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Dial-Up Audio Public Listening Test Opened

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the cha-cha-crackle dept.

Music 124

CaptainCheese writes "Hydrogenaudio.org's Roberto Amorim just announced the opening of their 32kps multi-format listening test, intended to test the current 'dial-up' quality codecs. From the Announcement: "The formats featured are Nero Digital Audio (HE-AAC+PS), Ogg Vorbis, WMA9 Std., MP3pro, Real Audio and QDesign Music Codec. Lame MP3 is being used as low anchor, and a lowpass at 7kHz is being used as high anchor." These codec tests are unusual in that they adhere to ITU-R BS.1116-1. The test is open until July 11th and all are invited to participate. There's more info in the original test discussion, which indicates the originator is interested in 'testing formats working on dial-up streaming bitrates' - the test page notes: 'The real arena where codecs are competing, and most development is going, is at low bitrates.'"

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124 comments

MARY-KATE OLSEN: 1986-2004 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595918)

R.I.P.

Re:MARY-KATE OLSEN: 1986-2004 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595985)

Is she really dead?

Re:MARY-KATE OLSEN: 1986-2004 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596018)

No, worse than death, she's legal now, so she is dead to the pedophiles that hang out on slashdot.

Re:MARY-KATE OLSEN: 1986-2004 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596059)

Oh. I thought that her anerexia caught up with her.

Results may be flawed (2, Interesting)

Atario (673917) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595940)

...since I'm liable to vote for whichever one sounds most like the Centurions from Battlestar Galactica, or the voice communications from THX-1138. Not best quality, not most understandable, just coolest.

Re:Results may be flawed (4, Insightful)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595971)

Good point. Can a study that will probably have relatively small survey size of an opinionated tech crown likely to exhibit bias be trusted? I don't know too much, admittedly, but wouldn't an automated test that just compared the output of a compressed audio track to the original be more accurate? Or is there more truth than I think to certain frequencies being worthless and inaudible by human ears?

Re:Results may be flawed (1)

RussGarrett (90459) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596510)

Err... if a codec *sounds* closer to the original, who cares whether the actual waveform is closer? The whole point of psychoacoustic compression is that it exploits the weaknesses of the human ear to its advantage.

Re:Results may be flawed (4, Informative)

izx (460892) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596626)

The problem is that "automated comparisons" don't mimic human system responses (the ear, or the eye for video). Take video: the eye would finds grainy VHS tape more pleasing than a digital video that displayed some blocking. The blocked digital video, mathematically, is much closer to the original than the the VHS with its added noise...

These types of psychovisual (or psychoacoustic) responses are what make automated tools almost useless for judging the perceived quality of any lossy encoder. Perceived, that's the key word....it may not be mathematically up to scratch with the original, but if you PERCEIVE it to be as good as the original, thats what matters (this is of course for CD-quality high bitrate tests).

Re:Results may be flawed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596133)

bobabooey bobabooey howard stern's penis bobabooey

Re:Results may be flawed (1)

ircShot_guN (737033) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597275)

Any listening test worth its weight in... sound, will not tell the listener which audio codec compressed sound they are listening to,
but rather, will give the listener, say, 5 different sounds (labeled for example 1,2,3,4 but with no relation to their codec) and ask them to report which one sounded the best.

Get the news out to portable music player (4, Insightful)

ralphart (70342) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595949)

Now if only the companies who manufacture digital players would take a look and see that there is life beyond MP3. Nice that a few are starting to offer Ogg Vobis, but they are few and far between.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (4, Interesting)

glassjaw rocks (793596) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595975)

I really think that the mp3 format is going to be around for quite a while, mainly just because of how widely-used it is. Even though I know the wma format is superior to mp3, I still encode all of my cds to mp3, more or less out of habit.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (2, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596009)

Eww, skip the wma, please, for my sake.

The less the world is tied to Microsoft standards, the better off we'll all be, I think.

fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596808)

Hey, there is too much spacing in between the fonts. I am having difficulty reading your post.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (0, Troll)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596021)

Now if only the companies who manufacture digital players would take a look and see that there is life beyond MP3. Nice that a few are starting to offer Ogg Vobis, but they are few and far between.

What does this have to do with the article? Digital players don't use low-bandwidth encodings like the listening test is for.

Oh, wait, the article mentions Ogg Vorbis. Nevermind...

