And the winner is …

Mensen vragen mij nogal eens: Maar wat is volgens jou nou het beste, wat adviseer jij mij nou?
En dan doelt men op het comprimeren van geluid op de PC, hoe men geluidsfiles zo klein mogelijk maakt, zodat ze via internet verzonden kunnen worden enzo. Also known as encoding from WAV to… ogg. Want dat is by far het beste dus nu, om van je wav een ogg vorbis file te maken. Geen Musepack, geen iTunes AAC, geen LAME mp3, geen WMA, geen Atrac, maar OGG. Waarmee maak je die ogg files?
hier is een lijst. Zelf gebruik ik oggdropXPd (met de aoTuV codec). Voor top-kwaliteit adviseer ik quality-setting 6 (voor de beste verhouding grootte/kwaliteit), maar je zult versteld staan van de resultaten, ook bij extreem lage quality-settings!

Funkafilia asked me:

> whats your say on mp3 compared to ogg?

The short version: Ogg has unlimited potential, whereas MP3 is a dying breed, both legally as well as quality-wise.
It’s basically a matter of evolvement; Ogg vorbis came about because of people being unhappy with limitations other audio-compression formats were showing. Both formats are ‘lossy’ audio compression techniques, but let’s (for arguments sake) say they are of the same quality (which they aren’t). Then MP3 simply loses because the Ogg format has an enormous bitrate ‘reservoir’. In theory there isn’t even a limit for ogg vorbis. You can encode at the maximum quality-level (10) and then end up with a ~480 kbps file! I’ve seen encodes of heavy trance-tracks using frames that go as high as 640 kbps, such happens with loud levels of extreme lows and highs at the same time.

Also important to know is the fact that both formats are in different stages of their development;
LAME MP3 is currently an amazing high quality encoder, and looking back at years of tremendous growth it’s still (for many samples) beating Musepack, AAC, WMA, Atrac (MiniDisc) and of course all other MP3 encoders, but then you need to be encoding at 112 kbps or higher. Ogg Vorbis started targeting lower bitrates, soon it emerged as THE number one high quality streaming format on the internet. Check these out:
Xylem Baux
WickedKarma’s Liquid Dance
my personal 49 kbps stream
..really, just close your eyes, many a time you will not believe the bitrates you are listening to!
Ogg Vorbis definitely is *the* bandwidth savior of the century. If you’re gonna stream audio on the net, or want to have more songs on your portable than ever before, ogg is the way to go.. Ogg Vorbis can have 256 channels of audio at one time, so logically we also see it being used for audio in compressed movies more and more (like in XviD and DivX, where audio is really becoming an issue when sizing down a DVD).

Making a long story short, two years ago Ogg Vorbis was only better than all the other formats when encoding below 170 kbps. In our tests LAME MP3 did a better job processing especially mid and low-mid areas of the audio-spectrum, with rates of 180 kbps and higher (this is not a matter of taste, this is pure measured fact). More recently though, a few spin-offs based on the standard Ogg Vorbis encoder libraries appeared, boosting development, and causing Ogg Vorbis to be the overall winner now, leaving even LAME MP3 @ 192 kbps far behind over the entire range of the spectrum.

MP3 is of course to Ogg Vorbis, what VHS is to DVD. It’s not easy beating a widely settled and accepted format, and it is especially hard when there’s no money involved.
Where DVD is being marketed because of all the money and licensing involved, the .ogg audio format is completely free from any marketing or money-making schemes.

Probably one of the biggest ‘underground’ distribution channels for all those ‘free’ MP3 audio files is usenet. When taking a look at how these channels are built up, it’s clear to see that the xiph format still has a lot of souls to win: I counted only 9 groups containing Ogg binaries, versus around 120 groups containing MP3 binaries.
I’m pretty sure though, since it’s an open-source format, Ogg Vorbis will win a lot more souls in due time, it’s already decent at 4, yes 4(!) kbps: (in stereo at that!) and the way I see it;
Each small step for Ogg Vorbis is a giant one for mankind…

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Kay

    Thanks! was very useful to me

  2. Lauren

    The Squeeze box did it to me: I’m drinking the digital music kool aid and ripping everything I own. I’m trying to use the oggdropXPd version with aoTuV, but it wants a dll I’ve never heard of. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll keep trying!

  3. Fred

    Should be considered for all portable music players.
    Am currently using a PDA/Phone/MP3 Player with a 256MB SD card. Thought of upgrading to a 1GB SD card so that I can store a bigger selection but then an idea came, hence I thought I’ll check out what OGG has up its sleeves. Was pleasently surprised at the quality using relatively low bit rate, hence saving space. Cool stuff.

  4. sintel

    Also, AAC has been replacing OGG as the multitrack audio codec of choice in movie/anime encodes. OGG used to be broken for multitracks, dunno if it still is.

  5. jult

    All fine and dandy, sir, but even at my testing NOW, using the most up to date mpc codecs and aac codecs versus Ogg Vorbis aoTuVb3 it’s not winning the battle. aacPlus V2 might sound somewhat cleaner in some areas at bitrates below 36 kbps, but that’s about all that can be said in favor of aac.
    mpc sounds rather “capped”, if not clearly misses stuff here and there, and aac is already outdated from start, by using a CBR, in my opninion.

    Furthermore, musepack tries this on me:

    There still occured 1 SCF clippings due to a restriction of StreamVersion 7.
    Use the ‘–scale’ method to avoid additional distortions. Note that this
    file already has annoying distortions due to slovenly CD mastering.

    This was not the case; it is a perfectly fine sawtooth sample being used in a well-mastered techno-track. I hate software telling me lies about the music I try to encode. It should not even matter what the source audio is. An extra thumb down for MPC on that.

  6. Ken

    Sorry about the email though, I generally do not read it!!
    I was browsing an old archive i had of your article, “making perfect LAME files” or something like that. Led to this link by an old link in that article. I will pursue Ogg, but.. does winamp play Ogg and does Ogg allow players to read and understand MP3 tags or their equivalent?

Leave a Reply