I would like to split up an audio stream (32bit floats) to chunks, encode them with a lossy compression and then decode it in the other side.

I have no experience with audio codecs, so I started to look for solution. What I've found is Opus and Vorbis. I was not able to find out the substantial difference between them.

The audio I would like to trasfer is mostly speech, but it may contain some other sounds too. The program may run in an environment where the computational power and network bandwidth is limited.

From this image it looks like that Opus can scale better and can compress audio more (by reducing quality) if for example the network bandwidth is low.


2 Answers 2


Opus is the successor for Vorbis, created by the same company and applicable to a wider range of audio qualities and rates while having low latency.

When Opus is available, there is no real reason to prefer Vorbis over it except possibly for catering for older playback devices.

The graphics you show do like they'd be straight out of an advertising flyer of the Xiph.Org foundation responsible for both Opus and Vorbis, but at least regarding the relation of the latter two they have little enough reason to oversell (apart from not wanting to split maintenance efforts, but superseding Vobis had been a design goal from the start and if anybody should be in a good position for that, one would expect the original creators of Vorbis to be).

  • 1
    That image is from the Wikipedia page on Opus: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – chpio
    Dec 2, 2020 at 11:39
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    But it's also on a Xiph.Org site: opus-codec.org/comparison
    – chpio
    Dec 2, 2020 at 11:47
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    Bit late but I was researching this difference as well and found this study which compares some lossy audio formats like Opus, Vorbis and AAC: listening-test.coresv.net/results.htm Seems like Opus is indeed the best in their test conditions at least, though it is a bit of an old study (from 2014) so things might've changed a bit.
    – Lemon Drop
    Oct 20, 2021 at 15:01

The difference in quality is not huge, especially at higher bit rates. The main advantage of opus over vorbis is versatility imho. It can be used for very-low-bitrate applications, and due to encoding/decoding quickly and causally it is suitable (and in fact probably the best low-latency option) for real time applications like voip communication and podcasts.

If you are in the domain of Vorbis/MP3 then Opus is supposed to be the best option but the difference is fairly small at high bitrates where both just sound like lossless. Both Vorbis and Opus are good formats, I would go with Opus if support from older players isn't an issue.

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