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bernt
2009-03-23, 03:40
http://www.thomson.net/GlobalEnglish/Corporate/News/PressReleases/Pages/Thomson-Introduces-mp3HD-FileFormat.aspx

Is this the end for flac?

autopilot
2009-03-23, 03:59
No.

And TBH, i dont think we need yet another format. Especially one that's developed with generating revenue from licensing in mind.

I'm also not sure why "Users and content owners can organize their music library with the simplicity that they are used to with mp3 files" means anything. Why because they might have the same file extension? How useful would the backward compatibility really be? Who would want to max out their flash based mp3 player with lossless files that only sound as good as lossy ones?

The usual marketing department turd polishing. yawn.

Moonbase
2009-03-23, 05:06
Looking back at "mp3PRO" ó which was a nice idea for low-bandwidth radio streams at its time, but has now vanished into nothingness ó I donít believe anyone should care much.

Looks like some last struggles to run with the pack, coming much too late. And of course there wonít be any advantages (I can see) over well-working, widely accepted open-source solutions like FLAC (or maybe WavPack one day).

andyg
2009-03-23, 06:06
Ugh, let's just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Moonbase
2009-03-23, 06:33
Yeah :-))))

Mark Lanctot
2009-03-23, 07:27
Too little, too late, sounds like they're just hopping on the "high definition" bandwagon. Others have many years' head start on them. And, really, who thinks of Thomson and Fraunhofer when they think of MP3? Does anyone actually use their hopelessly outdated reference encoder/decoder? They sat idly by while LAME got MP3 to where it is today.

OT...aren't these press releases written by people with degrees in Communications? If so, you'd think they'd know how to...communicate?


The added file size required for lossless compression no longer being a limiting factor thanks to the continuous increase in Internet bandwidth capacity and file storage size.

That's not a complete sentence. Where's the verb? This stuff is taught in grade 6.

It's really poor form for a multimillion-dollar corporation to put out press releases with such glaring errors.

Dogberry2
2009-03-23, 08:38
OT...aren't these press releases written by people with degrees in Communications? If so, you'd think they'd know how to...communicate?

The added file size required for lossless compression no longer being a limiting factor thanks to the continuous increase in Internet bandwidth capacity and file storage size.
That's not a complete sentence. Where's the verb? This stuff is taught in grade 6.Yes, but the fact that it isn't a sentence does keep it from being a run-on sentence, which it would otherwise be. So it has that going for it. :)

But sadly, the things one would think should have been taught in the sixth grade very probably weren't.

iPhone
2009-03-23, 09:14
http://www.thomson.net/GlobalEnglish/Corporate/News/PressReleases/Pages/Thomson-Introduces-mp3HD-FileFormat.aspx

Is this the end for flac?

I think that FLAC will remain the king as far as Ripping to a lossless format for end user home use. MP3HD is regular MP3 with "side information"? How in the world is that even loosely defined as "mathematically lossless" when MP3 by definition is a lossy format? I guess if youíre the inventor that gives one the right to call it whatever one likes even if it's about as far from the truth as one can get! If it's MP3 it's lossy by default no matter what one calls it, adds to the side of it, or what letters one puts on the end of the acronym.

But this is just my opinion and I will not be using this format. If one digs into the format, one will notice that it's probably going to take a special player. One that can read the "side information".

What really needs to happen is for the music industry to start following the real trends instead of trying to create them. The big labels need to start offering MP3, WAV, WMA, and FLAC downloads at 75 cents a song or $6.59 an album and they would crush Apple's iTune store and get to keep all the money. Some of the companies already offering downloads need to offer more lossless by offering more FLAC and 24/96 files for download.

pfarrell
2009-03-23, 09:15
bernt wrote:
> Is this the end for flac?

>From the cited website:
"Professionals can find all information and license mp3HD from Thomson
at www.mp3licensing.com."

What part of free is covered by this sentence?

