FLAC vs AIFF performance from VOX Cloud


#1

I ran a related test yesterday to see how VOX Cloud streaming performed in Uncompressed vs Lossless. The results are interesting…

I started with a 07:30 (7min, 30sec) track from Bandcamp which had the following specs:

AIFF / 44.1 kHz / 24-bit / 2117 kbps

Using XLD for Mac, I proceeded to convert the original AIFF into 10 FLAC copies - one for each of the FLAC compression levels (0 thru 8) and an additional FLAC with all compression OFF. I mad sure to verify my encodings and make sure I could reproduce the original AIFF file (all good so far!)

I loaded the 10 FLAC files + original AIFF to my VOX Cloud and then had some time to test their streaming abilities when I took a drive yesterday afternoon.

I am not concerned about the quality. All of the files sounded good and of the same audio quality. However, I was surprised how much my iPhone XR was struggling to playback every single on of the FLAC files (even with a solid Verizon 4G LTE connection).

The 24-bit AIFF file played back seamlessly, and even let me skip around the song without any issues. All 10 of the FLAC copies would start stuttering every 2-3 seconds as soon as the dynamics in the song picked up. I thought that maybe once I let a song load it would remain buffered in memory, but unfortunately, the moment I FF or RR it would have to buffer all over again.

This event also occurred for the Uncompressed-FLAC copy I made for sake of comparison. This FLAC file had the identical specs of the original AIFF, only different containers. So this makes me believe its a Lossless decoding issue on your end.

It seems like Uncompressed audio streams much better for the VOX Cloud servers, which is ironic because I have spent so much time re-encoding AIFF/WAV to FLAC just for use in VOX. There is no point of lossless compression if it is going to struggle with playback — the smaller file sizes is not enough of a selling point for me.

Any ideas?


Noticeably faster and more reliable streaming for AIFF files
#2

MY DEVICES

• Files uploaded to VOX Cloud w/ latest build of VOX Universal on macOS Catalina (10.15.7)

• Playback test using latest version of VOX for iOS on my iPhone XR (iOS 14.4.2)


#3

Thanks for making a post here and for all the information provided.

We would love to get some additional details and the original files for testing purposes.

Please reach our tech. support desk https://vox.rocks/support so we could continue investigating!


#4

Hi - I have always said this is the case! Totally agree! My experience ws with ALAC vs. AIFF which exhibits even more of a pronounced difference in how the files stream. The ALAC stutter and basically refuse to stream even over a solid 5G network yet much larger AIFF files flow seamlessly without hitch.

I managed to get the devs to admit the unpacking of the ALAC files cause some of the stuttering but haven’t really managed to get to the bottom of it.

Glad you noticed it too - it isn’t rocket science (to the devs) to test this, just load up some files in the different formats and stream away over a cellular network and it’s obvious.

AIFF it is then!


#5

Thanks for your posts!

Yes, the devs are aware of such mysterious misbehavior described.

ALAC format is infamous for having some “special” files which may cause such a happening, we are working on getting it fixed, but as said before, this task requires devs to use the Force while debugging, so it is hard, but it going to be fixed eventually.

We also recommend using the FLAC format, since it is a free format and the most suitable for our audio engine.