Hybrid Lossless Audio Compression

About
WavPack is a completely open audio compression format providing lossless, high-quality lossy, and a unique hybrid compression mode. Although the technology is loosely based on previous versions of WavPack, the new version 4 format has been designed from the ground up to offer unparalleled performance and functionality.

In the default lossless mode WavPack acts just like a WinZip compressor for audio files. However, unlike MP3 or WMA encoding which can affect the sound quality, not a single bit of the original information is lost, so there's no chance of degradation. This makes lossless mode ideal for archiving audio material or any other situation where quality is paramount. The compression ratio depends on the source material, but generally is between 30% and 70%.

The hybrid mode provides all the advantages of lossless compression with an additional bonus. Instead of creating a single file, this mode creates both a relatively small, high-quality lossy file that can be used all by itself, and a "correction" file that (when combined with the lossy file) provides full lossless restoration. For some users this means never having to choose between lossless and lossy compression!

WavPack employs only well known, public domain techniques (i.e., linear prediction with LMS adaptation, Elias and Golomb codes) in its implementation. Methods and algorithms that have ever been patented (e.g., arithmetic coding, LZW compression) are specifically avoided. This ensures that WavPack encoders and decoders will remain open and royalty-free.

Features
WavPack 4.70.0 features include:
  • Compatible with virtually all PCM audio formats including 8, 16, 24, and 32-bit ints; 32-bit floats; mono, stereo, and multichannel; sampling rates from 6 to 192 kHz (and non-standard rates)
  • Multiplatform support including Windows, Linux, and OS X, plus a Flash decoder and encoder and a Silverlight decoder that can work virtually anywhere, and now a web-based audio converter that can decode WavPack files online
  • Instantly seekable and streaming capable (and gapless)
  • ReplayGain (including WavPack file scanner and compatible plugins)
  • Uses ID3v1 and APEv2 tags for metadata (including ReplayGain)
  • Error-tolerant block format conducive to hardware decoding
  • Optional "asymmetrical" mode for improved compression
  • MD5 audio checksums for verification and identification
  • Unique hybrid mode (provides high quality lossy + "correction" file
  • Dynamic noise shaping (dns) for optimum quality at lower hybrid bitrates
  • Hybrid mode now operates as low as 2.25 bits/sample (or 196 kbps for CD audio)
  • Free and open source with easy to use C library API and unrestrictive license (BSD)
  • Intuitive command line interface (with wildcards and destination directory)
  • Small, efficient executable (no large programs or dlls to install)
  • Special "low latency" version available for custom applications
  • Self-extracting archives with cuesheets (Windows only)
  • Java and C# decoders and encoders available
  • Fully backward compatible to WavPack 1.0
  • Complete piping support
New features for 4.70.0:
  • Easily transcode from WavPack to WavPack with a single command (including tag copy)
  • Option to automatically verify every WavPack file when created
  • All new plugin for Adobe Audition CS5.5, CS6, and CC

