A slight update to Ogg Vorbis – version 1.0.1 – was released on Thursday, bringing a few bug fixes and improvements to the encoding of quiet audio signals. Users of dBpowerAMP can get the latest beta codec which updates encoding and decoding support to the latest version.
If you’re not familiar with Ogg Vorbis, you may like to know the following:
- Unlike WMA and MP3, it is a totally open and free format. Consequently Ogg files will sound the same regardless of what decoder or encoder is used (assuming the encoder is Ogg 1.0+) because the source code is the same. With MP3, some encoders and decoders are better than others – the same MP3 file will sound different depending on whether it is played through a player based on XAudio, MAD or the official Fraunhofer decoder.
- It’s patent free, so you don’t have the legal grey areas of MP3 encoders like Lame.
- It’s cross-platform – whether you’re a Windows, Mac or Linux user, there’ll be a way of playing Ogg files. WMA is difficult on the Mac and near impossible under Linux.
- Adding an Ogg Vorbis codec to your player doesn’t require downloading a multimegabyte file from Microsoft first.
- No DRM. An Ogg file will play on any machine, not just the one it was created on
- Quality is better than MP3 and at least as good as WMA – a 160Kbps Ogg file sounds better than a 192Kbps MP3 so you can save on disk space.
- It’s become a mature and well-supported format.
Give it a try. You’ll be surprised at just how many programs support it already:
- Winamp – native support since version 2.8, otherwise installable by an official plugin
- Windows Media Player – support for it and Monkey’s Audio (an open lossless format) can be added using MediaXW. You may also like to try Tobias’ DirectShow filters which seem to be more up to date.
- dBpowerAMP – latest versions have native decode support, encoding support can be added through an official codec.
- XMMS – native support.
- Foobar2000 – native support.
- QuickTime & iTunes – support can be added via the QuickTime Components Project, but you may like to read this MacOSXHints article and my own entry first.
- XMPlay – native support
- Easy CD-DA Extractor – native support
- CDex – native support
- Nero Burning ROM – support through a plugin from Nero Plugins.
- …plus all the programs listed on this page, which includes software that will create Ogg Vorbis files.
Give it a try. Your conscience and your ears will thank you for it.