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Old 13th March 2004, 21:26   #1
jtorchy
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Is Musepack really the highest quality lossy codec at high bitrates?

I heard this a while ago on another forum, people were talking how musepack was the highest quality loosy codec at around 160 bitrates. Is this true? If not, which is the better quality codec around 128 - 160 bitrates?
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Old 14th March 2004, 03:54   #2
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Currently MusePack is the highest quality lossy encoder at bitrates above 160kbps. The main advantage of MusePack is that it can acheive transparency at lower bitrates than MP3 and Ogg Vorbis. Though I think that AAC has the potential to someday dethrown MusePack but at the moment I would say that MusePack is still the best lossy encoder. LAME MP3 is also a great encoder but needs a much higher bitrate to achieve transparency. I would probably say the best AAC encoder at the moment at higher bitrates would be Nero's AAC encoder as it uses VBR. Apple's iTunes encoder, though superior at 128kbps to Nero, only uses CBR. MusePack also offers faster encoding than MP3 and other compression codecs. The only real downside to MusePack is that it is not widely supported so you have to get plug-ins and are limited to a select few media playing applications to play it. Also MusePack's development has ceased recently but now that the developer of MusePack recently got a new computer courtesy of Hydrogen Audio members, development for the new SV8 version of MusePack could very well pickup. We'll have to see how it turns out. As far as the best encoder at bitrates of 128-160kbps goes, I would have to say AAC or Ogg Vorbis.
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Old 14th March 2004, 06:40   #3
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Very well put, Teqknilogik

And yes, Musepack is currently the best, but may fail to OGG or MP4/AAC in the near future. The simple reason being that the latter two formats are going through very good development. Musepack, on the other hand, is going at snail's pace, or development is almost non-existent
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Old 14th March 2004, 07:49   #4
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hmm how does it compare to flac lossless codec ?


http://flac.sourceforge.net/index.html
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Old 14th March 2004, 07:52   #5
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FLAC is lossless so IS equivalent to CD quality. MusePack is a lossy encoder which removes information from the audio to reduce file size. FLAC does not remove any information from the audio. It works like WinZip or WinRAR in how it compresses/decompresses. You can't compare a lossy to a lossless codec. Lossy codecs have a transparency bitrate (or preset) at which they cannot be distinguished from the original source, however, they are not technically CD quality like lossless codecs such as FLAC are.
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Old 14th March 2004, 14:20   #6
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The practical difference is that with a lossy codec you may come across some tracks that won't reach transparency and if you want to transcode for your portable or standalone quality will suffer because the artifacts will accumulate and thus become audible even if you use a transparent setting every time.

I seriously think we need a sticky codec-faq.
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Old 14th March 2004, 23:18   #7
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The comparison between lossy codecs and lossless codecs is like that between Jpeg and PNG image files. While the Jpg can range in file sizes and qualities (some near perfect qualities at large file sizes) PNGs are always exact but take up a lot more space.

I'd go with Vorbis or AAC at quality 5/160kbps variable bit rate to get the best quality and best compatibility.

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Old 15th March 2004, 00:10   #8
jtorchy
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Cool, thanks fellas. How come apple hasn't incorporated a VBR feature for itunes? I checked out rareware's site on the AAC test for 128 test, and itunes came out on top. I have all my tracks riped at 128 quality as well. They sound great and transparent.
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Old 15th March 2004, 02:46   #9
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Well, with iTunes 128 AAC I noticed some artifacts with cymbals though other than that it did sound transparent to my ears. Certainly seeing how well iTunes AAC did at 128kbps compared to other codecs kind of justifies Apple's decision to use that quality in their music store.

Edit: I have gotten a couple free iTunes songs thanks to Pepsi and I must say that all of the songs I downloaded from iTunes were of excellent quality.

Last edited by Teqnilogik; 15th March 2004 at 04:27.
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Old 15th March 2004, 05:31   #10
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Faster encoding simpler decoding.

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Old 15th March 2004, 12:02   #11
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Faster encoding and simpler decoding is a definite plus to why Apple is using CBR. I also think that a VBR implementation of AAC done by Apple probably might not be too great anyway. Just look at their VBR mode for MP3, not too great. But currently even Apple's AAC encoder is beating out VBR encoders at 128kbps so Apple must be doing something right with CBR.
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Old 15th March 2004, 20:48   #12
tegija
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Quote:
Originally posted by whiteflip
The comparison between lossy codecs and lossless codecs is like that between Jpeg and PNG image files. While the Jpg can range in file sizes and qualities (some near perfect qualities at large file sizes) PNGs are always exact but take up a lot more space.
AFAIK PNG < JPG considering the size. maybe u wanted to compare JPEGs to TIFFs?
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Old 15th March 2004, 21:34   #13
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whats AFAIK?
Granted depending on the picture, a PNG can be considerably smaller than a JPG, but im talking say, digital camera shots.

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Old 15th March 2004, 23:32   #14
Russ
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No, JPEGs are lossy, and PNGs are lossless. In the vast majority of cases, JPEGs are smaller than PNGs.

TIFF = WAV
PNG = FLAC
JPEG = MP3/AAC/MPC/whatever.

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Old 16th March 2004, 07:31   #15
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BMP = WAV?
I know about Tiff just not to much into how Tiff image files are saved. I would guess that its just a BMP with tags placed in various places.

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Old 16th March 2004, 11:50   #16
Russ
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Yeah, TIFF is usually uncompressed, as is BMP. You can compress TIFFs though, in which case they would fall under the FLAC category.

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Old 29th March 2004, 05:23   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Triton4
Musepack, on the other hand, is going at snail's pace, or development is almost non-existent
Well actually, according to Frank Klemm, the developer of Musepack, this codec is tweaked nearly to its optimum already. There are still some plans to churn out a final SV8 though to squeeze out the last few bits (no pun intended) of quality.
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Old 29th March 2004, 08:15   #18
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it was my understanding that PNG files could also be lossy.

i know that PNG can be lossless, but all my image editors offer a quality setting for PNG files, perhaps they have both a full quality and an optimised file size type option.


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Old 29th March 2004, 08:22   #19
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No, PNG is lossless. The only option Photoshop gives on saving a PNG is interlaced/non-interlaced.

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Old 31st March 2004, 01:58   #20
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Older Photoshops also offered different methods of creating PNG files. PNG's are always lossless but its file size depends on the amount of cpu time is put into looking for a compression method or what not. PNGCrush is a great tool for making large PNG's smaller and can be found at sourceforge.net

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Old 31st March 2004, 21:23   #21
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Isn't this thread about Audio files, not Image Files?
Stop going off topic!

[@imho] man
[@imho] I had dreams about unit testing last night :-(
[@sim`a] i have nightmares about syntax errors, whats your point
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