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596031)

Lots of tools [rubyforge.org] out there for examining Ogg files, too.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596169)

Are you sure your nickname shouldn't be "RubyWanker?" All you seem to post is marginally-topical Ruby advertisements.

Yeah, Iagree, I like ruby a whole bunch... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597978)

but I could do without all the stupid bullshit. Maybe copeland secretly hates ruby and wants it to look more astroturfy than someone pitching C# and the MSDN.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (2, Insightful)

Haydn Fenton (752330) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596093)

Although many people are opposed to any microsoft anything, I have to say that their WMA format is very very useful at low bitrates.

I can use [a trial] of WMA Workshop [litexmedia.com] to compress music files to as low as 2kbs. That's nothing special within itself, however, what is impressive (no matter how its done, IMO), is the fact that you can hear (and pretty clearly too) both the music AND words to the vast majority of songs. Which makes it perfect for sending my friends ultra-small previews (normally around 200kb in size) of full songs, so they know what they sound like - no doubt we've all told somebody to downl.. *cough* buy a song, but they hesitate because they think it will sound crap.

Note to members of the RIAA: The above statement is purely fictional. I have never and would never even consider the illegal distribution of music.

Re:Get the news out to portable music player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597745)

but they hesitate because they think it will sound crap.

So you (fictionally) send them a sample that does sound crap?

Is this a double-blind test? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595957)

If it isn't, you'll only find out the most popular format, not the best.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (3, Insightful)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596039)

AS a matter of fact, it certainly is. Follow the link at the bottom of the page (to here [rjamorim.com]) and you'll see this information:

One of the most acclaimed methods of comparing codec quality is by performing so-called "Double Blind Listening Tests". In this sort of test, the participant compares various encoded samples against each other and against an uncompressed reference sample. The blind part means that the participant doesn't know which sample was encoded by which encoder. That guarantees there'll be no psychological bias towards his/her favorite codec, or against the codec he/she dislikes.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596162)

What the fuck? This guy is an idiot. "so-called 'Double Blind Listening Tests'"? Err. Note the word "double" in there. It requires that both the person administering the test and the participant being the subject of the test to be unaware of which sample is which. Additionally, let's hope that this crackpot doesn't speak english as a first language, since the type of test in question is actually called a Double Blind and there is no "so-called" about it. That's what it is. It's not misnamed. It's not nonsensical. It's quite literal.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (3, Informative)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596081)

On this site there is a useful little utility [pcabx.com] written by Arny Krugar to let you do your own DBT testing at any bitrate with any codec you want.

It does take a bit of preperation, but the results are legit. Not really suited for large organized polls, but fine to see your personal tastes and to understand exactly what a double-blind test is and how it works and why it is the only valid way to scientifically test.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (2, Insightful)

Matchstick (94940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596150)

It only needs to be a blind test, unless you worry that the computer administering the test is biased.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596335)

It only needs to be a blind test, unless you worry that the computer administering the test is biased.

My computer kept crashing because I had Windows on it, so I in retaliation I installed Gentoo and immediately emerged Open Office. It hates me now and I wouldn't trust it to be unbiased.

Re:Is this a double-blind test? (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596379)

Well yes, it says so in the summary:

These codec tests are unusual in that they adhere to ITU-R BS.1116-1.

Follow that link and you get:

Methods for the subjective assessment of small impairments in audio systems including multichannel sound systems which is a fancy way of saying double blind listening tests.

POOP DICK! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595959)

WHO cares! I'm On SLASHdOt Mah!!!!!

Re:POOP DICK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595995)

Hahahha, I am useing teh interweb. Who let the dorks out? l33t, 1337, l33t, 1337?

On the interweb, INTERWEB!!

Re:POOP DICK! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596032)

Oh nos! Some1 stolleded teh megahurtz from mai c0mput3r screen!

Re:POOP DICK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596075)

Th1s t0p1c is teh suck. I roXorz!!! j00 suxorz!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWHAH!!!!! ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG 2 ME!!!!! N00B!!!!!

What's the point? (4, Interesting)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595963)

I personally don't get the goal of a test like this. Listening at that low quality doesn't have as much commercial, and quite frankly, personal appeal as it did back in the 90's.

I've seen the double-blind tests done at 128kbps and again fail to see the point.

