent holders have specifically said has patent issues, can be marked as patent free (rightly, in my view, sabre rattling is dubious) then a format considerably over 20 years old that nobody has ever said they'd enforce patents against should be marked as patent free. 98.254.202.225 (talk) 11:06, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Split lossy and lossless formats[edit]

This article is becoming more messy by the hour, I would suggest a split of lossless and lossy formats, because it will reduce the clutter and because the applications of lossless (archival) and lossy (bandwidth and space savings) are quite different. Maybe even split formats for voice transmission and make this article "comparison of music formats" (rather arbitrary :( ) or something the like.

Kohlrabi (talk) 12:59, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I think splitting can be complicated. There are some hybrid compression formats, that can be lossy and also lossless - e.g. MPEG-4 SLS, WavPack, OptimFROG. Splitting voice transmission and music formats is also not very easy, because there are attempts to create universal formats - like CELT, MPEG-4 Part 3 formats (like USAC - Unified Speech and Audio Coding, AAC-LD and others), G.719, Siren 22, AMR-WB+, HE-AAC v2 ... etc.
89.173.68.106 (talk) 20:17, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

low bit-rate speech codecs[edit]

can someone start a new article: list of low bit-rate speech codecs (codecs dedicated to voice compression only)? such codecs are significantly different than generic audio codecs, and lumping all of them together in one table is confusing and misleading.

speech codecs: AMR (and variants), ACELP, LPC-10 (FIPS 137), MELPe, IMBE, AMBE, CVSD, MELP, VSELP, and more.

suggested table columns: bitrate, latency, intelligibility score, usage in industry (ex: GSM, 3G, inmarsat, IS-54, public safety radio (APCO-25) etc)

i can fill the table if someone starts the article. 109.186.154.174 (talk) 15:52, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Free AAC implementation?[edit]

Why is Windows Media Player listed as a free encoder/decoder implementation of WMA but Quicktime isn't listed as a free encoder/decoder implementation of AAC 72.252.3.183 (talk) 16:53, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Good question. I think there's some issue with the MPEG group and royalties, but for the average end user QuickTime and Nero and FAAC/FAAD are all freely available. 12.106.190.70 (talk) 18:36, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Columns in General Information[edit]

Imo, the table does not need more columns, but the latest changes by D.scain.farenzena should be reverted, esp. since Lossless is an "application" in this context and the "No's" for Music are typically misleading. --Regression Tester (talk) 09:22, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Bit depth?[edit]

I'm surprised that bit depth is not included in this comparison! --194.83.82.3 (talk) 12:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

It used to be (mistakenly) included for all formats, but since then its been removed for formats that don't have a strictly defined bit depth (e.g. all lossy formats).

Michaelgaccount (talk) 00:38, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

G.711 & G.711.1 are not lossy[edit]

These codecs are lossless. They use straight PCM encoding and so should not be included as lossy codecs. 192.91.191.162 (talk) 11:09, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Why no reference to Audio Interchange File Format?[edit]

AIFF - Audio Interchange File Format — Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.86.236.127 (talk) 14:33, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Meaning of Operating System Support table[edit]

Can we clarify the meaning of the Operating System Support table?

The newly-added Android column data is taken from the native support in the Android OS, yet under Windows or Mac OSX there are Green boxes for formats like FLAC and Opus that are not natively supported by an official install without additional third-party software, frameworks or codec packs. Returning to Android, players like VLC or BS Player can play many of those with "No" beside the name.

Maybe we'd be better with:

No in Red for no support available (no supporting software known, e.g. presumably PalmOS and Symbian support for Opus are unknown)

Yes (software) or Yes (third party) in Yellow for support only via third-party add-ons, frameworks, codec packs or player software

Yes (native) in Green for native support in the plain vanilla install of that OS (e.g. the Android framework or iOS support for MP3 and AAC out of the box)

I also think we should make it clear that we are referring to decoding (playback) support and not necessarily to encoding support, or we should have another answer to indicate playback only (third party) or playback only (native) if that comes up.

We should probably not include any formats that require a rooted or jailbroken device in this list without specifying that as a different OS column.

I think this ought to be useful for someone considering sending an audio file to a third party who is not proficient and would hope to just click and play.

Also, it's probably about time for a review of which OS we include. How widespread is PalmOS or Symbian now, worldwide (not just in the 'first world', and is each still worth including? If so, should we separately include older Android versions with only partial AAC support (no HE-AAC for example) for devices that are four or five years old? Should we add Windows Phone?

Thoughts, anyone? Dynamicimanyd (talk) 12:21, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

I wonder if OS support wouldn't be better left to Comparison of audio player software, which already lists audio formats and platforms supported by each player. I would expect that generally it would be possible to play any standard format on any common platform, with the right software, and it is just a matter of finding the software that supports the platform, formats, and other features that are needed.
If this table is kept here then I agree with the proposal. Support that is only available with some minimum OS version could be indicated with a footnote or text in the cell, rather than a separate column. LiberatorG (talk) 19:59, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

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Include EVS Codec[edit]

I don't see information on Enhanced Voice Services codec...need to include it. I'll get to it if I can but anyone feel free to jump in.War (talk) 16:17, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

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