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bergek
2006-10-04, 02:26
I would like to buy a Transporter for my home but I have two questions since I have found contradicting information:

1) Does the Transporter support (or will it support in a future firmware update) WMA Lossless natively (i.e. without having to transcode it at the server end)?
2) Can WMA Lossless to FLAC/WAV transcoding only be done when the Slimserver is running on a Windows computer or not?

I would like to rip and play my music from my PC (Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005) and also use Windows Media Player to transcode and sync music to my portable devices. However, I don't want to use my PC for the Slimserver (I will use a separate Linux-based fanless Nano-ITX system for that). Absence of native WMA Lossless support is currently the only thing stopping me from placing an order for the Transporter.

Can someone please confirm the status of WMA support?

Thanks!
Martin Bergek

luga00
2006-10-04, 02:36
WMA lossless is not currently supported natively. You can choose to transcode to flac or wav. I don't think there are any plans for native decompression as there are MS licensing issues.

r

Flamingo
2006-10-04, 02:57
What difference would it make to sound quality? I presume none - lossless is lossless after all.

I have all my stuff in WMA (for historical reasons - let's not get into that argument) and can't be bothered converting to FLAC.

I'm assuming the only downside is that my PC has to do a bit more work to decode in the Slimserver?

Am I right or am I missing something here?

bergek
2006-10-04, 03:07
It should have no effect on sound quality whatsoever. I am more concerned about how I work with the files if I go the FLAC route. I assume that it is pretty straight-forward to automatically maintain a separate copy of all my music at say mp3@256kbps to be able to sync to my portable players through Windows Media Player. The problem is that when I change the rating for songs in, say, my phone - that change does not carry over to the original file.

Ideally, I would like to see WMA Lossless support in Transporter or FLAC support in Windows Media Player. Unfortunately, I think the chances of either are slim.

/Martin

ceejay
2006-10-04, 03:08
What difference would it make to sound quality? I presume none - lossless is lossless after all.

I have all my stuff in WMA (for historical reasons - let's not get into that argument) and can't be bothered converting to FLAC.

I'm assuming the only downside is that my PC has to do a bit more work to decode in the Slimserver?

Am I right or am I missing something here?

Well, there is a downside although a minor one - if the format is being transcoded at the server, you can't use FFWD/RWD at the squeezebox/transporter.

However OP's concern I think is how to get transcoding from WMAL on a Linux box... I can't write authoritatively on that, so won't try. Only two thoughts that occur to me - (1) use FLAC in the library and put a FLAC-decoder in WMP on the Windows box and (2) don't use Linux for the server!

Ceejay

Flamingo
2006-10-04, 03:22
ceejay,

Yes I've now realised that about the FF/RWD. I had that feature on my old CD player - never used it once it 18 years!

Anyway, another question. Does WMA lossless get transcoded to FLAC to stream to the Squeezebox by default? If it was WAV it would obviously take up a lot more wirelss bandwidth.

luga00
2006-10-04, 03:37
Windows Media Player does support FLAC through DirectShow filters.
Do a search on Google.
r

ceejay
2006-10-04, 03:40
In Server Settings / Filetypes you can control what conversions take place. The default, I think, is to FLAC, but you can choose to force it to use WAV or even MP3.

If you haven't already, do download the software and have a play, using Softsqueeze as the player. 6.5.1 nightly is recommended.

Even WAV should be ok over wireless as long as you haven't got too much interference, though - 1.4Mbits.

Ceejay

bergek
2006-10-04, 04:20
Windows Media Player does support FLAC through DirectShow filters.
Do a search on Google.
r

That is alright but it doesn't fully solve my issue. I assume I will still not be able to set ratings on songs on my portable player (wma files transcoded by Windows Media Player/ActiveSync) and sync those ratings back to the original (FLAC) file. Too bad.

radish
2006-10-04, 07:14
1) Does the Transporter support

No


(or will it support in a future firmware update) WMA Lossless natively

Maybe.



2) Can WMA Lossless to FLAC/WAV transcoding only be done when the Slimserver is running on a Windows computer or not?

As far as I'm aware, WMA lossless transcoding is supported on all platforms. The default is to transcode to FLAC, that's what will happen out of the box. WAV is optionally available.


Ideally, I would like to see WMA Lossless support in Transporter
It is supported, just not as a native format. Other than FF/REW, there is no functional difference between native and non-native support.

