• Ogg: Ogg is the name of Xiph.org's container format for audio, video, and metadata.
• Vorbis: Vorbis is the name of a specific audio compression scheme that's designed to be contained in Ogg. Note that other formats are capable of being embedded in Ogg such as FLAC and Speex.
Why do i need Ogg Vorbis?
• I'm an artist. Why should I be interested?
There are a couple of reasons:
-- Vorbis files can compress to a smaller file size and still sound fine; Vorbis' better compression will cut down on bandwidth costs and keep you from being a victim of your own popularity.
-- Vorbis' standardized, easily-edited comment header provides a space for you to scribble all sorts of notes about yourself to distribute with the music; this helps fans find you, your site, and where to buy your stuff.
-- If you decide to sell your music in MP3 format, you are responsible for paying Fraunhofer a percentage of each sale because you are using their patents. Vorbis is patent and license-free, so you will never need to pay anyone in order to sell, give away, or stream your own music.
• I'm a music fan. Why should I be interested?
Because Vorbis provides a high-quality format for you to listen to your music.
-- For a given file size, Vorbis sounds better than MP3. This means:
- You can keep your music collection at about the same quality level, but it'll take up less space
- or you can have your music collection take up about the same amount of space, but have it sound better.
-- Vorbis already enjoys widespread player support and work is underway to play Vorbis files on portable hardware.
• I'm a developer. Why should I be interested?
Epic Games (the makers of Unreal Tournament, et. al.) have used Vorbis in their games ever since releasing Unreal Tournament 2003 to compress game music without having per-game license fees sap profits from every game sold. Vorbis saves developers money by avoiding patent-license fees. Epic isn't alone; other Vorbis users include: Crystal Dynamics (Soul Reaver 2, Blood Omen 2), Croteam (Serious Sam: The Second Encounter), Pyrogon (Candy Cruncher), PopCap Games (Alchemy), EA Games (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
• I run a music label. Why should I be interested?
Vorbis' free encoders and high quality-to-filesize ratio can minimize bandwidth costs and eliminate compression licensing costs.
Think of a grocery store that provides free samples; your customers are more likely to buy your product if it's well-presented. You can then show your potential customers what your bands really sound like with Ogg Vorbis.
Some features of Ogg Vorbis
- Vorbis is a “lossy” codec, this means that lossy compression algorithms discard data in order to compress it better than would normally be possible. Examples include JPEG, Vorbis, and MP3 compression.
- Vorbis sounds better. Vorbis is open, so you're free to use it on your favorite platform. Vorbis doesn't have intellectual property restrictions to get in the way. And Vorbis doesn't just try to sound better, it tries to do things fundamentally better in all the ways that it can.
- You can convert any audio format to Ogg Vorbis. However, converting from one lossy format, like MP3, to another lossy format, like Vorbis, is generally a bad idea. Both MP3 and Vorbis encoders achieve high compression ratios by throwing away parts of the audio waveform that you probably won't hear. However, the MP3 and Vorbis codecs are very different, so they each will throw away different parts of the audio, although there certainly is some overlap. Converting a MP3 to Vorbis involves decoding the MP3 file back to an uncompressed format, like WAV, and recompressing it using the Ogg Vorbis encoder. The decoded MP3 will be missing the parts of the original audio that the MP3 encoder chose to discard. The Ogg Vorbis encoder will then discard other audio components when it compresses the data. At best, the result will be an Ogg file that sounds the same as your original MP3, but it is most likely that the resulting file will sound worse than your original MP3. In no case will you get a file that sounds better than the original MP3.
Since many music players can play both MP3 and Ogg files, there is no reason that you should have to switch all of your files to one format or the other. If you like Ogg Vorbis, then we would encourage you to use it when you encode from original, lossless audio sources (like CDs). When encoding from originals, you will find that you can make Ogg files that are smaller or of better quality (or both) than your MP3s.
- Vorbis has great audio quality. Have a look at our Dare to Compare page (http://www.xiph.org/ogg/vorbis/listen.html). Further, the German magazine c't published the results of a listening test which found that Vorbis sounded better than MP3 at lower bitrates/quality settings (around 64kbit/sec).
- Vorbis' audio quality is not best measured in kilobits per second, but on a scale from -1 to 10 called "quality". This change in terminology was brought about by a tuning of the variable-bitrate algorithm that produces better sound quality for a given average bitrate, but which does not adhere as strictly to that average as a target.
This new scale of measurement is not tied to a quantifiable characteristic of the stream, like bitrate, so it's a fairly subjective metric, but provides a more stable basis of comparison to other codecs and is relatively future-proof. As Segher Boessenkool explained, “if you upgrade to a new vorbis encoder, and you keep the same quality setting, you will get smaller files which sound the same. If you keep the same nominal bitrate, you get about the same size files, which sound somewhat better.” The former behavior is the aim of the quality metric, so encoding to a target bitrate is now officially deprecated for all uses except streaming over bandwidth-critical connections.
For now, quality 0 is roughly equivalent to 64kbps average, 5 is roughly 160kbps, and 10 gives about 400kbps. Most people seeking very-near-CD-quality audio encode at a quality of 5 or, for lossless stereo coupling, 6. The default setting is quality 3, which at approximately 110kbps gives a smaller filesize and significantly better fidelity than .mp3 compression at 128kbps.
As always, if you need CD-quality sound, neither Vorbis nor MP3 (nor any other lossy audio codec) can provide exact reproduction; instead, consider using a lossless audio compression scheme like FLAC.
- Vorbis is designed for the compression of music and general purpose audio. Special purpose codecs can achieve much greater compression of speech than Vorbis. Vorbis also tends to have a latency that is too high for telephony, a common use of speech codecs. Read the Speech Coding and Compression FAQ for more details. Those looking for an open-source, patent-free speech codec should take a look at Speex.
- Ogg Vorbis have the capability to show song titles and artist information when the file is played or streamed. Vorbis includes a flexible, complete comment field for song and artist info, as well as other track data. The official encoder, oggenc, allows you to enter comment info at encode time. Other tools tools also let you enter and edit track data.
- Ogg Vorbis is easily streamable. Icecast, our streaming audio server, is capable of streaming Ogg Vorbis to players like XMMS, Winamp 2, and foobar2000.
- Many programs support Ogg Vorbis encoding and playback; it's included in popular players such as Winamp and foobar2000 for Windows, and Whamb for OS X. It's also supported in popular audio applications such as CDex and GoldWave.
- You can bundle Vorbis and another media type (like text lyrics or pictures) in the same file. The Ogg container format was designed to allow different media types to be multiplexed together; Theora will be mixed with Vorbis audio in an Ogg container to encode movies.
- Audio Codec Tag 674F
may be requested when Ogg Vorbis is missing.
- Audio Codec Tag 26447
may be requested when Ogg Vorbis is missing.
These are the tools that one needs to create and play Ogg Vorbis files on the commandline, as well as a simple commentor.