Software
WavPack has been tested and works well with the following quality Windows software:
  • Custom Windows Frontend (by Speek)
  • DirectShow filter to allow WavPack playback in WMP, MPC, etc.
  • WMP Tag Plus allows WMP 11+ to read and write WavPack file tags
  • CheckWavpackFiles to batch verify WavPack files/folders (by gl.tter)
  • JRiver MediaCenter (complete native support for reading and writing)
  • NullSoft Winamp (plugin available here, w/ ReplayGain & Media Library)
  • Foobar2000 Advanced Audio Player (native support w/ ReplayGain & Cuesheets)
  • Adobe Audition (and CoolEdit) (filter available here, w/ 32-bit floats & extra info save)
  • dBpowerAMP Music Converter / Audio Player / CD Writer (official addon)
  • Steinberg WaveLab 5/6 Audio Editor (using third-party plugin)
  • Apollo Audio Player (plugin available here, w/ ReplayGain)
  • Ahead Nero Burning Rom (plugin available here)
  • Reaper Multitrack Audio Recorder and Editor
  • Burrrn audio CD burning application
  • Mp3tag Universal Tag Editor
  • VLC VideoLAN Media Player
  • JavaTunes Audio Player
  • VUPlayer Audio Player
  • jetAudio Media Player
  • Musique Audio Player
  • Easy CD-DA Extractor
  • SoX - Sound eXchange
  • EAC CD Ripper
WavPack is also making its way into Linux and MAC territory. Several Linux distributions (including Ubuntu) now support WavPack right out of the box (via GStreamer) and WavPack support has been added to the FFmpeg project and to xine-lib. In addition, these programs now support Wavpack:
  • DeaDBeeF - Ultimate Music Player for GNU/Linux (native WavPack support)
  • Asunder - A graphical Audio CD ripper and encoder with CDDB tagging (native WavPack support)
  • Aqualung - A gapless music player that has an XML-based music DB (native WavPack support)
  • Audacious Media Player - A new player based on BMP (native WavPack support)
  • Traverso - an audio recording and editing tool with an innovative interface (native WavPack support)
  • Quod Libet - A GTK+-based audio player written in Python (using the GStreamer plugin)
  • LAMIP - Linux Audio Multiple Interface Player (using an official plugin)
  • XMMS - Established Linux Audio Player (plugin available here)
  • EasyTAG - Tag Editor for both Linux and Windows (native WavPack support)
  • X Lossless Decoder - Mac OS X program to decode/convert/play lossless audio
  • Cog - Audio Player for Mac OS X (native WavPack support)
  • Max - Audio Format Converter for Mac OS X (native WavPack support)
  • Tag - Metadata editor for Mac OS X (native WavPack support)
  • Play - Audio Player for Mac OS X (native WavPack support)
  • JavaTunes and Musique - Multiplatform Java-based Audio Players
For more information about compatible software check out the links page.

Hardware
Yes! Hardware support for WavPack is starting to appear:
  • Rockbox is an open-source replacement firmware that runs on many past and current model portable music players including many Apple iPod models; the Cowon iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5, M5L, M3 and M3L models; the iRiver H100, H300 and H10 series; the Olympus M:Robe 100; the SanDisk Sansa c200, e200 and e200R series (and the Fuze unofficially); and the Toshiba Gigabeat X and F series. With Rockbox installed on these players you can play all current WavPack files in all modes (although the very high mode is not recommended) and models that allow it can even record to lossless WavPack! My favorite supported player is the iRiver H120 which has the unique feature of optical SPDIF I/O which I use to record from an HD radio for 10 hours straight on a single charge! Click on the banner below to go to the Rockbox site:

  • The Cowon A3 PMP (pic) was the first PMP to offer native WavPack playback right out of the box! The support was very complete, including playback of IEEE float files and even legacy WavPack files back to 1.0! The A3 was very full featured in other respects, including an amazing 800 x 480 4" LCD display, HD component output, and video recording. Unfortunately, the A3 was discontinued, but Cowon has continued WavPack support in its popular flash-based O2PMP which is less featured than the A3, but has a slick touchscreen and an available SDK to allow 3rd party developers to create apps. Click the banner to see the most recent Cowon player with WavPack support:

  • The Skydigital Venice V38 HD Combo is a multimedia and network player that supports WavPack playback. In addition to playing virtually all audio and video formats (including H.264, MKV) and outputting full 1080p and including just about every connection type from HDMI to composite (only RF is missing!), it also has a built in DVD drive that will play DVDs (obviously) but also allow you to make DVD backups to the internal HD. The networking is full-featured as well, allowing it to work as either client or server (using the internal or attached USB drives) and supposedly a BitTorrent client is coming too! Oh, and you can transfer analog audio sources onto the internal HD using the built-in ADC. For all the amazing details, click the banner:

  • The Slim Devices Squeezebox and Transporter now play WavPack via the 7.0 version of their SqueezeCenter server software. This support includes legacy WavPack files, 16 and 24-bit resolutions, sampling rates up to 96 kHz, and full use of cuesheets and ReplayGain information. These units from Slim Devices make it easy to access your entire WavPack collection from anywhere in your house, and they sound great and are sexy to look at as well. Many thanks to Peter McQuillan for his invaluable help with this! Click the banner to see and read more:

For more information about compatible hardware check out the links page.

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