Audio: Use FLAC Instead of AIFF and WAVE! Use Vorbis instead of MP3!

Audio File Format Heroes And Fools

Update: I wrote a poem.

FLAC is superior to AIFF and WAVE.

FLAC is a compressed(+), lossless(+), open(+) format.
AIFF and WAVE are uncompressed(-), lossless(+), open(+) formats.

FLAC is also easy to use.

Vorbis is superior to MP3.

Vorbis is a compressed(+), lossy(-), open(+) format.
MP3 is a compressed(+), lossy(-), proprietary(-) format.

See Wikipedia’s comparison of audio formats for more info.

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8 Responses to Audio: Use FLAC Instead of AIFF and WAVE! Use Vorbis instead of MP3!

  1. tametick says:

    The “problem” with ogg is that many platforms (flash, ios) support mp3 out of the box, so you can use those “for free”, where as ogg would require a 3rd party lib.

    With vm based environment where the low level stuff is implemented natively (e.g. flash, java, python) you want to use as much built-in functionality as you can and avoid implementing cpu-intensive tasks in the higher level language.

    Other than that I agree :)

  2. tametick says:

    Also forgot to mention that if you use html5 some browsers don’t support ogg in the audio api but support mp3.

    • wilbefast says:

      My html5 game used OGG music. I think it’s just IE that has problems if I remember correctly, an IE seems to have problems with everything. I made the decision early on that I wasn’t going to support it: other browsers are free and superior in pretty much every way, so people have no excuse for using it :P

  3. wilbefast says:

    I use OGG for music, though I must admit I do use WAVE for sound effects most of the time. SDL seems to load .wav files without making as much fuss as other formats, but I’ll see if I can’t get it working with FLAC :)

  4. tametick says:

    Safari doesn’t support it either, and chrome support is partial. Only firefox & opera really support it well, and in the case of the latter only fairly recent versions of opera.

  5. DillPill says:

    Most platforms support .mov and .AIFF and .wav. I cant seem to be able to open Flac. Is there any way to convert it to another kind

  6. Well said qubodup.

    I store all my sample collection in FLAC format. Stuff I have in WAV format is all encoded to FLAC now, because being losslessly compressed, there is no even theoretical quality loss when using it in a rendered project.

    I use Vorbis for ripped CDs and recorded vinyl, mostly because it was the easiest format to use on Linux when I belatedly got round to digitising my music collection, but I’m glad I did so. Actually, once I encoded a song as MP3 and FLAC to compare the two — the FLAC file was smaller, and it’s a lossless format!

    I’m at a loss as to why proprietary DAWs don’t support FLAC, if that really is the case (I run Ardour, which needless to say doesn’t have this problem.) There is simply no technical reason why FLAC cannot replace raw WAV as a lossless audio interchange format. Literally none.

    Of course, at the end of the day it all has to do with “but my device doesn’t work with it out of the box” — to which my response is, that’s Apple/Microsoft’s problem, as it is when confronted with any open format outside they control (kudos to the person who saw no reason to work around the fact that IE has problems with everything) not of someone providing free content and asking nothing in return.

    For people in that position, the place to go is http://xiph.org/downloads/#third_party.

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