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Thomson Releases MP3 Surround

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the bouncing-around-the-room dept.

Music 283

Anonymous Howard writes "Thomson has released MP3 Surround, a new MP3 codec. They claim that MP3 Surround supports high-quality multi-channel sound at bit rates comparable to those currently used to encode stereo MP3 material, resulting in files half the size of common compressed surround formats while maintaining backwards compatibility. Wasn't MP3 Pro supposed to be a great new MP3 codec, but never took off? I wonder if this is going to go the same route. Does anyone have a technical view of MP3 Surround? Does it have potential?"

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Surround (1, Interesting)

SirChris (676927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980595)

Do i have to remix all my movies now?

Re:Surround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980729)

Finally...

What is this crazy link doing here?http://russg.wantstogotovalencia.com/ [wantstogotovalencia.com]

Re:Surround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980946)

How can this be redundant, it's the first post?

Re:Surround (1)

SirChris (676927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981211)

I wondered that as well.

MP3 is dead, right? (4, Funny)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980598)

I'm sure I read that on Slashdot before. AAC and OggVorbis have pummeled it into oblivion. Netcraft must've confirmed it, right?

Are my Slashdot stories flowing into each other again?

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (2, Funny)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980788)

It's not dead, but at least in Korea, MP3 is only for old people.

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (1)

protohiro1 (590732) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980980)

Alright, here we go. A new slashdot running gag. How long before it gets old?

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981003)

It was old from the very beginning because it was about old people. How long until it dies? All we can hope for is that one day, it will. After all, this seems to have been the Soviet-Russia killer.

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (1)

j_rhoden (214320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981101)

It's already old.

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (0, Redundant)

shigelojoe (590080) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981254)

In Korea, jokes getting old is only for old people. ...

Yeah, it's dead.

Re:MP3 is dead, right? (4, Insightful)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981207)

Dont advertise links for your referals, slashdot is not the place for that

The download link (-1, Troll)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980600)

I interned at Thomson and am still on their developer email list.

This morning I got a message about their downloadable software supporting multichannel mp3, and I got really stoked.

Here's a direct link to our FTP:
ftp://ftp1.fraunhofer.de/institute/iis/amm/mp3surr ound/MP3SurroundSetup.exe [fraunhofer.de]

Re:The download link (2, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980637)

You were a troll. You're still a troll.

Your attempt at making people feel bad for you failed.

Kill yourself.

(-1, idiot) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981170)

...why is he a troll?

Screw em (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980604)

Wonder why people complain that redhat does not even support mp3's and switched back to Windows?

Patents are the reason and I do not want to support such a company. Do you?

Re:Screw em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980783)

so any company that makes something you don't want to support? I assume everything should be free. Free food, free electronics, free everything, as they made it they deserve some sort of financial reward.

Re:Screw em (3, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981009)

But there are free altenatives like Ogg/vorbis. Why not support them?

Besides Thompson let Linux and others have it for free until it saturated the market then pulled the plug and demanded ownership of standard audio. Pretty sleazy in my book.

Re:Screw em (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980832)

what ? a company trying to make money ? is thompson evil now ? what exactly does "such a company" mean ?

No (3, Insightful)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980606)

Well, with so much of the internets illegal mp3's already encoded I don't think it will take off.

I mean, theres terabytes out there in mp3 format, and it'd be too much hassle for everyone who has encoded their personal collection to this new mp3 format.

It could take off, but unlikley. If it does, there will be a mix of the two formats, traditional mp3, and this new type.

Re:No (5, Informative)

Zeal17 (602971) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980702)

It won't replace current mp3s. It will only be a method of compressing 5.1 channel surround sound files. It will only be useful for ripping DVD audio, or attaching it to DVD movies that have been compressed with divx or something.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980721)

"Well, with so much of the internets illegal mp3's already encoded I don't think it will take off."

