As part of my university studies, I’m doing a bit of statistics work (you know… normal distributions, Kolmogerov-Smirnov tests, ANOVA…etc.). As part of this subject, we all have to do a group project, the subject of which being chosen by us.
The three of us have put our heads together, and have decided to do a formal study to compare 3 audio codecs: AAC, MP3 and Ogg/Vorbis. I’ll announce the full details on this project closer to the date. Put simply, it’s a study I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and university has basically given me an excuse to go ahead with it. 🙂
The plan, is to conduct listening tests online, by constructing a variety of audio samples — half encoded using a lossy codec, the rest left as-is, and asking the listener to rate the quality level. In order to prevent skewing of the results though, these samples need to be distributed in a lossless form. And here, lies a problem.
There are a couple of options, the obvious one is to not compress the samples at all, but to leave them as plain AIFF or WAV, but that’ll be wasteful. The other, is to use a lossless codec such as FLAC, and in here lies my problem.
Most Linux users, will have little problem playing FLAC audio, that isn’t the issue. On Gentoo, set USE="flac", and Portage pretty much looks after it from there. However, I suspect many of the people will be using Windows, and may not be in a position to install a codec pack (such as the OggDS codec pack). So the ideal, would be to use some sort of java-based or flash-based player (with the option there to allow external playback).
My question… Does anyone know of a decent web-based FLAC player applet, that I can use to embed FLAC audio on a web page?