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Mark Lanctot
2009-03-23, 10:19
I think that FLAC will remain the king as far as Ripping to a lossless format for end user home use. MP3HD is regular MP3 with "side information"? How in the world is that even loosely defined as "mathematically lossless" when MP3 by definition is a lossy format? I guess if youíre the inventor that gives one the right to call it whatever one likes even if it's about as far from the truth as one can get! If it's MP3 it's lossy by default no matter what one calls it, adds to the side of it, or what letters one puts on the end of the acronym.

But this is just my opinion and I will not be using this format. If one digs into the format, one will notice that it's probably going to take a special player. One that can read the "side information".

This would be similar to the WavPack idea. The lossy file is accompanied by a correction file which indicates what data was dropped to make the lossy file. Taken together, both files could be used to produce a lossless version.

It's a neat idea, but WavPack hasn't gained much traction. However, it has several years' head start on mp3HD, is "open and royalty-free" and features (from http://www.wavpack.com/):


*Compatible with virtually all PCM audio formats including 8, 16, 24, and 32-bit ints; 32-bit floats; mono, stereo, and multichannel; sampling rates from 6 to 192 kHz (and non-standard rates)
* Multiplatform support including Windows, Linux, and OS X
* Instantly seekable and streaming capable (and gapless)
* ReplayGain (including WavPack file scanner and compatible plugins)
* Uses ID3v1 and APEv2 tags for metadata (including ReplayGain)
* Error-tolerant block format conducive to hardware decoding
* Optional "asymmetrical" mode for improved compression
* MD5 audio checksums for verification and identification
* Dynamic noise shaping (dns) for optimum quality at lower hybrid bitrates
* Small, efficient executable (no large programs or dlls to install)
* Special "low latency" version available for custom applications

(among other things) All we know about mp3HD is that it's 16/44.1 only, and since it's proprietary, we may not know much more.

So in short, if anyone was to do this, there should be no reason they can't use WavPack. It seems to be better than mp3HD in every way.

The key will probably be hardware support. WavPack hasn't made great inroads here, but mp3HD needs a license so hardware manufacturers might hesitate.

Steve Bernard, Jr
2009-03-23, 12:02
2009/3/23 Mark Lanctot:

> (among other things) All we know about mp3HD is that it's 16/44.1
> only, and since it's proprietary, we may not know much more.

Actually, the readme file that comes with the encoder says:

"This program encodes WAV audio files to mp3HD files. The WAV audio
files have to contain plain PCM samples in mono or stereo with a
resolution of 16 bit per sample. The sample rate is restricted to one
out of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, or 48 kHz."

Anyhow, "proprietary" does not necessarily mean "secret". It doesn't
make any sense to distribute an encoder or license a third party to
develop an encoder and then not inform the end user what type of
uncompressed files the encoder is capable of processing.

I couldn't agree more that WavPack has a superior implementation of
this concept, though. I don't understand what having lossy and
lossless all in one file like mp3HD gets you. I mean, yeah, you can
play back the file on a legacy MP3 player and it'll play the lossy
version, but that means you have to but a gigantic file on your iPod
or whatever just to hear regular MP3 audio that's not even encoded
with LAME (meaning no gapless play, among other drawbacks).

The separate correction file method that WavPack uses would be ideal,
but hardware support is almost non-existent. What's kept me
maintaining separate lossless and lossy libraries so far instead of
going the WavPack-only route is mainly that I can't play WavPack files
on my iPod short of reflashing it with the RockBox firmware, which I
just personally don't care to use. It's a viable one-library solution
to maintaining only one library if you do happen to have a
RockBox-capable player and a SqueezeBox, however.

-Steve

Mark Lanctot
2009-03-23, 12:06
2009/3/23 Mark Lanctot:

> (among other things) *All we know about mp3HD is that it's 16/44.1
> only, and since it's proprietary, we may not know much more.

Actually, the readme file that comes with the encoder says:

"This program encodes WAV audio files to mp3HD files. The WAV audio
files have to contain plain PCM samples in mono or stereo with a
resolution of 16 bit per sample. The sample rate is restricted to one
out of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, or 48 kHz."

Anyhow, "proprietary" does not necessarily mean "secret". It doesn't
make any sense to distribute an encoder or license a third party to
develop an encoder and then not inform the end user what type of
uncompressed files the encoder is capable of processing.

