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AAC vs. OGG vs. MP3

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the let-the-battle-begin dept.

Music 843

asv108 writes "Yesterday, Apple unveiled their new music service claiming that the AAC format "combines sound quality that rivals CD." Here is a little comparison of lossy music codecs, comparing an Apple ripped AAC file with the commonly used MP3 codec and the increasingly popular OGG codec. Spectrum analysis was used to see which format did the best job of maintaining the shape of the original waveform." Wish they had WMAs in there too. And for the spoilage, it looks like OGG comes out on top.

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Hard To Tell Difference (5, Informative)

Ffynon (599139) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833033)

I've got a nice pair of Bose headphones, and I listened to an Apple Store AAC file and an OGG version of the same song. I don't consider myself a real audiophile, but it's damn near impossible to tell the difference between the two; though I can definitely hear the improvement from MP3 to AAC or OGG.

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833102)

how are you encoding your mp3s?
try lame with --alt-preset extreme
can you tell the difference then?

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (5, Informative)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833108)

To do a true test, you need to encode the files, decode them to PCM wav format, then burn to an audio CD.

Then, you have to do a blind test with all of them. You also need to use a variety of source material, because different genres of music compress better under some encoders.

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (4, Insightful)

blixel (158224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833184)

To do a true test, you need to encode the files, decode them to PCM wav format, then burn to an audio CD. Then, you have to do a blind test with all of them. You also need to use a variety of source material, because different genres of music compress better under some encoders.

If you have to do all that to tell the difference, doesn't that kinda tell you something?

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (5, Insightful)

Vann_v2 (213760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833205)

That's there value in ruling out variables when trying to objectively compare things?

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833127)

You wouldn't be able to tell the difference listening with Bose cans!

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (-1)

suffocate (90016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833151)


I've got a nice pair of Bose headphones


IRONY ALERT

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833159)

Well your first problem is your headphones, they are distorting the crap out of any music source, go get some Sennheisers, they start around $60 for a good pair of open cans. Also if you are using anything but Fraunhoffer or better LAME for mp3 its just not fair. Btw, I've found high range problems with OGG that were not present in my Lame mp3's (I did A,B,C blind tests on a variety of samples and found a couple of problems with OGG which I reported with samples). AAC at 128kbit sounds like trash just like every other codec at 128, get around 200kbps VBR or 256 CBR and thats where the differences start to really show up (ok they show up at the very low end like 90kbps too but I don't even want to think about that)

Re:Hard To Tell Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833163)

no highs
no lows
must be Bose!

Bose??? Buahahaha (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833210)


You know the saying: "No highs, no lows, it must be Bose"

MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (-1, Troll)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833036)

Why not point that out? Oh that's right... Open source formats sound better.

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (1)

MartinG (52587) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833053)

Or alternatively, why don't _YOU_ point it out by providing links or further information about these "some cases"?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not neccesarily disagreeing with you about MP3 Pro vs ogg, but just saying it's better in some cases doesn't prove anything.

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833072)

MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases

And insetion sort is better than quicksort in some cases. What's your point?

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (4, Informative)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833083)

The point is you don't see the same kind of bias when it comes to sorting algorithms that you do when it comes to OGG and other audio formats.

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833081)

OGG takes bastard long to encode.

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833093)

Nope. Just that Ogg gives better value for money.

Gotta pick something... (1, Flamebait)

Judebert (147131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833104)

MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases
Why not point that out? Oh that's right... Open source formats sound better.


There are too many sound formats to analyze them all with volunteer time and effort; not to mention the possibility that someone may not even know about your pet favorite. Why not point that out? Oh, that's right... you'd rather troll.

Why not run your own spectrum analysis of your favorite formats? Hey, you could even set up an entire website, and offer to do spectrum analysis for anyone who sent in an encoded sample of a reference sound! Then you'd be sure to cover everything. You could even index it, so it would be easy for anyone to compare the compressions they're considering. Why don't you do that? Oh, that's right... you'd rather criticize other people's effort on Slashdot.

