The MP3 Is Officially Dead

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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The audio format synonymous with digital music since the mid ‘90s has officially been killed off by its creators. While MP3 is far too pervasive to truly disappear any time soon, the format’s licensing program is definitely dead. In its place, Fraunhofer advises everyone to switch to AAC, which they say is "more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality." But with storage space as cheap as it is these days, can we all just switch to FLAC already.


Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, a division of the state-funded German research institution that bankrolled the MP3's development in the late '80s, recently announced that its "licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated." Bernhard Grill, director of that Fraunhofer division and one of the principals in the development of the MP3, told NPR over email that another audio format, AAC — or "Advanced Audio Coding," which his organization also helped create — is now the "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones."
 

dandirk

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huh...

Guess I should convert my mp3...

EDIT: Nevermind guess that just makes it worse...
 

the_servicer

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What about all the music downloads from Google and Amazon that cost real money and came in MP3 format?

Pay now, can't listen to it later?
 

Filiprino

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Mar 16, 2011
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253
20 years waiting for the license fees to disappear and you want me to encode and play music in AAC to continue paying you. What a joke!

I would not call AAC a defacto standard because sites like YouTube do not use AAC. Neither does Spotify. Only Apple uses it in its applications.

I will continue using Ogg Vorbis, Opus and FLAC. Thank you.
 

Tup3x

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20 years waiting for the license fees to disappear and you want me to encode and play music in AAC to continue paying you. What a joke!

I would not call AAC a defacto standard because sites like YouTube do not use AAC. Neither does Spotify. Only Apple uses it in its applications.

I will continue using Ogg Vorbis, Opus and FLAC. Thank you.
Eh? YouTube uses AAC when serving h264 video. Opus when serving VP9 video.
 

blkt

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Oct 9, 2009
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I remember messing with Fraunhofer's encoder when it first came out. I laughed at the licensing fee to encode in higher bitrates. Then they tried to apply licensing fees to decoders (it made Ogg Vorbis more appealing) and I laughed again. Now I just laugh with a big sigh. I am old.

I agree about FLAC and other lossless formats: always go with lossless and encode it yourself for your devices. There are far too many transcoded and reencoded (in some cases multiple times, sigh) and worst of all when someone decodes to PCM WAV and then packages in a lossless format.

About Winamp, feel free to use the patched build here: http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=373755. It still really whips the llama's ass (and no, it is not dead). In the words of DJ Egg: "Except Winamp is eternal.
Although it physically manifested in 1997, its conceptual spiritual roots transcend the boundaries of time and space."
 

Bandalo

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Someone explain exactly what this means? Will Amazon/Google no longer sell music in MP3 format? Will VLC no longer decode mp3? If I buy a new car, will the radio no longer recognize mp3 format?

I'm pretty sure I can convert my entire library to another format if I had to, but I get the feeling this statement isn't going to actually mean anything.
 

DukenukemX

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I generally don't care nowadays. I usually use MP3 for portable audio devices but I'll use ogg or whatever just so long as it works. As nice as flac is, I have yet to use it. And I'm not about to convert my audio library to flac, cause that won't actually increase audio quality. I would have to find the CDs and then convert the audio to flac. Then I would have to deal with many devices that just don't support it. No thanks.
 

Burticus

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I still use Winamp every day, mostly to stream internet radio while I work. Lightweight and easy. Currently using a whopping 5.7mb of ram. Chrome on the other hand is out of control... a GIG of memory for 4 open browser tabs with no media playing.
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
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This doesn't really mean much of anything. The format isn't going anywhere any time soon.
 

jkw

Gawd
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Oct 10, 2004
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lol, mp3 dead. Whatever. I use flac/wav/ape, so don't care about lossy anyway.
 

Mchart

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Storage and internet bandwidth are such that there is no reason to not just distribute standard 16 bit @ 44.1khz .wav files and then let people do whatever they want with the raw PCM stream.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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FLAC was always a better option than MP3. Audio files have always been small so it is stupid that we don't have everything lossless.

Not always.

You must not remember using modems and tiny hard drives back in 1993 :p

Even today, for transferring audio to your phone remotely, you'd want smaller files in order to limit paid bandwidth use, and overages.
 

prime2515102

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It takes me like a 1/30th of the time to download a FLAC file than it did to download an MP3 when they first appeared. MP3's were made to save storage space and bandwidth. Neither of these things are a problem anymore (for music files anyway). They are obsolete.

Could everyone please stop using this horrid format so it will really go away? Or at the very least, start encoding at 320kbps? Thanks :)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Could everyone please stop using this horrid format so it will really go away? Or at the very least, start encoding at 320kbps? Thanks :)


It's a great format, as long as people do proper encodes.

It's been shown time and time again that for properly encoded mp3's (doesn't even need to be high bitrate, as long as they use a good encoder and good settings. The old Lame --alt-preset-standard (roughly equivalent to the modern Lame -V2) was used in several A/B tests in which high end audiophiles were shocked to find that they could not select which sample was uncompressed and which sample was the mp3, greater than 50% (which is what you would get with random chance)

So, dislike for mp3 is a mix between three different causes:

  1. Exposure to old horrible mp3 encoders (like the Xing encoder of the 90's and early 2000's.) Released in a time when CPU's were comparatively slow, many took shortcuts to speed up encoding.
  2. Exposure to very low bitrate and low quality settings by people who didn't know or care better. (Most old scene releases used to be like this. They didn't care about quality. Their pride was tied up in being first to distribute and release the stuff. They almost scoffed at actually listening to the releases.
  3. Placebo

A modern MP3 encode with good settings actually sounds great. There are better formats today, that can get the same quality with a smaller bitrate for streaming purposes, but MP3's can still sound very good.

