Commit 0e6187c4 authored by Josh Coalson's avatar Josh Coalson

minor formatting

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This is an informal changelog, a summary of changes in each release. Particulary important for developers is the precise description of changes to the library interfaces. See also the <a href="http://flac.sourceforge.net/api/group__porting.html">porting guide</a> for specific instructions on porting to newer versions of FLAC.
This is an informal changelog, a summary of changes in each release. Particulary important for developers is the precise description of changes to the library interfaces. See also the <a href="http://flac.sourceforge.net/api/group__porting.html">porting guide</a> for specific instructions on porting to newer versions of FLAC.<br />
<br /><br />
<br />
<a name="flac_1_1_3"><b>FLAC 1.1.3</b></a>
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The compression ratios and times for flac are representative only of the reference encoder. They are not indicative of the limits of all FLAC encoders or the FLAC format itself since the format is open and extensible, and anyone is free to write a better FLAC encoder.
</li>
</ul>
I make an effort to keep this information as accurate as possible, but if any of the data is wrong, <a href="mailto:jcoalson@users.sourceforge.net">let me know</a> and I'll correct it. For another comparison (with graphs) of lossless codecs, see <a href="http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossless/lossless.htm">here</a>.
<br /><br />
I make an effort to keep this information as accurate as possible, but if any of the data is wrong, <a href="mailto:jcoalson@users.sourceforge.net">let me know</a> and I'll correct it. For another comparison (with graphs) of lossless codecs, see <a href="http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossless/lossless.htm">here</a>.<br />
<br />
Note: the comparison tables are getting a little stale for some of the other encoders; for some alternate comparisons and other lossless information see these links:
<ul>
<li><a href="http://web.inter.nl.net/users/hvdh/lossless/lossless.htm">Hans Heijden's</a> lossless comparison</li>
<li><a href="http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lossless_comparison">Roberto Amorim's</a> lossless comparison on Hydrogenaudio</li>
<li><a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=33226">"Which is the best lossless codec?"</a> thread on Hydrogenaudio</li>
<li><a href="http://www.losslessaudioblog.com/">Lossless Audio Blog</a></li>
</ul>
<br /><br />
</ul><br />
<br />
Reviewed encoders (besides flac of course):
<ul>
<li>
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<a href="http://www.wavpack.com/">WavPack</a> - An open-source codec, released under the BSD license. WavPack has a very good tradeoff between compressed size and compression speed.
</li>
</ul>
If you take maximum compression ratio and speed out of the picture (as you will see later, most coders exhibit similar performance), here is a subjective sort based on overall "usefulness". As far as features go, having source code gives you the most freedom since you can add anything you need that is missing; besides, open source projects tend to get better faster than closed source ones. A close second (depending on the user) would be OS support or plugin support.
<br /><br />
If you take maximum compression ratio and speed out of the picture (as you will see later, most coders exhibit similar performance), here is a subjective sort based on overall "usefulness". As far as features go, having source code gives you the most freedom since you can add anything you need that is missing; besides, open source projects tend to get better faster than closed source ones. A close second (depending on the user) would be OS support or plugin support.<br />
<br />
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<br />
The machine I used for encoding the test files is a PII-333 with 256 megs of RAM, running Windows NT 4.0 SP5. Unfortunately, Windows is the lowest-common-denominator platform for all the encoders. Apple Lossless was tested on a newer machine (P4-2.4GHz Windows 2000); only the overall encoding and decoding times are shown, and the times are scaled to the PII-333 by multiplying by the ratio of flac times on the PII to P4.
<br /><br />
The input corpus currently consists entirely of CD music tracks. In the future it may include more kinds of input (like speech, other sample rates/resolutions, etc). There are 14 tracks whose genres range from rock to pop to death metal to classical to chant.
<br /><br />
The first table is a summary of results on all input tracks. The remaining tables show the results of the encoders on each track. The summary table has more modes, whereas the individual tables have just the interesting ones.
<br /><br />
In the summary table, entries are sorted by average compression ratio, which is the average of the ratios for each track; this keeps long tracks from having more influence than short ones. In the individual tables, this is the same as the straight compression ratio, which is compressed size / uncompressed size.
