LossyWAV, a new lossy version of he wav format

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Metoo, May 15, 2008.

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  1. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    I just came across this new format at Hydrogenaudio. It is called lossyWAV. The explanation of what it does is basically on this post by the developer: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=63225&st=25#

    I haven't read up much on this, but it seems that it keeps the same .wav extesion. If so, I find this a big problem. It is not just a 'new' format, from now on it seems we will not be able to easily tell if a wav file is lossy or lossless (the latter of which has always been the defining factor for wav). Whose to say now that we cannot be cheated by any downloadable music files vendor that claims they are offering wav file downloads?

    Please correct me if I am wrong with all of this.

    IMHO, the developer should at least have used a different extesion than the .wav one, such as is the case with wavepack.

    BTW, it seems they have also come up with another travesty: lossyFLAC.
  2. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Is there a demand for lossiness or something?

    I can understand wanting file sizes to be smaller. I don't understand an apparent desire for them to be lossy.
  3. Drifter

    Drifter AAD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    According to Wiki it doesn't use the .wav extension:
  4. Something similar to this has existed for a while-- .aifc. It's a lossy compressed aiff file.
  5. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    We all know that if you put a period behind 'lossy,' then a '.' and the 'wav' it is still being interpreted as a wav file because anything before the dot is interpreted as part of the file's name. Who's to keep someone, either intentionally or by mistake from making a lossyWAV original and trying to pass it as lossless. IMHO, this just ads to the 'format Babylon' without really contributing anything worthwhile but the fun the guy must have had developing it.
  6. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE. In Memoriam

    South Mountain, NC
    Since we already have .mp3, what exactly is the point of another "lossy" format?
  7. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    As I mentioned before, I think it's just the fun the developer had while designing it. :sigh:
  8. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    I'm trying to understand this. So, they are making a way to reduce the size of a file by making it lossy without losing any sound quality? It still destroys the original sound content.

    Pretty soon, the only way you will be able to get totally uncompressed sound will be to do your own needle or "lazer" drops from known sources.
  9. With the every-decreasing cost of storage (I just got a 500 GB external HD for $80) one would think they'd be going in the opposite direction, like trying to come up with a better lossless compression format.
  10. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    One day in the future:

    Child: "Daddy, what's music?"
    Father: "From the beginning of time, it was something civilization enjoyed for entertainment until someone decided computers should be in the home and that everything should be smaller and smaller."
  11. wakashizuma

    wakashizuma Forum Resident

    Wow, all this doom and gloom posts for an audio codec?
    We have so many lossy codecs available. There comes another one. What difference does it make? Is it all because the naming is based on WAVE?
    As for every audio source going lossy that's not true. 90% of all Blu-ray movies (catalog and new releases) have lossless audio and all studios now put lossless tracks on their movies.
    Don't be so afraid of progress in the age of computer.
  12. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    I don't see the need for another lossy codec. Another couple of percent compression doesn't get me excited, and the whole thing starts to smell of the ZIP vs ARC wars for anyone old enought to remember them. The world only really needs one lossless format and for that I'd say go with FLAC. The only lossy format I'd like to see continued development on is WavPack, which gives you the option to have a high-quality lossy file to play while retaining a copy of what was thrown away in making it, which can be stored separately. So you can carry around the small lossy file to listen to, and any time you want to you can combine it with the second file to get back a full lossless copy of the original. Unfortunately, hardware support is slim.
  13. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Yes! because this one will confuse people! It WILL. Maybe it won't confuse we audio geeks, but the average person will not know the difference, especially if record companies try to sell it.
  14. wakashizuma

    wakashizuma Forum Resident

    1)Average person already made their choice. They are happy with MP3. It's not good news to us but it is the reality

    2)Record companies wont use it since it's a free codec and doesn't have a mechanism for any DRM to be implemented (let alone political parts of the decision to use a free codec. Do you think a record company like Sony who has a history of using their in house products will all of a sudden change their mind and use a free codec developed by public?)

    Seriously guys, now u r upset because some codec is called LossyWAV?
    Dolby has been doing lossy codecs for years and now they have Dolby TrueHD (which is MLP). By the same token a lot of people wont know it's lossless because it has a Dolby name on it. One visit to home theater forum and you'll see it's not true.
    Plus, the average person doesn't have a clue in lossless vs. lossy. They are happy filling that iPod with their songs in lossy formats (MP3 and AAC). The only people left caring about lossless is audiophiles and those people will definitely know the difference.
    Don't be so close minded.

