Which lossless format use to store audio ?
Which lossless format use to store audio ? This question was quite hard some time ago, because the enormous amount of lossless audio compressor choices available, and it was a very difficult task to choose the one most suited for each person's needs.
But today FLAC became industry standart for storing, sharing, ripping music in high quality. It's opensource, wide known, popular and a lot of devices/software support it.
Several people only take into consideration compression performance when choosing a codec. But as the following table and article shows, there are several other features worth taking into consideration when making that choice.
For example, users wanting good multiplatform compatibility and robustness (E.G, people sharing live recordings) would favour WavPack or FLAC. Another user, looking for the very highest compression available, would go with OptimFROG. Someone wanting portable support would use FLAC or ALAC, and so on.
En fin, this is not a matter worth getting too worked up about. If you later find out the codec you chose isn't the best for your needs, you can just transcompress to another format, without risk of losing quality.
|Encoding speed||fast||very fast||very fast||fast||slow||average||average|
|Decoding speed||very fast||very fast||very fast||average||average||fast||average|
|Flexibility**||very good||very good||very good||very good||very good||bad||bad|
|Tagging||Vorbis tags||ID3/APE||APEv2 (exp.)||ID3/APE||ID3/APE||iTunes||ASF|
|Hardware support||very good||limited||no||limited||no||good||limited|
|Software support||very good||good||average||good||average||average||good|
|Replay Gain||yes||yes||yes||no||yes||sort of||no|
|Open source||yes||yes||no||yes||no||yes (third-party)||no|
|OS support||All||All||Win/Linux Wine||All||Win/Mac/Linux||All||Win/Mac|
(table continued below)
|Features||Shorten||LA||TTA||LPAC||MPEG-4 ALS||MPEG-4 SLS||Real Lossless|
|Encoding speed||very fast||slow||very fast||average||average||slow||slow|
|Decoding speed||very fast||slow||fast||fast||fast||slow||fast|
|Software support||very good||bad||average||average||bad||bad||bad|
* The Compression ratio is calculated with the division of compressed size by uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.
Encoding speed, Decoding speed and Compression ratio are based on each encoder's default settings.
** Flexibility refers to the amount of encoding choices offered to the users (Fast/low compression, Slow/high compression and everything inbetween)