Re:Gotta pick something... (3, Insightful)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833128)

"It's too tough to figure out which one is best, so let's back OGG blindly." That's a pretty weak argument. Looks like you are the one trolling.

Re:Gotta pick something... (2, Insightful)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833258)

"It's too tough to figure out which one is best, so let's back OGG blindly." That's a pretty weak argument. Looks like you are the one trolling.

I don't think so. With all the other things being equal, free, open standard wins.

Re:MP3 Pro is better than OGG in some cases (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833117)

A $10,000 stereo set up in a listening room at your local audiophile shop sounds better than a $500 Sony in your living room, while we're at it. I don't know many people who'd pay for the $10,000 setup just to listen to some music though.

Ogg may not sound as good as MP3 Pro[1] but so what? Open Source is better overall simply because it is both Free and free. On top of that you even point out yourself that MP3 Pro is only sometimes better than Ogg. So why pay for something that will only sometimes be better if you can get as damn near with a Free format anyway?

[1]: Sometimes.

To be fair... (4, Informative)

Gropo (445879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833038)

Don't forget that Apple's AAC's aren't ripped from 48.8 16-bit AIFF's, but re-mastered directly to AAC.

MOD PARENT DOWN - Wrong! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833095)

Did you read the article? It is talking about files ripped from a CD, not about files from Apple's new music service.

To be fair, know what you're talking about!

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN - Wrong! (0)

Gropo (445879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833118)

Site severely /.ed... Why, then, does the blurb mention the AAC's as being "Apple ripped"?

Sure, it's nice to live in a hermetically-sealed labratory environment where everybody has to rip from 16-bit AIFF's on equal footing, but that's not the case with AppleMusic's AAC's...

MOD PARENT DOWN - Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833158)

Apple ripped... as in ripped with Apple's AAC encoder, either via iTunes or QuickTime 6.2.

I've seen the damn article, and you are wrong. They ripped from their own CD, they did not compare to a file from Apple's music service.

bleat (3, Insightful)

Gropo (445879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833254)

Well then that bolsters my original reaction, which is that regardless of the original source of these 'test samples', you'll be hard-pressed to lease the master and rip directly to .ogg or .mp3 like Apple has done with the AAC's available off their service.

Re:To be fair... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833154)

remastered from WHAT? A DAT with 48KHz 16-bit PCM data on it? A ADAT with said PCM data? I don't get why this is different from an AIFF????

Re:To be fair... (2, Interesting)

Gropo (445879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833200)

How do you know it's ADAT rather than analog 1"? Probably is ADAT in alot of cases, but nevertheless, I recall Jobs' statement (for whatever it's worth) in which he claimed: (paraphrased) "Sometimes they sound better than CD's themselves"

Offtopic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833231)

Your post is totally unrelated to this discussion.

This story is about comparing codec ripped from CD. What Apple's iTunes Music Store files are encoded from is totally offtopic.

Re:Offtopic. (1)

Gropo (445879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833269)

Not entirely offtopic. Show me where I can find an equivalent MP3 or Vorbis service and let's compare those files against one another.

Re:To be fair... (2, Informative)

verloren (523497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833242)

Ripping from the source isn't necessarily an advantage. Much (if not all) of the work on such codecs is done to optimize them for ripping from CD or movie soundtrack sources. Something with more information than that (which presumably is the good thing about doing it direct from sources) is supplying a load of information that, at best, the encoder would discard anyway, and at worst might actually confuse it.

Cheers, Paul

That's all very well but (5, Interesting)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833041)

Some decent quality properly blinded listening tests would be more interesting than a graph though.
When VHS established dominance of the video market, there were high barriers to change - your player and media were committed to that format.
There are far less barriers to change in the ripped audio format, although there will still be some inertia, but there is nothing* to stop ogg vorbis becoming the dominant format.

Where's my ogg pod then?

* apart from the silly name.

