[Flac-dev] Variable Bit Rate

Brian Willoughby brianw at sounds.wa.com
Mon May 23 11:46:34 PDT 2011

On May 23, 2011, at 10:26, Dennis Brunnenmeyer wrote:
> Is FLAC a variable bit rate format when streamed? If so, how can it  
> be truly lossless?

No offense intended, but your logic is backwards.  You should be  
asking: How can a constant bit rate format be truly lossless ...  
unless it is not compressed at all.

Look at it this way: You can either guarantee a low bit rate, and  
you'll have to lose data to fit ... or you can guarantee that no data  
is lost, and you'll have to adjust the bit rate up to guarantee  
that.  You can't have both the guarantee of a (low) target constant  
bit rate and a guarantee that nothing will be lost when you reduce  
bit rate below uncompressed.

Masklinn actually did a great job of explaining why, I just wanted to  
present a different way of looking at the problem.

Brian Willoughby
Sound Consulting

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