<br /><br />
The machine I used for encoding the test files is a PII-333 with 256 megs of RAM, running Windows NT 4.0 SP5. Unfortunately, Windows is the lowest-common-denominator platform for all the encoders. Apple Lossless was tested on a newer machine (P4-2.4GHz Windows 2000); only the overall encoding and decoding times are shown, and the times are scaled to the PII-333 by multiplying by the ratio of flac times on the PII to P4.<br />
<br />
The input corpus currently consists entirely of CD music tracks. In the future it may include more kinds of input (like speech, other sample rates/resolutions, etc). There are 14 tracks whose genres range from rock to pop to death metal to classical to chant.<br />
<br />
The first table is a summary of results on all input tracks. The remaining tables show the results of the encoders on each track. The summary table has more modes, whereas the individual tables have just the interesting ones.<br />
<br />
In the summary table, entries are sorted by average compression ratio, which is the average of the ratios for each track; this keeps long tracks from having more influence than short ones. In the individual tables, this is the same as the straight compression ratio, which is compressed size / uncompressed size.<br />
<br />
Some interesting things to note:
<ul>
<li>flac -5 is right in the middle with respect to compression, relatively fast on the encoding range, and one of the fastest decoding. This is about what you would expect; FLAC is designed to put most of the processing on the encoding side, which is only done once, whereas the adaptive codecs take as long to decode as encode. FLAC is more suited in this way for playback on low-power devices and is one of the reasons it is the only lossless codec with any kind of hardware support.</li>
......@@ -440,8 +440,8 @@
<li>RKAU also has a tendency to get bigger in the 'high' mode.</li>
<li>Another ironic fact is that the encoders that are patented or cost money turn out to be the worst by most measures. SPS is so archane and crippled that I gave up trying to put together results for it after one track.</li>
</ul>
This is a summary table with just the most 'economic' modes (the ones that give the most compression for the least amount of encode/decode time) for each codec.
<br /><br />
This is a summary table with just the most 'economic' modes (the ones that give the most compression for the least amount of encode/decode time) for each codec.<br />
<br />
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FLAC is an open source project and we are happy to enlist the help of anyone who wants to contribute. The preferred method for transmitting improvements is patch files (in "diff -c" format) sent to the <a href="http://lists.xiph.org/mailman/listinfo/flac-dev">developer mailing list</a>, but zipped up sources are OK. Make sure to read the <a href="goals.html">FLAC goals</a> first; there are some thing the we <b>don't</b> want added to FLAC, like copy protection and lossy compression.
<br /><br />
FLAC is an open source project and we are happy to enlist the help of anyone who wants to contribute. The preferred method for transmitting improvements is patch files (in "diff -c" format) sent to the <a href="http://lists.xiph.org/mailman/listinfo/flac-dev">developer mailing list</a>, but zipped up sources are OK. Make sure to read the <a href="goals.html">FLAC goals</a> first; there are some thing the we <b>don't</b> want added to FLAC, like copy protection and lossy compression.<br />
<br />
High priority items are:
<ul>
<li>
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<b>NOTE: </b> these extras are not part of the FLAC project. Most (except those marked [$]) are freely available but distributed under their authors' own terms.
<br /><br />
<b>NOTE: </b> make sure to check out the <a href="links.html">links page</a> for a large list of open-source software supporting FLAC.
<br /><br />
<b>NOTE: </b> these extras are not part of the FLAC project. Most (except those marked [$]) are freely available but distributed under their authors' own terms.<br />
<br />
<b>NOTE: </b> make sure to check out the <a href="links.html">links page</a> for a large list of open-source software supporting FLAC.<br />
<br />
<b>GUI encoding/decoding front-ends:</b>
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</ul>
</li>
</ul>
<a name="acknowledgments"><font size="+1"><b><u>Acknowledgments</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
<a name="acknowledgments"><font size="+1"><b><u>Acknowledgments</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
FLAC owes much to the many people who have advanced the audio compression field so freely. For instance:
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<li>
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And of course, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Shannon">Claude Shannon</a>
</li>
</ul>
<a name="scope"><font size="+1"><b><u>Scope</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
It is a known fact that no algorithm can losslessly compress all possible input, so most compressors restrict themselves to a useful domain and try to work as well as possible within that domain. FLAC's domain is audio data. Though it can losslessly <b>code</b> any input, only certain kinds of input will get smaller. FLAC exploits the fact that audio data typically has a high degree of sample-to-sample correlation.
<br /><br />
Within the audio domain, there are many possible subdomains. For example: low bitrate speech, high-bitrate multi-channel music, etc. FLAC itself does not target a specific subdomain but many of the default parameters of the reference encoder are tuned to CD-quality music data (i.e. 44.1kHz, 2 channel, 16 bits per sample). The effect of the encoding parameters on different kinds of audio data will be examined later.
