What is VQF?
Audio Format DescriptionVQF is the file extension for TwinVQ, which is an audio compression scheme. Developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, and marketed by Yamaha as SoundVQ, TwinVQ (Transform-Domain Weighted Interleaved Vector Quantization) is a proprietary audio codec specially designed for coding at low bit rates (about 8 kbit/s).
Although TwinVQ is a unique and completely different codec, it uses some methods of other codecs as well. For example, it uses bitstream reservoir used in MP3 and inter-frame backward prediction used in AAC. TwinVQ’s main feature is its vector quantization, where instead of encoding bits of music individually, a different procedure is followed. Bits of music are combined into pattern segments (called vectors) and then compared to previously combined patterns (called standards). The best match is selected and transmitted as compression code. These are then packed into short or long frame modes at a constant bitrate so as to enhance error robustness.
TwinVQ can be encoded in bitrates of 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, and 192 kbps. Its file size is up to 40% smaller that an MP3 file without loss of any audio quality. When compared, a 40 kbits/s VQF file is comparable to a 64 kbits/s MP3 file. Because of the very small file size, TwinVQ needs more power to encode and decode. As a result, even with MMX optimized encoders, encoding is very slow – up to 3 times the time it takes to encode an MP3 file. Even for playback, high power players are needed.
VQF files can be played back using Yamaha SoundVQ Player, Nero Media Player, Nullsoft Winamp with VQF decoder plugins, and Factory Audio Converter on Microsoft Windows, and Yamaha SoundVQ Player on Mac OS. With configurations, Voxware Metasound and Hagiwara SolidAudio also support VQF files. GNU/Linux system users need XMMS plugins in order to playback VQF files.
TwinVQ is not a very popular format mainly because it is proprietary. It is also extremely slow due to which not much music is available in this format. Many people consider it dead. So to play it one have to convert to other audio formats like MP3 or AAC. Factory Audio Converter is the most user-friendly tool to convert VQF to MP3 or VQF to WAV or any other popular audio format.
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