Re:That's all very well but (1)

akadruid (606405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833094)

It could be worse, at least the name is more memorable than mp3 for low tech users. IMHO people use too many TLAs.

I actually think this is valid point, but I want to add this:
Although there is nothing to stop ogg, there is also little to push it. It will be a marketing war, like VHS vs. betamax, as joe public will not see it as upgrade like VHS vs. DVD for example. Whether there is anyone with enough motivation + money to push through will wait to be seen. I'm not even going to venture an opinion on this one!

Is there an option for moderating a story -1 flamebait?
I predict this story will generate no useful discussion, just a string of 'ogg rocks/wma sucks' and 'anything bitrate less than 2048 sucks'

It's Vorbis, not Ogg. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833115)

Ogg is a container format. I could in theory put an ACC audio file into an Ogg container.

The audio format you're babbling about is Vorbis. Usually .ogg because it is inside an Ogg container.

Hell, it's not just a silly name problem, it's an entire naming convention issue.

Spectrum analysis is useless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833043)

Really, these codecs are supposed to change the waveform and spectral content. They are lossy!

The only thing that counts is if they remove the right stuff and keep the stuff we like to hear. Only listening tests are valid to judge a lossy audio codec!

Re:Spectrum analysis is useless (1)

ramzak2k (596734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833160)

why not ? Assuming that the goal of each of these codecs is to produce music closest to the original in the best possible compression - it does make for a excellent yardstick. If modifying aspects of the music piece is the goal - a codec that performs well on a particular genre will not do so well on the other.

Re:Spectrum analysis is useless (4, Informative)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833162)

According to this [infoanarchy.org] blind listening test conducted by c't [heise.de] magazine, AAC at 128kbps was ranked the lowest of all codecs sampled at that bitrate (WAV, OGG, WMA, RA, MP3Pro and MP3)... One can always hope that the claims of Apple making their AACs directly from the record masters are true, as this would help the situation some.

Re:Spectrum analysis is useless (4, Interesting)

MS_is_the_best (126922) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833262)

How can this parent be +5 insightful? It is wrong and uninformative.

I worked with MPEG4 (AAC) and OGG a lot (for my phd. thesis) and spectral analysis IS very important. Although it is correct that it doesn't show precisely what information is left out because of what our hearing system doesn't register. However, these hearing curves and integration times are already known (although not the same for evry human) and most post-MP3 encoders do this rather correct. Most profit nowadays is in clever signal processing. The spectrum of a decoded signal shows almost all artifacts very well and is therefore something which helps a lot in showing artifacts in a coding scheme.

Of course listening test must also be done. They show that modern encoders make choices (not all our ears are the same, and so isn't all the music) which very often pays of in a certain test.

Theoratically AAC and OGG are rather similar, but AAC has a few nice extra's like the Temporal Noise Shaper. However in practice OGG seems good enough (unless MP3) and is free, while AAC is not that much better and unfree, so my choice is obvious.

I will wait for the OGG hack of the IPod, now it had a better processor.

They chose AAC because it's already in QuickTime (4, Informative)

Fefe (6964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833045)

And it's more efficient than MP3.

Their encoder is not particularly good, and AAC is covered by a ton of patents, so there probably are other reasons why they chose it.

For anyone else but Apple I see no reason to use AAC when you can have Ogg Vorbis.

PS: Shameless plug: I wrote a vorbis patch to add SSE support [www.fefe.de] for enhanced encoder and decoder speed. It also contains some 3dnow! optimization for you K6 users, decoder only.

Lossless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833052)

I wish lossless compression was at a point that it would be practical for this. That would settle all the debates on which audio codec to use. Unfortunately the best lossless compressors can only achieve a maximum of like 50% compression, and on 50-90MB files, that's not really practical for a solution yet.

Re:Lossless (2, Interesting)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833089)

Nevertheless, I encode into flac now, as 1) it sounds much better than vbr mp3 or ogg, and 2) at 20-30MB per song, it really discourages people from downloading songs from me when I tell them how big they are.

