alternatives to digital audio

Although MP3 is the most popular format for encoding air, it is by no means the alone one. There are two basic methods for compressing audio – lossless and lossy, and for each of these methods there are abounding formats.

Lossless compression means that none of the audio data is removed during compression. Lossy compression means that audio data is permanently removed from the audio file. Lossy compression results in smaller files, but there is no road to rebuild the audio data to its aboriginal format. MP3 is an archetype of lossy compression.

Lossy Compression Formats

There are abounding alternatives to MP3 when it comes to encoding audio files. Microsoft reportedly developed the WMA format to avoid the licensing costs associated with MP3. WMA files can be played with the Windows Media Player that is included with the Windows operating system as able-bodied as abounding other audio players. It features agnate encoding rates to MP3 and agnate file sizes.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is the format preferred by Apple and is used for its popular iTunes and iPod products. AAC files can be smaller than MP3 files as it uses added efficient encoding technology. A 96 kpbs AAC file is agnate in sound affection to a 128 kbps MP3 file.

Ogg Vorbis is another type of lossy compression and uses .OGG as the file extension. It is an accessible-source product and unlike MP3, there are no patent restrictions on its statement.

Lossless Compression

For the audio purist who insists on the ace affection sound possible, lossless compression offers CD affection sound. The tradeoff is larger files sizes – while MP3 can compress audio in the scope of 80% – 90%, lossless compression typically compresses the file by half.

Popular lossless formats accommodate FLAC, Primate’s Audio, and SHN (Shorten). These formats are supported by abounding audio players and are popular for archiving CD collections as able-bodied as for trading air.

About the author:

Hans is editor of the Audio Howto Section of the Selected Audio Analysis Adviser

Originall posted August 4, 2012