Dubya, is that you? Welcome to slashdot. ;)

Re:No (1)

General Fault (689426) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980776)

Since the new codec is supposed to be backward compatible, I don't think that existing content is going to be a problem. The question is will the people that make mp3 rippers and players be able to use the new codec or will it cost to much to license it? Additionally, what kind of DRM does it have? If the new codec gets into the new rippers and players, and the DRM is non-existant or non-intrusive then I do not see any reason that it will not become popular. For instance, if you were about to rip a new song, and you had the option of using the surround codec or the normal codec, wouldn't most of you choose the surround codec (esp for some of those great 70's and 80's bands that really took advantage of surround sound)?

Re:No (2, Informative)

FuzzzyLogik (592766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980805)

key here is that mp3 surround is backwards compatible.. meaning the new stuff could be encoded in mp3 surround. not that any cd's you get right now take advantage of surround sound anyway so it's worthless i think (correct me if i'm wrong)... but i think SACD and DVD-Audio do support surround sound so that's always an option for using this and maintaining the surround sound in the encoded format

Re:No (1)

Skybyte (685829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980883)

It's too bad that you can't yet rip DVD-Audio and SACD because the encryption is too strong. The only use for mp3 surround will probably be for ripping movies 5.1 audio.

It could be used in games. (5, Insightful)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980609)

To me this codec seems more useful for programmers of games and multimedia applications then for home users.

Re:It could be used in games. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980792)

Programmers of games and multimedia applciations need to pay a license fee to use MP3. Probably even more for this one. That's why a lot of them have been taking up Ogg Vorbis.

Re:It could be used in games. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980939)

Except for HL2 -- Valve thought it'd be a great idea for their customers to pay extra/support the music oligapoly for lousy stuttering mp3-sound -- most game developers are using Ogg Vorbis.

Re:It could be used in games. (4, Informative)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981027)

Usually a game sound is mono, and the sound engine renders it's position using some 3d sound API. Except for a cutscene, you'd never use a surround encoded sound.

While you could "cheat" using this and have, say, 16 mp3s of a gunshot from 16 radials around the listener, I still don't see it as being that helpful.

Screw Potential! (5, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980612)

I wanna know- does it have DRM?

Re:Screw Potential! (1)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980647)

If it does, you can assure I won't be using it. I won't be using longhorn neither.

Re:Screw Potential! (1, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980811)

If it does, you can assure I won't be using it. I won't be using longhorn neither.

I will be using Longhorn, DRM wont stop me from using it. I'll just use mp3 with longhorn. Longhorn like XP will tream DRM on DRM'ed media the same now as with 98/2K/XP.

Just dont buy DRM'ed content.

Also, MP3 Surround could take over AC3 tracks on DIVX CD's for space reasons. That might a very useful.

Re:Screw Potential! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981299)

If it does, you can assure I won't be using it. I won't be using longhorn neither.

DRM media distribution in this context essentially means distribution to the home market, where Linux has a presence only as in embedded O/S in devices that do support DRM. DRM'd content, like Microsoft, isn't going away.

Re:Screw Potential! (3, Interesting)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981206)

I wanna know- does it have DRM?

That doesn't really matter. AAC doesn't "have" DRM either, but that doesn't stop Apple from using DRM with AAC (aka FairPlay).

It really depends on the company distributing the MP3.

The more relevant question is does it have licensing fees and patents encumbering it? I'm sure it does. Though that never really stopped MP3.

All I know is... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980614)

I've got 10 gigs of mp3s and I'm certainly not going to reprocess them into a file format my iPod doesn't play at the full bitrate and won't play as it should in xmms. I've got 320gb of HD space, having 5gb instead of 10gb just is not worth it.

At this point in time, I really don't see this being popular. Might be nice on a flash based player where storage space is an issue but, I don't really care.

Re:All I know is... (1)

HawkingMattress (588824) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980972)

That's not the point. The purpose of this is to compress surround sound, which was alerady mixed and mastered with surround in mind. Compressing standard stereo audio with this thing would be kind of silly, just like compressing to mp3 and equalizing the source at the same time would be. I mean this type of things require skills in mastering and the like, and what you'd end up with on your cheap computer speakers might sound better than the original recording, but would sound like shit on better speakers, or just a different setup.

OGG (3, Funny)

mmegremis (836471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980618)

What ever happend to .ogg? I though that was spose to take over..

Re:OGG (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980680)

OGG was busy solving world hunger.