Re:Lossless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833170)

Then why not just use .wav? It satifies both your criteria, and saves time.

Re:Lossless (1)

RightInTheNeck (667426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833141)

I agree...there are some great lossless compression encoders out there that are even playable in thier compressed form....Monkey's audio being one..shorten being another...while I agree it wouldnt be practical for the masses to d/l a 25mb single song...for quite a few people its not that big of a deal...considering the people who will be attracted to these online music services are going after one song on an album....so downloading one 25mb file isnt a big deal...the people who are interested in the entire cd will still just bye the cd....at 99 cents a song...its about the same price plus you get perfect quality and cover art

The presentation... (1)

Ponty (15710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833054)

My favorite part of yesterday's presentation were Steve's constant, subtle pokes at ogg. He never said the name, but it was clear what he was talking about.

Re:The presentation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833084)

How so for those of us who didnt' see it?

No he didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833198)

He took stabs at mp3, music pirates, and P2P networks, but not Vorbis.

Don't you understand? Vorbis is nothing to these big companies. The only things they compete with are what other companies are doing.

Re:The presentation... (1)

Bendy Chief (633679) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833211)

Sounds like Jobs to me... "Well, let's see... we have an open standard, developed by a community with a vested interest in the well-being and openness of the computer world. It has superior quality at lower bitrates... hah!"

But this is The New Hotness, AAC, as brought to you by the Jobs Reality Distortion field. In a way, I'm surprised he didn't take parts of OGG and wrap them up in a proprietary GUI. :P

PhatAudio is on Ogg's dick (3, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833055)

Nothing will every beat Ogg in PhatAudio's eyes. They seem to find evidence of Ogg's superiority where there is none. It's like the lovers of vacuum tubes rather than transistors.

"It sounds warmer!"

Sure. And the incandescent lights in my house have a better smell than the fluorescent ones at work.

Re:PhatAudio is on Ogg's dick (4, Informative)

rm -rf /etc/* (20237) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833085)


Tubes and transistors are different though. With Ogg vs whatever, it may be more subjective, who knows. But at least with tubes there is a known difference between how they amplify and how transistors amplify. Tubes produce more even order distortion, which to our ears sounds warm and pleasing. Transistors produce more odd order distortion, which tends to sound harsh and stressing.

Subtle difference? Perhaps, but it's there.

Re:PhatAudio is on Ogg's dick (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833164)

Baloney. There's been countless tests that prove there's no perceptible difference between tube amps and transistor amps. It's all in your head.

Re:PhatAudio is on Ogg's dick (1)

nattt (568106) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833186)

Bollocks. Tube measure worse and sound better.

PARENT IS CORRECT; GRANDPARENT IS NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833237)

Re:PhatAudio is on Ogg's dick (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833263)

Umm, no there is a big difference, solid state amps reproduce sounds more exactly but can introduce harsh harmonics, on the other hand tube amps tend to add warm harmonics while distorting. These warm distortions are more pleasing to the ear, of course ideally you would produce zero distortion and get your harmonics from an effects processor =)

Hmmm (4, Funny)

akpcep (659230) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833056)

What about if I tell someone I'm off to trade some OGGs with my friends, and they think I'm going to throw little plastic discs about?

Maybe in the future... (5, Insightful)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833063)

"the increasingly popular OGG codec."

sadly, I don't think OGG is *currently* known to anybody except nerds or IT pros.

Re:Maybe in the future... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833143)

Not to mention the codec is named "Vorbis" and the container format is named OGG!!!

[or do I have that backwards?]

Tom

Re:Maybe in the future... (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833182)

So? Like MP3 or ACC is any better than OGG? All software has a stupid name when you try to fit it into a three letter file extension.

Re:Maybe in the future... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833219)

Ogg is a container. Vorbis is the audio you speak of.

Oh, and as far as 3 letter extensions go, Apple use .m4a with their AAC files. Because it's MPEG-4 Audio.

Re:Maybe in the future... (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833209)

And "sadly", just a few years ago noone had heard of mp3 except nerds or IT pros.