<br /><br />
<a name="architecture"><font size="+1"><b><u>Architecture</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
<a name="scope"><font size="+1"><b><u>Scope</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
It is a known fact that no algorithm can losslessly compress all possible input, so most compressors restrict themselves to a useful domain and try to work as well as possible within that domain. FLAC's domain is audio data. Though it can losslessly <b>code</b> any input, only certain kinds of input will get smaller. FLAC exploits the fact that audio data typically has a high degree of sample-to-sample correlation.<br />
<br />
Within the audio domain, there are many possible subdomains. For example: low bitrate speech, high-bitrate multi-channel music, etc. FLAC itself does not target a specific subdomain but many of the default parameters of the reference encoder are tuned to CD-quality music data (i.e. 44.1kHz, 2 channel, 16 bits per sample). The effect of the encoding parameters on different kinds of audio data will be examined later.<br />
<br />
<a name="architecture"><font size="+1"><b><u>Architecture</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
Similar to many audio coders, a FLAC encoder has the following stages:
<ul>
<li>
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<a href="#residualcoding">Residual coding</a>. If the predictor does not describe the signal exactly, the difference between the original signal and the predicted signal (called the error or residual signal) must be coded losslessy. If the predictor is effective, the residual signal will require fewer bits per sample than the original signal. FLAC currently uses only one method for encoding the residual (see the <a href="#residualcoding">Residual coding</a> section), but the format has reserved space for additional methods. FLAC allows the residual coding method to change from block to block, or even within the channels of a block.
</li>
</ul>
In addition, FLAC specifies a metadata system, which allows arbitrary information about the stream to be included at the beginning of the stream.
<br /><br />
<a name="definitions"><font size="+1"><b><u>Definitions</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
In addition, FLAC specifies a metadata system, which allows arbitrary information about the stream to be included at the beginning of the stream.<br />
<br />
<a name="definitions"><font size="+1"><b><u>Definitions</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
Many terms like "block" and "frame" are used to mean different things in differenct encoding schemes. For example, a frame in MP3 corresponds to many samples across several channels, whereas an S/PDIF frame represents just one sample for each channel. The definitions we use for FLAC follow. Note that when we talk about blocks and subblocks we are refering to the raw unencoded audio data that is the input to the encoder, and when we talk about frames and subframes, we are refering to the FLAC-encoded data.
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<li>
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<b>Subframe</b>: A subframe header plus one or more encoded samples from a given channel. All subframes within a frame will contain the same number of samples.
</li>
</ul>
<a name="blocking"><font size="+1"><b><u>Blocking</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
The size used for blocking the audio data has a direct effect on the compression ratio. If the block size is too small, the resulting large number of frames mean that excess bits will be wasted on frame headers. If the block size is too large, the characteristics of the signal may vary so much that the encoder will be unable to find a good predictor. In order to simplify encoder/decoder design, FLAC imposes a minimum block size of 16 samples, and a maximum block size of 65535 samples. This range covers the optimal size for all of the audio data FLAC supports.
<br /><br />
Currently the reference encoder uses a fixed block size, optimized on the sample rate of the input. Future versions may vary the block size depending on the characteristics of the signal.
<br /><br />
Blocked data is passed to the predictor stage one subblock (channel) at a time. Each subblock is independently coded into a subframe, and the subframes are concatenated into a frame. Because each channel is coded separately, it means that one channel of a stereo frame may be encoded as a constant subframe, and the other an LPC subframe.
<br /><br />
<a name="interchannel"><font size="+1"><b><u>Interchannel Decorrelation</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
<a name="blocking"><font size="+1"><b><u>Blocking</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
The size used for blocking the audio data has a direct effect on the compression ratio. If the block size is too small, the resulting large number of frames mean that excess bits will be wasted on frame headers. If the block size is too large, the characteristics of the signal may vary so much that the encoder will be unable to find a good predictor. In order to simplify encoder/decoder design, FLAC imposes a minimum block size of 16 samples, and a maximum block size of 65535 samples. This range covers the optimal size for all of the audio data FLAC supports.<br />
<br />
Currently the reference encoder uses a fixed block size, optimized on the sample rate of the input. Future versions may vary the block size depending on the characteristics of the signal.<br />
<br />
Blocked data is passed to the predictor stage one subblock (channel) at a time. Each subblock is independently coded into a subframe, and the subframes are concatenated into a frame. Because each channel is coded separately, it means that one channel of a stereo frame may be encoded as a constant subframe, and the other an LPC subframe.<br />
<br />
<a name="interchannel"><font size="+1"><b><u>Interchannel Decorrelation</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
In stereo streams, in many cases there is an exploitable amount of correlation between the left and right channels. FLAC allows the frames of stereo streams to have different channel assignments, and an encoder may choose to use the best representation on a frame-by-frame basis.