Re:OGG (2, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980983)

What happened? I'm using it for all my music, and most game developers are using it for both music and sound-fx. Machinae Supremacy [machinaesupremacy.com] are still releasing songs in Vorbis, etc, etc.

Try the tuned aoTuV version [hydrogenaudio.org] at q -2 and up.

Re:OGG (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981075)

Wow! So what you're saying is that still almost no one is using it, right? :-)

Re:OGG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981128)

Do people who played Doom 3 count as almost no one?

Re:OGG (1)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981083)

Chicken and Egg. Portable players don't support it and those that do claim that it eats more power during the decode than mp3. I think FLAC will take off because it's lossless and open AFAIK.
People who listen to music on surround setups probably want quality over miniscule files. A multichannel version of FLAC though with files distributed via bit torrent would be nice. A FLAC5.1 CD might weigh in at close to a GB but that's ok for audiophiles.

Once again.... (3, Informative)

detritus` (32392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980619)

Once again, MP3 does what most people want it to do, and as such all the MP3 devices out there are good enough for the general public. Plus if its not backwards compatible it wont be adopted. Just accept it already. Even though i love .ogg, i dont think its ever going to take over the market in the near future, heck even sony's dropping its non-support of MP3, not just using aatrac or whatever anymore

Re:Once again.... (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980725)

Plus if its not backwards compatible it wont be adopted. Just accept it already.

What evidence do you have of this? MPEG-4 sure isn't backwards compatible. AAC/WMA isn't backwards compatible, yet all of them are catching on.

i dont think its ever going to take over the market in the near future

Splitting infinitives is a crime punishably by a $500 fine, up to 3 days in jail, or both.

Re:Once again.... (1)

detritus` (32392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980790)

What evidence do you have of this? MPEG-4 sure isn't backwards compatible. AAC/WMA isn't backwards compatible, yet all of them are catching on.

Those are catching on because they either offer a true advantage (MPEG-4 is needed for new high definition programming, and with HDTV finally taking off and technology such as HD-DVD coming out) or are an integeral part of a market leader, thus forcing their adoption (Ipod for AAC, and microsoft for WMA) However how many applications can really take advantage of 5.1 MP3s? with the space of HD DVD and Blu-ray, etc DTS and such is good enough, and while i can see it having a use in say computer games, and even video games, its not likely to be adopted by the masses who use mp3, which is to say those people who want a portable audio player.

Re:Once again.... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981006)

Those are catching on because they either offer a true advantage

As does Vorbis... Better quality at half the bitrate, or so.

(MPEG-4 is needed for new high definition programming

It WILL be needed on HD-players in the future, but it certainly isn't right now. Actually, that will be MPEG-4 AVC, which isn't really MPEG-4 at all. The current MPEG-4 has been in use for quite a long time now.

(Ipod for AAC, and microsoft for WMA)

Ipod also plays MP3 just fine, so you're argument is shot. These aren't itunes tracks we're talking about, they are DRM-free, encoded by individuals.

Microsoft has supported many other formats before WMA, and they sure didn't catch on.

You're same, thin, arguments could be used to list Vorbis in the same vein. It's being used for video games, so there is it's "true advantage". It's also required for numerous videos and audio files found on the internet, that can't be had in other formats. etc.

Re:Once again.... (1)

wretched22 (231780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980876)

RTFA. it IS backwards-compatible

Once again, someone didn't read the article (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980881)

"At the same time, the new format offers complete backward compatibility to any existing mp3 software and hardware devices."

So yes. According to the article at least, this should intermingle freely in the MP3 world. Extremely cool, that.

Re:Once again.... (2, Informative)

zurab (188064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980962)

Plus if its not backwards compatible it wont be adopted.

Said an immediately modde up 5-digit /. poster without having read as much as a second sentence of the blurb which says:

They claim that MP3 Surround supports high-quality multi-channel sound at bit rates comparable to those currently used to encode stereo MP3 material, resulting in files half the size of common compressed surround formats while maintaining backwards compatibility.

That's the second sentence for crying out loud. The article itself, which nobody could ever be asked to read before commenting or moderating, says:

At the same time, the new format offers complete backward compatibility to any existing mp3 software and hardware devices.

