Vorbis is an open source project that produces an audio format specification and codec for lossy audio compression. The free software is headed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and is generally used in conjunction with the Ogg container format. Because of this conjunction, it is often referred to as Ogg Vorbis. The project derives its name from the Discworld character, Exquisitor Vorbis. The higher fidelity and open source nature of the project make it a better replacement for other restricted formats like MP3.
It finds applications in various consumer products like video game titles and popular software players, which support Vorbis playback. Apart from these, it is also used by websites, national radio stations and Spotify audio streaming service.
Vorbis has been designed for sample rates from 8 kHz telephony to 192 kHz digital masters. A range of channel representations that include monaural, stereo, polyphonic, quadraphonic, ambisonic, 5.1 or up to 255 discrete channels are intended to be supported by the project. Depending on the specified quality setting, the encoder produces an output from roughly 45-500 kbit/s when a stereo input of 44.1 kHz is provided.
With the availability of data compression transparency at lower bitrates, Vorbis aims to be more proficient than MP3. Apart from Ogg, Vorbis streams can be encapsulated in other media container formats like Matroska. Vorbis metadata support metadata tags that are similar to the ones implemented in the ID3 standard for MP3. The metadata is stored in a vector that is eight-bit-clean strings of random length and size and the vector is stored in the second header packet that begins a Vorbis bitstream.