What I really want to see is a rating of codecs that are able to achieve DBT-proven audible transparency and see them rated in terms of storage space (thus allowing the VBR schemes to finally compete).

Of course FLAC would come in last (considering WAV is the 'source'), but can my high quality VBR LAME MP3 pass for the original and take less space than MPC?

Re:What's the point? (2, Insightful)

Sam3.14 (792129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9595991)

I agree that there isn't that much point to testing such low bitrates. People are quickly switching to DSL and Cable, And I think that there won't be many Dial-up users in 2010.

A mobile last mile (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597945)

DSL and cable work only as far as the cord can reach, and fixed wireless is just as fixed. Audio over a mobile last mile currently requires a low data rate codec, as bcombee pointed out [slashdot.org]. And zerblat wonders [slashdot.org]: can one get affordable broadband in developing countries?

Re:What's the point? (3, Insightful)

Nakito (702386) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596082)

Testing at low bitrates emphasizes certain weaknesses of a codec. At high bitrates, it takes a more sensitive and trained ear to detect the artifacts and flaws. But as you reduce the bitrate, the differences become apparent. If you've never tried experimenting with it you might find it interesting, because the various codecs produce very different sounds with the same source file when the bitrate is drastically reduced. But I wonder if this is a proper way to evaluate the best design overall, since some of these codecs are certainly not optimized for low bitrates, and I do not know if there is necessarily a correlation between the flaws of a codec at low bitrates and those at higher bitrates.

What's the point?-"Trade" barriers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597443)

Also don't forget that there are various setting for a codec that can affect the output. How to minamize all the variables say one, and have a meaningful comparison?

Re:What's the point? (2, Informative)

bcombee (5301) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596357)

Actually, low bitrates will be more important in the near future, as more people use streaming audio over PCS data services. For example, I listen to low-bitrate streams over Shoutcast several times a week on my PalmOne Treo 600, and 32Kbps streams much better than 64Kbps, while higher than that just isn't feasible on Sprint's PCS network. While this isn't as much of an issue for home users, mobile devices on relatively low-speed networks are going to be big.

Re:What's the point? (1)

zerblat (785) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596792)

A lot of people are still on dial-up, and I suspect it'll stay that way -- especially if you look outside the developed world. Also, as someone mentioned, we'll probably see people streaming music to their cell phones or other wireless devices with limited bandwidth. Besides, regardless of how much bandwidth you have, you might not always want to use up all of it on background music. Lower bitrate audio also means that a server can serve a higher number of simutaneous listeners (assuming bandwidth is finite).

Low bitrates other than on dial-up (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597924)

Listening at that low quality doesn't have as much commercial, and quite frankly, personal appeal as it did back in the 90's.

Not every location is set up for wireless broadband Internet access. Can you get affordable broadband on your mobile phone? GSM mobile phones receive and transmit voice at 13 kbps using the GSM RPE-LTP codec; one often has to pay extra just to get 32 kbps data. Also think about digital radio; lower bitrate for a given perceptual quality allows for more music choices in the same frequency, possibly reducing the number of actual stations that Clear Channel needs to own. Another application of low bitrate audio is in handheld video games; I've written a program [pineight.com] to encode music at 30 kbps and then play it back on the Game Boy Advance, a machine thought not to be able to handle the mathematical complexity of MP3.

What I really want to see is a rating of codecs that are able to achieve DBT-proven audible transparency

If you're looking for transparency proven with ABX double-blind testing, you know where to find it [hydrogenaudio.org].

Re:What's the point? (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | more than 9 years ago | (#9598043)

In a word, video.
The less bandwidth the audio takes up on a video stream, the more space you have to increase the frame rate and the resolution of the picture.

Also, I know quite few people at work who won't get broadband because it is still more expensive than a dial up and they don't think they would use broadband enough to justify the expense. Then there are countries where broadband is some way off into the future and when it does arrive only the wealthy elite will be able to afford it.

Typical Slashdot Article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595970)

Hypocritical Linux users. Always talking about open source and fair use, but then posting this article supporting MP3 theft from the artists. You losers make me sick.

Stop stealing music MP3s and maybe SCO will stop suing Linux.com for stealing their source code.

Phone line are shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9595984)

When the best analog quality is achieved by A->D, compression, modem error correction, and D->A, you know something is shit.

