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is the end of mp3s near???
Old 25th January 2009
  #1
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Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
is the end of mp3s near???

with the ever increasing internet connection speed and also the increasing size of portable music players (32GB and higher beeing quiet normal), wouldn't the next next logical step be to drop the MP3 and rather (or at least additional) sell WAVs on iTunes and other internet retailers? Maybe this way music buyers will start also to appreciate quality of music again.

MP3s will still be great for streaming purposes but for the money I'm spending I'd rather buy wavs than mp3s.
Old 25th January 2009
  #2
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DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I doubt if the general public is about to make the switch to a substantially more time consuming and expensive download format any time soon.

Higher bit-rate mp3s maybe, but I think we can expect see incremental change for a *long* time before there is any likelihood of a jump to uncompressed formats.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky ➑️
I doubt if the general public is about to make the switch to a substantially more time consuming and expensive download format any time soon.
Thats just it tho, I can now download a WAV faster than I could download a MP3 when the whole thing started.
Downloading a full album in WAV qulaity can easily be done in under an hour today. I'd say thats more than worth it.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorg ➑️
Thats just it tho, I can now download a WAV faster than I could download a MP3 when the whole thing started.
Downloading a full album in WAV qulaity can easily be done in under an hour today. I'd say thats more than worth it.
Why would any retailer want to raise their bandwidth & storage costs by 10x when 95% of the population:

1. cant hear the difference in the first place
2. Listening through a ****ty FM adaptor into their car and the quality is further reduced. (I fall into this catagory).
3. Listening on crappy ear buds... etc


Incremental change is whats going to come. One retailer will raise it and the others will follow slowly.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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DeepSpace's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorg ➑️
Thats just it tho, I can now download a WAV faster than I could download a MP3 when the whole thing started.
Downloading a full album in WAV qulaity can easily be done in under an hour today. I'd say thats more than worth it.
I realize that was your point.

But most punters are greatly relieved that they no longer have to spend an hour waiting for an album to download, they think five minutes is still too long. I don't think you'll persuade them to go back to hour-long album downloads in a hurry. They'd have to hear a profound difference - and all the indications are that average punters have other priorities (if they can even here a dif in the first place!).

You might get them up to slightly higher bit rates, maybe, but beyond that is a real stretch for the present IMO.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
MP3s will eventually die as bandwidth increases. But there will have to be some sort of universally distinct improvement for it to take hold.

Or, it could take hold during a format upgrade, like the uncompressed audio that is realized on BluRay disks, for example.

Greg

.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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lakeshorephatty's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For listening in my car and in the background, i don't even mind mp3's at high bit rates. I think the mp3 at a high bitrate is a great tool for purely recreational listening. I don't see a reason to have full wav's if on the particular sound system the difference can't be discerned.

Russell
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
80425
Guest
Yes like all formats the MP3 will fade out, its not a question of "If", but rather when.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_headphones ➑️
Yes like all formats the MP3 will fade out, its not a question of "If", but rather when.
I agree and I don't think it's too far off.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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TocaLaGuitara's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
iTunes seems to be doing it. They seem to be pushing all of their music from 128k MP3 to their iTunes Plus format, which is 256 and DRM-free. Still not a full resolution wave, but its getting better.

I'm sure that we will see these types of incremental updates continue, though not as quickly as those of us in the audio-world would like. It makes sense for Apple to do this as well. With the growing size of iPods, if suddenly all of the music has twice the bitrate, that means larger file sizes and less songs, creating a market for even larger music players.

I personally rip all my music from CD in Apple Lossless format. I figure it's an ok tradeoff for the time being.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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doubledecker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I dont see the end of mp3.
What on earth could possibly replace it and why?
Its a great media.
Cheap,cheerfull,fast and easy.
That is why the public all over the world has embraced it.
People dont listen to the sound, they listen to the music.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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aclarson's Avatar
I don't see it happening anytime soon. People don't care about high fidelity audio. You can see it everywhere you go, people have massive hi-def screens, but use the tv speakers to listen. People spend $50,000 on a car and use the stock stereo and never crank it, or they have the eq set to sound like crap (bass all the way up, treble all the way down). If they do spend a lot on stereos, they do it so they can "bump". People just don't care. Trends haven't ever shown any desire for higher quality in audio, it's consistently gone the other way since the beginning of recorded music. Sad but true. High quality audio will always be a niche market.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Jorg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker ➑️
I dont see the end of mp3.
What on earth could possibly replace it and why?
Well, what we've been saying here can and will replace it. Faster internet and larger storage on portable devices.
Eventually the internet will be so fast (virgin already introduced up to 50Mbit) that even streaming WAVs wont be a problem anymore. Why would you use a compromised lower quality format once there is no more need for it? It will definately one day become obsolete. Maybe not for streaming but for retail.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I have seen flac slowly gaining favor of music traders online when high audio quality is in demand. It's lossless and open source. It's a fantastic format. You won't see wav files anywhere online though. I just can't imagine a reason for it happening ever. I'll buy CD's, tapes (yes tapes) and records. I'd rather not hear something than pay for an MP3. Or even a flac files for that matter, but that's another conversation really.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Edwards's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think it's great iTunes upped their quality to 256kbps and I believe that we'll see more incremental increases in the future, but I highly doubt an uncompressed format will gain favor by the general public. Again, most people can't hear the difference.

