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View Full Version : WMA Lossless natively, when?



Terje
2006-08-04, 19:06
After becoming a SqueezeBox 3 user only a few months back I already own three of them and really enjoy the product. When I was starting to rip the CD collection I started out using FLAC as it was an open format. However, as I did more research I found that it was much convenient to base my primary music library on WMA Lossless, just because other music players, like different portable music (mp3) players and such are more likely to support WMA Lossless than FLAC. Ok, so it is a closed format, but it seems more likely that the common (no nerdy) user would rather figure out how to use WMA Lossless than doing FLAC. I do all my rips with EAC, verify with AccurateRip whenever possible and compresses with WME directly from EAC.

So, to the question in the title. Are there any plans to natively support WMA Lossless anytime soon?

mkozlows
2006-08-04, 19:45
I doubt it. The only devices that support WMA Lossless right now are those that run a Microsoft operating system (Windows Mobile phones and PDAs, Portable Media Centers, and of course PCs).

That said, it hardly matters. I have a WMA Lossless library, and the server transcode to FLAC is seamless.

andyg
2006-08-04, 19:47
I think the major issue here is that Microsoft charges a license fee to have a WMA Lossless decoder. FLAC has no such problems. You were probably on the right path when you first chose FLAC. :) The good news is you can easily convert your files to any other lossless format with no loss of information. :)

fauzigarib
2006-08-04, 22:44
mkozlows,

"That said, it hardly matters. I have a WMA Lossless library, and the server transcode to FLAC is seamless."

What does this mean? I've just started messing around with flac, and I found that it takes forever! Of course, since I'm completely new at this, I could be doing it completely incorrectly.

I downloaded EAC, and FLAC, and configured EAC to use an external compression program and pointed it to use FLAC.exe. Is this correct?

It took me over 25 minutes to do one jazz cd last night... is that normal?

Any help is appreciated... I haven't had a chance to search teh forum yet, so i'll just get down to that.

Fauzi

Terje
2006-08-05, 02:42
I doubt it. The only devices that support WMA Lossless right now are those that run a Microsoft operating system (Windows Mobile phones and PDAs, Portable Media Centers, and of course PCs).

That said, it hardly matters. I have a WMA Lossless library, and the server transcode to FLAC is seamless.

Actually I've seen a few devices that do support WMA Lossless as well. However, my point is that the devices that comes with software also are more likely to support converting (transcoding) from WMA Lossless out of the box than from FLAC. And, I would guess that some companies don't play too well with 3rd party codecs and will not offer support for such setup if that is needed.

As for SS transcoding, that works fine for me as well. However I stream as uncompressed, mainly because it saves server resources and network bandwidth is not a problem. Also I belived in as few steps as possible to get the music from my HD's to the SB's, even if it's a perfect representation of zeroes and ones ;)

OT: Oh, if I only could get a device like the SB3 that does DSD ;)

Terje
2006-08-05, 02:49
I think the major issue here is that Microsoft charges a license fee to have a WMA Lossless decoder. FLAC has no such problems. You were probably on the right path when you first chose FLAC. :) The good news is you can easily convert your files to any other lossless format with no loss of information. :)

I know I can easily convery my files to whatever format I won't and I even did test of my WMA Lossless encoded data to make sure it didn't do anything bad on the way. (Decompressed back to WAV and compared). I don't trust M$ more than you guys, but getting all the music on HD is all about ease of access. Thus, the resason for doing WMAL over FLAC is simply to make it easyer to fill any new portable player, car player or whatever without to much hassle.

Anyone know what kind of licensing fee M$ charges for WMA Lossless? I guess SD already has a license for WMA (Lossy) since that is supported natively? And, doesn't wmadec then really need a license anyway? wmadec is included as part of a commercial offering as SB does not do much without SS. (Let's forget about for SN now).

Terje
2006-08-05, 02:57
mkozlows,"That said, it hardly matters. I have a WMA Lossless library, and the server transcode to FLAC is seamless."

What does this mean? I've just started messing around with flac, and I found that it takes forever! Of course, since I'm completely new at this, I could be doing it completely incorrectly.

Seamless transcoding to FLAC just means that the SlimServer decodes the WMA Lossless stream to a WAVE stream which then again is encoded to a FLAC stream which in turn is sent to the SqueezeBox.

If you already have FLAC files there is no need for this decode/encode to take place on the server as the SqueezeBox supports the FLAC format natively and the file is streamed directly from SlimServer to the device without any more work on the server.


mkozlows,
I downloaded EAC, and FLAC, and configured EAC to use an external compression program and pointed it to use FLAC.exe. Is this correct?