Re:Phone line are shit (4, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596202)

Err, no. No matter how good the line is, sending a well-designed lossily-compressed digital signal over it at the maximum bitrate that can be supported by the line is guaranteed to give you a better result than sending an analogue signal over it. Information theory requires it.

Re:Phone line are shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596432)

Think about the process. A->D, then compression, then D->A to send over the line, then A->D again, then D->A again.

Re:Phone line are shit (1)

ambrosine10 (747895) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596610)

I don't think the D->A and A->D to send over the line affects quality. Why should it? That would mean modems couldn't accurately transmit digital data, and we know they do.

Re:Phone line are shit (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596782)

1. The losses over the phone line don't really count since we're A->D'ing it again (odds are against a distortion significant enough to alter the file), and then performing error-correction (most modems do this). Because of this, the web pages you look at don't look messed up and the Linux iso's you download all match the md5. Media file transfers aren't any different.

2. If 2 files of the same recording are available, and are the same size, which sounds better, an mp3 or a wav?
You aren't going to say that the optimized-for-sound analog-in and speaker out on you sound card are crappy enough to make that much of a difference?

Making it painfully explicit (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9598079)

If 2 files of the same recording are available, and are the same size, which sounds better, an mp3 or a wav?

If you can't predict the answer yourself, then here are some test files [jk0.org].

Re:Phone line are shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596569)

Sorry, I'm a nube, but can someone explain this quote from the article?:

"being used as low anchor, and a lowpass at 7kHz is being used as high anchor"

What does it mean in this context? Is this anchor thing used in other things communications?

Thanks,
donut

Re:Phone line are shit (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596779)

It means they're chopping off large ranges of frequencies, so the most audible frequencies have more of that 32kb/s to use.

Re:Phone line are shit (1)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596833)

I gather that they are compression formats of known very low and high quality, respectively. They're used as experimental controls.

Why bother? (1, Interesting)

TexasDex (709519) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596008)

I really have no use for low-bitrate music. I have a nice 1.5Mbit connection. Really, there's no point in listening to a low bitrate music stream because no matter how good the codecs are, 32kb/s music just doesn't cut it.

BUT...
Although it wouldn't help for internet music, better low-bitrate codecs could make internet talk radio more feasible. It lets companies save bandwidth on the server side and still maintain quality that at worst is a bit better than the phone connections of people calling in (VoIP notwithstanding).

Re:Why bother? (1)

r00zky (622648) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596029)

VoIPo(Dial Up) == cheap phone
Noone in his sane mind would listen to 32kbps music anyways

Re:Why bother? (2, Funny)

ralphart (70342) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596042)

Actually, with talk radio, the lower the bit rate, the better, if you catch my drift.

Re:Why bother? (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596048)

" I really have no use for low-bitrate music. I have a nice 1.5Mbit connection."

There's still a large dial-up market out there. How many millions of users does AOL alone have?

Re:Why bother? (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596105)

no matter how good the codecs are, 32kb/s music just doesn't cut it.

Damn, this is the kind of crap that gets modded-up these days...

Codecs continue to get better and better. Vorbis is pretty good even at 48K (artifacts are subtle). And even if this was 1997, and 32K sounded like crap with current codecs, you're statement is just like the famed "640K is enough for anybody", and "there is a world market for maybe a dozen computers". It's absolutely guaranteed to be proven wrong with time.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596757)

Codecs continue to get better and better. Vorbis is pretty good even at 48K (artifacts are subtle).

It's pretty good for that bitrate, but I do think the parent has a point. According to the latest 128 kbps listening test [slashdot.org], not even Vorbis, who won the test together with Musepack, could be transparent at 128 kbps [rjamorim.com]. Even Roberto Amorim, who is running the test, said that everyone could participate, given the xxbox hueg amount of artifacts in this bitrate range.

Cya

PS: "Vorbis is pretty good even at 48K (artifacts are subtle)." => I see deaf people.

Re:Why bother? (3, Funny)

geeber (520231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596161)

Cancel the Test! TexasDex has no use for low-bitrate music. Since he clearly speaks for everyone, the entire affair is clearly a frivolous waste of time.

Go about your business, people.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597686)

ROFL.

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596214)

You might find it useful for:

- streaming video + sound
- voice chat while playing a game that is already sucking up a good portion of your bandwidth
- running a voice-chat server (ex: TeamSpeak), because (a) you're streaming out to multiple people, and (b) your upstream bandwidth is usually the limiting factor since most cable and dsl have shitty upstreams.

