What Is VQF?
VQF is a
new audio compression format. It is similar to MP3 (Mpeg
Layer 3) in one regard: it takes large sound files, and
compresses them down to very small (it's all relative :)
files. However, it does its job much better than MP3s.
There are three important aspects to sound encoding:
are approximately 30-35% smaller than MP3 files. Example:
You have a 5 minute song, on CD. The WAV file you would
rip would be ~50MB. The MP3 file, and 128kbps and 44kHz,
would be about 4.5MB, with some sound quality loss. The
VQF file, at 44kHz, and 96kbps (an 80kbps VQF is about
the same as a 128kbps MP3), is about 3.5MB!
As I have
already touched on, the sound quality of VQFs is much better
than MP3s; they are almost as good as the original WAV
files. A 80kbps VQF is as good as a 128kbps MP3 file. A
96kbps VQF has quality almost as good as that of a 256kbps
MP3 (and is one quarter of the size).
This is the
one area where VQFs are more cumbersome than MP3s.
However, they were meant to be so. When MP3s were
developed, Pentiums were king. Nowadays, with Pentium
IIs, and other multimedia enhanced computers, the load
can be handled by most people. This is what allows it to pack as much (or more) sound data into a 30% smaller file!! Example: CPU usage playing
128kbps MP3 on my computer: about 15-20%. A VQF is about
30%. Not that much of a difference, if you really think
So what are
Not many files out there yet
format is brand spanking new!!! While
you can find thousands and thousands of MP3s out there,
the number of VQFs is comparatively tiny. But this is
only a matter of time. Once people begin to realize how
incredible these are, their popularity will skyrocket.
Encoding is relatively slow
this to be a combination of two factors: 1) Better
compression ratios mean more thinking time on the
encoder's part. This is pretty simple: if it's gonna pack
as much stuff into less space, it has to think harder,
thus taking more time. 2) The encoder is new, as well.
I'm certain that Yamaha has not spent the time necessary
to fine tune the encoder. Once they take the time to
optimize it, I'm certain it will be much better.
clarification: A 50MB wav file takes about 10-15 minutes
to encode on my K6-233 if I set the priority up to
'high'. However, you can run multiple instances of the
encoder at any given time (good for encoding over night
or while you're at work/school). And now, starting with version
2.50b1 of the Yamaha encoder, you can encode files in batches.
That is, you can get a group of wav files, and set up the encoder
to encode one file after another.
- Windows 95 or NT 40.
- For encoding:
- Pentium 66 miniumum,
- 16MB RAM minimum, 32
or more recommended
- For quality playback:
- Pentium 90 minimum (75
will run, however), 200MMX recommended
- 16MB RAM.
Rule of thumb: If your computer can
play MP3s smoothly and you can do other things while playing them, it should handle VQFs. If it
struggled with MP3s, VQFs will most likely not work.
Portions of the FAQ taken from Magnetix's VQF FAQ.