True, sorry for jumping to conclusions!

iPhone
2009-03-23, 14:34
This would be similar to the WavPack idea. The lossy file is accompanied by a correction file which indicates what data was dropped to make the lossy file. Taken together, both files could be used to produce a lossless version.

It's a neat idea, but WavPack hasn't gained much traction. However, it has several years' head start on mp3HD, is "open and royalty-free" and features (from http://www.wavpack.com/):



(among other things) All we know about mp3HD is that it's 16/44.1 only, and since it's proprietary, we may not know much more.

So in short, if anyone was to do this, there should be no reason they can't use WavPack. It seems to be better than mp3HD in every way.

The key will probably be hardware support. WavPack hasn't made great inroads here, but mp3HD needs a license so hardware manufacturers might hesitate.

Seems I didn't make my point. It is very simple. Why bother with MP3 files with "side information" files attached to mathematically get to lossless when one can just use lossless files? I would bet the farm that one can't take an MP3HD file and remake the orginal file from the MP3HD file! Which is what my difinition of lossless is.

Steve Bernard, Jr
2009-03-23, 15:37
On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 5:34 PM, iPhone wrote:

> Seems I didn't make my point. It is very simple. Why bother with MP3
> files with "side information" files attached to mathematically get to
> lossless when one can just use lossless files? I would bet the farm
> that one can't take an MP3HD file and remake the orginal file from the
> MP3HD file! Which is what my difinition of lossless is.

Well, that hypothesis certainly seems testable:

--

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdencoder.exe
-br 320000 -if test.wav -of mp3HD.mp3
[evaluation copyright notice snipped]

frame 10091

Encoding successful (frame 10091)


Playing time: 263.5 seconds
Encoding time: 22.4 seconds

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdDecoder.exe
-if mp3hd.mp3 -of mp3hd.wav
[evaluation copyright notice snipped]

Decoding of file: mp3hd.mp3
Average bit rate: 816 kbit/s

Decode frame 10091 in CD-Quality

Decoded mp3hd.mp3



Playing time: 263.5 seconds
Decoding time: 16.1 seconds

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>dir *.wav
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is D8DB-EE1B

Directory of C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16

03/23/2009 06:32 PM 46,489,676 mp3hd.wav
01/20/2009 09:19 PM 46,489,676 test.wav
2 File(s) 92,979,352 bytes
0 Dir(s) 23,435,821,056 bytes free

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>fc
test.wav mp3HD.wav
Comparing files test.wav and MP3HD.WAV
FC: no differences encountered

--

Looks the same to me.

-Steve

iPhone
2009-03-23, 18:01
On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 5:34 PM, iPhone wrote:

> Seems I didn't make my point. It is very simple. Why bother with MP3
> files with "side information" files attached to mathematically get to
> lossless when one can just use lossless files? I would bet the farm
> that one can't take an MP3HD file and remake the orginal file from the
> MP3HD file! Which is what my difinition of lossless is.

Well, that hypothesis certainly seems testable:

--

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdencoder.exe
-br 320000 -if test.wav -of mp3HD.mp3
[evaluation copyright notice snipped]

frame 10091

Encoding successful (frame 10091)


Playing time: 263.5 seconds
Encoding time: 22.4 seconds

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdDecoder.exe
-if mp3hd.mp3 -of mp3hd.wav
[evaluation copyright notice snipped]

Decoding of file: mp3hd.mp3
Average bit rate: 816 kbit/s

Decode frame 10091 in CD-Quality

Decoded mp3hd.mp3



Playing time: 263.5 seconds
Decoding time: 16.1 seconds

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>dir *.wav
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is D8DB-EE1B

Directory of C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16

03/23/2009 06:32 PM 46,489,676 mp3hd.wav
01/20/2009 09:19 PM 46,489,676 test.wav
2 File(s) 92,979,352 bytes
0 Dir(s) 23,435,821,056 bytes free

C:\Documents and
Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>fc
test.wav mp3HD.wav
Comparing files test.wav and MP3HD.WAV
FC: no differences encountered

--

Looks the same to me.