There are probably a lot of other uses but those two just stuck out in my mind.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596559)

Oops I guess that was three :)

Go Rush! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597994)

I have a nice 1.5Mbit connection.

Which can feed 7 listeners at 192 kbps or 46 listeners at 32 kbps, as you seem to recognize with talk radio. Wideband Speex, an audio codec designed for talk radio and telephony, sounds listenable even at 12 kbps (listen [speex.org]). However, more listeners for talk radio does mean a bigger audience for conservative spokesmen, whether you agree with them or not.

32kb/s music just doesn't cut it.

Have you actually tried listening to a recent codec at 32 kbps? Sure, it's not transparent, but often it'll do in a rather noisy environment such as while riding your bike or the city bus. If you want to try, grab a few 32 kbps Ogg Vorbis files from this page [pineight.com].

Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (4, Insightful)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596050)

Wow! I thought people on this site would have been a little more understanding. Believe it or not there are other places in the world (such as Africa) where high-speed Internet is not the norm or even available. Plus if you stream audio, any attempt to lower bandwidth is a plus as it lowers your bills.

Get over yourselves please.

By the way, did you ever notice the lack of multimedia even on this site? Why might that be? Hmmm...

Re:Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (3, Funny)

GregChant (305127) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596155)

By the way, did you ever notice the lack of multimedia even on this site? Why might that be? Hmmm...

Because high bandwidth multimedia has no place on this type of news site; because it's unbelievably annoying; ...

Re:Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596911)

Perhaps you should stop seing everything on the basis of race?

ethnocentrism
n : belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group

Re:Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (0, Troll)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597313)

It's called an analogy. How could you be so stupid....what are you, a Pole?

Horror-vision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597469)

"By the way, did you ever notice the lack of multimedia even on this site? Why might that be? Hmmm..."

Because we don't need the whole holographic, 5.1 stereo, touch sensitive, Goatse.cx experience.

Re:Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597508)

It's also useful for things like VoIP, wireless, gaming, and so on. Just because you have a large connection, doesn't mean you want all, or even most, of it devoted to audio. Like game communication. You generally recieve one stream for each person talking. Well if each stream were 256k, that would nail your connection right quick. If each stream is 32k, not such a problem. There is, of course, the server end too, which much send one stream for each user speaking to each client listening. I'd rather not need a DS-3 just to run a little TeamSpeak server.

Re:Slashdot Low Bitrate Ethnocentrism (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597679)

It's not even available in some places in Sydney (and other major Australian cities), because of the short-sightendness of our telecommunication companies in the 1980s and 1990s. They decided it would save money to multiplex the phone lines using a system called "pair gain". Now, anybody who has had this done to them can't get DSL.

A technician from the telco told me that we will get DSL in my area "some time after hell freezes over".

hm... the days of dialup (2, Interesting)

vmircea (730382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596094)

I remember back when I had dialup, it totally sucked, it took me absolutely forever to download ANYTHING, I would read a magazine while I used the computer because it would take so long for pages to load... when I got broadband at home it was a very happy day... but lots of people I know still don't have broadband in their area, which is why I think it is nice for people to do things like this, but also I think you could use this for voice over ip... just my two cents

Re:hm... the days of dialup (2, Informative)

eeg3 (785382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596184)

Satellite is available anywhere there is uninhibited view of the sky, which is most places that don't have cable or DSL. However, satellite is expensive to set up... $500 installation fee from DirecTV last I checked.

Secondly, dial-up is not that bad, and it's definitely not as bad as your exaggeration. It's not comparable to broadband, but it's not unbarable. To further speed up dialup browsing, one should use a web cache, which is very helpful.

Re:hm... the days of dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596400)

I do not think the value-add for satellite broadband is there. And I subscribe to DirecTV, and live in a DSL-free, CableTV-free zone.

Re:hm... the days of dialup (2, Informative)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597073)

Spot-beam satellite (i.e. DirecTV's offering, the British company whose name escapes me) is not available anywhere there is an uninhibited view of the sky. If you look at the contour maps for those products, you will see they are pretty tightly focused on their target market. I suspect it's even more of a problem on the uplink side -- those systems are running with really tight link budgets, and I don't think you're going to get an acceptable uplink BER if your antenna is 10dB off boresite.

