I love my spotify for streaming, use extreme quality all the time. But if I had the choice, everything would be lossless, which gives a nicer quality imho. All my local tracks are encoded flac, but since this file-format has been around for a while, I'm curious as to what lossless formats everyone else is using, and why. For me, the reason is simply that I already have quite an extensive library built on flac and I prefer to keep a minimum of different file-formats, so I keep on getting flac's.
Btw, please add your file format as a tag to your reply.
I think FLAC is still probably the best for lossless, but as a side project I've been re-examining Opus as a lossless format lately for some of my projects. It appears to offer superior quality per bit than other similar formats such as mp3 and ogg.
Hmm, I thought opus was lossy? But it's quite a while ago that I fiddled with audio codecs. Not surprised that you get better quality than mp3/ogg, since they definitely are lossy. How is opus for streaming?
Sorry, was meant to say lossy - may have been at the pub this evening. 😛
I've never tried to use it for streaming directly, as a brief test to myself I converted a few tracks from FLAC to opus and got my brother to listen to them (because my hearing isn't the best) and he could definitely tell the difference vs mp3.
The pub sounds nice... 😉 I never really liked the lossy formats whenever I could avoid them. While I love spotify's catalogue, I'd be more than willing to pay more for the ability to get lossless. Two situations that really bugs me with lossy is live recordings and classical music. It almost never sounds right.
I generally use FLAC. It has a good speed and compression, is the most compatable with players, and best of all is non-proprietary and open source.
For lossy I generally use OGG Vorbis (also open source!), although Nero AAC is pretty close in quality. Spotify premium bitrate is indistinguishable to lossless. People who say it isn't are getting different quality through plecebo and find out it is distinguishable after ABX testing. Even Spotify free can sound indistinguishable for people without good ears and cheap headphones/speakers.
Adisib, that's not quite true. Me and my friends (we're all at an age where our kids have already, or are just about to move out) did a blind test one evening after a dispute about this. All but one in our group got it right 10/10 playing spotify on its highest setting and compared it to flac. Admittedly, since our debate was about classical music and live rock performances, that's what we used for this and that's where, to my ear at least, most lossy formats fail to some degree. Of course, this was using equipment most people would say is in the upper quality region.
I love spotify and really never bother about these small differences compared to lossless. Quality is absolutely good enough for everyone who enjoys a big variety in music.
Spotify doesn't play FLAC, in which case you must have been using two different players. This can lead to differences in such things as crossfading and most importantly volume difference (spotify has different volume than FLACs that can be downloaded or ripped from CDs almost always) among other things.
If you want to do a true blind test, get a FLAC and convert that FLAC with a modern OGG Vorbis 320 kb/s encoder and play through the same player that will allow you to shuffle between the two randomly with a single button press.
If you are really interested in testing yourself even for low bitrates, I've yet to see anyone perform well on http://mp3ornot.com/ and you can use that to test yourself (make sure you do a large number of tests), though that is a much, much more noticible level than 320 kb/s Vorbis vs FLAC.
I think we are comparing different things. I compare spotify and flac, since those are the main ways for me to listen to music. If those differences in players make spotify worse and flac better, then really, it is a good argument for flac, isn't it 😉 I don't suffer much when I listen to spotify, love the quality, love the catalog. Since my phone is far from state of the art flac makes no difference and spotify is my goto for music. Have you tried any other lossless formats? Pro/con?
I believe ALAC is almost exactly equivalent. The compression has always been worse than FLAC for me, but can sometimes be better, but is always very, very close. Compression speed is very equivalent as well.
APE I believe has a higher compression level, but has much worse compatability with players and compresses much slower.