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Vorbis's logo.

Vorbis is a free open source lossy audio encoding format designed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and first release on 2000-05-08. The compression algorithm used in Vorbis is completely patent free, unlike similar formats like MP3. Also, it was designed with variable bit encoding by default, so it compresses much better than a similar format like MP3 at constant bit rate (although MP3 can use VBR).

Although Vorbis compresses better than MP3 and typically won sound quality listening tests, the format has several shortcomings that prevented it from ever overtaking MP3 in popularity. It's more difficult to implement, it doesn't have native album art support, at its meta tagging system is unique. Regardless, both formats have now been superseded by the vastly superior Opus format.

Vorbis is named after a character from the Discworld novels. It uses the file extension "OGG" because it was the first format designed to use the Ogg media container.


However, in the mid-2000s I discovered Vorbis. I tend to prefer free software over expensive or limited proprietary software, especially when it's just as good or better. So I started ripping my CD library to Vorbis and began only using software which had Vorbis support. When I bought my first digital audio player, I specifically choose one with native Vorbis support. Not too long after, not liking the idea of permanently losing song quality, I switched to FLAC for all of my CD ripping, but I continued to use Vorbis for my DAPs in order to fit more music. I still use Vorbis as my default lossy audio format even though Opus is superior, but I'll switch over to it once it becomes more popular.


Program Functions Notes
AnyBurn Save
Audacity Open, Save
CDBurnerXP Save
foobar2000 Open, Save
foobar2000 Mobile Open
Gold Wave Open, Save
MPlayer Open
VLC Media Player Open, Save
Voice Audiobook Player Open
Winamp Open, Save


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