WavPack is a completely open audio compression format providing lossless, high-quality lossy, and a unique hybrid compression mode. For version 5.0.0, several new file formats and lossless DSD audio compression were added, making WavPack a universal audio archiving solution.
In the default lossless mode WavPack acts just like a WinZip compressor for audio files. However, unlike MP3 or WMA encoding which can affect the sound quality, not a single bit of the original information is lost, so there’s no chance of degradation. This makes lossless mode ideal for archiving audio material or any other situation where quality is paramount. The compression ratio depends on the source material, but generally is between 30% and 70%.
The hybrid mode provides all the advantages of lossless compression with an additional bonus. Instead of creating a single file, this mode creates both a relatively small, high-quality lossy file that can be used all by itself, and a “correction” file that (when combined with the lossy file) provides full lossless restoration. For some users this means never having to choose between lossless and lossy compression!
WavPack employs only well known, public domain techniques (i.e., linear prediction with LMS adaptation, Elias and Golomb codes) in its implementation. Methods and algorithms that have ever been patented (e.g., arithmetic coding, LZW compression) are specifically avoided. This ensures that WavPack encoders and decoders will remain open and royalty-free.
Lplex is a console application meant to provide a free, quick, and hopefully painless way to:
- Create lossless “audio-only” dvd-video discs from wav or flac audio files, featuring:
- gapless playback.
- md5 verification of audio data.
- archival (dvd-rom) content.
- Losslessly extract unencrypted lpcm audio streams from dvd-video to wav or flac format.
You’re already fully equipped for hi-res audio (up to 24-bit/96khz) if you have a typical dvd-player and digital amp, and lplex is a way to take advantage of this.
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format 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) just like you would a MP3 file.
FLAC stands out as the fastest and most widely supported lossless audio codec, and the only one that at once is non-proprietary, is unencumbered by patents, has an open-source reference implementation, has a well documented format and API and has several other independent implementations.
X Lossless Decoder (XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode / convert / play various ‘lossless’ audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding. It works on Mac OS X 10.4 and later. XLD is Universal Binary, so it runs natively on both Intel Macs and PPC Macs.