-Steve

Let me start by saying I donít know enough about MP3HD to state facts just mainly ask a bunch of questions that I think need to be answered. What I do know is that FLAC is lossless and can be turned back into an exact copy of the original and that it plays as a lossless copy of the original. All MP3 codecs to date have thrown music away as part of reducing the file size. If one were not still doing that, why would one associate their product with MP3? Basically MP3Pro was MP3 with a wider allowable bandwidth using a slightly less aggressive file reducing codec. And if they are not dumping any notes, then are they limiting bandwidth to reduce file size? And that is why they are using the term "MathematicallyĒ lossless because most people canít hear so high or so low?

From your post, it looks like you started with an MP3HD to start with and end up with WAV files to me Steve. Don't follow what that proved? There is no proof the MP3HD is an exact copy of the CD it was ripped from to start with or that it could be converted back to what was on the CD to start with.

To me just them using the term "Mathematically" lossless means that something is a miss or they would just come out and say it's lossless. And by "Mathematically" they might mean pretty much what you tried to show: look the file sizes are the same so they have to be the same, which doesn't necessarily have to be true. Probably so, but doesnít have to be. Again donít know enough about it, but how they are putting it out to the world seems fishy from where I stand.

What I want is to see and hear a file being ripped from CD, encoded to MP3HD, then converted back to CD Audio, compared, and written back to CD. Then rip that file from the CD just made and compare it to the FLAC of the file ripped from the original CD. If those two FLAC files match, then we can consider MP3HD a lossless storage format.

Now from their if that is successful, we have the bigger question of whether the MP3HD files [i]Really[i] playback lossless since there is something going on with the process of playing the side information. So is it a lossless storage format that ďalmostĒ plays back lossless, but not quite? Again, donít know the answer to that question yet either. But again the way they present it, makes one wonder.

cdmackay
2009-03-23, 18:41
iPhone wrote:
> Steve Bernard, Jr;409324 Wrote:
>> C:\Documents and
>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdencoder.exe
>> -br 320000 -if test.wav -of mp3HD.mp3
>>
...
>>
>> C:\Documents and
>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdDecoder.exe
>> -if mp3hd.mp3 -of mp3hd.wav
>>
...
>>
>> C:\Documents and
>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>fc
>> test.wav mp3HD.wav
>> Comparing files test.wav and MP3HD.WAV
>> FC: no differences encountered
>
...
>
>>From your post, it looks like you started with an MP3HD to start with
> and end up with WAV files to me Steve. Don't follow what that proved?


If you look above, you can see that Steve started with a WAV file
(test.wav) and used the encoder to turn it into an mp3HD file (mp3HD.mp3).

He then used the decoder to turn that mp3HD file into a new WAV file
(mp3HD.wav).

He then compared the two WAV files: the original, and the
WAV->mp3HD->WAV file, and found them to be identical.

Clearly, mp3HD can be described as lossless, at least, if not actually
useful :)

and there is precedent for associating a lossless format with a popular
lossy format, by adding the tag "HD": consider Dolby Digital and DTS in
the DVD world, which are mostly lossy, and the new DD TrueHD and DTS HD
MA, as found e.g. on Blu-Ray, which are lossless.

cheers,
calum.

Steve Bernard, Jr
2009-03-23, 19:30
On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM, Calum Mackay <calum.mackay (AT) cdmnet (DOT) org> wrote:
> iPhone wrote:
>> Steve Bernard, Jr;409324 Wrote:
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdencoder.exe
>>> -br 320000 -if test.wav -of mp3HD.mp3
>>>
> ...
>>>
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdDecoder.exe
>>> -if mp3hd.mp3 -of mp3hd.wav
>>>
> ...
>>>
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>fc
>>> test.wav mp3HD.wav
>>> Comparing files test.wav and MP3HD.WAV
>>> FC: no differences encountered
>>
> ...
> >
>>>From your post, it looks like you started with an MP3HD to start with
>> and end up with WAV files to me Steve. Don't follow what that proved?
>
>
> If you look above, you can see that Steve started with a WAV file
> (test.wav) and used the encoder to turn it into an mp3HD file (mp3HD.mp3).
>
> He then used the decoder to turn that mp3HD file into a new WAV file
> (mp3HD.wav).
>
> He then compared the two WAV files: the original, and the
> WAV->mp3HD->WAV file, and found them to be identical.
>
> Clearly, mp3HD can be described as lossless, at least, if not actually
> useful :)

