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40oz

.OGG files

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A lot of source seem to have .ogg audio support for music. The sound quality is comparable to MP3s and they're usually less than half the file size. There's even free web-based converters that will turn MP3s into .ogg files. Is there a reason .ogg never caught on? Seems like everyone unanimously favors MIDI with the exception of some more advanced source port compatible wads.

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I remember Ogg Vorbis appearing on the scene like 15 years ago and there was a lot of talk about it back then, particularly among open source advocates - its big distinguishing feature originally was not the file size but the fact that it's unencumbered by patents. That to me was always the big thing about it. I associate it with open source.

Problem is, by the time it arrived everyone had already "standardized" on MP3. In early 2000 terms, for me personally that meant:

  • I already had a big collection of MP3 albums that I'd collected: both from ripping my own collection of CDs and from Napster and other services
  • I had a bunch of software on my computer that I was used to using, and that could play MP3s but required upgrading to use Vorbis
  • I already had a portable MP3 player that couldn't play Vorbis (decoding done in hardware)
  • Reencoding from one lossy format to another inherently loses quality, which I certainly didn't want.
Doesn't make for a particularly compelling argument. Anyway, we've had over 15 years since then, so why have I still not switched? Well, the reencoding issue is still a problem and I don't particularly feel any need to switch. The only real argument would be that it saves space, but is that really an issue any more? Certainly I would have cared in 1997-1998 when I was having to patiently wait half an hour to download a single KoRn MP3. Nowadays I have a superfast Internet connection and a large hard drive, it doesn't really matter.

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I can't tell if the OP is about Doom mods or real world usage. The last sentence about preferring "MIDI with the exception of some more advanced source port compatible wads" makes no sense since if the mod is targeting vanilla or Boom compatibility they don't really have a choice in the matter. If sampled music is used in source port mods it is usually Vorbis from what I've seen. Those that still use MIDI either do so out of tradition or because there's still a general stigma around having 80% of a download be music (although that has become increasingly less problematic).

Also no idea where same quality at half size came from unless you're comparing a reasonably encoded Vorbis against 320kbps MP3s that are sold. They are usually pretty close in the tests that I've seen. Of course Opus changes that, but Opus is having the problem that it came onto the scene well after people stopped caring about audio size.

fraggle said:

(decoding done in hardware)

Worth emphasizing this. Years back my brother and I standardized on Vorbis and when he got a Portable Media Player that supported Vorbis and FLAC the result was very significantly reduced battery life since the decoding was done in software for these formats. Since he used his media player a lot he switched to encoding straight to MP3.

No idea if this applies to modern smart phones at all or not. These days I have everything in FLAC since I now have a large storage volume for them and re-encode whatever I want to take on the go.

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Compression is a hobby of mine and I've been interested since the dawn of mp3. When Vorbis came around I was intrigued, and began using it since around 2003. I now use Vorbis for all my lossy encoding where applicable. It can achieve a higher bitrate if you like and the sound quality is far superior. A few modern streaming services like Spotify use Vorbis too. It also has a big resurgence in video games lately. It's great for devices with limited storage like phones.

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I always assumed .Ogg files were closer to .Wav files in that they were pure, almost uncompressed sound (retaining as much quality as possible) compared to .Mp3s.

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40oz said:

Seems like everyone unanimously favors MIDI with the exception of some more advanced source port compatible wads.



If that is about Doom mods, the main reason may be file size. A MIDI is 10-30 kb compressed, an Ogg or MP3 music track is 3-4 MB at low quality and up to 10 MB at high quality.

Also let's not forget that some people actually think that since Doom could only play MIDI music, 'that's the way it's supposed to be.'


If it's about music in general, you can squarely blame the creators of mobile music players which were very slow to adapt since they had to pay the patent royalties anyway. I don't know how the patent licensing situation looks these days for manufacturers because technically all relevant patents have expired outside the USA, so are they still paying or not?

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Patent licensing is a non issue because Ogg Vorbis has no patents (that's the point of it). But it's certainly more work to add support for it, especially back in the early 00s when the technology was still in its relative infancy

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The ogg container format doesn't (or didn't) support thumbnails of album or track art. I did rip a load of stuff to OGG around 10 years ago but I'm steadily replacing those rips as time goes on (with FLAC archived and M4A/AAC for my portable player, if you are curious)

The quality of modern MP3 encoders like Lame has closed the gap somewhat so the space/quality benefits of ogg vorbis are not as pronounced anymore

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I once read that OGG/Vorbis was bad for devices with very little processing power. That said it didn't stop me from finding out that my old USB stick/music player combo bought years and years ago (selected according to the highly scientific criteria of which one of the 4 giga ones was the cheapest in the store) could play them without complaining.

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The thing that caught my interest a few years ago, when I was tinkering with composing, was that OGG Vorbis let you set your loop points. That always struck me as potentially useful in modding, but I've never actually seen it utilized and the tools I found were all pretty clunky. It definitely wasn't supported by any composition software, so you'd have to do it in a pretty roundabout way.