I do think that MP3 will be replaced in the near future. I also think that even when it does, the general public will continue to call iPods "MP3 players" and the digital files "MP3s" no matter what format they actually are.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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doubledecker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
[quote=Jorg;3852386]
Why would you use a compromised lower quality format once there is no more need for it? quote]



Because i dont care?
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
[quote=doubledecker;3852457]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorg ➑️
Why would you use a compromised lower quality format once there is no more need for it? quote]



Because i dont care?
The pinnacle of human achievement. You must be very proud.

I don't think it's really got much to do with vendors caring about quality. I suspect they would be under pressure to keep pushing the boundaries of the delivery system because that's what drives the market.
If every manufacturer just went "well we don't really need faster ram/cpus/hard drives" etc then the whole industry would collapse.

Faster transfer rates means bigger chunks of data that means more storage space that means more sophisticated software to manipulate it which require faster cpus which need more evolved motherboards...

You get the idea. It's basically about money (yawn) as much as it is about man's desire to evolve. It's a market.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker ➑️

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorg ➑️
Why would you use a compromised lower quality format once there is no more need for it?


Because i dont care?
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent ➑️

The pinnacle of human achievement. You must be very proud.
I actually think that is a fair answer.... probably consistant with 95+% of the population.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Maybe so, but I believe that The Public Wants What The Public Gets.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Agreed's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I agree that FLAC is gaining prominence. I just bought an album in FLAC, sounds killer, and around half the space of the decompressed WAVs. Plus they keep working on the algorithm and it gets better and better.

But the bulk of my music collection is encoded in mp3, alt--preset--extreme and now the "Fast" version of the same. I can't A/B it with the real deal on my monitors or my most revealing headphones, so while I prefer FLAC or another lossless format (Ogg lossless is a great format, too, by the way) for archival purposes and especially if I'm buying the album (since most albums in mp3 are inexplicably encoded at a relatively low bitrate, CBR, instead of using the same space much more intelligently with a good VBR method), I am not unhappy with Mp3 - and it remains the most storage-saving option.

Of course, storage is almost trivially inexpensive compared to the size of most folks' music libraries. But the real dealbreaker is and always will be portable players, for two reasons:

1.) Portable players don't have enough storage and sometimes even lack the processing power to decode FLAC/Ogg lossless/Apple lossless

2.) People listen to portable music through incredible poor transduction systems and hence are perfectly pleased with 128kbps CBR mp3.

What really kills me is what I mentioned earlier - the lack of good VBR encoding in place of awful CBR encoding. It is a complete no-brainer. Alt--preset--standard uses about the same amount of space as a 160kbps mp3, but it has the bandwidth to scale to as high as necessary to compress with as much detail as the mp3 format allows. Ugh.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
we can debate it for a long time, but it won't happen until the music stores offer their music in .wav. I believe the public won't mind and it could be a nice sales argument, and a percentage of potential buyers wouldn't notice (at first). So there is no reason to not do this. Another issue is that bandwith of internet connections is still very much throttled (europe). This is also due for a change. So many avuenues left unexplored.
Old 26th January 2009
  #22
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rackdude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I thought this I think 4 years ago. I gave up.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My band Estrum has our album available for donations. Make any donation and you get a download link for the MP3 version of the album. Make a donation for $5 or more and you get the album in 24 bit wave format. (which of course is even better quality than CD.)

The downloads are fast and easy. The link is only good for one download and is emailed to you after we receive the PayPal.

It available right on our MySpace page. You can check it out here:

Estrum on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos

If we can do it anyone can. It's just up to the band/label if that's a product they want to offer.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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Agreed's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Why do people keep saying "wave?"

You guys do know that there are multiple fully lossless compression algorithms which provide more compression than 7zip or rar or whatever you like on wave files, but which lose absolutely no data in the process and have identical output to the input wave file?

