Updated: 17 Aug 2004

La is a Lossless Audio compression codec. That is, in contrast to formats such as mp3, it reduces the size of music without affecting the quality, as the uncompressed signal is exactly identical to the original.
However, the compression ratio is thus far lower than that for .mp3 files - you can expect around 50%, worse for heavier music and better for classical etc.

How well does Lossless Audio (La) perform?

The compression ratios of La depend on the type of music file being compressed, but the compression size will generally range between 20% - 70% of the original.
This ratio is of course modest in comparison with lossy formats such as .mp3, however La does (at time of writing) compress around 1.5% better on average than any other lossless compression programs.
Speedwise, La runs around 2.5x real time in default mode on my Pentium III-1000. This is quite slow relative to comparable compressors, however corresondingly the compression rate is slightly higher than the others. It is also significantly faster than older versions, and given that most new computers these days are in the 3 ghz range I don't think the speed should be an issue for most people. However, if you are running something slower than 500 mhz, it is unlikely that you will be able to playback the music realtime in Winamp.

Features of Lossless Audio (La) :

- Windows frontend (which also supports many other codecs).
- Best compression currently available (see comparison).
- Versions for both Windows and Linux OSes.
- Winamp, foobar2000 and Xmms plugins for playback.

Changes from Lossless Audio (La) 0.4 to Lossless Audio (La) 0.4b :

- Core compression engine separated into .dll.
- Source for plugins + console program released together with API to encourage indepedent development.
- Small bug-fixes.

Important Notes :

- The current version requires Microsoft .NET Framework which is only included in XP. If you don't want to install the .NET Framework [over 23MB] get La frontend 1.2 [27KB], one of the best frontend for the La console program.
- If you get an error when you try to run the frontend, you need one of the following files (the error message indicates which one): Visual Basic 6 Runtime files or mscomctl.ocx

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Ogg Vorbis: is a high-quality lossy audio codec which is free of intellectual property restrictions (like those surrounding MP3).

FLAC: is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality.

WavPack: is a completely open audio compression format providing lossless, high-quality lossy, and a unique hybrid compression mode.

Shorten: is an audio compression scheme that is used to compress audio files losslessly.

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