I don't know why it didn't initially catch on, but I can see why it's no longer a real issue for most people. Since I personally do nothing that requires maneuvering around the licensing of the MP3 format, the looping is the only real benefit I could get out of it today. I think the worst MP3 has ever caused me was requiring one extra step to get Audacity to export to MP3. On the other hand, moving my library over to OGG Vorbis would require an insane amount of time and effort for very little real benefit.

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Akira_98 said:

The thing that caught my interest a few years ago, when I was tinkering with composing, was that OGG Vorbis let you set your loop points. That always struck me as potentially useful in modding, but I've never actually seen it utilized and the tools I found were all pretty clunky.

Go there.

Congratulations! You have now seen Vorbis loop points utilized!

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Gez said:

I once read that OGG/Vorbis was bad for devices with very little processing power.



Sounds like FUD from those who made money off MP3.

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I think I've found back the article I remember, so you can check for yourself. Regardless of how valid the guy's oggjections are, finding a simple tiny player that could handle oggs wasn't that hard back in 2010, and now in 2017 I'd expect it's finding one that can't handle oggs that would be hard. And the official retort.

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The very few MP3s I have are basically ones where I have no alternatives. Downloads from dead bands on dead MySpace profiles...

Almost all the music on my computer is in FLAC. My phone gets Ogg Opus (successor to Vorbis) encodes from that.

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Gez said:

I once read that OGG/Vorbis was bad for devices with very little processing power.

It certainly was bad for some devices, since they had a dedicated hardware MP3 decoder (which would draw much less electrical power than a microprocessor running a software decoder) to do the heavy lifting for compressed audio and thus either couldn't run a software decoder in real time at all, or couldn't do so without unacceptably compromising the battery life due to the on-board microprocessor spending less time idle.

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Graf Zahl said:

If that is about Doom mods, the main reason may be file size. A MIDI is 10-30 kb compressed, an Ogg or MP3 music track is 3-4 MB at low quality and up to 10 MB at high quality.


I find that module music is woefully underutilized.



It's like MIDI except you get to create your own samples and instruments. You can fit a song like this into 38kb.

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What ports, aside from ZDoom and derivatives have support for these formats? For them the biggest limitation is lack of engine support.

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Graf Zahl said:

What ports, aside from ZDoom and derivatives have support for these formats? For them the biggest limitation is lack of engine support.


I believe Boom and Eternity Engine have OGG support. Might be mistaken, though.

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The conversation had moved to module music formats with AlexMax's intervention.

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Akira_98 said:

The thing that caught my interest a few years ago, when I was tinkering with composing, was that OGG Vorbis let you set your loop points

My understanding is that that's a ZDoom extension* and not part of the Ogg format as such.

* - (and other ports which support it, which includes Chocolate Doom; yes, you heard it here - Chocolate Doom is ZDoom compatible!)

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fraggle said:

My understanding is that that's a ZDoom extension* and not part of the Ogg format as such.

I didn't check which one was first, but there are a few programs outside of Doom ports that support them too.
https://doomwiki.org/wiki/Audio_loop

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Graf Zahl said:

Sounds like FUD from those who made money off MP3.


That's certainly true in one situation: when you put something like Rockbox onto a device which didn't have native OGG support in the first place, but had a co-processor for MPEG decoding. In that case the OGG is being done on a CPU which will be less efficient, relatively speaking, than the co-processor would be for the MP3 frames.

I *think* this was the case for Apple iPods, at least at some point in Rockbox's history; I don't know for sure though. Also, it would be moot if RB didn't have support for using the co-processor for MPEG decoding either.

I play a mix of MP3, AAC, Ogg, FLAC and SHM (probably) on my rockbox'd iPod video and never think about it.

EDIT: I should read the whole thread, I've added nothing new here.

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Jon said:

That's certainly true in one situation: when you put something like Rockbox onto a device which didn't have native OGG support in the first place, but had a co-processor for MPEG decoding. In that case the OGG is being done on a CPU which will be less efficient, relatively speaking, than the co-processor would be for the MP3 frames.

I *think* this was the case for Apple iPods, at least at some point in Rockbox's history; I don't know for sure though. Also, it would be moot if RB didn't have support for using the co-processor for MPEG decoding either.

I play a mix of MP3, AAC, Ogg, FLAC and SHM (probably) on my rockbox'd iPod video and never think about it.


It's funny you mention this, because I had a huge collection of Musepack music a few years ago (because ogg wasn't obscure enough I suppose) that I tried to load on an iPod Video running Rockbox, and the poor thing couldn't even decode the format fast enough to play it without skips, plus I noticed the battery draining at a much faster rate.

It was the exact moment that I realized the wisdom of hardware decoding, and I've used "normal" formats ever since.

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