For the audio codec impaired, MP3 Pro [mp3-tech.org] that's mentioned in the blurb is MP3 + SBR [codingtechnologies.com] . If you want to use SBR, which has more to do with guessing and reconstruting the sound rather than compression, then you are probably much better off using AAC + SBR. That's one of the reasons, as far as I can tell, why the MP3 Pro never "took off."

MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (4, Interesting)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980635)

So does that mean I can re-encode my dvds to DiVX with surround sound? Or does that already do it now and I don't know it? Please don't mod me down, it's an earnest question.

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (1)

FuzzzyLogik (592766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980756)

this totally depends on what codec you use to encode the audio.. i personally don't know if aac or ogg supports surround sound so i'm tentatively doubting it's already 5.1 surround. if there was an encoder that supported mp3 surround then yes if they weren't already in surround sound then you would have to reencode the videos to get this support

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (1)

n.wegner (613340) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980818)

Ogg can do 255 channels.

AAC can do about 48 but not only do you have to buy a license to make a codec, you pay per channel that your codec supports.

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (1)

FuzzzyLogik (592766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980845)

ouch on the AAC pricing scheme... granted i think AAC rocks in terms of sound quality.. but i do wish my ipod supported ogg so i could go totally free on it.. didn't realize that ogg supported surround sound.. does the encoder actually take advantage of it or does it have the "ability" to but hasn't been coded yet? i don't normally keep up real well with this audio stuff

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980828)

I have many star trek episodes in Xvid/ac3 format that are in surround sound.

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980855)

With dvd::rip under Linux, I just use the AC3 passthrough for 5.1 audio, when I want to use it instead of stereo. For stereo, I use vorbis encoding.

This means that the audio is uncompressed, though, so it'll take up several hundred MB of space. Not acceptable if you're trying for the smallest sizes possible, but great if you're archiving (like me) and anything under 2.5 GB is OK for the finished product.

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981146)

With dvd::rip under Linux, I just use the AC3 passthrough for 5.1 audio...This means that the audio is uncompressed, though

No, actually, it means that it's compressed using AC3 compression. If it were 6 uncompressed channels then you'd be dealing with several GB of data (minimim of 5MB per minute per channel).

Re:MPEG4 (DiVX, Xvid) with surround sound? (4, Informative)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980863)

Typically the video is re-encoded and stereo audio gets turned into mp3 or ogg.

If the audio track is multichannel, it is usually just preserved in the original encoding. AC3 (Dolby Digital) is usually either 384Kbps or 448Kbps on the DVD and DTS is usually 768Kbps with the rare 1.5Mbps track.

Ogg vorbis does have provision for multichannel sound, up to (I think) 255 channels. I have not looked for over a year, but none of the encoders or decoders supported more than 2-channel ogg back then.

in canada (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980639)

mp3's surround you!

Re:in canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980765)

IN SOVIET CANADA, old people from Korea wear Netcraft-confrimed-dead tin foil hats while dancing for YOU, you insensitive clod!

Someone, please show me up...

YOU FAIL IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980786)

YOU FAIL IT!

Hmmm (3, Informative)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980641)

I'm not so sure surround sound *needs* MP3 compression. DVD Shrink shows movies' 5.1 DTS soundtracks using around 200 - 300MB. That's for a 1 1/2 to 2 hour movie. Not bad for 5 speaker surround, with subwoofer. Not shabby!

Re:Hmmm (3, Interesting)

MukiMuki (692124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980746)

Yeah, but DTS sounds like crap at that size compared to what mp3 would. DTS isn't designed to go 750kbits, it's kind of a hack they added later. Which is unfortunate, because now people can end up with bad DTS tracks. (to be quite honest, 640kbits AC3 sounds a lot better than 750kbits DTS. DTS just sounds nicer 'cause it's usually twice that.)

MP3 surround will be very similar to AC3, only with less restrictive Dolby Digital crap. (give Thomson/Frauhenhour all the crap you want, but they've been pretty nice about licensing compared to DD/DTS/anyone save for OGG.)