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<b>Right-side</b>. The right channel and side channel are coded
</li>
</ul>
Surprisingly, the left-side and right-side forms can be the most efficient in many frames, even though the raw number of bits per sample needed for the original signal is slightly more than that needed for independent or mid-side coding.
<br /><br />
<a name="prediction"><font size="+1"><b><u>Prediction</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
Surprisingly, the left-side and right-side forms can be the most efficient in many frames, even though the raw number of bits per sample needed for the original signal is slightly more than that needed for independent or mid-side coding.<br />
<br />
<a name="prediction"><font size="+1"><b><u>Prediction</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
FLAC uses four methods for modeling the input signal:
<ul>
<li>
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<b>FIR Linear prediction</b>. For more accurate modeling (at a cost of slower encoding), FLAC supports up to 32nd order FIR linear prediction (again, for info on linear prediction, see <a href="http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/1999/HPL-1999-144.pdf">audiopak</a> and <a href="http://svr-www.eng.cam.ac.uk/~ajr/GroupPubs/Robinson94-tr156/index.html">shorten</a>). The reference encoder uses the Levinson-Durbin method for calculating the LPC coefficients from the autocorrelation coefficients, and the coefficients are quantized before computing the residual. Whereas encoders such as Shorten used a fixed quantization for the entire input, FLAC allows the quantized coefficient precision to vary from subframe to subframe. The FLAC reference encoder estimates the optimal precision to use based on the block size and dynamic range of the original signal.
</li>
</ul>
<a name="residualcoding"><font size="+1"><b><u>Residual Coding</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
FLAC currently defines two similar methods for the coding of the error signal from the prediction stage. The error signal is coded using Rice codes in one of two ways: 1) the encoder estimates a single rice parameter based on the variance of the residual and Rice codes the entire residual using this parameter; 2) the residual is partitioned into several equal-length regions of contiguous samples, and each region is coded with its own Rice parameter based on the region's mean. (Note that the first method is a special case of the second method with one partition, except the Rice parameter is based on the residual variance instead of the mean.)
<br /><br />
The FLAC format has reserved space for other coding methods. Some possiblities for volunteers would be to explore better context-modeling of the Rice parameter, or Huffman coding. See <a href="http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/98/HPL-98-193.html">LOCO-I</a> and <a href="http://www.cs.tut.fi/~albert/Dev/pucrunch/packing.html">pucrunch</a> for descriptions of several universal codes.
<br /><br />
<a name="format_overview"><font size="+1"><b><u>Format</u></b></font></a>
<br /><br />
This section specifies the FLAC bitstream format. FLAC has no format version information, but it does contain reserved space in several places. Future versions of the format may use this reserved space safely without breaking the format of older streams. Older decoders may choose to abort decoding or skip data encoded with newer methods. Apart from reserved patterns, in places the format specifies invalid patterns, meaning that the patterns may never appear in any valid bitstream, in any prior, present, or future versions of the format. These invalid patterns are usually used to make the synchronization mechanism more robust.
<br /><br />
All numbers used in a FLAC bitstream are integers; there are no floating-point representations. All numbers are big-endian coded. All numbers are unsigned unless otherwise specified.
