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  • negritot
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Lossless AAC?
Supposedly this description of new features in iTunes 4.5 was leaked onto the iTunes Music Store for a bit:
Quote
- Playlist publishing; this is called "iMix"
- Free Single of the week
- iTMS will sell Music Videos
- Movie Trailers are now downloadable from iTMS as well
- Something called "Radio Charts" which lets you see the most popular songs played on real radio stations in the U.S.
- Printing of CD inserts from inside iTunes
- Importing of WMA files (non-protected only)
- Lossless AAC encoding (!)
- Links to go directly from your Music Library, to the iTMS to (apparently) get artist info, other songs, etc.

The part I'm interested is Lossless AAC encoding. I hadn't even heard of this until now. Does anyone have any info on it and how it compares to other lossless encoders?
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 02:22:44 AM by negritot

  • rjamorim
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #1
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The part I'm interested is Lossless AAC encoding. I hadn't even heard of this until now. Does anyone have any info on it and how it compares to other lossless encoders?

There is no such thing, unfortunately.

What exists is MPEG4 ALS (Audio Lossless Coding), which was mostly developed by the same author of LPAC
http://www.nue.tu-berlin.de/forschung/proj...s/mpeg4als.html

But, as far as I know, standardization is still going on for this project. I don't think Apple would use it before being ready.

The other alternatives would be a proprietary codec developed by Apple that they call "Lossless AAC", or they are going to sell high bitrate standard AAC files and claim they are lossless (highly unlikely too).

I can't imagine what else could be going on.

Of course, another alternative would be that this "leakage" is partially fake or erroneous.

Edit: Didn't you see, by any chance, any hint about when iTunes 4.5 will be released?
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 02:32:36 AM by rjamorim
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • saratoga
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #2
Page says "Apple Lossless".  Apple != AAC 

  • rjamorim
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #3
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Page says "Apple Lossless".  Apple != AAC 

Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • negritot
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #4
Quote
Quote
Page says "Apple Lossless".  Apple != AAC 


Damn! I wish Apple would have just waited for MPEG4 lossless to be completed. Here's hoping Apple continues their adoption of open source and this is really just FLAC. One can dream, anyway.

I'm not sure when it's going to be released, but you can see some of the new stuff by following this link:
iTunes leak. That should open up iTunes, then just hit the cancel button, and you'll be sent back to the main page.

Here are some images that someone pulled:
What's New
iMix

  • kalmark
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #5
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Using the Apple Lossless Encoder you can import CDs into iTunes with sound indistinguishable from the original recording but at about half the size

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'](my emphasis)[/span]

I really hope this doesn't mean high-bitrate lossy encoding, even  if it sounds like that.
Quite a lot of people would be fooled then, and not even knowing that they have been fooled.

Let's start hoping
Life is Real...
(But not in audio :) )

  • negritot
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #6
Quote
Quote
Using the Apple Lossless Encoder you can import CDs into iTunes with sound indistinguishable from the original recording but at about half the size

[span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'](my emphasis)[/span]

I really hope this doesn't mean high-bitrate lossy encoding, even  if it sounds like that.
Quite a lot of people would be fooled then, and not even knowing that they have been fooled.

Let's start hoping 

The other part of that quote is that it's about half the size. Uncompressed is about 1400 kbps. Half that is 700kbps, and I don't know of any lossy encoders that encode at that high of a bitrate. And "about half" is in line with other lossless encoders. Not to mention how boneheaded it would be to use a lossy encoder and claim it's lossless.

  • rjamorim
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #7
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I really hope this doesn't mean high-bitrate lossy encoding, even  if it sounds like that.

Why do you think it sounds like that?

To me, it just sounds as... lossless.

Maybe here at HA people use indistinguishable often to refer to transparency in lossy codecs. But I don't think that's the case outside.
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • kalmark
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #8
"with sound undistinguishable" means for me: I'm not able to find any difference in the sound, when listening.
That is, Lame --abr 128 gives "sound undistinguishable form the original" for me

But your opinion (negritot, rjamorim) truly makes more sense
Life is Real...
(But not in audio :) )

  • FrDakota
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #9
It's official, since you can read it on Apple's site iPod + iTunes section.

I read on other sites that the lossless would be FLAC, but no confirmation from Apple yet. Maybe around 6pm today in france since Jobs will be having a " phone " chat about iTMS and it's 1st year.

Beware the download may still be v4.2.

Adding WMA transcoding is a good way to avoid putting it in the iPod. Will simply make bad, worse.  (except for WMA 9 Pro let's be honest )

Time will tell.

Addendum, the firmwares for iPod are also available. But 1st and 2nd generation will not be able to decode lossless apparently. 
Thank you Apple 
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 03:58:41 AM by FrDakota

  • Quasar
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #10
Quote from: rjamorim,Apr 27 2004, 10:30 PM
Quote from: negritot,Apr 28 2004, 03:21 AM

I can't imagine what else could be going on.

Of course, another alternative would be that this "leakage" is partially fake or erroneous.

The leak isn't fake at all given its accessable directly from the iTunes store. Though I guess there could be erros in the PR. Rather doubtful though.

No mention of a date though, perhaps when Steve gives this big speech on the anniversariy in a few days.

