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VCAST Music Disables MP3 Playback

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Replying to:  Why is WMA a "lossy" format? by mycool   Jan 11, 2006, 12:11 PM

Re: Why is WMA a "lossy" format? Well, because it 'loses' information

by SystemShock    Jan 11, 2006, 6:48 PM

Why is WMA a 'lossy' format? Because thats simply part and parcel of the compression technology used in WMA. From Wikpedia:

A lossy data compression method is one where compressing data and then decompressing it retrieves data that may well be different from the original, but is "close enough" to be useful in some way. This type of compression is used frequently on the Internet and especially in streaming media and telephony applications. These methods are typically referred to as codecs in this context. Contrast with lossless data compression.

Depending on the design of the format lossy data compression often suffers from generation loss, that is compressing and decompressing multiple times will do more damage to the data than doing it once. »

I italicized the last part to underline why I don't like having my mp3 or AAC files 'auto-converted' to WMA... as they said, compressing/decompressing a file multiple times will do more damage to the data/degrade sound quality more than doing it once. So running an audio file through both mp3 or AAC compression AND THEN having it run through WMA results in a quality hit.

As far as WMA having better audio quality than mp3, WMA is a newer codec than mp3 so I believe that's true, however:

1) It doesn't have better audio quality than AAC, also a newer codec, and which is what iTunes downloads are

2) It'd be a mistake to think that WMA's (or AAC's, for that matter) quality would be a reason to convert your mp3s to WMA (or AAC), since you'll lose information in the conversion and actually end up with WORSE quality than before, not better, since you're running your files through multiple compressions instead of one.

Where the better quality of WMA or AAC would be useful is when ripping CDs, as you are then putting the tracks through only one compression process, which is what you want.

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