<br /><br />
<a name="residualcoding"><font size="+1"><b><u>Residual Coding</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
FLAC currently defines two similar methods for the coding of the error signal from the prediction stage. The error signal is coded using Rice codes in one of two ways: 1) the encoder estimates a single rice parameter based on the variance of the residual and Rice codes the entire residual using this parameter; 2) the residual is partitioned into several equal-length regions of contiguous samples, and each region is coded with its own Rice parameter based on the region's mean. (Note that the first method is a special case of the second method with one partition, except the Rice parameter is based on the residual variance instead of the mean.)<br />
<br />
The FLAC format has reserved space for other coding methods. Some possiblities for volunteers would be to explore better context-modeling of the Rice parameter, or Huffman coding. See <a href="http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/98/HPL-98-193.html">LOCO-I</a> and <a href="http://www.cs.tut.fi/~albert/Dev/pucrunch/packing.html">pucrunch</a> for descriptions of several universal codes.<br />
<br />
<a name="format_overview"><font size="+1"><b><u>Format</u></b></font></a><br />
<br />
This section specifies the FLAC bitstream format. FLAC has no format version information, but it does contain reserved space in several places. Future versions of the format may use this reserved space safely without breaking the format of older streams. Older decoders may choose to abort decoding or skip data encoded with newer methods. Apart from reserved patterns, in places the format specifies invalid patterns, meaning that the patterns may never appear in any valid bitstream, in any prior, present, or future versions of the format. These invalid patterns are usually used to make the synchronization mechanism more robust.<br />
<br />
All numbers used in a FLAC bitstream are integers; there are no floating-point representations. All numbers are big-endian coded. All numbers are unsigned unless otherwise specified.<br />
<br />
Before the formal description of the stream, an overview might be helpful.
<ul>
<li>
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<a href="http://winamp.com/player/">Winamp 5.31</a> now includes Nullsoft FLAC plugins for encoding and decoding. The decoder is based on our reference decoder plugin. However the current encoder plugin is based on a pre-release of <a href="http://flake-enc.sourceforge.net/">flake</a> and we <a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=45013&view=findpost&p=443961">recommend to not use it for archival</a> yet.
<br /><br />
The new <a href="http://www.neodigits.com/new/body/products/Xline/x5000.asp">Helios X5000</a> HD network media player from Neodigits supports FLAC</a>.
<br /><br />
The <a href="http://www.thephiladelphiaorchestra.com/">Philadelphia Orchestra</a> is making many recordings <a href="http://www.losslessaudioblog.com/?p=109">available in FLAC</a>.
<br /><br />
A whole new batch of devices and stores support FLAC: for portables there are the <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/iaudio/t2/">iAUDIO T2</a> and <a href="http://www.cowonglobal.com/product/product_F2_feature.php">iAUDIO F2</a>, TrekStor's <a href="http://www.trekstor.de/en/products/detail_mp3.php?pid=66">Vibez</a>, the <a href="http://www.anythingbutipod.com/archives/2006/09/onda-vx737-gaming-pmp.php">Onda VX737</a>, and the <a href="http://www.apod.com.cn/show_products.asp?photoID=437">AP3000</a> from Green Apple. For the home stereo, Slim Devices' <a href="http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_transporter.html">Transporter</a> and Ziova's <a href="http://www.ziova.com/cs510.php">CS510</a> and <a href="http://www.ziova.com/cs505.php">CS505</a>. For music in FLAC format check out <a href="http://www.digital-tunes.net/">digital-tunes</a> for electronic and underground, or <a href="http://festivalink.net/">FestivaLink.net</a> for live shows.
<br /><br />
Bluedot's <a href="http://www.digitalworldtokyo.com/2006/07/bluedot_pmp_runs_linux_loves.php">BMP-1430</a> portable supports FLAC.
<br /><br />
AudioReQuest's new <a href="http://www.request.com/products/sseries.asp">S.Series</a> music servers support FLAC.
<br /><br />
Cowon's <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/cowon/a2/tech_specs.html">A2</a> now supports FLAC with the <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/download/cowon_rn_a2.html">latest firmware</a>, and Olive's new <a href="http://www.olive.us/p_bin/?cid=01_07_opus">Opus</a> both plays and records to FLAC.
<br /><br />
The new <a href="http://gaming.engadget.com/2006/01/22/iwod-g10-pmp-with-nes-emulator/">Iwod G10</a> portable supports FLAC.
<br /><br />
Want some FLAC with your Volvo? Volvo's <a href="http://www.volvocars.com/DigitalJukebox/product_information/">Digital Jukebox</a>, developed with <a href="http://www.phatnoise.com/">PhatNoise</a>, is fully integrated with the car's audio system and available for the S60, V70, XC70, and S80. PhatNoise's PhatBox in 2002 was the <a href="news.html#20020213">first device</a> to support FLAC natively and has gained a loyal following.