Terje
2006-10-04, 10:57
It's good to see that I'm no longer the only one wanting native WMAL support. I don't have a Transporter or any plans of getting one, but I already bought 3 SB3's and have my WMAL library is growing bigger every day. And, even if WMAL is a closed and licensed format it makes my day easier when working with various other software for different media player devices. I like to spend my time listening to the music, not playing around with different formats. It's all about the music, remember!

I would like for SlimDevices to step forward and say something official about this soon. Maybe just to show us that the licensing costs are so huge that they cannot be justified. However, I would even be willing to pay a small fee from a WMAL license for my boxes.

Josh Coalson
2006-10-04, 11:02
--- luga00 <luga00.2f5g0n1159958401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
> Windows Media Player does support FLAC through DirectShow filters.
> Do a search on Google.

here's how:
http://www.losslessaudioblog.com/?p=40

BTW Martin if you're really hooked on WMP because of the ratings, ask
microsoft to support them for FLAC. I don't think anything outside a
windows PC supports wma lossless natively.

Josh

radish
2006-10-04, 11:06
It's good to see that I'm no longer the only one wanting native WMAL support. I don't have a Transporter or any plans of getting one, but I already bought 3 SB3's and have my WMAL library is growing bigger every day. And, even if WMAL is a closed and licensed format it makes my day easier when working with various other software for different media player devices. I like to spend my time listening to the music, not playing around with different formats. It's all about the music, remember!

I would like for SlimDevices to step forward and say something official about this soon. Maybe just to show us that the licensing costs are so huge that they cannot be justified. However, I would even be willing to pay a small fee from a WMAL license for my boxes.


Can you explain what it is that makes the current transcoding solution a problem? I used transcoding for a long time without any problems until my particular format of choice was supported in firmware. I don't recall any great hardships.

JJZolx
2006-10-04, 11:28
ceejay,

Yes I've now realised that about the FF/RWD. I had that feature on my old CD player - never used it once it 18 years!

Anyway, another question. Does WMA lossless get transcoded to FLAC to stream to the Squeezebox by default? If it was WAV it would obviously take up a lot more wirelss bandwidth.
Even with native formats, FF/RWD is so bad that it's virtually unusable on a Squeezebox. The architecture of Squeezebox/SlimServer and its handling of remote commands introduces so much lag that it's an extraordinarily frustrating experience.

JJZolx
2006-10-04, 11:31
2) Can WMA Lossless to FLAC/WAV transcoding only be done when the Slimserver is running on a Windows computer or not?
I don't think I've seen the answer to this question in the thread. Can WMA lossless be transcoded by the server when SlimServer is run on a non-Windows computer?

andyg
2006-10-04, 11:48
I don't think I've seen the answer to this question in the thread. Can WMA lossless be transcoded by the server when SlimServer is run on a non-Windows computer?

This is true, there is no open source WMA Lossless decoder. I do believe Real plans to release a new open source WMA decoder sometime soon, but I have no idea if it will decode lossless. Just another reason to use FLAC. ;)

http://news.com.com/Real+to+plug+Windows+media+support+into+Linux/2100-1025_3-6105970.html?tag=nefd.top

Terje
2006-10-04, 11:55
Can you explain what it is that makes the current transcoding solution a problem? I used transcoding for a long time without any problems until my particular format of choice was supported in firmware. I don't recall any great hardships.

I don't say it's a big problem, but the lack for FF/RWD, the transcoding is a more complicated process and therefore more likely to fail/have bugs. It also uses resources on the SS machine which is really not needed. Many people would probably like to use a very low spec "server" or NAS device which maybe cannot handle the transcoding at all properly.

I myself has a few minor issues which may or may not be related to the complex transcoding issue done at SS. Tracks are a bit slow to start playing, for the first NN seconds there are skips and when I sync two boxes they are never completely synced. Not to say that this happends all the time and the transcoding is the problem, but the problems starting tracks from time to time would probably be better if the server was not required to start wmadec and flac to start streaming.

Terje
2006-10-04, 12:04
This is true, there is no open source WMA Lossless decoder. I do believe Real plans to release a new open source WMA decoder sometime soon, but I have no idea if it will decode lossless. Just another reason to use FLAC. ;)

http://news.com.com/Real+to+plug+Windows+media+support+into+Linux/2100-1025_3-6105970.html?tag=nefd.top

So, are you saying that WMAL transcoding is only supported on SS running on Windows? If so, there is even another reason to support WMAL in firmware.

