[flac-dev] Autocorrelation precision insufficient

Brian Willoughby brianw at audiobanshee.com
Mon Jun 28 02:49:08 UTC 2021

Playing Devil's Advocate here, but isn't the point of compression standards like FLAC that encoders can vary quite a bit, so long as decompression always produces the correct results? In other words, I think it might be taking it too far to require that the encoder produce identical results on every processor, at least if the decompressed audio is correct.

To counter myself on this topic, I do think it's important to maintain any distinction between levels (and I'm not sure how that's defined). I have the Sound Device 702 recorder, and it can only play back FLAC files with low to moderate compression. The recorder itself can only compress moderately - certainly nowhere near --best -9

I'd say that it's important to maintain compatibility with players that have limited capabilities. I don't actually know which levels of compression the SD702 supports, and which levels are too extreme, but whatever the threshold is, then I would expect that future versions of FLAC would not stop being compatible with the SD702 when the same compression level is used.

My apologies that I do not have more details on player limitations, but my point is that compatibility with players should be required, while producing identical compressed bit streams might not necessarily be required.

I've also never understood the mathematics behind a compression format where the encoder can vary immensely in quality - even to the point of exceeding original compression ratios - but the decoder remains compatible. Witness MP3, where they improved the algorithm of the encoder and produced smaller files, all without requiring an update to the decoder. I'm assuming that FLAC fits that same model.

Brian Willoughby

On Jun 25, 2021, at 14:15, Robert Kausch <robert.kausch at freac.org> wrote:
> I concur with David that compression should work the same on all platforms. There can be SIMD optimizations for some routines, but they should produce the same result as the non-SIMD versions. If outdated optimizations cannot be updated, better drop them instead of keeping versions that produce different results than the new reference code.
> Regarding VSX, you could try to contact Anton Blanchard to ask whether he can update the routines. Otherwise, it should be possible to emulate VSX with QEMU. You won't be able to verify performance that way, of course, but should be able to verify correctness.
> Best,
> Robert
> Am 25.06.2021 um 19:55 schrieb David Willmore:
>> Martijn,
>> Just a lone voice here, but I would opt for the best compression on the most platforms.  As I am one of the people who always run FLAC at the placebo max compression, my vote will always be for best compression over any other resource use.
>> I also can make ARMv7 hardware available to you or I can do any testing you want on a number of machines.
>> Thank you for your work!
>> Cheers,
>> David
>> On Fri, Jun 25, 2021 at 3:48 AM Martijn van Beurden <mvanb1 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>    Op do 24 jun. 2021 om 09:17 schreef Martijn van Beurden
>>>    <mvanb1 at gmail.com>:
>>>    > - Switch to autoc[] as doubles, but remove current SSE and
>>>    disable VSX
>>>    > intrinsics for someone to update them later (I don't have any POWER8
>>>    > or POWER9 hardware to test). This means all platforms will get the
>>>    > same compression, but some (with only SSE but not SSE2 or with VSX)
>>>    > will see a large slowdown.
>>>    I see now that besides routines with SSE intrinsics (which I rewrote
>>>    into SSE2) and with VSX intrinsics (which I don't have hardware for)
>>>    there is also a open pull request for routines with ARM intrinsics. I
>>>    am willing and able to rewrite those if this change is accepted and
>>>    merged. I have access to ARMv8 with 32-bit OS, ARMv8 with 64-bit OS,
>>>    ARMv6 and I might be able to get hold of ARMv7 hardware.

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