Exactly right. The wav turns into an mp3HD file and then the decoder
turns it back into a new wav. These are not just the same file in
file size, but the Windows file compare utility shows them to be
exactly the same, bit for bit. Test.wav and mp3HD.wav are the same
file just as surely as if you copied the original file using the copy
command, or put the wav in a zip file and then pulled it back out. If
that's not lossless enough for you, then nothing is. Turn a wav into
a FLAC file, and then decompress the FLAC to another wav and compare:
you'll get the same result. Seriously, iPhone, if you doubt the
results, try it for yourself at http://www.all4mp3.com/Software3.aspx
(no Mac version, but I presume you either have Windows or Linux on
your ToughBook).

For those interested, the mp3HD file I made had a lossy bit that's 320
kbps CBR (if I understood the docs correctly). The file size of the
MP3 was 26,262 kB with no tags, while the same file as a FLAC (level
8) with no tags is 21,315 kB. So about 5 MB difference, which would,
I guess, account for the lossy bit. Not awful, but no great shakes.
The wav I used to do the testing was actually uncompressed from a FLAC
that I ripped with EAC from the newest Antony and the Johnsons CD.
It's 4 and a half minutes, 16 bit stereo, 44.1 kHz.

-Steve

seanadams
2009-03-23, 19:55
I don't understand why anyone is surprised that someone managed to make yet another lossless format.

peter
2009-03-23, 23:37
seanadams wrote:
> I don't understand why anyone is surprised that someone managed to make
> yet another lossless format.
>

I don't know if I get the point, but don't the resulting lossless files
play in standard mp3 players that only support mp3? That's kind of an
advantage, although, having a file take up this much space on your mp3
player without sounding lossless seems a bit weird.

Marketingwise the name mp3 is still a lot more powerful than (what's
that?) flac.

Regards,
Peter (prefers flac, obviously)

bernt
2009-03-23, 23:56
http://flac.sourceforge.net/itunes.html

Keep on hammering.

finnbrodersen
2009-03-24, 00:15
Well as normal I am no expert in the subject,

but here is my 5c worth of input

mp3HD =

a) compatible with all players
b) lossless

it sounds good to me !

Of course b) is only with a mp3HD compatible decoder.

sveinan
2009-03-24, 00:36
I'll keep my library of FLAC files. But I can see a few positive angles. To me this is a mix between marketing and the technical facts.

Ok. We have a new 'HD' format. Which in itself is kinda funny, CDs introduced in 1982 contains about the same ammount and quality of information that this 'HD' format can do. Talk about progress ;)

But it's all about marketing ('HD' branding hype), earning money (licensing), and so on. To me the value will be that this may contribute to making more online sources of lossless content available. Sure, they will probably price the 'HD' edition of music tracks higher (hype + money). And I will need to convert the mp3HD to FLAC. But in this day and age, I'm so tired of having to buy physical CDs (sometimes whole album). Just to get a lossless edition of a single music track that interests me.

So if mp3HD in some ways contribute to lossless music beeing more avilable online. Bring it on :)

Bytec
2009-03-24, 01:31
To me MP3HD looks like pure marketing (just trying to sell more licenses). :(

1) MP3HD is NOT HD! It is just 16bit/44.1KHz stereo.
2) They refer to MP3HD as a convenient format, but it has lost the #1 convenience of a MP3 file - file size! MP3HD is BIG. WavPack solution with 2 files (lossy+correction) is more convenient, because one can take only lossy part if it's necessary.
3) MP3HD is ONLY HALF compatible with old players. Only lossy MP3 part can be played, but storage space is taken.
4) MP3HD does not solve any problems concerning lossless audio storage. FLAC does much better job and provides more freedom.