  • kl33per
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #11
If the whole collection was offered in Lossless (proprietary or not), this would be a big step forward, and then I would be interested (or even on-the-fly encoding as allofmp3.com has).

Edit: Of course they should still offer AAC to those on slow Internet connections, or who don't have the hard drive space.

Quote from here
Quote
Handy Concept for Concept Rock

Many music CDs contain songs that blend into each other, and importing them to iTunes may create a small gap between songs that interrupts the flow. If you use the iTunes Join Tracks feature, the program melds two or more songs into one, continuous gap-free track. So now you can enjoy listening to classical music, concept rock albums and extended dance mixes without the silent treatment.


That's odd, why didn't they just offer gapless AAC like Nero AAC does (even if it's not part of the standard).
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 04:14:47 AM by kl33per
www.sessions.com.au - Sessions Entertainment

  • c15zyx
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #12
Just tested, it seems to be lossless (encode to Apple Lossless decode to wave, do bit comparison) and for the samples I've tested does actually reduce the size to 1/2...

Strange that the extension is still .m4a though...

  • guest0101
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  • Banned
Lossless AAC?
Reply #13
Wonder what format they are using for their lossless (proprietary or based on new MPEG 4 ALS)?

I'll bet those "new" lossless .m4a files will really "choke" WinAmp 5.03 and many other players. Has anyone tried this yet to see?

Anyone try out WMA support yet? Can one only import or encode also with iTunes?
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 04:06:47 AM by guest0101

  • Quasar
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #14
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Anyone try out WMA support yet? Can one only import or encode also with iTunes?

Yes. Didn't sound too horrible. Though it was a WMAPro file (Max Quality VBR) that was converted to a 192k AAC file.
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 04:31:05 AM by Quasar

  • saratoga
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #15
foobar won't play it.  Any idea what it is?

Edit:  AND YES IT DOESN'T CRASH CONSTANTLY PLAYING AAC FILES!
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 04:51:13 AM by Mike Giacomelli

  • 1stunna
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #16
ive only encoded two albums @lossless, but both have encoded at >900 kbps

  • Ruiner
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #17
I just encoded a couple of albums to the new lossless format and compared to flac it seems to be about the same, though it encodes quite a bit faster than flac at -8 quality.

Both albums in the apple lossless format were in total 1mb larger than the flac ones and when playing back the files the task manager shows itunes using between 0 and 2% which is what foobar shows when playing back flac files.


The lossless files are in the m4a format, but they're obviously not mpeg4 files seeing as nothing but itunes will play them.
Actually that's not totally true, WMP will play them through the 3vix filter, but it just plays static.
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 05:34:37 AM by Ruiner

  • bawjaws
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #18
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I just encoded a couple of albums to the new lossless format and compared to flac it seems to be about the same, though it encodes quite a bit faster than flac at -8 quality.

There was some mutterings on the FLAC list about potential speed gains from making use of the G4/G5's Altivec unit.

I have my fingers crossed that this is just a turbo-charged FLAC.

  • banana
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #19
Quote
I just encoded a couple of albums to the new lossless format and compared to flac it seems to be about the same, though it encodes quite a bit faster than flac at -8 quality.

Both albums in the apple lossless format were in total 1mb larger than the flac ones and when playing back the files the task manager shows itunes using between 0 and 2% which is what foobar shows when playing back flac files.


The lossless files are in the m4a format, but they're obviously not mpeg4 files seeing as nothing but itunes will play them.
Actually that's not totally true, WMP will play them through the 3vix filter, but it just plays static.


Don't forget, it could be FLAC -5... which would explain the slightly larger file size and faster encode times (when compared to FLAC -8).
  • Last Edit: 28 April, 2004, 05:56:22 AM by banana
You smell.

  • bond
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #20
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Strange that the extension is still .m4a though...

can you upload a small sample .m4a with apple lossless plz
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

  • kl33per
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #21
Hope a two second 440Hz tone is good enough.
www.sessions.com.au - Sessions Entertainment

  • MugFunky
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #22
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Half that is 700kbps, and I don't know of any lossy encoders that encode at that high of a bitrate.


*cough* DTS *cough!*

hmm... apple lossless.  a step away from mpeg-4 is a bad step in my opinion.  standards wars are so stupid and petty, and in the end the consumer suffers (VHS vs Beta).  MPEG i believe was an attempt to stop this kind of thing - getting all the companies to agree on 1 format...

we're seeing this with SACD and DVD-A (god, i hope SACD doesn't win.  it's too stupid for my liking... no ABX was harmed in this post )

i hope we don't start seeing HD-DVD and Blu-Ray being sold alongside each other for home entertainment.  that'd be no fun.

  • bond
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #23
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Hope a two second 440Hz tone is good enough.

thanks a lot!

the file contains "alac", i assume this means apple lossless audio codec...
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

  • jido
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Lossless AAC?
Reply #24
I am a bit confused.
I tried the "Apple Lossless" codec with a CD from my collection: "Arabian Waltz", from Rabih Abou-Khalil. The album was compressed to less than half the size of the original.

Are lossless codecs particularly fond of jazzy strings? I would expect a little more than half the size of the original...