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NYT misinformation on audio compression
bawjaws
post Jul 5 2004, 12:25
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There's an article in the New York Times about audio compression and download services like iTMS.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/04/business...ner=rssuserland

Now, while I use lossless encoding and wouldn't buy from any download service at the moment for anything other than novelty value, I like to think I do so for the right reasons. However this piece is full of misinformation, particularly towards Apple and AAC. Even though the author's complaints generally apply to every form of lossly compression and every download service.

The author (alledgedly a historian) apparently also wrote a book about the history of Apple that couldn't go a page without a snide remark about Steve Jobs' personality or level of intellegence.
Combine that fact with him asking the editor of 'Stereophile' magazine to comment on lossy encoding and you're asking for a barely disguised hit-piece.
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smok3
post Jul 5 2004, 14:59
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the entire article is beyond any possible commets or debate, author should read
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ic=16295&hl=abx
for starters,
(and a lot of stuff after that...)


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MugFunky
post Jul 7 2004, 07:36
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QUOTE
Yes, we should be looking out 5 years, or even 50 years, and that's why, when we are building collections from scratch today, we should have the option to collect with true CD quality.


that says it all really.

to think that a CD is future-proof with the crap that's spewing out of the record companies now (well, i suppose those aren't really CDs)

here's to a 16 bit future! *clinking glass*
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DreamTactix291
post Jul 7 2004, 07:56
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QUOTE
The tracks are not carbon copies of the CD originals, but compressed versions.

Yeah that is pretty obvious actually. Still amazing how many people don't realise that though.

QUOTE
The smaller files are handy for speedy downloads, space-saving for storage and perfectly serviceable for listening through ear buds when riding on the subway. Not what you will want, however, when your desktop computer becomes the home jukebox and wirelessly sends these simulacra to the entertainment center in the living room.

I challenge someone to tell the difference between MPC and a CD on a decent system. I'm assuming AAC is there at decent bitrates or will be there soon. Same for Vorbis. LAME mp3 is also good with the --alt-presets.

QUOTE
"The majority of people," Mr. Mains said, "have absolutely no idea what a bit rate is," reasoning that if Apple offered music encoded at a bit rate higher than 128, customers would select it without realizing that it would fill up their hard drive and portable player quickly.

You know I think he's right about this, but you know in my experiences I've seen that most people do understand at a very rudimentary level that a 192kbit file usually sounds better than a 128.

Now I've always disagreed with the use of the term "CD-quality" but to be honest most people don't care at all about how their music sounds because they own crappy soundsystems and don't like a song for very long anyway. Basically that whole article is an uninformed biased bash against lossy audio compression. Well the author can rest assured that those who truly care about the quality of their music buy the CD anyway and really don't utilize the online stores.


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Amadeus
post Jul 7 2004, 08:31
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QUOTE
Customers are led to believe that they are getting a CD in all respects except the trouble of going to the mall.


I find nothing wrong with the author sheding some light on iTMS only offering lossy downloads. Whatever way you put it, a lossy song is inferior to a non-lossy one, just think of your limited ability to re-encode with your codec of choice (say you dump your iPod and want to go ogg vorbis).

The quality-loss when cross-coding is just too much, given the same price the choice should hencefort be obvious. Educating the public about the difference in lossy and non-lossy is a great mission - I am happy to read such an article in the NYT.
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phong
post Jul 7 2004, 19:56
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I'm all for educating people, but you can't do that by presenting false information, which this article clearly does. Some of their claims are actually quite absurd. It's like claiming Giraffes evolved their long neck because their ancestors stretched really hard to reach higher branches. Nice visual, but wrong information.


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xmixahlx
post Jul 7 2004, 20:06
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...i suppose they got their long necks by not straining at all?
perhaps lounging in the shade?

eheh, its a funny picture you paint


later


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Disposable Hero
post Jul 7 2004, 21:01
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QUOTE (DreamTactix291 @ Jul 7 2004, 07:56 AM)
QUOTE
The tracks are not carbon copies of the CD originals, but compressed versions.

Yeah that is pretty obvious actually. Still amazing how many people don't realise that though.

Come to think of it, aren't lossy-compressed files very much like "carbon copies"? Not the generic phrase, but the original technique - resulting in a copy lacking the full resolution of the original but reproducing its distinguishing characteristics.

This post has been edited by Disposable Hero: Jul 7 2004, 21:02


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DreamTactix291
post Jul 7 2004, 21:04
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Actually now that you mention it, you're right. So he was wrong again laugh.gif


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upNorth
post Jul 7 2004, 21:49
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QUOTE
Consumers find downloading instantly gratifying, but the company uses an extreme form of compression that takes a sample of the sound at intervals.
At first I thought he liked CDs, but now I'm not so sure anymore... laugh.gif
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