And the list goes on ... So I think MP3HD will die soon, because it does not solve anything...

peter
2009-03-24, 03:25
finnbrodersen wrote:
> Well as normal I am no expert in the subject,
>
> but here is my 5c worth of input
>
> mp3HD =
>
> a) compatible with all players
> b) lossless
>
> it sounds good to me !
>
> Of course b) is only with a mp3HD compatible decoder.
>

Someone better start writing a tool to strip the lossless part from the
mp3 part so you can fit more songs on your mp3 player.

Yeah, it's a bit of a pointless excercise, but I imagine that keeping
mp3 & lossless copies of the same songs is a problem for most people.

Regards,
Peter

funkstar
2009-03-24, 03:47
Someone better start writing a tool to strip the lossless part from the
mp3 part so you can fit more songs on your mp3 player.
I would guess that is feasable, and probably much quicker than transcoding too.

cdmackay
2009-03-24, 05:01
seanadams wrote:
> I don't understand why anyone is surprised that someone managed to make
> yet another lossless format.

heh.

I wonder if they just made the new format by concatenating a flac file
onto the end of an mp3?

:)

cheers,
calum.

iPhone
2009-03-24, 08:11
On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 9:41 PM, Calum Mackay <calum.mackay (AT) cdmnet (DOT) org> wrote:
> iPhone wrote:
>> Steve Bernard, Jr;409324 Wrote:
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdencoder.exe
>>> -br 320000 -if test.wav -of mp3HD.mp3
>>>
> * * * *...
>>>
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>mp3hdDecoder.exe
>>> -if mp3hd.mp3 -of mp3hd.wav
>>>
> * * * *...
>>>
>>> C:\Documents and
>>> Settings\Steve\Desktop\mp3HD_Toolkit_for_Windows_2 009-03-16>fc
>>> test.wav mp3HD.wav
>>> Comparing files test.wav and MP3HD.WAV
>>> FC: no differences encountered
>>
> * * * *...
> *>
>>>From your post, it looks like you started with an MP3HD to start with
>> and end up with WAV files to me Steve. Don't follow what that proved?
>
>
> If you look above, you can see that Steve started with a WAV file
> (test.wav) and used the encoder to turn it into an mp3HD file (mp3HD.mp3).
>
> He then used the decoder to turn that mp3HD file into a new WAV file
> (mp3HD.wav).
>
> He then compared the two WAV files: the original, and the
> WAV->mp3HD->WAV file, and found them to be identical.
>
> Clearly, mp3HD can be described as lossless, at least, if not actually
> useful :)

Exactly right. The wav turns into an mp3HD file and then the decoder
turns it back into a new wav. These are not just the same file in
file size, but the Windows file compare utility shows them to be
exactly the same, bit for bit. Test.wav and mp3HD.wav are the same
file just as surely as if you copied the original file using the copy
command, or put the wav in a zip file and then pulled it back out. If
that's not lossless enough for you, then nothing is. Turn a wav into
a FLAC file, and then decompress the FLAC to another wav and compare:
you'll get the same result. Seriously, iPhone, if you doubt the
results, try it for yourself at http://www.all4mp3.com/Software3.aspx
(no Mac version, but I presume you either have Windows or Linux on
your ToughBook).

For those interested, the mp3HD file I made had a lossy bit that's 320
kbps CBR (if I understood the docs correctly). The file size of the
MP3 was 26,262 kB with no tags, while the same file as a FLAC (level
8) with no tags is 21,315 kB. So about 5 MB difference, which would,
I guess, account for the lossy bit. Not awful, but no great shakes.
The wav I used to do the testing was actually uncompressed from a FLAC
that I ripped with EAC from the newest Antony and the Johnsons CD.
It's 4 and a half minutes, 16 bit stereo, 44.1 kHz.

-Steve

I am following what you did now and itís closer but Iím still not convinced. Will rip a CD with MP3HD and see what I see. But this is all still just storage. Is it really truly lossless when played back? If I had an MP3HD player I could check it with the program Phil and I have been using to check equipment.

Also, if the files are as large as they are, why bother? So what if the file will supposedly play lossless on a MP3HD player and the same file can be used on my iPhone. It takes up way to much room! I am still much better off having the two libraries I have now. One ripped to FLAC and one converted to MP3 from the FLAC files. PC/Server storage is big time cheap and getting cheaper every day. Why would I have a single collection of MP3HD files that is going to severally limit the number of songs I can put on my iPhone?

