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Hydrogenaudio Forum => Validated News => Topic started by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-29 16:57:12

Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-29 16:57:12
Berlin, Germany -- dicas, a leading provider of MPEG-4 multimedia solutions, and zplane.development, provider of innovative audio processing solutions, are pleased to announce the launch of compaact!, an audio coding application allowing the encoding of audio files to the high quality format MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). compaact! is available for purchase online in dicas' mpegable Shop at Euro 19.99.

compaact! offers multichannel encoding with high performance and realtime pre-listening to optimally adjust the encoder settings to a given input file.

More detailed information on the application can be found online at
http://www.compaact.com (http://www.compaact.com)
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Volcano on 2003-10-29 17:25:47
When using the MP4 container, does it store gapless playback information like Nero's encoder does?

How does it compare with other available encoders quality-wise?
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: [JAZ] on 2003-10-29 19:36:04
This should be tested better, but in a very simple (one file) test, it seems that Quicktime is still the best.

The interesting things of this codec is that it has a VBR mode and support for multichannel audio, although I haven't tested it against Nero. ( I have an old .dll of Nero AAC)

Also, the program is intersting. Especially the "preview" function. (you can hear how it will sound previous to encode it).
The "expert" configuration window gives some "switches" to turn on or off, aswell as the filter to be used. It supports both, LC and Main profiles and...
Well.. if you want to know better, look at the page and download the demo encoder, which is limited to 30days usage or 50encodings (whatever happens first).
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: rjamorim on 2003-10-29 19:37:22
IMHO, that is the way Ahead should go. A small, standalone, unbloaty (and cheaper!) version of their AAC encoder, for people that don't want to pay for burning functionality, audio editing, video playback, audio playback, MPEG encoding, DVD recompression...

Also, for people that don't want to load an entire burning app whenever they want to encode something.

Congratulations to the people at zplane. It's surely a very interesting work

Edit: decoder -> encoder
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-29 20:15:18
Hi,

thanks for your feedback!
This first version of the encoder does not support any gapless playback information. Sorry for that.

Just a quick note: there was one known bug in version 1.02: the MP4-object ID was wrong in the case of main profile encoding.

The fixed version (1.03) can be downloaded now.

Regards,
Alexander
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Volcano on 2003-10-29 20:31:09
Quote
This first version of the encoder does not support any gapless playback information. Sorry for that.

OK, fair enough... but will this happen in a future version?

I have two more questions:

1) Is the encoder usable from the command line, or is there an additional command line encoder encoded (for people who want to rip to MP4 straight from within EAC)?

2) What's the upgrade policy when you buy it, do you receive all future upgrades for free, or only "minor" version updates (i.e. like Ahead does it with Nero)?

Thanks,

Dominic
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: bond on 2003-10-29 21:51:30
i am happy about every new codec, but i doubt that you will be that successfull selling it, if you think that itunes offers aac encoding (at independently proved great quality) and ahead plans to offer their (also great) aac codec for free...

so to say would be great if the codec could be free for non-commercial use 
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: tev777 on 2003-10-29 23:27:52
Quote
IMHO, that is the way Ahead should go. A small, standalone, unbloaty (and cheaper!) version of their AAC encoder, for people that don't want to pay for burning functionality, audio editing, video playback, audio playback, MPEG encoding, DVD recompression...

This is what I am hoping for. I hate having to pay for a ton of features I don't want. I look at the box dreaming every time I see it in the computer store I haunt!
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Sgt_Strider on 2003-10-30 03:51:17
Congratulations on the release 
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-30 10:30:17
Quote
Quote
This first version of the encoder does not support any gapless playback information. Sorry for that.

OK, fair enough... but will this happen in a future version?


That's on the list, but not with high priority.

Quote
1) Is the encoder usable from the command line, or is there an additional command line encoder encoded (for people who want to rip to MP4 straight from within EAC)?


This application is not usable from the command line yet. This is also on the list (and with higher priority).

Quote
2) What's the upgrade policy when you buy it, do you receive all future upgrades for free, or only "minor" version updates (i.e. like Ahead does it with Nero)?


Regarding the upgrade policy, to be honest, we did not think about it yet. Surely, bug fixes and quality upgrades are free, but I think it will depend on the development effort and the number of saled items if major upgrades can be free.

Regards,
Alexander
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: askoff on 2003-10-30 16:01:39
Are you planing to do quality tuning near future or will updates be bug fixing and adding new features?
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-30 18:09:22
Quote
Are you planing to do quality tuning near future or will updates be bug fixing and adding new features?

We try to improve the quality constantly. That means, we will try to publish quality updates frequently.
On the other hand, bugfixes have absolute priority.

Alexander
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Skymmer on 2003-10-30 23:26:43
The bugs will always be in any application, so probably Compaact!'s quality (quite
close to FAAC) will never be changed ! 
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: rjamorim on 2003-10-31 01:18:02
Quote
The bugs will always be in any application, so probably Compaact!'s quality will never be changed ! 

How can you be so sure?

Ivan's AACenc was a bughouse when it was first featured in Nero. Now, it got much better and quality keeps improving at a fast pace.

Quote
(quite close to FAAC)


Do you have hard data about that (tests, etc.)? I'm pretty curious about where did you take those conclusions from.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: danchr on 2003-10-31 01:22:48
Quote
The bugs will always be in any application...