As for the FLAC/WMAL "war": For me it comes down to usability since they both are lossless and should produce the same result. I have no problems helping friends with a one time SS setup, but if I have to help them getting FLAC to work with the software that comes with "MP3" player XXX or cell phone YYY every time they get something new it becomes a hazzle.

But, most important, what is SD's official take on WMAL support in firmware?

WSLam
2006-10-04, 12:09
I recently converted my 250GB of WMAL into FLAC. I also run MCE, but have decided to stick to FLAC from now on. There were a few WMAL bugs but they have been fixed and are available as hotfixes (not yet in the 6.5 release)

radish
2006-10-04, 13:18
I don't say it's a big problem, but the lack for FF/RWD, the transcoding is a more complicated process and therefore more likely to fail/have bugs. It also uses resources on the SS machine which is really not needed. Many people would probably like to use a very low spec "server" or NAS device which maybe cannot handle the transcoding at all properly.

Go ask on the NAS forum. I think there are people transcoding on there - for example running AlienBBC to transcode radio streams. The resources used by a decode are very, very low, and adding a FLAC encode as well still isn't much.



I myself has a few minor issues which may or may not be related to the complex transcoding issue done at SS. Tracks are a bit slow to start playing, for the first NN seconds there are skips and when I sync two boxes they are never completely synced. Not to say that this happends all the time and the transcoding is the problem, but the problems starting tracks from time to time would probably be better if the server was not required to start wmadec and flac to start streaming.

Well it's easy to test, throw a few FLAC or WAV files in your music dir and try playing those. Do you get the same problems?

Josh Coalson
2006-10-04, 13:30
--- Terje <Terje.2f63eb1159988701 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> andyg;142972 Wrote:
> > This is true, there is no open source WMA Lossless decoder. I do
> > believe Real plans to release a new open source WMA decoder
> sometime
> > soon, but I have no idea if it will decode lossless. Just another
> > reason to use FLAC. ;)
> >
> >
>
http://news.com.com/Real+to+plug+Windows+media+support+into+Linux/2100-1025_3-6105970.html?tag=nefd.top
>
> So, are you saying that WMAL transcoding is only supported on SS
> running on Windows? If so, there is even another reason to support
> WMAL in firmware.
>
> As for the FLAC/WMAL "war": For me it comes down to usability since
> they both are lossless and should produce the same result. I have no
> problems helping friends with a one time SS setup, but if I have to
> help them getting FLAC to work with the software that comes with
> "MP3"
> player XXX or cell phone YYY every time they get something new it
> becomes a hazzle.

you know, once you went with WMAL you pretty much tethered yourself
to microsoft. all microsoft has to say is 'no' to slimdevices or
price the license too high, or ... and that's it.

and the only thing in this thread about difficulty with FLAC was
in WMP, which is also a closed, proprietary microsoft thing which
people have to reverse-engineer to even get FLAC to partially work
with.

Josh

mkozlows
2006-10-04, 15:55
--- luga00 <luga00.2f5g0n1159958401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
> Windows Media Player does support FLAC through DirectShow filters.
> Do a search on Google.

here's how:
http://www.losslessaudioblog.com/?p=40


It doesn't work very well, though. There were weird inconsistencies with the metadata, and random bugginess. I tried it out, and decided it was worth the incredible pain to get Foobar working properly instead.



I don't think anything outside a
windows PC supports wma lossless natively.


Windows Mobile devices also support WMA Lossless natively. This means not only telephones (which is fairly useless, because a 1GB miniSD card isn't exactly the ideal place for lossless), but also Portable Media Center devices (far more useful, especially with a 60GB Toshiba player).

Nothing running non-Microsoft operating systems supports WMA Lossless, though.

mkozlows
2006-10-04, 16:02
you know, once you went with WMAL you pretty much tethered yourself
to microsoft. all microsoft has to say is 'no' to slimdevices or
price the license too high, or ... and that's it.


For very light values of "tether", considering that it's a lossless format and there are freely downloadable SDKs and API documentation. WMA Lossless definitely isn't as open as FLAC, but it's no Apple Lossless, either.

Anyway, open source arguments notwithstanding, the current situation kinda sucks for lossless people. There's no lossless format that will natively work on the best software (Windows Media Player 11, which only supports WMA Lossless), the best portable device (the iPod, which only supports Apple Lossless), and the best networked device (the Squeezebox, which only supports FLAC).