Steve Bernard, Jr
2009-03-24, 08:58
iPhone wrote:

> I am following what you did now and itís closer but Iím still not
> convinced. Will rip a CD with MP3HD and see what I see. But this is all
> still just storage. Is it really truly lossless when played back? If I
> had an MP3HD player I could check it with the program Phil and I have
> been using to check equipment.

So you understand that all of the audio information is present in the
file, but you're not convinced as to the quality of the decoding
software? Fair enough, I guess. AFAIK, the WinAmp plugin included
with the encoder/decoder package is the only thing available right now
that plays back the format. If that is poor in quality (I haven't
done any double-blind listening tests or anything), that doesn't make
the format not lossless any more than a bad gzip implementation makes
the gzip format lossy. The data is all in there, so it definitely
*can* be played back losslessly; if the bits are there, they can be
played back.

> Also, if the files are as large as they are, why bother? So what if the
> file will supposedly play lossless on a MP3HD player and the same file
> can be used on my iPhone. It takes up way to much room! I am still much
> better off having the two libraries I have now. One ripped to FLAC and
> one converted to MP3 from the FLAC files. PC/Server storage is big time
> cheap and getting cheaper every day. Why would I have a single
> collection of MP3HD files that is going to severally limit the number
> of songs I can put on my iPhone?

Couldn't agree more. I don't see the utility in this format. I do
the same thing with parallel FLAC/AAC libraries. If iTunes could
handle a hybrid lossy/lossless format like WavPack, I'd probably be on
board with that, however.

-Steve

Moonbase
2009-03-24, 09:03
Some interesting discussion (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70548) also going on over in the hydrogenaudio forums.

seanadams
2009-03-24, 09:56
Some interesting discussion (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70548) also going on over in the hydrogenaudio forums.

It sounds like the concept is kind similar to MP3pro. Standard players ignore the "pro" data, while pro players use _both_ streams together.

In this case, it's a residual or "error signal" attached to an mp3 (stored in a large id3 tag). If you just decode the mp3 you get mp3 sound. If you decode the mp3 and then add the residual to it, you get the original PCM signal.

This adheres to the basic principle of most lossless encoders: first attempt to approximate the signal with a simpler function, then record the difference between the original and the approximated, and store this as the residual. The residual is (hopefully) a low amplitude signal and so it can be further compressed with (eg) rice coding.

I think people had tried this in the past with mp3, and found it to be a poor basis for a lossless codec. Since MP3 was not designed for that purpose, the psychoacoustic model allows for phase change, masking, and other effects which although minimally audible, can drastically alter the wave shape, making the encoder generate excessive residual content.

So probably they've incorporated a special-purpose mp3 encoder which tries to give a small residual signal for the purpose of creating a lossless encoding. But there's a catch: this doesn't necessarily make for a good-sounding mp3. In fact, it's an additional constraint, so it necessarily compromises the quality of the lossy rendition compared to, say, lame at the same lossy bitrate.

So as I understand it, the selling point of the format is the grotesque marriage of these two feature sets:

1. When you're using it as a lossless codec, it has worse encode/decode cost and larger file sizes than FLAC, and a royalty to pay.

2. When you're using it as a lossy codec, it has worse sound quality than lame and drastically larger file size, and a royalty to pay. Perhaps the larger filesize could be mitigated by automatically stripping out the residual when synching to a standard mp3 player.

Skinny
2009-03-25, 08:06
(...)To me the value will be that this may contribute to making more online sources of lossless content available. Sure, they will probably price the 'HD' edition of music tracks higher (hype + money). And I will need to convert the mp3HD to FLAC. But in this day and age, I'm so tired of having to buy physical CDs (sometimes whole album). Just to get a lossless edition of a single music track that interests me.

So if mp3HD in some ways contribute to lossless music beeing more avilable online. Bring it on :)

This is a very good point, indeed! I would absolutely prefer buying FLAC files from music stores, but this doesn't seem to catch on very well. I guess it's just too much fuzz for tech support to teach customers to convert their newly bought digital music into a format that is compatible with their digital music player (into mp3 that is). I see no use of this for maintaining a personal library, but as a format for selling music there is a point.