While there are VSAT products that are available virtually anywhere, they are orders of magnitude more expensive. (For E1 speed in, say, Nigeria, figure $45K US per month, plus hardware costs in the several-kilobuck range.)

There is also an Intelsat data product, that last time I checked was about USD $7 per minute for DS0. A subrate option was available (9.6k) for about USD 2 per minute.

Re:hm... the days of dialup (1)

vmircea (730382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597315)

yeah i do agree with that, but dialup can be really extremely slow, sometimes it will work just fine, and be nowhere comparable, but other times it will be excessively and nastily slow, not to bash on dialup or anything, but definitely what this article is talking about (the dialup friendly codecs) is a good thing, because however not bad dialup may be, it still ends up being awful at downloading media such as big images, and definitely audio / video.

Pink and Yellow Love (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596152)

Kimbery saw Trini one day coming out of the Sex Toys, inc. shop one day and said "I want to have teh hot anal gurl sex with u" and Trini said "Ok" and Kimberly dragged Trini into the bushes and whipped out her 13-inch gurl penis and proceeded to buttfuck Trini until Trini said "Oh God, Kimberly", then Kimberly put her huge thing into Trini's pussy and it was so big Trini's stomach bulged from the pressure and them Kimberly said "Oh God, Trini", and then pumped 26 gallons of girl sperm into Trini and then Trini got pregnant and gave birth to Metallica's Lars Ulrich and died.

THE END

Re:Pink and Yellow Love (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596165)

Kimberly was walking home with baby Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame one day still crying from her lover Trini's death and she was so distraught that she walked to Tommy's house unconsciously and then Tommy said "WTF", and Kimberly was like "I need comfort through sex" and then Tommy said "Okay" and then Tommy inserted his 15-inch manbeef inside of Kimberly's pussy and Kimberly said "Oh God, Tommy" and Tommy was like "Yeah you like that, bish" and then Tommy morphed into the Gold Ranger and fired golden ropes of sperm into Kimberly and they snuggled together and they loved each other very much but baby Lars died for some reason.

THE END.

Still too bandwidth intensive to be useful? (3, Interesting)

Wild Bill TX (787533) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596164)

No matter how optimized it is, won't it will still use too much bandwidth for dial-up users who actually want to do something else with their connection? All of the streams I ever tried to listen to, including the 8kbps ones, gladly used all of my available bandwidth. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not interested in only getting a fraction of my 2 KB/sec max for browsing, using chats, or other tasks.

Re:Still too bandwidth intensive to be useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596498)

All of the streams I ever tried to listen to, including the 8kbps ones, gladly used all of my available bandwidth. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not interested in only getting a fraction of my 2 KB/sec max for browsing, using chats, or other tasks.

2 KB/sec max on a dialup connection? Either you're on a really old modem or you live in Texas ... I see that the latter is true.

People with real phonelines can get 4-5KB/s.

Audio on Dialup? (1)

epsalon (518482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596179)

Why don't you just USE THE PHONE?

Yes, I know there are applications for this, like doing some other thing while listening to audio, and the prohibitive internatioanl call rates, but still..

Re:Audio on Dialup? (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596330)

Because audio over the phone is like (roughly) 56kbits uncompressed. It's optimised for the frequencies associated with speech, but it's still a lousy way to send audio.

Compare a 56kbit wav to a 56kbit mp3 and you'll hear a huge difference...

Re:Audio on Dialup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596830)

who the heck gave you a two?

Audio on a phone is typically only up to 4kHz. Anything higher is cut out. NOTE HOW THERE IS NO BITS IN THAT NUMBER. Audio over a phone is not digital. Perhaps you are thinking of ISDN at 64kbit/s per channel?

ever heard of mu-law? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9598049)

Audio on a phone is typically only up to 4kHz. Anything higher is cut out. NOTE HOW THERE IS NO BITS IN THAT NUMBER.

Many parts of the PSTN go over a digital connection similar to an ISDN channel. This runs at 64 kbps.

Comparing 64 kbps PCM and MP3 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9598062)

Compare a 56kbit wav to a 56kbit mp3 and you'll hear a huge difference...

To save Slashdot readers the trouble of going in and encoding it yourself, I've done it for you. Hear it here [jk0.org].