You just managed to argue that all software sucks, and there is no point in ever spending any money on developing anything but crap. As a programmer and computer science student, I would say that your statement is obviously false, and that the existence of useful software proves you wrong. Design flaws and bugs are two completely different things, but both can be fixed.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Skymmer on 2003-10-31 01:38:50
Ok. You're right. Sorry.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-31 08:28:31
Quote
Compaact!'s quality (quite close to FAAC)

Are you sure about that? Which settings did you use? Did you make a blind test, or is it an impression?

Best regards,
Alexander
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: ilikedirtthe2nd on 2003-10-31 09:40:42
The german (dumb) Chip magazine just brought this (http://www.chip.de/news/c_news_11083417.html) article about compaact. Not very positive if you ask me. They find fault, that no winamp or wmp plugin is bundeled with the trial and that nero can't read the compaact mp4s (didn't check that, why shouldn't it?)

regards; ilikedirt
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: menno on 2003-10-31 09:53:24
Hi Alexander,

Congrats on the great product!

Quote
and that nero can't read the compaact mp4s


I just tried almost every possible setting and all files work fine.

There's just one little annoyance with this application. It completely stops all audio playback on my computer when starting it (DirectSound and WaveOut) 

Menno
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-10-31 11:06:30
Quote
There's just one little annoyance with this application. It completely stops all audio playback on my computer when starting it (DirectSound and WaveOut)

Oops, that's not nice.

What sound hardware do you use? I did a quick test here with my two cards and it works.
But I knew there would be most likely some problems with some sound devices/drivers, and such things are difficult to debug...

Please just contact me or support@compaact.com via email, perhaps we can change this behaviour.

Alexander
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Ogig on 2003-10-31 12:26:32
Quote
Please just contact me or support@compaact.com via email, perhaps we can change this behaviour.

If that really happens it would be remarkable and earn my deepest respect: I have never heard about developers of competing commercial products helping out each other. 
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: AgentMil on 2003-10-31 12:37:28
Quote
The german (dumb) Chip magazine just brought this (http://www.chip.de/news/c_news_11083417.html) article about compaact. Not very positive if you ask me. They find fault, that no winamp or wmp plugin is bundeled with the trial and that nero can't read the compaact mp4s (didn't check that, why shouldn't it?)

regards; ilikedirt

Hrmmm... I always though AAC (bundled in a MP4 Container hopefully I am correct here) was a standard?!?!  Never knew you needed different plugins to play the files. Blah damn media!! Being sarcastic here

Regards

AgentMil
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: rjamorim on 2003-10-31 12:38:49
Quote
If that really happens it would be remarkable and earn my deepest respect: I have never heard about developers of competing commercial products helping out each other. 

Well, Menno once reported a bug in QuickTime to the head developer

And later, this head developer came and reported a bug in Faac.

It's a small World
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: menno on 2003-10-31 12:42:30
Quote
Quote
Please just contact me or support@compaact.com via email, perhaps we can change this behaviour.

If that really happens it would be remarkable and earn my deepest respect: I have never heard about developers of competing commercial products helping out each other. 

Huh? I send bug reports around all the time  (at least, if I know how to contact the developers). It's not like I'm sharing trade secrets or anything.

Menno
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Ivan Dimkovic on 2003-10-31 12:50:50
Quote
Well, Menno once reported a bug in QuickTime to the head developer

And later, this head developer came and reported a bug in Faac.


You would be surprised how much communication is made "behind the scenes" in order to correct problems and bugs - working on international standards also means that the first goal is interoperability.

Keeping the secret that other software produces buggy things just makes standard proliferation harder and, at the end, makes all products look bad.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Ogig on 2003-10-31 14:09:25
Hmm, makes sense. I didn't think of the aspect of interoperability/standardization before, which also seems to make a selling feature. If that's common among developers it is even better! Thanks for poiting that out.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Skymmer on 2003-10-31 23:40:51
Quote
Are you sure about that? Which settings did you use? Did you make a blind test, or is it an impression?

Of course I'm not sure about that. It was impression but i trust my ears but of course it's not the argument. So, sorry if I've harm you. By the way what is the
annoying zAAC.dll which autocreated everytime you start compaact! It seems that this dll is not valid since it have no header or sections. Some sort of bug ?
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: JohnV on 2003-11-01 02:30:19
Quote
Of course I'm not sure about that. It was impression but i trust my ears but of course it's not the argument.

Right, well next time make sure you mark it as your impression/opinion and say that you haven't done real blind testing to justify this opinion.
Of course even better would be if you'd actually do blind testing and rating rather than just giving out vague impression about quality which is no help for the developer or anybody else. 
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: [JAZ] on 2003-11-01 13:04:26
Quote
By the way what is the annoying zAAC.dll which autocreated everytime you start compaact! It seems that this dll is not valid since it have no header or sections. Some sort of bug ?

open it in a text ( or HEX ) editor and i'm sure you'll get it.
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: wkwai on 2003-11-10 10:11:57
I encoded castanets.wav with compaact MPEG4 AAC encoder and decoded it with cooledit with FAAD plugins.. It seems to me that the TNS is not properly done.. The decoded clip shows ringing artifacts..
Title: compaact! MPEG-4 AAC encoder
Post by: Alexander Lerch on 2003-11-10 15:53:44
Quote
I encoded castanets.wav with compaact MPEG4 AAC encoder and decoded it with cooledit with FAAD plugins.. It seems to me that the TNS is not properly done.. The decoded clip shows ringing artifacts..

I personally think that the TNS implementation is not bad, compared to others.
However, what settings did you use and do you hear the artifacts also in the prelisten mode?

Alexander
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