Which is why I'm converting my WMA Lossless library into a FLAC library (for use with the Squeezebox) plus an MP3 "cache" (for use with everything else). I figure that portable devices and PCs are compromised enough that MP3 should be good enough -- and if I really care about sound quality over usability on the PC at some point, I can just use Foobar to directly play the FLAC library.

Josh Coalson
2006-10-04, 16:24
--- mkozlows <mkozlows.2f6eib1160003101 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
> Josh Coalson;143003 Wrote:
> >
> > you know, once you went with WMAL you pretty much tethered yourself
> > to microsoft. all microsoft has to say is 'no' to slimdevices or
> > price the license too high, or ... and that's it.
> >
>
> For very light values of "tether", considering that it's a lossless
> format and there are freely downloadable SDKs and API documentation.
> WMA Lossless definitely isn't as open as FLAC, but it's no Apple
> Lossless, either.

yeah, I see what you're saying, but as far as I know the libraries
are binary-only and only work on windows, they're not going to help
anyone except those already tethered to microsoft. maybe you mean
it at least allows you to transcode on a windows machine? but that
wasn't sufficient for Martin.

> Anyway, open source arguments notwithstanding, the current situation
> kinda sucks for lossless people. There's no lossless format that
> will
> natively work on the best software (Windows Media Player 11, which
> only
> supports WMA Lossless), the best portable device (the iPod, which
> only
> supports Apple Lossless)

.... or FLAC via rockbox. yes there is effort to get it to work
but less than getting WMAL to work on anything else. best is also
debateable as there are several very good portables that natively
support FLAC.
http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html#hardware

all that said, the basic problem is choosing closed, proprietary
codecs designed to lock you in, then asking for support for them
from the competitors of the codecs' creators. slim responded to
user demand for FLAC because they could; it was open, free, well
documented, had C reference decoder with source, and widely
supported. it is not so easy for ALAC or WMAL for many reasons.

I think your solution of using FLAC + MP3 is the most reasonable
right now.

Josh

radish
2006-10-04, 16:27
the best software (Windows Media Player 11)
I think you mis-spelt "Foobar 2000" :)

But more seriously, yes it sucks. But this is how it is when you have two giant elephants (MS & Apple) going head to head over your music. Neither will ever support the other. Your only chance to win, as a consumer, is to refuse to be drawn into the battle and support those who are catering to _your_ needs rather than their own. You seem not to include "plays the format I want to use" in your criteria for best player. It's right at the top of my list, and until more people think the same way we'll keep getting screwed over.

mkozlows
2006-10-04, 17:59
yeah, I see what you're saying, but as far as I know the libraries are binary-only and only work on windows, they're not going to help anyone except those already tethered to microsoft. maybe you mean it at least allows you to transcode on a windows machine?

It lets you, at the very least, have a very good expectation that you can switch to something else at any time. If WMA Lossless works best for you now (because you love WMP11, have an Xbox 360 and XP MCE, and a Gigabeat S, for instance), you can put your music into WMA Lossless without worrying that you're getting permanently locked into a roach motel... or tethered to Microsoft.


all that said, the basic problem is choosing closed, proprietary codecs designed to lock you in, then asking for support for them from the competitors of the codecs' creators.

But Slim Devices isn't a competitor of Microsoft. They are -- or could be -- a partner, like Roku or D-Link or the other people making PlaysForSure devices. (And none of those can play WMA Lossless, either; but partners making feature request of Microsoft aren't the same as competitors doing so.)

Obviously, Slim hasn't historically been particularly interested in being a part of the full-on Microsoft ecosystem -- and based on how badly the PlaysForSure partners have gotten fucked over with Zune, that's probably a good decision -- but they're still not a competitor in the way that Apple is.



I think your solution of using FLAC + MP3 is the most reasonable
right now.

Me too... for me. But if I didn't have a Squeezebox, or lacked the technical inclination to make Foobar become a reasonable program, it'd be hard to argue with WMA Lossless.

Vriff Polo
2006-10-04, 22:22
There's a lot of FUD regarding WMAL licensing, but it seems pretty straight forward; one time $5k for decoder source, and $.1 per unit.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/licensing/interim.aspx
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/licensing/final.aspx

Of course the cost for SD to actually implement the decoder is a different story.

Edit: I'd suggest voting on the feature bug for this; http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2565

Ben Sandee
2006-10-05, 06:54
On 10/5/06, Vriff Polo <
Vriff.Polo.2f6w3n1160025901 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> There's a lot of FUD regarding WMAL licensing, but it seems pretty
> straight forward; one time $5k for decoder source, and $.1 per unit.
>
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/licensing/interim.aspx
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/licensing/final.aspx
>
> Of course the cost for SD to actually implement the decoder is a
> different story.