What this is DEFINITELY going to lead to, however, is the cracking of CSS-2 for DVD-a's. Finally, surround sound in a GOOD format~! ^_^

Re:Hmmm (1)

FuzzzyLogik (592766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980779)

well... if you can encode that audio a bit then that leaves more space for better video (higher bitrate)... i guess you can pick your poison

Surround (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980644)

Is it possible that most people simply don't have surround sound on their at their computers, or just listen to MP3s using MP3-players thus rendering this codec obsolete for most?

Scooped by FARK... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980654)

What's /. coming to?

Re:Scooped by FARK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980763)

Come on! /. only TODAY posted about the free credit report news story that was YESTERDAYS news.

In fact, /. is generally 1-3 days late with virtually everything it posts. Sometimes weeks or years late!

News... when we get around to saying it's news I guess.

Ur F'd N teh A (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980861)

Welcome to the Wacky World of Metasites, ASSHAT!

Go back to Fark, please. There's a hilarious Ackbar PS entry you've just GOTTA see!

Oh Joy. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980665)

I haven't even ripped the shrinkwrap of my new sound card (top o' the line as of 5 AM, today) and it's time to look for replacements.

But... what music is in surround? Probably that long hair stuff conducted by some symphony orchestra. Certainly not The Beatles ... unless yetanother version of remastered classics come out.

Screw it. I'll just go downtown and listen to some live music.

Re:Oh Joy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980850)

nine inch nails - the downward spiral deluxe edition

Re:Oh Joy. (1)

ryanmfw (774163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980916)

A geek... Outside of his house... You're joking, right?

Realistically... the average Joe doesn't care (4, Insightful)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980703)

"Regular people" won't pay anything extra for this... they'll only use it if it's done automatically for them. Perhaps it'll get thrown in with BluRay/HD-DVD on players, and then maybe it'll get phased in, but during that kind of a format change, you're not going to get Bob McCracken going to best buy looking for a progressive scan DVD player and looking for "MP3 Surround" on the spec sheet.

It's Ernie McCracken! (1)

Zen Programmer (518532) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980844)

You insensitive clod!

DVB signals (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980726)

Most of the digital signal transmited on satellite are in MP2 format thats part of the DVB standard and they carry the surround sound. Dolby pro logic

Re:DVB signals (1)

nesabishii (834123) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981279)

Dolby Pro Logic is not 5.1, technically. Pro Logic is the process of taking stereo sound (2 channels, R and L, as transmitted through satellite) and reencoding it into 5.1. It is basically "fake 5.1".

So, no, the DVB standard =/= surround sound, technically.

Here we go again (1)

2mcm (775747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980730)

there do seem to be alot of codecs, or music devices that arent taking off even though they were predicted to be very popular. I personally wont go round convertng all my FLACs to MP3 surround untill there is some prove that this is a very good format.

CDs are stereo, this won't catch on for awhile (4, Interesting)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980737)

Since most audio files are ripped from stereo CDs, I suppose surround-sound MP3s aren't really all that useful for most people.

I do have one quatrophonic record lying around somewhere, but since I don't have a record player, or a sound card with a four channel input, it's kind of hard to rip it to a surround sound audio format.

Hopefully, whatever technology people are using for >2 channel audio eventually trickles down to the masses. Maybe itunes or whoever will start selling surround audio files, if they don't already.

Would this have impact on home theater systems? (3, Interesting)

cbw82 (700178) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980740)

I wouldn't think that an MP3 surround format would really impact home theater systems too much. When you get into such high quality systems, lower bit rates on sounds would become very noticeable and therefore less attractive to the sound buff.

Well, I guess the DiVx community will rejoice.

Surround Sound (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980807)

Surround sound isn't limited to home theater. Both the SACD and DVA-A support it.

MP3 should be left alone (4, Insightful)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980741)

Why are they bothering with this? All the other standards that came after MP3 (AAC/Quicktime, Ogg, WMA) learned from MP3 and improved on it significantly. What's the issue with backward compatibility? Every player out there now can already play better formats.

This is like trying to "improve" a car that's 30 years old when instead you could just have a modern car that doesn't need to be improved. Might be a fun hobby, but doesn't make sense as business idea.

