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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random thought of the day - Are CDs lossless?

CD, FLAC, are always considered as lossless. But lossless compared to what? Lossless compared to the original source? The original source is analogue with infinite sampling rate and resolution. Compared to the mastering copy? Those are at least 24-bit, 96kHz.

Oh, so lossless compared to each other.


We like to bluff ourselves huh?

And y am I thinking like an analogue person?


ZOMBiE CyGiG said...

U got the concept of "lossless" wrong liao.

To put it very simply, a lossless format is one that you can re-save and re-save every time you edit and on each re-save, the compression dun throw away data that you dun intend to discard.

JPEG is lossy, you try opening up a jpeg, u edit. You save. Then you open again, and you save again. U do it 100 times, the JPEG become super noisy and ugly.

Mp3 is lossy, you open, you edit, you save. You open u edit u save again. Do this for 100x and it sounds like shit cos each time u save, u re-compress the mp3 over and over again.

While if you u PSD or WAV, you can do so without the degradation of data due to compression.

Lossy - Compression with degradation, tend to yield small file.

Lossless - Compress without degradation , yield big file. Eg, .psd .zip .rar .wav .flac

Please note there is nothing to do with the ORIGINAL quality. The term is describing compression

I have have:

Good Analogue Source A > Good Lossy Compression


Very Poor Analogue Source A > Good Lossless Compression

In the above case, I got two copies of Analogue Source A. One is well recorded, another anyhowly recorded.

And I may get a better sound through the lossy compression from the good source than the lossless compression of the bad source.

But if im to keep recompressing the lossy one, its going to end up very bad sounding. Whereas for the lossless one, I keep recompresiing, it will still stay as bad as it was without going worst.

Normally and simply:
Analogue Recording > Digital CD > User Ripped Format

General consumer cant get the analogue recording or no equipment to play back, so only got the Digital CD. Once you rip in lossy, it have have one round of compression and there u go > data loss.

Whereas you rip to lossless, you get your one round of compression to FLAC too, but since its lossless, theroically, no data loss.

Of course, if u can rip right from the Analogue Recording, you may even get a lossy/lossless compression better than the Digital CD.

Weikiat said...

the re-save thing isn't a good example, but the idea is there.

Mainly, lossless is, monkey in, monkey out.
Lossy is monkey in, mutated monkey with no limbs out.

CD (or PCM) is lossless, however, the original audio is mastered into a limbless monkey to be able to fit into the CD.

So limbless monkey into flac, you get another limbless monkey.
Limbless monkey into mp3, you left with just a tiny whiny penis.

ZOMBiE CyGiG said...

The resave is more relevant for picture formats, thats why when I do studio shot, I shoot in Nikon Raw .NEF format, and then convert to .psd for editing, so to ensure no amount of saves or edit will destroy/remove my original picture data UNLESS its part of my intended editing process.

But that dun mean my picture quality when I first shot in .NEF is good.

I can have fuck sensor fuck lens and fuck skill and shoot a fuck photo in .NEF.

Its not going to be better than a good lens, good sensor and good skills in lossy JPEG at 95% Quality setting.

I have some PC files. I can use Zip, RAR, 7zip etc etc, those are like your Wav, FLAC, APE etc etc, but that has no relation to the content and quality of the PC files that im compressing.