And of course SlimDevices won't comment on features that may or may not be
added in the future. There are plenty of feature requests out there and
they won't all get fixed at once. For example, at least WMAL files do play
-- there are plenty of audio files that simply won't play at all (pretty
much any DRM'd files) so whether or not WMAL is high up on the list is
simply speculation.

Ben

Terje
2006-10-06, 11:45
And of course SlimDevices won't comment on features that may or may not be
added in the future. There are plenty of feature requests out there and
they won't all get fixed at once. For example, at least WMAL files do play
-- there are plenty of audio files that simply won't play at all (pretty
much any DRM'd files) so whether or not WMAL is high up on the list is
simply speculation.

I believe SlimDevices should comment one some of the bigger issues. Like support for DRM'ed content, WMAL and the like. Maybe there is a official roadmap somewhere I don't know about yet?

Ben Sandee
2006-10-06, 12:00
On 10/6/06, Terje <Terje.2f9s1b1160160601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> I believe SlimDevices should comment one some of the bigger issues.
> Like support for DRM'ed content, WMAL and the like. Maybe there is a
> official roadmap somewhere I don't know about yet?


Commenting publicly on issues like this would open the door to liability if
those comments turn out to not be true for any reason. You may see a
comment on a feature when there is 100% certainty it will be coming out.
For example, we all found out about gapless mp3 support a few days before
the feature was committed to public firmware.

Ben

slimditty
2007-01-10, 16:49
I was about to buy a Transporter, too, until I saw that it didn't natively support wma lossless (in the forum). I think that the SlimDevices help files are very unclear on this issue. Not all slimserver builds can transcode wma lossless (I am thinking of the Infrant NAS running Linux). When I read the Transporter specs, it was written that it 'natively' supported wma lossless... but this is not true.
I understand that Microsoft charges a hardware licensing fee for hardware support - but how much are they talking about? The Transporter is already $2K. This is a high-end device and, I feel, should include native wma lossless support.

peter
2007-01-11, 02:36
slimditty wrote:
> I was about to buy a Transporter, too, until I saw that it didn't
> natively support wma lossless (in the forum). I think that the
> SlimDevices help files are very unclear on this issue. Not all
> slimserver builds can transcode wma lossless (I am thinking of the
> Infrant NAS running Linux). When I read the Transporter specs, it was
> written that it 'natively' supported wma lossless... but this is not
> true.
> I understand that Microsoft charges a hardware licensing fee for
> hardware support - but how much are they talking about? The Transporter
> is already $2K. This is a high-end device and, I feel, should include
> native wma lossless support.
>

Anybody with any sense should choose open protocols. Luckily, any
lossless protocol can be converted losslesly to any other, so as long as
you can find the proper tools (I'm sure Microsoft won't have provided
you with any) you can convert to FLAC. This should do it:
http://www.litexmedia.com/wma_workshop/ (for a price).

MS & Apple are trying very hard to pull you into their corner and not
let go. Just say no ;)

Regards,
Peter

JSonnabend
2007-01-11, 14:19
slimditty wrote:Anybody with any sense should choose open protocols. Luckily, any
lossless protocol can be converted losslesly to any other, so as long as
you can find the proper tools (I'm sure Microsoft won't have provided
you with any) you can convert to FLAC. This should do it:
http://www.litexmedia.com/wma_workshop/ (for a price).

MS & Apple are trying very hard to pull you into their corner and not
let go. Just say no ;)

Regards,
Peter

Huh? Microsoft provides free tools for WMAL->PCM (WAV) conversion. Windows Media Audio 9 Lossless to PCM Converter (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/utilities.aspx)

- Jeff

peter
2007-01-12, 08:41
JSonnabend wrote:
> Peter;169197 Wrote:
>
>> slimditty wrote:Anybody with any sense should choose open protocols.
>> Luckily, any
>> lossless protocol can be converted losslesly to any other, so as long
>> as
>> you can find the proper tools (I'm sure Microsoft won't have provided
>> you with any) you can convert to FLAC. This should do it:
>> http://www.litexmedia.com/wma_workshop/ (for a price).
>>
>> MS & Apple are trying very hard to pull you into their corner and not
>> let go. Just say no ;)
>>
>> Regards,
>> Peter
>>
>
> Huh? Microsoft provides free tools for WMAL->PCM (WAV) conversion.
> 'Windows Media Audio 9 Lossless to PCM Converter'
> (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/utilities.aspx)
>

Cool, do they run on Linux or OS/X as well?