    No one will force you to do use any lossy codec. People have the choice to develop what they like and for some it happens to be a lossy codec. Considering lossy codecs are arguably more popular among average population, trying to develop the best lossy codec which uses less storage and offers similar or better audio quality seems like a great idea to me. It's even more desirable because it's free and has no corporation behind it.
  15. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Not if the record company sells them as downloads. People like to download now.

    For the time being, record companies don't care about DRM anymore. They are too busy trying to losen Apple's grip on the downloading business. Haven't you been paying attention to what's been going on?
    Video is a different story. Sure, we audio geeks care, but most people don't know, don't care. If a movie has louder than God car door slams, or they can hear the dog breathe, that's all they care about.

    You make those files small enough and easy enough for the hardware to handle, they may be able to load them up on their mini players, and maybe their iPods one day.

    Like anything else, it may be forced on us.
  16. strat95

    strat95 Senior Member

    I totally see the point you are making. Seems like it could become of great concern.

    However, I just thought about the fact that typically to play an encoded file on your computer, you need the decoder to be installed on your computer as well. My guess is that a .lossy.wav file renamed as .wav will not play properly or may not play at all if it is fed through the .wav decoder. I'm not entirely sure if that is truly the case. It's kind of like renaming a .pdf file. If you rename it to .doc you wont be able to open it in Microsoft Word.

  17. wakashizuma

    wakashizuma Forum Resident

    People choose convenience over quality anytime and it has been proven many times in history. People are happy downloading music in lossy format and nobody is complaining except audiophiles.
    I'd love those companies to offer lossless downloads, but so far they offer none and I don't think it has really impacted their business. When going for mass market acceptance, quality is never the priority or else Betamax had beat VHS and SACD/DVD-A had become mass markets.

    I have been paying attention to what's been going on. It seems like you didn't read what I wrote. Those companies wont use any free codecs created by public for many reasons. They always want that option of turning on the DRM and also the political side of it with hardware vendors. Apple uses AAC which is NOT a free codec. Microsoft and Zune use WMA which is NOT free either. Amazon uses MP3 which is also NOT a free codec either. To offer something, all parts of the equation must balance each other out. Software guys must make sure hardware guys are happy and vice versa. No record company will ever use anything like Vorbis or FLAC because it doesn't offer hardware guys anything.
    If it's free, it means software/hardware vendors have NO CONTROL over the development and they don't like that.

    How does that relate to what I said?
    You said people will get confused.
    First I said people dont care about lossy vs. lossless in the first place.
    Second, names alone aren't the deciding factor. My example was how Dolby with years of offering lossy codecs now has a lossless one and because it has the word Dolby it wont make people think it aint lossless.
    It is really simple; if you're someone who cares about the technical mombo jumbo in the first place it's safe to assume you can distinguish lossyWave from Wave.

    That's what you want not what necessarily what people want. People want acceptable audio quality and being able to have lots of them in their players. It had already happened. iPod is the clear example. While SACD/DVD-A are struggling (to the point where a lot of stores like Best Buy are not even carrying them), iPod is making huge success despite Apple's restrictions and tough business policy with retailers. iTunes store (which they barely make any money from) is doing a very good job.
    Put it all together, it clearly shows that people are happy with what they are getting it. Me and you don't like it, but it is what it is.

    The argument goes for any format such as DVD, SACD, DVD-A or even Blu-ray.
    It's not anyone forcing us to do anything. The fact is times are changing. The days of 70s where people would get together and listen to records are over. Today's fast world is all about having access to your music anywhere and anytime. No more critical listening times where you would sit down in front of your stereo and listen to music.
    Things have changed. MP3 and Napster started it back in 1998 and since then it is getting bigger.

    For the record, I'm not supporting using lossy codecs for music neither I'm promoting lossy over lossless. I still buy my music as CD because I like to support the artist and have the nice little cover (I'm no collector though).
    But one cannot ignore the fact that people dont care about top lossless quality in their music. As long as it sounds acceptable they are fine. Not everyone is going to spend 4K on a power cord!
  18. JBStephens

    JBStephens I don't "like", "share", "tweet", or CARE. In Memoriam

    South Mountain, NC
    Honestly. I am getting so tired of this "lossy" and "lossless" thing that just hearing either of those two words now makes me cringe. I'm fine with mp3. I make my living with these two fleshy appendages on the sides of my head, and I'm fine with mp3. Yes, I know that some minuscule percentage of signal is being "thrown away". I know that the signal brickwalls at 16 kHz. Guess what? I'm not a bat. Haven't been one for years. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy what I hear, because I do. Because I enjoy listening to MUSIC, not codecs. We're so busy examining and scrutinizing and posting about the method of music delivery that we've forgotten about the music. And that's a shame.

