My hearing is less than perfect but for those that can hear the difference lossless digital audio formats offer the means of storing sound recordings whilst preserving as much of the original without resorting to the kind of heavy compression and lossy methods of mp3′s,MP4,WMA and the like.
Apple have just open sourced their Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) which has allowed audio purists to store their recordings in a lossless way for playback on iPods and similar Apple portable devices. ALAC is particularly suited to playback on low power devices so there is now a possibility that it could arrive on non Apple devices.
The best known lossless audio format is probably FLAC which is also open source but can only be used on Apple devices via a third party firmware hack called Rockbox.
- Apple’s Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) Now Open Source (apple.slashdot.org)
- Lossless music goes High Street (go.theregister.com)