It would be very foolish indeed for anyone to offer "wave downloads," since it's essentially a deprecated format for audio archiving and media library purposes. Granted the compression/decompression makes it impractical for studio use where you need the ability to do whatever you want to the audio without delay, but in any sort of listening environment, even the slowest modern computers can decompress FLAC at multiples of realtime.

FLAC requires the installation of a codec that doesn't come with some media players by default, but there are other algorithms that are good fits for whatever you like. Apple has a good lossless codec for MAC users, and I think there is even a Microsoft WMA lossless format that still offers a better compression ratio than using traditional compression methods (zip/rar/tar/7z/etc.) on a wave file. FLAC's the way to go, in my opinion, but there are even other open formats - Ogg Vorbis has an open lossless codec.

The fact that it plays back compressed means you get tangible storage savings over compressed archives of wave files, and the fact that FLAC compresses wave more efficiently than compressed archives means that your web server (if you're a band or distribution co., etc.) uses less bandwidth to deliver the same material. The same is true of other lossless audio formats. I'd love to hear some reason(s) not to go with a lossless audio codec instead of wave.

Edit: Rufus, I think I'm about to donate/buy your album (yes, the wave one, though I wish it were lossless), I dig your band!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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rackdude's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agreed ➑️
Why do people keep saying "wave?"

You guys do know that there are multiple fully lossless compression algorithms which provide more compression than 7zip or rar or whatever you like on wave files, but which lose absolutely no data in the process and have identical output to the input wave file?

It would be very foolish indeed for anyone to offer "wave downloads," since it's essentially a deprecated format for audio archiving and media library purposes. Granted the compression/decompression makes it impractical for studio use where you need the ability to do whatever you want to the audio without delay, but in any sort of listening environment, even the slowest modern computers can decompress FLAC at multiples of realtime.

FLAC requires the installation of a codec that doesn't come with some media players by default, but there are other algorithms that are good fits for whatever you like. Apple has a good lossless codec for MAC users, and I think there is even a Microsoft WMA lossless format that still offers a better compression ratio than using traditional compression methods (zip/rar/tar/7z/etc.) on a wave file. FLAC's the way to go, in my opinion, but there are even other open formats - Ogg Vorbis has an open lossless codec.

The fact that it plays back compressed means you get tangible storage savings over compressed archives of wave files, and the fact that FLAC compresses wave more efficiently than compressed archives means that your web server (if you're a band or distribution co., etc.) uses less bandwidth to deliver the same material. The same is true of other lossless audio formats. I'd love to hear some reason(s) not to go with a lossless audio codec instead of wave.

Edit: Rufus, I think I'm about to donate/buy your album (yes, the wave one, though I wish it were lossless), I dig your band!
I agree, FLAC will be the way. I have been seeing it grow, but then again, I said that with ogg a few years ago. Maybe now is the time though with 160 gig ipods and such... (I got a 60 gig for $70! Space is really cheap now)
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Agreed! I'm glad you can dig Estrum!

Our downloads are zipped of course. We just choose zipped wave files because it's a format that everyone can use in just about any computer or player without downloading a codec or extra conversion software. Even iPods play wave files. If we were to offer Apple Lossless or FLAC I feel like it would be excluding or making it harder for the customer.

Although it would be nice to distribute the same product at half the size. We'll probably offer several formats in the near future. We're just getting this thing started though so we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Agreed's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's definitely something that can work. Check out BACKMASK Official Website to see another independent band going it alone in much the same way. They actually offer a few versions of their album for sale - one in 192KBPS mp3 for $4.99, one in FLAC/Apple Lossless for $6.99, and finally a physical CD for $13.99. The FLAC/Lossless comes with digital versions of the album art and the booklet, too, which is nice.

By the way, did you get my PM? Something is wrong.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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Chaellus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
until they supply Wav. files for download on itunes or any digital store i will not purchase online and just buy the cd. Quality matters to me.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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Agreed's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaellus ➑️
until they supply Wav. files for download on itunes or any digital store i will not purchase online and just buy the cd. Quality matters to me.
stike

What if they supplied FLAC or Apple Lossless Audio Codec files for download?

Then quality would still matter to you, but you'd save nearly 50% space and bandwidth.

Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
MP3 on good system with nice loudspeakers (like higher-end car audio or home stereo) sounds waaaay better than wav on typical ****ty stereo used by masses.
MP3 on high bps is totally OK for 95% of music and if song is OK I even don't pay any attention to slight lack of finer details.
Practically no reasons for MP3 to die.
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