Regards,
Peter

JSonnabend
2007-01-12, 08:49
Cool, do they run on Linux or OS/X as well?

Regards,
Peter

Are you being facetious?

- Jeff

peter
2007-01-12, 09:03
JSonnabend wrote:
> Peter;169570 Wrote:
>
>> Cool, do they run on Linux or OS/X as well?
>>
>> Regards,
>> Peter
>>
>
> Are you being facetious?
>

You had me running for the dictionary there.
Yes, of course I was joking.

This kind of thing shows the importance of open standards. IIRC the free
lossless formats (APE, FLAC) were there first. But instead of just
taking a good open format and using that, MS & Apple simply must insist
on inventing the wheel again. And of course a wheel that fits only under
their own cars. Thankfully MP3 was an unstoppable success before any of
the big guys noticed it, or we wouldn't be able to have any media file
that would play on all devices... (yeah, there's WAV of course).

Regards,
Peter

earthbased
2007-01-12, 09:28
--- mkozlows <mkozlows.2f6eib1160003101 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
> Josh Coalson;143003 Wrote:
> >
> > you know, once you went with WMAL you pretty much tethered yourself
> > to microsoft. all microsoft has to say is 'no' to slimdevices or
> > price the license too high, or ... and that's it.
> >
>
> For very light values of "tether", considering that it's a lossless
> format and there are freely downloadable SDKs and API documentation.
> WMA Lossless definitely isn't as open as FLAC, but it's no Apple
> Lossless, either.

yeah, I see what you're saying, but as far as I know the libraries
are binary-only and only work on windows, they're not going to help
anyone except those already tethered to microsoft. maybe you mean
it at least allows you to transcode on a windows machine? but that
wasn't sufficient for Martin.

> Anyway, open source arguments notwithstanding, the current situation
> kinda sucks for lossless people. There's no lossless format that
> will
> natively work on the best software (Windows Media Player 11, which
> only
> supports WMA Lossless), the best portable device (the iPod, which
> only
> supports Apple Lossless)

.... or FLAC via rockbox. yes there is effort to get it to work
but less than getting WMAL to work on anything else. best is also
debateable as there are several very good portables that natively
support FLAC.
http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html#hardware

all that said, the basic problem is choosing closed, proprietary
codecs designed to lock you in, then asking for support for them
from the competitors of the codecs' creators. slim responded to
user demand for FLAC because they could; it was open, free, well
documented, had C reference decoder with source, and widely
supported. it is not so easy for ALAC or WMAL for many reasons.

I think your solution of using FLAC + MP3 is the most reasonable
right now.

Josh

Better yet is FLAC + OGG. iRiver has appeared to stop supporting OGG but there is iCowon.

JSonnabend
2007-01-12, 09:36
MP3 is actually not "open" in the sense of free. The MP3 format is patented and subject to license restrictions.

When I decided to rip my collection, I debated between FLAC and WMAL. I settled on the latter because I was using Sonic Foundry Vegas to make mixes at the time, and it read WMAL files directly. Now that reason isn't so important, but I see no need to transcode.

- Jeff

snarlydwarf
2007-01-12, 11:07
MP3 is actually not "open" in the sense of free. The MP3 format is patented and subject to license restrictions.

This is true, but the advantage of mp3 over other lossy formats is that it was so well-entrenched that every hardware and software maker is compelled to support it.

So it will play on your phone, car stereo, iPod, Zune, whatever. Oh, yeah, and Squeezeboxes.

The portability is a nice feature which is why it survives when "better" compression routines exist.

peter
2007-01-13, 01:15
snarlydwarf wrote:
> JSonnabend;169600 Wrote:
>
>> MP3 is actually not "open" in the sense of free. The MP3 format is
>> patented and subject to license restrictions.
>>
>
> This is true, but the advantage of mp3 over other lossy formats is that
> it was so well-entrenched that every hardware and software maker is
> compelled to support it.
>
> So it will play on your phone, car stereo, iPod, Zune, whatever. Oh,
> yeah, and Squeezeboxes.
>
> The portability is a nice feature which is why it survives when
> "better" compression routines exist.
>

Absolutely and it's the same reason ZIP has survived. Any minor
improvements other formats made aren't worth the hassle of them not
being supported everywhere.

Regards,
Peter