24 December 2007

What Hi-Fi disappoint on Lossless

In the Sound Advice section of the Jan 2008 issue of What Hi-Fi a reader asks what the best portable player and file format is for maximising digital audio quality. The response is essentially buy an iPod and use Apple Lossless. Whilst I agree the iPod's audio hardware is very good, I don't think its virtually proprietary encoding algorithm is something What Hi-Fi should be encouraging people to use.

They later go on to say that you could buy a device from Creative and use "one of the other lossless formats" but they don't give any examples of other formats or mention that the only lossless formats the current Creative products support are WMA (Microsoft Lossless) and AAC (Apple Lossless).

All in all I'm disappointed that a magazine that professes to be unbiased and impervious to the corporates is so casual about recommending proprietary formats which facilitate consumer lock-in. In my opinion they should be promoting the open source formats and marking the products they review down for only supporting propretary technologies. Decreasing consumer choice is, after all, a negative factor and the corporates shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

On the plus side, from 31st Dec, 7 Digital will be offering Radiohead's In Rainbows in FLAC format click here for more.

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