<br /><br />
<a href="http://winamp.com/player/">Winamp 5.31</a> now includes Nullsoft FLAC plugins for encoding and decoding. The decoder is based on our reference decoder plugin. However the current encoder plugin is based on a pre-release of <a href="http://flake-enc.sourceforge.net/">flake</a> and we <a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=45013&view=findpost&p=443961">recommend to not use it for archival</a> yet.<br />
<br />
The new <a href="http://www.neodigits.com/new/body/products/Xline/x5000.asp">Helios X5000</a> HD network media player from Neodigits supports FLAC</a>.<br />
<br />
The <a href="http://www.thephiladelphiaorchestra.com/">Philadelphia Orchestra</a> is making many recordings <a href="http://www.losslessaudioblog.com/?p=109">available in FLAC</a>.<br />
<br />
A whole new batch of devices and stores support FLAC: for portables there are the <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/iaudio/t2/">iAUDIO T2</a> and <a href="http://www.cowonglobal.com/product/product_F2_feature.php">iAUDIO F2</a>, TrekStor's <a href="http://www.trekstor.de/en/products/detail_mp3.php?pid=66">Vibez</a>, the <a href="http://www.anythingbutipod.com/archives/2006/09/onda-vx737-gaming-pmp.php">Onda VX737</a>, and the <a href="http://www.apod.com.cn/show_products.asp?photoID=437">AP3000</a> from Green Apple. For the home stereo, Slim Devices' <a href="http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_transporter.html">Transporter</a> and Ziova's <a href="http://www.ziova.com/cs510.php">CS510</a> and <a href="http://www.ziova.com/cs505.php">CS505</a>. For music in FLAC format check out <a href="http://www.digital-tunes.net/">digital-tunes</a> for electronic and underground, or <a href="http://festivalink.net/">FestivaLink.net</a> for live shows.<br />
<br />
Bluedot's <a href="http://www.digitalworldtokyo.com/2006/07/bluedot_pmp_runs_linux_loves.php">BMP-1430</a> portable supports FLAC.<br />
<br />
AudioReQuest's new <a href="http://www.request.com/products/sseries.asp">S.Series</a> music servers support FLAC.<br />
<br />
Cowon's <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/cowon/a2/tech_specs.html">A2</a> now supports FLAC with the <a href="http://www.cowonamerica.com/download/cowon_rn_a2.html">latest firmware</a>, and Olive's new <a href="http://www.olive.us/p_bin/?cid=01_07_opus">Opus</a> both plays and records to FLAC.<br />
<br />
The new <a href="http://gaming.engadget.com/2006/01/22/iwod-g10-pmp-with-nes-emulator/">Iwod G10</a> portable supports FLAC.<br />
<br />
Want some FLAC with your Volvo? Volvo's <a href="http://www.volvocars.com/DigitalJukebox/product_information/">Digital Jukebox</a>, developed with <a href="http://www.phatnoise.com/">PhatNoise</a>, is fully integrated with the car's audio system and available for the S60, V70, XC70, and S80. PhatNoise's PhatBox in 2002 was the <a href="news.html#20020213">first device</a> to support FLAC natively and has gained a loyal following.<br />
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FLAC 1.1.2 is available. New in this release are small decoding speedups for all platforms, small encoding speedups in fast (non-LPC) mode, streaming support in the XMMS plugin, and several bug fixes. For developers there are also a few additions and changes to the metadata API to make working with tags easier. See the <a href="changelog.html#flac_1_1_2">changelog entry</a> for complete details. This release actually wasn't supposed to happen so soon, but needed to be made to fix library naming and build problems in FLAC 1.1.1 that caused trouble for package maintainers, so unless you are having trouble with one of the particular bugs that got fixed in 1.1.2 then there is not much of a need to upgrade.
<br /><br />
FLAC 1.1.2 is available. New in this release are small decoding speedups for all platforms, small encoding speedups in fast (non-LPC) mode, streaming support in the XMMS plugin, and several bug fixes. For developers there are also a few additions and changes to the metadata API to make working with tags easier. See the <a href="changelog.html#flac_1_1_2">changelog entry</a> for complete details. This release actually wasn't supposed to happen so soon, but needed to be made to fix library naming and build problems in FLAC 1.1.1 that caused trouble for package maintainers, so unless you are having trouble with one of the particular bugs that got fixed in 1.1.2 then there is not much of a need to upgrade.<br />
<br />
-->
<i>last updated 2006-Oct-25</i> <!-- @@@ update date after changes -->
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FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see <a href="links.html#hardware">supported devices</a>) just like you would an MP3 file.