It took me over 25 minutes to do one jazz cd last night... is that normal?

Any help is appreciated... I haven't had a chance to search teh forum yet, so i'll just get down to that.

Sure it can take that much time, I've had CD's that EAC has used hours on. EAC setup is important though, depending on what you are after. I have mine configured to make sure I get only 100% copies. Also, if you install AccurateRip you could get verification online - by CRC - that you ripped the exact same data as others did for the same track.

kklemme
2006-10-19, 05:16
I have ripped a rather large number of files to WMA Lossless and am now converting to FLAC.

To me the transcoding is not the problem, but lack of volume leveling is. There is apparently no support for WMA Lossless volume leveling tags in the SlimDevices system (hardware or software).

I listen to very mixed playlists not individual albums so no volume leveling would make this very unpleasant.

Kirk

Siduhe
2006-10-19, 05:30
I've just started messing around with flac, and I found that it takes forever! Of course, since I'm completely new at this, I could be doing it completely incorrectly.

I downloaded EAC, and FLAC, and configured EAC to use an external compression program and pointed it to use FLAC.exe. Is this correct?

It took me over 25 minutes to do one jazz cd last night... is that normal?

Any help is appreciated... I haven't had a chance to search teh forum yet, so i'll just get down to that.

Fauzi

There are a number of different programs which will rip to FLAC, not just EAC. EAC is considered to be a "close to perfect" rip - superior to other ripping engines, but the downside is that it takes longer.

If you are looking for audiophile quality - EAC is the only serious contender IMHO. However if you want FLAC files and a good (but not necessarily "close to perfect") rip check out Audiograbber, DBPoweramp or JRiverMediaCenter. The Beginners Guide to Ripping in the wiki gives other options:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?BeginnersGuideToRipping

I use Audiograbber and am very pleased with it. My setup is nowhere near good enough to tell the difference between EAC ripped FLAC files and Audiograbber ripped FLAC files (whereas I can tell the difference between mp3 and FLAC consistently).

HTH

radish
2006-10-19, 06:55
I have ripped a rather large number of files to WMA Lossless and am now converting to FLAC.

To me the transcoding is not the problem, but lack of volume leveling is. There is apparently no support for WMA Lossless volume leveling tags in the SlimDevices system (hardware or software).

I listen to very mixed playlists not individual albums so no volume leveling would make this very unpleasant.

Kirk

So just add replaygain tags to the FLACs - you can either do it while converting or afterwards using something like foobar2000.

luga00
2006-10-19, 06:59
There should be no audible difference between EAC and Audiograbber FLAC files at all (unless one of them is adding some gain compenstaion or normalisation) otherwise they wouldn't be truly lossless.

kklemme
2006-10-19, 07:13
So just add replaygain tags to the FLACs - you can either do it while converting or afterwards using something like foobar2000.


Actually, that's one of the main reasons I am changing to FLAC. I am using replay gain. The problem is that there's no way to volume level with WMAL.

Actually, using the command line entries suggested in the EAC setup WIKI, replay gain is being done automatically when I rip with EAC and convert immediately to FLAC. What a bonus! Everything's pretty well automated with the exception of album art..relatively painless.

Siduhe
2006-10-19, 08:58
There should be no audible difference between EAC and Audiograbber FLAC files at all (unless one of them is adding some gain compenstaion or normalisation) otherwise they wouldn't be truly lossless.

I think (and I'm about as a far from being "audiophile" as you can get !) the point is that the EAC rip is more accurate than other ripping engines so that there could be a bit more information taken from the CD which is then encoded into the lossless file. Whether this translates into an audible difference - who knows ? I certainly couldn't hear it with a mid-range (1,000) system. EAC's also highly configureable which is another plus point for some.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-19, 10:34
Perhaps this thread is getting off-topic, but I wonder - on an undamaged disc where EAC doesn't have to re-read, is EAC more accurate?

Does C2 error correction, Secure mode and Accurate Stream improve reading beyond just brute-force re-reading?

I would think so, but I'm not sure how these technologies work.

At any rate, the very few rips I have made with dBpowerAMP have no sonic defects. At least one of them was bit-perfect according to AccurateRip.

propup
2006-10-19, 19:44
FWIW WMAL is definately a problem if you use a NAS such as Infrant. When running the SB from the embedded SlimServer in the Infrant's OS, there is *no* transcoding option. It refuses to open the file. Not the end-all I know for a lot of users, but I wanted to point it out. Others have commented on same limitation elsewhere in the forums. Of course any WMA rip setting lower than WMAL woks like a charm in that setup, but that is not especially disreable for many users.