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Topic: xHE-AAC : The Death of OPUS? (Read 35729 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: xHE-AAC : The Death of OPUS?

Reply #75
What room for improvement? Just because you think there is any doesn't mean there is, that is called wishful thinking. Also, you can't just fix one "killer sample" in lossy codecs without it having negative consequences somewhere else.

You are correct. Who is doing regression testing ? Not many like that and most don't have time.

Re: xHE-AAC : The Death of OPUS?

Reply #76
I still see the dominance of this lossy format on the well-known, little-known and private sharing sites. The only thing that has changed is that FLAC is posted next to it.
This seems pretty disingenuous to me. I happen to be on quite a few of those sites and MP3 hardly is 'dominant'. It is provided as a legacy option for compatibility purposes or for people with very low bandwidth, but no one cares about it. Everything is FLAC and the amount traffic MP3 gets is at least a whole order of magnitude smaller. This tiny minority is not relevant enough to be split further into Vorbis, Opus, AAC, Musepack or whatever else.. it's not the year 2000 any more.

No one in music sharing cares about lossy formats anymore (and rightfully so). I download FLACs and encode them to my favorite bleeding edge lossy format of choice to save space. And if I were OCD obsessed with archival, I'd just keep my whole library as FLAC because lossy is called lossy for a reason.

Re: xHE-AAC : The Death of OPUS?

Reply #77
It'll be a while when Youtube and stuff puts FLAC bitstreams in their videos. If you scan the available codecs it's all just Opus and AAC-LC.

No one in music sharing cares about lossy formats anymore (and rightfully so). I download FLACs and encode them to my favorite bleeding edge lossy format of choice to save space. And if I were OCD obsessed with archival, I'd just keep my whole library as FLAC because lossy is called lossy for a reason.
Additionally, people with a "decent enough" music library and whatnot, tend to put on-the-fly re-encoding to a lossy format in place, such that they don't have to actually manage multiple versions of the same song, etc. Home automation stuff usually takes care of that around the home etc.

Re: xHE-AAC : The Death of OPUS?

Reply #78
What room for improvement? Just because you think there is any doesn't mean there is, that is called wishful thinking. Also, you can't just fix one "killer sample" in lossy codecs without it having negative consequences somewhere else.
You are correct.

No, I believe what @ktf said is not consistent with practice.

How did they improve LAME codec quality? It's not a secret. Users shared problematic samples, including those that sounded better when encoded in other ways, e.g. via Fraunhofer encoder, then LAME psychoacoustic model was patched accordingly. Its official website has a section with samples that still require attention, other samples are available on the bug tracker. They are not addressed not because it will worsen the sound “somewhere else”, but because the relevant specialists retired or passed away. And there are no signs that someone has come to take over the baton.

Luckily, prolific programmers like @Case are still around to optimize things that don't affect the sound, which made it possible, for example, to revive Helix MP3 encoder — it is amazingly fast and more resistant to problematic samples. Also, LAME's changelog still grows and its version 3.101b3 was released in December 2023. Recently, I discovered a bug in Vorbis reference encoder, the WAV reader part of it, and a faint pulse on Github gives me hope that it will be fixed. But the underrated Musepack seems to be buried and it is unlikely that anyone will make it possible to encode input with a bit depth greater than 16, which forces to reduce bit depth and use dither when compressing hi-res records.

So there is definitely room for improvement in the lossy niche, both theoretically imaginable and practically necessary. However, the creative juices (or what's left of them) are currently flowing towards battery-draining complexity of Opus, low bitrate USAC (xHE-AAC), repulsive by its name alone due to USA & YOU-SUCK connotations, and outlandish things such as buy-modern-GPU-first TSAC. For audiophiles like me, who are trained in fields other than programming, it remains only to pray that there are fewer aberrations on the path of progress, e.g. I pray that David @bryant improve WavPack hybrid mode, because it is a bridge connecting two worlds (lossy and lossless).

Yes, I've lived long enough to be able to compare: a bottom up excitement that comes from the challenge of creating something that brings relief and joy to people from all walks of life, as LAME did, has been replaced by a top down imposed dull substitutes, akin to changing the skin color of Ariel's character from The Little Mermaid cartoon, allegedly to promote diversity and inclusion, whereas in fact it caused a backlash and a box office failure, not only in Disney's homeland, but all over the world.

I still see the dominance of this lossy format on the well-known, little-known and private sharing sites. The only thing that has changed is that FLAC is posted next to it.
I happen to be on quite a few of those sites and MP3 hardly is 'dominant'. It is provided as a legacy option for compatibility purposes or for people with very low bandwidth, but no one cares about it. Everything is FLAC and the amount traffic MP3 gets is at least a whole order of magnitude smaller. This tiny minority is not relevant enough to be split further into Vorbis, Opus, AAC, Musepack or whatever else.. it's not the year 2000 any more. No one in music sharing cares about lossy formats anymore (and rightfully so).

MP3 still dominates among other lossy formats there, not among audio formats in general. You can easily verify this by entering the format extension in the search bar and comparing the number of releases in each lossy format over at least the last 5 years. As for the demand, today alone, on the site with ~14 million peers (12.5 mln seeds and 1.5 mln leeches) that has a rather long list of requirements when you're about to share, I see 98 new MP3 and 63 FLAC releases.

Living in a cocoon of relative wealth, you tend to make generalizations that are at odds with reality, which for you boils down to choosing one of three bicycles to ride, and for others, how not to look for a third job. To keep lossless audio, especially hi-res records, you need a lot of space, but the mantra that space is cheap does not apply to the entire planet. Have you ever wondered how many Earths would we need if everyone lived like, say, Americans? At least 5, according to Google. Also, the consumption of audio (music, books, podcasts, etc) does not differ much from the consumption of food — the less energy-intensive click'n'listen (or download'n'listen) strategy turns out to be more in demand than manual conversion of lossless audio files (cooking), which requires knowledge and time. It explains the increase in profits of streaming services such as Spotify (whose main format, by the way, is lossy Vorbis).
• Join our efforts to make Helix MP3 encoder great again
• Opus complexity & qAAC dependence on Apple is an aberration from Vorbis & Musepack breakthroughs
• Let's pray that D. Bryant improve WavPack hybrid, C. Helmrich update FSLAC, M. van Beurden teach FLAC to handle non-audio data