Ogg Vorbis Audio Format

Ogg Vorbis is a second generation audio file format that is far superior to MP3 as far as quality of sound and size of file. What an odd name, though!

Ogg is actually a term from NetTrek (for those of us who remember back that far), and Vorbis is the name of a character in Terry Pratchett's book Small Gods. Combine the two and you get a cool group of programmers who back in 1993 put together the beginnings of some amazing audio compression software.

Most audio file creation software works in a bits-per-second ratio, saying that for every second of song there will be X amount of disk space taken up. That might be 64k, or 128k, or any other number. The downside to this technique is that one part of the song might be highly complicated, while another part might be very simple, with just one note playing. So the one note section would involve a ton of wasted space, while the complicated section could sound low quality because all of the notes were squashed into the same amount of space.

Ogg Vorbis combines a very high quality compression with a dynamic compression utility. That means during the simple parts of the song, hardly any disk space is used. During the complex parts of the song, enough disk space is used to adequately represent all the notes - no matter how much space that is. Since songs typically involve a lot of 'white space', this means the entire file is much smaller than it normally would be.

More and more devices and software packages are beginning to support Ogg Vorbis for its small file sizes and high quality. It might be something to look into!

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