The World of Lossless Audio Formats

Working with lossless audio formats has its benefits. As an engineer or even just someone that works with audio in your career or hobbies you need to know what the different formats are and where they are typically used in the industry. Since there a few different lossless formats that have become available over the years, this article will attempt to cover the most popular and widely adopted ones.

A lossless audio format means that no information is compromised by converting the sound to any one of the audio types within this category. Many companies have entered the market by offering up their rendition.

A Day at the Theater

People that enjoy movies may be aware of the following versions. DTS-HD Master Audio is found on Blu-Ray discs. This encryption can run between 5.1 to 7.1 setups making it quite versatile for many home theaters. DolbyHD was originally the standard codec for HD DVD, however since that format has gone extinct it is now in use by Blu-Ray as well. It has the much the same output capacity as DTS-HD, 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setups are acceptable. The DolbyHD variant also carries metadata about the audio track such as the name.

An Open Source Apple?

Typically, Apple products are all zipped up, proprietary components that never make friends with the open source community. This is no longer the case for ALAC. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec is an MP4 variant that should be vary familiar to iTunes users. Users are likely aware of the .m4a when moving or backing up their massive libraries. In late 2011 Apple allowed the codex to be open-source and devoid of royalties. And interesting move from the mother of all vertical integrators.

A FLAC with no Ducking


The Free Lossless Audio Codec has only been around since 2001 but it has gained some serious ground with audiophiles looking to retain the quality of their listening experience while also maximizing the number of tracks on their portable devices. It can cut the file size as much as 50%.

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