Personally when I was ripping and encoding my CD's (which I havent done in a while) I would use -V0 (formally --alt-preset Extreme) just to err on the side of caution.
 
D

Deleted member 245375

Guest
I moved on to Opus oh about 18 months ago, have no intentions of looking back. The audio quality at even 128 Kbps VBR encoding is phenomenal on all sorts of source material, it works fine, the media players I use handle it without any issues (foobar2000 on the laptop and GoneMAD on the Android devices), the tags work as expected, embedded album art in each individual file (along with a cover.jpg in their respective folders), it just works for me and saves me a considerable amount of space for what it offers.

There's nothing wrong with continuing to use MP3 if you want, especially if you're doing encodes with LAME which is arguably the best one ever created for that format, but as stated above newer psychoacoustic encoders are available now, AAC being one, Ogg Vorbis being another old timer, but Opus gets the job done extremely well for music purposes and I was sold on it from the very first listen long ago.

"MP3 is dead, long live MP3..."
 

sleepeeg3

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FLAC would be great, if it were generally supported. It won't, because the increased size costs more money to download/stream and not enough people are demanding it. Can Bluetooth even support FLAC streaming?

320kbps MP3 is noticeably worse than FLAC or AAC, especially at high frequencies, but you will be hard pressed to notice the difference in most songs with the best encoders/decoders.
 

Spidey329

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What about all the music downloads from Google and Amazon that cost real money and came in MP3 format?

Pay now, can't listen to it later?

I'm pretty sure they're just opening the license.

FLAC would be great, if it were generally supported. It won't, because the increased size costs more money to download/stream and not enough people are demanding it. Can Bluetooth even support FLAC streaming?

320kbps MP3 is noticeably worse than FLAC or AAC, especially at high frequencies, but you will be hard pressed to notice the difference in most songs with the best encoders/decoders.

I tried FLAC years ago. Loved the quality, but found it annoying that most (at the time) players didn't support it. Sucked having my library on one program and a few select FLAC songs in another.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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FLAC would be great, if it were generally supported. It won't, because the increased size costs more money to download/stream and not enough people are demanding it. Can Bluetooth even support FLAC streaming?

320kbps MP3 is noticeably worse than FLAC or AAC, especially at high frequencies, but you will be hard pressed to notice the difference in most songs with the best encoders/decoders.

In hearing tests, for someone in their late 30's I'm apparently pretty exceptional being able to hear frequencies up to and including about 17khz. I also have pretty decent DAC's, amps, and speakers. I still don't make out the difference.

I still place this one solidly in the placebo corner, as long as we are talking quality mp3 encodes.
 

Delicieuxz

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When the company that made money from licensing MP3, which no longer does but now makes money from licensing AAC, tells everyone that MP3 is dead and AAC is now the new standard, that's called a self-interest-motivated advertisement.

Still, I'll have to check AAC out. I don't know if I've listened to any AAC audio, so far.
 

sirmonkey1985

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MP3...Winamp...all my old friends are passing away.

lol i miss winamp radio/tv, was the best part about winamp since people could host their own music streams and not this bs limited selection crap on current music streaming sites/apps.
 

Chupachup

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Jan 12, 2014
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Flac, Dsd and tidal is where its at.
Comic genius! You had me at FLAC. But, I did a full on spit take as I read Tidal!

Don't get me wrong! DSD and FLAC are A-W-E-S-O-M-E when and where you care about maintaining the fullest possible range in audio playback and in that sense, i.e., home theater/sound studio- it's where you'd like to be. However, they have a long way to go before they can be considered mainstream, i.e, car stereos, mobile devices, etc., e.g., where it's truly at.

Tidal? ... where to begin...
Jay Z's making it rain personally while Tidal simply seems to flounder as a business with a great M.C. always making a sales pitch that seems too good to be true.

From my own view as a consumer- using a four minute average play time per track, I have just over 2,200 hours of music ripped from CDs that I own and music I've purchased online that cover most of the popular and some not-so-popular genres from the 1930's to present.

My library grows almost daily as I purchase new tracks and albums I like as I'm listening to them on the radio or perusing online. That library is sync'd in its entirety with my laptop on a regular basis and my phone has ~8-10 hours of that music on it sync'd from any one or number of favorites lists I've created on either system. So, my music is pretty much wherever I am.

No streaming service can prove themselves worthy of my money when I already own the music I want to listen to, I can change it out in less time than it takes to recharge the battery on my phone and I don't have to worry about using up my mobile data;)

As for "exclusives", they fall into the same category as "pre-ordered video games", I can wait until the early adopter reviews are out and, if I like what I've heard, often buy-in at lower price:) Being first has little or no tangible long term benefit in either case.

Buuuut, if you/others like the service, then it means it's fulfilling your current requirements and needs. I am not and can not throw shade on you or the service from that perspective. It's a very personal choice and has to be respected as such:angelic:
 
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