Re:Maybe in the future... (4, Funny)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833234)

"sadly, I don't think OGG is *currently* known to anybody except nerds or IT pros"

Entering geek-fantasy bizarro world, please wait...

Marketing department hottie: Oh you sexy IT guy! Tell me more how I can get higher quality and higher compression rates on my music files! I want to know ev-ery-thiiinnggg!

Meanwhile, back in reality...

Marketing department hottie: [silence as she passes by, avoiding piercing leer of geek]

Geek: Hmm, I wonder if she noticed me. Doesn't she know the powers of music compression that I possess? (note to reader: she didn't, and she doesn't care)

Re:Maybe in the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833261)

That might be so, but it is developing momentum. Take a look at this list [xiph.org] of games that use ogg, for example.

Mirrors (2, Informative)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833064)

Does anyone want to add a mirror [man.ac.uk] of the comparison?

/. effect strikes again (4, Funny)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833068)

Spectrum analysis was used to see which format did the best job of maintaining the shape of the original waveform.
Furthermore, "ping analysis" was used to see if the webserver survived the /. effect, and tests conclusively show that this is not the case. :^)

Why fight it..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833069)

WMA 0wnz j00

Ogg (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833078)

Most people who use ogg do not use it for it's quality. All that matters in that respect is that Ogg is comaprable to other formats at similar bitrates.

The important aspect of it is that it's free. There are no patents (at least as far as we know of) preventing anyone from using it, and it's made quite clear that the code can be included in open and closed source software without royalty payments.

Unfortunately I'm sticking with MP3 (4, Interesting)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833079)

I agree that Ogg is a better format, better quality sound for similar bitrates to MP3, but until the portable devices I use, in-car CD/MP3 players, etc. accept the Ogg format as readily as they do MP3, then I (like most people) are stuck with the MP3 format. At least nowdays storage is cheap, so I whack everything to MP3 at a high bitrate.

Re:Unfortunately I'm sticking with MP3 (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833144)

I'm sure that in a few years or so, most devices will feature upgradable codecs. The software industry is moving much faster than the hardware one for consumer items, and they are always behind in the codecs.

When a codec is released, you can install it on your PC without any problems, worst case a reboot. With hardware, you need to wait for the entire life cycle to reach the shipping phase and by then the codec will be old.

Re:Unfortunately I'm sticking with MP3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833225)

On the other hand iPods couldn't play AAC files yesterday morning. They can now.

Re:Unfortunately I'm sticking with MP3 (2, Insightful)

Thanatiel (445743) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833145)

I do it the other way.

I do not buy a portable player which does not supports Ogg.

Re:Unfortunately I'm sticking with MP3 (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833202)

I will make sure the next player I buy supports Ogg - but until it breaks or I lose it down the back of the sofa, I'm stuck with my old player which works quite nicely, albeit only with MP3s.

Re: I do it the other way. (1)

hogger (566646) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833248)

Unless you've got some portable-player research skills way beyond mine, your way should say "I do not buy a portable player."

My wife wanted a portable mp3 player for jogging and I found none that support ogg. I wound up buying a diamond rio s50. It supports SD cards, and there are linux drivers for it.

I wanted a car stereo that would support mp3 cds and found none that supported ogg. I didn't look at any that were over $1000 though, maybe some of them support it. I wound up getting a $150 JVC that supports mp3s on cd and has a pretty good ui.

So you don't own a portable player then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833251)

So you don't own a portable player then, because none of the respected brands of digital audio players support Vorbis.

(Ogg is merely a container. Vorbis is the audio format.)