Re:MP3 should be left alone (1)

cbw82 (700178) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980839)

Why are they bothering with this? All the other standards that came after MP3 (AAC/Quicktime, Ogg, WMA) learned from MP3 and improved on it significantly. What's the issue with backward compatibility? Every player out there now can already play better formats.
This is like trying to "improve" a car that's 30 years old when instead you could just have a modern car that doesn't need to be improved. Might be a fun hobby, but doesn't make sense as business idea.


I would think people bother with it because its still the star of the show when it comes to nomenclature and acceptability. Lots of people know what MP3s are but if tell someone to listen to this OGG file you have, they will just stare at you blankly. For a format like this the creator is hoping the next best thing is right around the corner for the audio format revolution cause he knows the masses will pay attention to a name like MP3.

They are just trying to improve the defacto format for listening to music even if it is just "an old out of date car."

Re:MP3 should be left alone (1)

carninja (792514) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980889)

thats funny, the 2005 mustang seems to be selling well...

Control (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981068)

>Why are they bothering with this?

Because they control mpeg1-layer3 and they want to keep the control of the market. They don't control Ogg Vorbis or WMA. Don't know bout AAC, but I believe they've got their filthy hands in there too.

AAC (2, Interesting)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981320)

Yes, AAC is controlled in just the same way that MP3 is. When they were designing MPEG4 to replace the aging MPEG2, they also needed a new audio standard. The designed what was called a non-backwards compatible standard, which is AAC. If you want to "fix" MP3, you end up with AAC, which is an excellent standard.

Ok, let me just say that I am a developer implementing an AAC player so I am familiar with it backwards and forwards. I am not at all familiar with MP3 per se so maybe I don't have my facts straight on MP3 itself... but AAC has some amazing features that MP3 doesn't have. Let's see, it has:

  • Perceptual noise shaping (PNS): Noise can be sent just by labeling it as "noise" without having to accurately encode it.
  • Temporal noise shaping (TNS): Information can be concentrated where it is needed.
  • Different window lengths: long vs. short, so that areas where there is rapid signal change can be encoded with more information.
  • Gain control: Enhance the dynamic range.
  • Kaiser-Bessel windowing: More optimal than the sine windowing which I think MP3 is limited to. Oh, and it can switch between the two, also.

And that's just a few of them. It also has long-term prediction and so many other things. In fact the worst aspect of AAC is that it's very complicated to implement and if you turn on all these features (like long-term prediction, etc) you end up needing a lot of CPU to play it. But that is the right way to design a standard. Mobile phones three years from now are going to have Pentium II class CPUs standard, I would estimate, so we'll be able to use all the fancy features of AAC. And until then, there is AAC low-complexity.

If you want to learn a lot about AAC, check out the Audiocoding [audiocoding.com] website.

What about MP3 CD players? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10981188)

I have an MP3 CD player in my car that doesn't play OGG/Vorbis or anything new like that. Most car stereo players will only play WMA or MP3... so backward compatable is VERY important for me.

Dolby Pro Logic anyone? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980770)

I've ripped a few music/concert DVD-Videos, downmixed to 2-channel Dolby Pro Logic--same thing you get on a 'surround sound' TV program--then encoded as MP3 and saved it in my collection. It works well enough for me. (A program called HeadAC3he will do it. Google it.) It's not real surround sound, but it sounds pretty decent on a surround sound setup. Also sounds cool on headphones.

I have no need for a special codec whose special features aren't supported by any of my hardware or software.

Does Ogg do this? (2, Interesting)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980829)

Doesn't the Ogg container already support multiple audio streams? Why a new format when you can put multiple streams in one container?

Re:Does Ogg do this? (1)

enosys (705759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981184)

I don't think this is just multiple audio streams. They say claim that the file size should be simillar to a stereo MP3. This means that they must be taking advantage of the simillarities in the multiple channels, like MP3 joint stereo.

If it is lossy, like MP3, it has zero potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980854)

Concidering the size of losslessly compressed audio files (flac, shn or even gzip) relative to secondary storage device capacity, the additional space saved by a lossy compression algorithm (ala MP3) is not worth the loss of information.