So let's say I want to play a game (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597554)

Maybe, say a MMORPG. Let's then say that I juin a team/guild/association. And let's say that, while we play and collarbate, we all want to chat. Well what if we were to use the phone system as you suggest? First we'd need to get a teleconferencing centre to conference the calls, which isn't free. Then we'd all have to call long distance, and pay per minute. Those in other countries would have to pay a LOT per minute. So for a game that we pay less than $20/month to play, we'd each be paying anywhere from $5-$100 per hour to talk to each other. Hmmm, am thinking NOT.

But what if we were to get a member, that has a big line, or has access to one, to setup a voice server, say TeamSpeak. We then all connect to that, and both voice and the game comes over the same line. Thus we pay nothing to chat. Seems to me like this is the answer people will opt for.

Indeed, in the MMORPGs I've played, it WAS the answer we opted for. We happily chatted away on TeamSpeak and played Galaxies, all over the same Internet connection. The wonders of TCP/IP, you can run more than one service on the same line at the same time. And yes, with a low bitrate speech codec you CAN play an MMORPG (they don't use much bandwith) and talk at the same time.

Interesting results (3, Informative)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596189)

I just took the test with sample 9, one of the speech ones, and it's amazing how much variability there is in the various codecs. One of them was so good I could only reliably hear the difference after a dozen repeated listenings, and another sounded like a cellphone in a tunnel. I'll be interested to see the results in a week or so.

Re:Interesting results (1)

ambrosine10 (747895) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597099)

I think the "one that was so good" is the high anchor, low-passed at 7 kHz. The other 7 are the actual 32kbps codecs.

Dial-Up... (1)

Afromelonhead (730368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596221)

When I first read this story's title on this, I immediately thought of They Might Be Giants' infamous Dial-A-Song [wikipedia.org] program, which can incidentally be reached at (718) 387-6962.

Something, though, tells me that this test isn't going to apply to this sort of dial-up audio.

Dial-Up..."Keep on burn'in" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597503)

"When I first read this story's title on this, I immediately thought of They Might Be Giants' infamous Dial-A-Song program, which can incidentally be reached at (718) 387-6962."

Oh lovely. We Slashdotted the phone company. If you stand out on the balcony, you can see the telco going up in flames.

More interested in 32kbps speech (3, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 9 years ago | (#9596715)

I am in the process of starting a project [syr.edu] which needs accurate speech encoding at 32kbps. For now we're going with LAME at --alt-preset -b 32 -a --resample 22 --lowpass 6 -Z based on informal tests we did (ideas also came from here [hydrogenaudio.org]), but I'd love to see something more formal.

Notice all the different non-standard switches I had to use, which together help noticably. That's the sort of stuff you need to do to LAME before it produces acceptable results at very low bitrates. It is optimized only for 44.1KHz, so we should keep that in mind when we see the results. Notice now that none of these switches are being used for this test, so I'm almost certain that LAME will come out looking much worse than it is.

I would love for there to be a LAME-based encoder that is optimized for speech, low bitrates and sample rates. If it is made, I am prepared to re-encode all the readings that are (and are about to be) posted on my site.

Re:More interested in 32kbps speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597084)

We already have speex. Personally I'd just use plain vorbis, but...

Re:More interested in 32kbps speech (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597709)

Speex [speex.org].

Sound great on 8 and 16 khz material, even up to 22 khz, but sounds terrible in its "super wideband" mode. Another recommendation is Ogg Vorbis, though so far it's ending up near the bottom of the quality scale for my ears in this 32 kbps test.

As always, this is rigged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9596979)


As always, this is rigged !!

This sounds terrible!!! (2, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597398)

I just listened to this, and I can tell you that it sounds totally like crap. Here at home, I have a sound room with a bitchen 100% analog system... Vacuum tube amplifiers, gold wiring, the works. I play my records on this thing and they have that wonderful warm sound. But this 32 kps sound sounds like garbage.

Re:This sounds terrible!!! (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9597717)

It's 32 kbps. What did you expect? We are testing which quality gets the most bang for its buck when being streamed over a dial-up connection. If you want good sound, go with high-bitrate lossy or lossless.

I bet none of you help out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9597647)

Apparently in the 128kbs the figures 50gig of data was leeched, and there were no extra submissions of test data. I wonder how it'll work out this time...
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