Audio formats (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833103)

I've done independant listening tests of my own on various formats. At the time OGG@~128Kb/S was much better sounding than MP3Pro@64Kb/s, MP3@128Kb/s, and WMA@92Kb/s. These are the settings which claim to be near CD quality, and for the most part don't even come close. OGG was a better sound format then, and if ACC is comparible to OGG, then OGG would win out. It's a more standardized format right now, and you don't have messy patents to dodge. I may be bias, since I hate quicktime with a passion.

pretty lame! (2, Insightful)

bromoseltzer (23292) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833109)

This is not much of a comparison. Spectrum analysis is not enough to tell you what a musical track sounds like. Kinds of distortion that sp. analysis may not pick up: harmonic (e.g., from clipping of high levels or quantization of low levels), transient (percussion, attack), intermodulation (tones "beating" against each other), dynamic range (noise at low levels vs maximum loudness), phase (relationship of pure signals at different frequencies), and on and on.

So it's interesting to compare the Apple codec with all the others, but this review doesn't do it.

-mse

Anyone seen real specs for Apple's format? (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833116)

I spent some time last night playing around with the new Music Store feature in iTunes 4. Besides the fact that iTunes crashed on me twice, and 3 never crashed on me, it seems like a very well put together feature.

What kept me from buying the dozen or so tracks I found that I thought were worth a buck a pop was the fact that my Rio Receivers need MP3 or, via "upgraded" software, FLAC, etc... Although the AAC->CD->MP3 route is possible, and I intended to buy a track and see how the quality comes out, has anyone seen anything about how the DRM works on the Apple files?

I'm wondering if there are any libraries out there for decoding them, even within the confines of the DRM... just so I can get them into either a raw data stream or something so I can play them on my Rio Receivers... I'd probably switch to buying all my music (where possible) from them, if thats the case... but if I can't get them into a format I can play using my existing equipment, I'll have to pay the five buck "CD"-tax to get them in a format I can rip to high-bitrate MP3.

Re:Anyone seen real specs for Apple's format? (5, Informative)

s.o.terica (155591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833199)

Although the AAC->CD->MP3 route is possible, and I intended to buy a track and see how the quality comes out, has anyone seen anything about how the DRM works on the Apple files?

Regarding the AAC->CD->MP3, I burned a couple of Music Store tracks to CD, then re-ripped them (using iTunes, no less) using VBR High, and they sounded indistinguishable from the original Music Store files (albeit being significantly higher average bitrates).

Regarding DRM, it appears that your Music Store file is locked to your Apple ID, and you have to Register up to three computers that you want to be able to play songs associated with your Apple ID. If you sell a computer, you have to unregister it before you can register a replacement computer. This appears to be the only restriction on usage -- you can still burn the songs to as many CDs as you want, copy them to as many iPods as you want, and streamthem to as many other Macs (and TiVo) as you want using Rendezvous.

Re:Anyone seen real specs for Apple's format? (2, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833246)

Note that you cannot stream AAC's directly to TiVo -- there is no support (and I doubt support will be forthcoming). You'd have to re-rip them to MP3 first or do it on the fly - TiVo can only play MP3's natively since that's what's supported on the MPEG decoder.

I suppose that someone will get around to writing a wrapper to do this on Macs... it's a shame that TiVo didn't just release the source to the TiVoServer (for both Windows and Mac) so people could just hack support into it directly.

Re:Anyone seen real specs for Apple's format? (1)

s.o.terica (155591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833228)

Oh, and if you want to avoid going through a CD, one route you can take is Audio Hijack [rogueamoeba.com] , which will record to an AIFF file anything that's sent to your speakers. Drop-convert the AIFF to MP3, and voila.

No specs, they sound very good though (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833243)

I too played around with the new itunes. Its very easy to use/browse buy. A little too easy (I've already spent 8 dollars). It actually was fun and I'm listening to the CD at work.

I was worried about the quality of ACC. It seems good although not quite CD quality, its hard to tell.

itunes has a option in the drop down menu called convert to mp3. I tried it, and it informed me it wouldn't convert downloaded acc music to mp3.

There are some programs that probably allow you to convert without burning a cd (Audio Hijack or something like that.)

what about the stereo field? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833120)

why not see which codecs fuck up the stereo field like OGG? oh wait, this is a troll because no one wants to hear about how OGG isn't perfect and does a worse job at that than even mp3.

