Thursday, December 04, 2003

Audio Standards

Memory institutions often have collections of non-commercial sound recordings. Oral history projects, meetings and presentations, and local music are some examples. Transferring these from tape to digital will provide better access, they may even be placed on the Web in digital format. However, MP3 and WMA are both proprietary lossey formats; some other codecs should be considered.

For lossless open-source compression FLAC should be considered.

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 links to the right for supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.
A lossey open-source codec is Ogg Vorbis.
Ogg Vorbis is a new audio compression format. It is roughly comparable to other formats used to store and play digital music, such as MP3, VQF, AAC, and other digital audio formats. It is different from these other formats because it is completely free, open, and unpatented.

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