Freesound is using around 3 to 5 TeraByte per month these days, being capped at 2 MegaByte/sec. This upper limit is imposed by the university. UPF still runs a 100 mbps network as far as I know, which means that with 2MB/sec (=16mbps) we’re using 16% of the whole university bandwidth if we are pushing the upper boundary! That’s pretty much all the time now.
But, where does this bandwidth go to? Today I did an analysis of the last full 7 days to see which of the 4 would take up the most: sound packs, sound images (those colorful waveform displays), sound previews (the mp3 your hear when you hit play) or actual sounds! The total bandwidth used by these categories is 694.37GB, or split up:
- sounds 40.4% (280.63GB)
- previews 36.1% (250.63GB)
- packs 22.4% (155.61GB)
- images 1.1% (7.51GB)
First of all, we can completely ignore the images. They are not our problem. PNG is a very nice format for images with few colors, and our waveform display are just that. Other than that it looks like sounds, previews and packs are… well, more or less using the same amount of bandwidth. I’m a bit surprised that packs are only 22%, I thought people liked packs a lot more than files. Let’s see what happens if we split up the sound category:
- wav 77.1% (216.34GB)
- aif 9.2% (25,96GB)
- mp3 8.2% (22.88GB)
- flac 5.3% (14.98GB)
- ogg 0.2% (0.47GB)
People really like uncompressed sound and we have a lot of it at Freesound: wave files lead the way with a huge 77%!
Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is a file format for audio data compression. Being a lossless compression format, FLAC does not remove information from the audio stream, as lossy compression formats such as MP3, AAC, and Vorbis do. (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flac)
What would happen if we would compress all wave files to flac (thanks to Nico for bringing this up so I had an excuse to do this analysis)? Flac has an average compression ratio of about 0.6 (1MB wave file > 0.6MB flac file) so we would save about 550GB per month which is quite a bit!
On the other hand flac is a bit of a pain to support: many people don’t know flac and like to be able to use their wave files immediately after downloading. There’s no visual guides for people how to use flac, nor is there a cross-platform unified interface for using flac. A great format, but not very user-friendly if you don’t like the command line! Flac developers, prove me wrong and I will make freesound the biggest proponent of flac!