But what does it actually sound like??? (5, Insightful)

velouria (34439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833123)

I don't think graphs are all that useful for comparing lossy sound compression.

Microsoft likes to show how their wma looks better than the other compression methods... it does look beautiful in graphs, but it sounds all tinny and horrible.

I don't care if the compressed frequency response graph looks nothing like the original frequency graph, as long as my ears are unable to tell the difference between the two.

Since 80 gig hard drives are so cheap... (1)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833130)

Since 80 gig hard drives are so cheap I just use ape lossless format, but then again my CD collection is relatively small.

Arggghh! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833142)

Will people please stop talking about Ogg as though it were an audio compression scheme. It is not - it is a wrapper format.

I don't care what kind of tests were done, but anything comparing Ogg to a lossy compression scheme is bound to be unfair, as the Ogg family includes a lossless encoding scheme [sf.net] . Not only does Ogg include FLAC and Vorbis, but it also includes Speex, targetted at voice, and Theora, a video codec.

So please, stop trying to compare Ogg to MP3. It's like comparing AVI or Quicktime to MP3.

Re:Arggghh! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833232)

Don't be a twat. Especially, don't be a pedantic twat. You know full well that when someone refers to "Ogg" they are usually refering to the Vorbis coded. When they want to talk about FLAC, Speex or Theora they say FLAC, Speex or Theora. So the names have become confused. Tough noogies.

Converting AAC (".m4p") to MP3? (4, Interesting)

kriegsman (55737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833149)

My portable HD music jukebox, and my car stereo, and tons of other devices out there ONLY play MP3s.

But any new music I buy through Apple is AAC encoded, in an m4p "protected" file.

So here's a purely technical question: What's the shortest path to convert these shiny new "protected" ACC files into plain MP3s so that I can take the music that I've just paid for and listen to it on my Archos MP3 Jukebox? I've already successfully gone from AACs to audio CD, and then re-ripped and re-encoded the album as MP3 but ... ew. There's got to be a better way.

And yes, I know Apple and Big Music and the RIAA and Homeland Security don't want me to be able to do this (easily, or maybe at all) but at this point I'd like to sidestep the politics and focus on a technological solution that works for me- a legit, paying user.

So: what's the closest we can get to "acc2mp3", or better yet "m4p2mp3"?

-Mark

Re:Converting AAC (".m4p") to MP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833214)

Well you could burn your ACCs to a disc, in WAV format, then rip them back off to MP3, but... ...

I'm an audio analyst... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833168)

..at Real.

In my experience, as much as I hate to admit this, the format best for sound are the various Windows Media Player formats, especially those that are supported by WMP 9.

I've analyzed OGG, MP3, etc, and NONE of them come close to WMV.

Sorry guys, but I'm an expert, and this is another area where open-source has fallen behind Microsoft.

If someone would like to come up with a different format that can actually compete, I'd be happen to lend you my expertise and objectively analyze it for you.

Re:I'm an audio analyst... (3, Informative)

shish (588640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833241)

Any explanation on *why* it's better? Better compression / algorhythms?

I've found that 64khz OGG (3MB) ~= 128khz WMP (3MB) ~= 128khz MP3 (4MB). Admittedly the WMP is *slightly* better, but I thought that's only because of the extra sampling rate...

Also for some reason when ripping from CD to ogg there's very little difference between 64khz and 128khz, but then 44khz is utterly unlistenable.

> If someone would like to come up with a different format that can actually compete, I'd be happen to lend you my expertise and objectively analyze it for you.

Why not just help improve ogg? Are there any major problems that would need a total rewrite to get past them?

Re:I'm an audio analyst... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833249)

So how does it feel to know that you're being put out of a job by Microsoft? Oh come on, its not like you were a good engineer anyway; RA sucks shit covered corn nuggets through a very thin straw. Its all your fault, too. You must be fucking deaf.

Is AAC an Open format... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833187)

...or is it proprietry and gonna be hounded with all the difficulties of running other proprietry formats? I'll stick with Ogg for now, it sounds fine to me.