So, I'll gladly start buying mp3HD:s if they start showing up. Converting to FLAC would be no problem for me. Anything that helps bring us lossless music purchases is a good thing, no matter how silly the suggested idea of carrying a 10+ MB/min lossy sounding file in your mp3 player is. So in a way, I kind of hope this will make it into the big time. I just don't think FLAC will be mainstream anytime soon.

servies
2009-03-25, 08:36
This is a very good point, indeed! I would absolutely prefer buying FLAC files from music stores, but this doesn't seem to catch on very well.
And why o why would that be the case...


So, I'll gladly start buying mp3HD:s if they start showing up. Converting to FLAC would be no problem for me.
What makes you think it won't have any form of copyprotection for the HD part...

Skinny
2009-03-26, 04:26
And why o why would that be the case...

Oh 'chute, I really managed to make a mess of my last post, it seems! I couldn't have structured it any worse or made it any more confusing talking back and forth about flac and mp3HD without making any clear references. What I wanted to say was:

1. I would absolutely prefer buying FLAC files from music stores. But they aren't widely available. One big reason is that 95% of iPod users would just go "What the FLAC?!"

1.1 In this sense, mp3HD would make sense. Advanced users could buy it because of the lossless audio, and maybe some because "it works om my iPod" and "hey, it says HD". The latter bunch would obviously be screwed over in a way..

2. I don't see any point in anyone with even a little knowledge maintaining their music library in mp3HD.

3. For music stores it's a format that's directly compatible with existing mp3 players, so no one could complain about not being able to listen to it.


Converting to FLAC would be no problem for me. Someone just pretty much did it (without the FLAC part) to prove it's lossless..


What makes you think it won't have any form of copyprotection for the HD part...

Does copyright actually differentiate between lossy and lossless? The legacy mp3 part is not CP:ed, so why should the lossless part be?

Anyway, in case they would decide to introduce unfair use stuff to the lossless portion, there would still be the CD-DA workaround. There would absolutely have to be a way of burning lossless -> CD-DA for mp3HD sales to make the slightest sense.

And yes, I've made my fair number of burn-rip tests to convince MYSELF (and that's well enough for ME, thank you) that I get 1:1 lossless perfect results every time that way. I could lose one or two samples (offset) in the process, but who knows at what offset they were encoded originally?! And offset (a few ms) doesn't affect listening, which is MY main purpose of buying music, in any way.

Now for the record, I don't think we need another format, since there are better ones for both lossy and lossless purposes. I don't like mp3HD. But if it becomes an easy way of purchasing lossless music, then welcome as there's really nothing right now! And I don't see mp3HD happening.

-Skinny

peter
2009-03-27, 12:03
Skinny wrote:
> Now for the record, I don't think we need another format, since there
> are better ones for both lossy and lossless purposes. I don't like
> mp3HD. But if it becomes an easy way of purchasing lossless music, then
> welcome as there's really nothing right now! And I don't see mp3HD
> happening.
>

That's the great thing about lossless audio files.
They can be converted into anything, without loss!

Regards,
Peter

cooppw02
2009-03-27, 18:28
I'm not sure I see the need for this format. Disk space on a PC isn't a consideration, but disk space on portable devices still is. I'd have both a flac and an mp3 on my PC than waste space by using this on portable devices.

pablolie
2009-03-27, 18:52
Looking back at "mp3PRO" ó which was a nice idea for low-bandwidth radio streams at its time, but has now vanished into nothingness ó I donít believe anyone should care much.

Looks like some last struggles to run with the pack, coming much too late. And of course there wonít be any advantages (I can see) over well-working, widely accepted open-source solutions like FLAC (or maybe WavPack one day).

While i agree that it is very late to the party, I wonder whether the wide distribution of MP3 will allow this to become more relevant than we realize now. We shall see. I do not see anything to get excited about, but hey, I am not religiously predisposed against it either.

I am perfectly happy with keeping my fav music as FLAC.