Alternative to AC3 (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980858)

This codec could be a great alternative to AC3 audio used in DivX and Xvid. Would make the overall file size smaller.

Re:Alternative to AC3 (2, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981097)

But the AAC stream typically makes up a small percentage of the whole file size. This won't make a meaningful contribution, especially not considering you'd have to reencode (wasting time and incurring quality loss).

Unless this is going into some very popular hardware platform, it's stillborn.

Good idea, bad codec (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980869)

MP3 is dead, according to Netcraft. Ooops, sorry, wrong story. MP3 is an old codec, it's overly lossy, there are better codecs out there, and it's not clear that surroundsound would even be usable in the general case, or whether the distortion you're implicitly adding will become obnoxious noise from the compression effect.


MP4 would have been a better choice, if an MP* algorithm had to be used, but I would have thought that broadcast-quality codecs would have made more sense.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980885)

Does it have ogg support?

No! (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980890)

Why would I want low bitrates on my surround material? This sounds like about as good of an idea as a surround sound tape deck. Give me high bitrate, high quality, low compression audio if it's going to be surround.

It's all about the encoders/decoders (1)

VenTatsu (24306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980918)

Back when MP3s took off there were a number of independant encoders and decoders being actively developed. That is what helped make MP3 the digital format of choice, the wide choice of tools and players. I have a feeling that most people that hacked out those programs had no idea that they might have to pay pattent royalties on them some day.
With each of these spin off MP3 formats you have one vender for your tools, and usualy just their plugins for players. Most programers know that they will have to deal with the MP3 pattent issues if they even get close to selling an independant tool or player for these formats. So some one that want to just hack on an audo codec for fun and maybe a little profit has no incentive to develop independat software for some one else format.
The various open standards have the appeal of being unencumbered. The popular propritary formats have the appeal of a large user base to distribute to and large media base to access.

Hey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10980923)

While we're at it, why don't we also talk about the new Thunderbird RC 1.0. It's on the same site [designtechnica.com] ! ;)

Don't listen to the herd (1)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10980934)

The Slashborg Nerve Center is deriding this, but I think it could be a good thing. Currently, the two channels that artists and producers have to play with are completely maxed out. Most producers are using so much dynamic compression that their songs don't sound "real." (i.e. they sound over-produced) This is why top 40 radio sounds so crappy to most of us (amongst other reasons). I think having more channel "space" would be a good think artistically and auditorially (if that's a word).

Of course, since this is a patented product, they will start charging in about a year, according to TFA. Fuck that, when ogg already does this. Problem is, I don't know how to do it. Once ogg comes of age as a 5.1 channel codec it could really gain so momentum. I would certainly release my songs in multi-channel oggs for the .5% of the population who has surround sound and is into that sort of thing. Eventually, ogg could position itself as the go-to codec for multi-channel sound for both music and movies.

FLAC is where it's at. (3, Interesting)

MHobbit (830388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981004)

Free Lossless Audio Codec is what you people should be using. Lossless audio, free, and open-source. However, I would convert some of my tracks to MP3 Surround if I had the time just for the heck of it.

mp3PRO - your opinion (3, Insightful)

infofarmer (835780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981065)

I think it sounds great. It absolutely can't provide for audiophile quality, but it still does wonders on 64-128Kbit/s bitrates. Admit it, that the one and only thing that buried it - was the stupid patenting/licensing scheme. But from a technical point of view, it left OGG/AAC/WMA a step behind.

Not a replacement for your MP3s (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981086)

Why is everyone going on about converting their MP3's to MP3-SURROUND?

Pretty much all MP3s will be in stereo, converting them to a format who's only real purpose is to encode 5.1 sound better is like converting your JPEG collection to BMP to improve their quality.

At any rate transcoding from one lossy music format to another is asking for trouble, even going from 192kbit MP3 to 128kbit AAC sounds nasty.

All in the name (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 9 years ago | (#10981314)

It is just another codec with the name "MP3" slapped on it, because they apparently hold the rights to it. This is marketing. It won't take off, because real MP3 isn't compatible and neither Microsoft nor any label is backing it. Devices on the market at the moment support MP3, WMA and some even OGG.
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