Poem. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833191)

There once was a codec named Ogg,
It's name was peculiar and odd,
It replaced MP3,
Because it was free,
Hey, what the fuck is an Ogg?

Isnt't ogg just a container like avi? (1)

abhikhurana (325468) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833193)

I thought the real compression codec was vorbis.

Re:Isnt't ogg just a container like avi? (1)

FelixCat (594769) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833235)

As far as I know vorbis is just one of the encoders for ogg.


On a related note, has anyone else noticed that the latest vorbis encoder totally ignores the suggested bitrate. I tell it a bitrate of 128 and I get around 260 to 300. It didn't used to behave like this.

Two Words (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833212)

Beta-Max!

Ogg = Too little, too late, overmatched and unknown to the masses. Also, too geeky. No hardware support to speak of. Walk down a street anywhere in the world and ask them what Ogg is, then ask them what MP3 is..... I guarantee you 1000 more people will know what a MP3 is compared to Ogg. It may be smaller, but in the age of 200 Gb harddrives for $200 size is no longer an issue.

MP3 = Widely known, was first on the scene, its everywhere, tons of hardware on the market, good quality, reasonable size ... hell my grandma even knows what it is.... that means Ogg is screwed!

AAC = Already has an installed user base, sounds just as good as Ogg or MP3, plays nicely with the best known\most widely sold MP3 player on the market. Promising, but probably the lesser of the three unless this thing takes off.

You may not like what I have to say, but it is the truth.... and you all know it!

The only problem with Ogg (2, Interesting)

falsified (638041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833213)

My personal experience with Ogg is that it takes forever to rip a CD using the format. I personally don't know why this is (perhaps just a problem with the software I was using?) but if it's going to take 20 minutes to rip three tracks on a 48x CD-ROM drive connected to a 1.8 (don't laugh, it's fast enough for piracy!) gig processor, then I might as well just rip to mp3 at 192 kbps. Storage is cheap as hell nowadays, and most people (myself included) don't need 40 gigs on their hard drive but somehow ended up with it.

About audio compression, CD-MP3 guide (4, Informative)

Compact Dick (518888) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833218)

Arguably the best resource for audio compression information can be found at Hydrogen Audio [hydrogenaudio.org] . Visit the various forums, check out the excellent Foobar2000 [hydrogenaudio.org] win32 multiformat audio player, and learn.

I have also written a guide on ripping high-quality MP3s using CDex [iprimus.com.au] , aimed towards beginners. If you know people who use Musicmatch, help them switch to a decent, easy-to-use CD ripper [sourceforge.net] .

Cheers,
CD

Coming out on top (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833221)

Like, when I nail kathleen fent?

sound warmth (1)

solidox (650158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833233)

people always complain about how compressed formats sound all messed up and slurred high frequencies. yet few complain about the lossyness of vinyl, they just say it's 'warmth'.
personally i dont like either sound quality, altho vorbis seems the best of the lot.

Anybody checked out Neuros? (5, Informative)

Ruri (203996) | more than 11 years ago | (#5833238)

The Xiph folks have signed up to add Ogg support on the Neuros audio handheld. Its a firmware upgradable handheld which currently supports mp3, but will probably have Ogg support by mid-late summer.

Check out the highlights.

http://www.neurosaudio.com/

an audiophiles $.02 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5833257)

I you have a really good system (probably anything over 3k nowadays) then it is not worth it to use any lossless compression.
In my system we can hear the difference between mp3 320 and wav files. That said, the difference is small and you have to be listening critically... so

it comes down to cost. If compression is 10% worse, and you spent 5k on a system, then using compression costs you $500 of system quality. $500 at $.90 per gb for a hdd can give me plenty of capacity.

Also, with WAV I know I won't have to re-rip my music when the next new compression algorythm comes out.

Of course for a portable with anything but highquality headsets it is unlikely you could tell the difference between a good compression and lossless...
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