    Do I think that "lossless" formats are better? Sure I do. I have 500 gigs of "lossless" sitting here in front of me. But will I run from an mp3 screaming "Oh my god, lossy, lossy, lossy!Take it away!" No. I've learned to enjoy music without analyzing it to death.

    Oh, and just naming a file .wav doesn't make it a .wav file. Without the correct data header, it won't play.
  19. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    While I did not delve into the matter because it is part of a developers' thread and its full of technical info, I'm afrad that this format does pass as wav.

    Check out this thread: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=63225

    And this one: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=63254&hl=
  20. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    And, thus, on stating your argument you seem to be making my point. If the regular consumer is wiling to embrace convenience every time, who's to say that lossyWAV won't be used instead of lossless WAV to make downloads smaller/more convenient?
  21. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Maybe this format won't matter, and fall away.
  22. wakashizuma

    wakashizuma Forum Resident

    My point is very simple; a new lossless codec with the name WAVE wont make any difference in our situation.
    If people like us want lossless, they will either buy the CD or download the flac version.
    For the rest of consumers, it doesn't even matter what is called. As long as they know it plays on their iPods and MP3 players, they dont care.
    And why record companies use lossyWave? They are already offering lossy downloads in AAC/WMA/MP3 and nobody is complaining except an audiophile niche which wont make a difference in their revenue.
    Why would they switch to another lossy codec when they are already offering lossy music in other codecs? It doesn't even make sense! Apple wont support anything other than their approved codecs in iPod (except MP3 which they have to due to the amount of MP3s in market) so you can safely bet any record company who wants people with iPod to buy their music (and iPod is the bestselling MP3 player), will have to choose the codecs iPod use which means AAC and MP3.
    If they target Zune, they have to choose WMA or AAC or MP3.
    LossyWav wont give them anything important over AAC/WMA/MP3 except incompatibility and locking the best selling MP3 players out of their market.
    It's funny to me that you guys are ignoring the most important thing in lossyWave. It's free and record companies don't like it because they CANNOT control it.

    Exactly. Codecs dont mean as much as they used to. 5 years ago, you had to know what codec was used so you could play it with the right program.
    Nowadays with players such as VLC which almost plays any codec, it doesn't matter anymore. MP3, AAC,WMA, WAVE,AIFF, Real; you name it. People just download the content they want and use the software to play it. The name of the codec doesn't matter anymore.
  23. Metoo

    Metoo Forum Hall Of Fame Thread Starter

    Spain (EU)
    BTW, I think mentioned 'format Babylon' before. Sorry, I meant 'format Babel.' I wrote Babylon instead because I've been listening to Elton John's "Captain Fantastic..." today. :D
  24. Publius

    Publius Forum Resident

    Austin, TX
    LossyWAV should be quite easy to identify. All LossyWAV does is truncate the bit depth of the wav. By analyzing how many of the least significant bits of a WAV are zeroed it, it should be instantly obvious whether a WAV has been LossyWAV'd or not.

    The whole point of LossyWAV is that it makes very few assumptions about how the ear works in order to choose which data to throw out. In fact, all it really assumes is that it can lower the bit depth of a recording as long as the quantization noise remains well under the music level at all frequencies. Therefore, it will only use the bits that are actually used by the music. That's far fewer assumptions about human hearing than what most lossy encoders use, and as such, it is believed to be more resilient to artifacts at high bitrates. For instance, you're never going to run into lowpass filters or preecho issues or stereo imaging problems with lossyWAV, and those sorts of things are the biggest issues with other lossy encoders at high bitrates.

    It is only useful when coupled to a lossless encoder which compresses better when it is supplied with lower-bit-depth music. The canonical example is FLAC, but WavPACK and a couple other encoders also work. But most notably, Apple Lossless does not work.

    The big take-home point with is that you can get FLAC quality (or very nearly so) at a 30% smaller size than FLAC. And further gains are quite possible, once they implement noise shaping. It might come in handy for: squeezing more FLACs onto a DAP; distributing FLACs online where other lossy encoders are considered too risky but a full lossless encoding takes up too much bandwidth; lossy encoding of high-res content while preserving all frequencies and dynamic range; etc.
  25. Spirit Crusher

    Spirit Crusher Forum Resident

    Mad Town, WI
    Yes, you would think so, wouldn't you?
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