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At last: MP3 Lossless!!!

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MP3 was a revolution when it entered the audiophile world. Not entirely a good revolution, in my opinion, but nevertheless something that changed the world of sound. Because of MP3's obvious lack of quality, other formats have been developed, but... well..., apart from WMA, not with too much commercial success. This has left the vast majority of consumers in a dark corner: Either settle with low quality, or purchase the original recording (if you can find it). Now this may change!

MP3HD is a lossless compression of an ingenious kind. It consists of two layers. The top layer is a normal lossy MP3 layer, and the bottom layer contains all the missing details. Meaning that MP3HD can be played on all MP3 players, but only the lossless details will come forth via a new MP3HD player. That is SMART! :-)

Average bit-rate will typical be between 475 and 875 kbit/s

mp3HD Overview

    * mp3HD is a lossless audio codec (100% bit-exact replica of CD tracks)
    * Backward Compatible to mp3
    * File extension .mp3
    * Bitrates for music approximately 500 to 900 kbps rates (similar to other lossless codecs), depending on genre
    * Embedded mp3 track and the mp3HD file share the same id3 metadata
    * Encoding parameters (e.g. bit rate), ancillary data and meta data of embedded mp3 track are under control

--- End quote ---

You can get the de- & encoder, and 'toolkit' via at

For 32-bits Mac, Linux, and Windows,  
- but 64 bits and Windows 7 (Seven) are not listed!

The following tools are available immediately for your tests:

    * Encoding
          o Command-line encoder
    * Decoding (to wav)
          o Command-line decoder
    * Playing
          o Plug-in for Winamp (for Winamp 5.5 and above)
    * Platforms
          o Win32 (Microsoft Windows XP, 2000, NT 4, Me/98), Vista
          o Linux32
          o Mac OS X
    * Support
          o CD audio (PCM): 44.1, 48 kHz sampling rate, 16 bit/sample

--- End quote ---

This page also has a few audio files with the new encoding
- average download speed: 370 KB/s

You're right, that is very smart. Wonder what the audiophiles will have to say.

I don't care much for the format - players have starting adopting FLAC... and for low-capacity players, probably not supporting FLAC, something like 370kbps is too big :)

The idea is smart though, I guess.

Sounds something like an Encapsulated PostScript or EPS** file.

It's a great idea if you only want to support a single file format for your music files.  :Thmbsup:

But it's still a bit of a kludge. I would have liked it more if it were able to retain the old MP3 file sizes and still be lossless. Now that would have been the absolute killer format.

Thanks for the heads up Curt! I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this one.

(But in the mean time, I'm still gonna stick with FLAC for hi-def.)

** (EPS basically embedded a low resolution "preview" graphic image in a regular PS file. Since most machines didn't have the memory or power to render a PS file directly, EPS allowed you to see what your file looked like before you sent it to a laser imaging device. Before most of the printing industry switched over to using PDFs for 'direct to plate' pre-press, EPS ruled the world. Quark Xpress and the Adobe product family were the driving forces behind the EPS format.)

I think 40hz is right: it's useful if you want only one version of the music files. However, the idea of having extra space on my cell phone/mp3 player taken by sound that I can't hear isn't that great.
I think I'll keep my regular mp3, I don't have earphones or sound card good enough to notice any difference anyways :P


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