FLAC 1.4.0 arrives with small improvements, but quite important

FLAC is an open format with a copyright-free license

FLAC uses only lossless encoding methods, which guarantees the complete preservation of the original quality

Nine years after the last thread was posted important, the Xiph.Org community has introduced a new version of the FLAC 1.4.0 codec which provides lossless audio encoding.

For those who are unaware of FLAC, you should know that this is a completely open streaming format, which implies not only the openness of the libraries with the implementation of encoding and decoding functions, but also the absence of restrictions on the use of specifications and the creation of derivative versions of the library code.

FLAC is designed to compress audio. Because of this, the resulting files are playable and usable, as well as being smaller than if a statistical compression algorithm (such as ZIP) had been applied directly to the PCM file.

FLAC has become one of the preferred formats for the sale of music over the Internet, as well as Monkey's Audio which works identically well. In addition, it is used in the exchange of songs over the network, as an alternative to MP3, when you want to obtain a greater reduction in size than in a WAV-PCM file, and not lose sound quality. At the same time, the lossless compression methods used allow the size of the original audio stream to be reduced by 50-60%.

Main news of FLAC 1.4.0

In the new version of the codec that is presented, it is highlighted that added support for encode and decode with a bit depth de 32 bits per sample quantization.

Another novelty that accompanies the launch of this new version is that improved compression efficiency at levels 3 to 8 at the cost of a slight reduction in encoding speed due to improved autocorrelation computation accuracy.

In addition to this, it is also noted that the library libFLAC and the flac utility, in this new version provide the ability to limit the bit rate minimum for FLAC files, up to one bit per sample (can be useful when hosting live streams).

Also higher encoding speed has been achieved for levels 0, 1 and 2, along with slightly improved compression on levels 1 to 4 by changing the adaptive heuristics, plus it became possible to encode files with sample rates up to 1048575 Hz.

On the other hand, it is also noted that the Compression speed was significantly improved on 8-bit ARMv64 processors, thanks to the use of NEON instructions. Improved performance on x86_64 processors that support the FMA instruction set.

Of the other changes that stand out from this new version:

  • The API and ABI of the libFLAC and libFLAC++ libraries have been changed (upgrading to version 1.4 requires applications to be rebuilt).
  • Deprecated and will be removed in the next version of the plugin for XMMS.
  • The flac utility has new options “–limit-min-bitrate” and “–keep-foreign-metadata-if-present”.
  • The compression of presets -1 and -4 was slightly improved on some material by changing the mid-side adaptive heuristic
  • Integrated speedups specifically targeting 8-bit ARMv64 devices using NEON (Ronen Gvili, Martijn van Beurden)
  • Added speedups for x86_64 CPUs that have the FMA instruction set extension
  • It is now possible to encode and decode 32-bit PCM
  • Fixed an issue using the parse feature that caused the first frame to have the wrong size and offset
  • MSVC and Makefile.lite build system files have been removed. Building with MSVC (Visual Studio) can be done using CMake
  • Addition of a new fuzzer decoder, adding lookup code coverage
  • The warning returned by handling external metadata is now clearer in the event that a user attempts to restore external metadata of the wrong type, for example by decoding a FLAC file containing external AIFF metadata into a WAV file.

Finally if you are interested in knowing more about it, you can check the details In the following link.

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