<br /><br />
FLAC is freely available and supported on most operating systems, including Windows, "unix" (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, OS X, IRIX), BeOS, OS/2, and Amiga. There are build systems for autotools, MSVC, Watcom C, and Project Builder.
<br /><br />
See the <a href="features.html">features page</a> for a complete list of features, or the <a href="comparison.html">comparison page</a> to see how FLAC compares with other lossless codecs.
<br /><br />
The FLAC project consists of:
<br /><br />
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see <a href="links.html#hardware">supported devices</a>) just like you would an MP3 file.<br />
<br />
FLAC is freely available and supported on most operating systems, including Windows, "unix" (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, OS X, IRIX), BeOS, OS/2, and Amiga. There are build systems for autotools, MSVC, Watcom C, and Project Builder.<br />
<br />
See the <a href="features.html">features page</a> for a complete list of features, or the <a href="comparison.html">comparison page</a> to see how FLAC compares with other lossless codecs.<br />
<br />
The FLAC project consists of:<br />
<br />
<ul>
<li>the stream format</li>
<li>reference encoders and decoders in library form</li>
<li><span class="commandname">flac</span>, a command-line program to encode and decode FLAC files</li>
<li><span class="commandname">metaflac</span>, a command-line metadata editor for FLAC files</li>
<li>input plugins for various music players</li>
</ul>
<br /><br />
</ul><br />
<br />
When we say that FLAC is "Free" it means more than just that it is available at no cost. It means that the specification of the format is fully open to the public to be used for any purpose (the FLAC project reserves the right to set the FLAC specification and certify compliance), and that neither the FLAC format nor any of the implemented encoding/decoding methods are covered by any known patent. It also means that all the source code is available under open-source licenses. It is the first truly open and free lossless audio format. (For more information, see the <a href="license.html">license page</a>.)
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<li><a href="http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/shop/_templates/item_main_Rio.asp?model=220&amp;cat=53">Rio Karma</a><!-- and Rio Chroma--></li>
<li>TrekStor's <a href="http://www.trekstor.de/en/products/detail_mp3.php?pid=66">Vibez</a></li>
</ul>
<a name="review"><b>Reviews:</b></a>
<br /><br />
The main purpose of these reviews is to give an idea of how well particular devices support FLAC. Other subjective comments here are based on our general impressions and are not meant to be thorough or authoritative. We only review devices we have tested directly ourselves.
<br /><br />
<a name="review_rio_receiver"><a href="http://www.mock.com/receiver/"><b>Rio Reciever</b></a></a>: This little device is a hacker's dream. It plays audio over a network (Ethernet or HPNA) so it requires a PC to serve audio files. There are several open source clients available and since it boots its Linux distro over NFS you can write your own client. They're not made anymore but you can still find them on ebay. The main downsides: 1) small, hard-to-read LCD display; 2) FLAC support is only in third-party clients which take some work to set up.
<br /><br />
<a name="review"><b>Reviews:</b></a><br />
<br />
The main purpose of these reviews is to give an idea of how well particular devices support FLAC. Other subjective comments here are based on our general impressions and are not meant to be thorough or authoritative. We only review devices we have tested directly ourselves.<br />
<br />
<a name="review_rio_receiver"><a href="http://www.mock.com/receiver/"><b>Rio Reciever</b></a></a>: This little device is a hacker's dream. It plays audio over a network (Ethernet or HPNA) so it requires a PC to serve audio files. There are several open source clients available and since it boots its Linux distro over NFS you can write your own client. They're not made anymore but you can still find them on ebay. The main downsides: 1) small, hard-to-read LCD display; 2) FLAC support is only in third-party clients which take some work to set up.<br />
<br />
<a name="review_squeezebox2"><a href="http://www.slimdevices.com/"><b>Squeezebox2</b></a></a>: A fantastic networked audio player. Has an excellent, easy-to-read vacuum fluorescent display, wired or wireless networking, optical and coax digital outs and analog out, a reputation for very high audio quality, multi-room synchronization, and a bunch of other features. The server-side software, SlimServer, is open-source, runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. and has an active community. FLAC support is excellent; nearly the full <a href="format.html#subset">subset</a> (e.g. sample rates up to 48kHz, 16- and 24-bits per sample) including all standard encoding modes are supported. Also supported are FLAC tags, automatic transcoding on the server of many audio formats to FLAC for transmission to the box, and external cuesheet support (internal cuesheet support is in the works).
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