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Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

I became very cautious buying any music related to Universal so i checked before buying.
Lately i did buy a Frank Sinatra at qobuz that sounds not really good, like worn tape and i still believe it is the tremolo of the watermark Universal uses.
Link: Sinatras "Strangers In The Night" Studio Master
"I still have the Email where qobuz denied any watermarking on its files when i contacted their support"
Unfortunately till today i had no chance to counter check with another release.

Recenty Mr. Mike Oldfield did an overhaul of his 1984 Discovery.
I did buy "To France" as 16/44.1 track at qobuz to check if it is any better sounding as my older CD version.
I was not convinced and had some sparetime to play so i got me the "Studio Master" 24/96 of the same song.
Downsampled with SoX this gives a pretty interesting delta file.



If that isn't the Universal watermark in action what is?
I remind on Matt Montags Universal's Audible Watermark

I uploaded a delta sample here: Upload Forum

Besides that the 44.1 version must have been butchered thru a really weird resampling routine as you can see in the delta.
The hefty pattern in the HF spectrum is not dither but a very early roll-off and aliasing in the qobuz 44.1 version against my SoX resample.

Since i have only these 2 versions i am not to sure in what samplerate file the watermark is?
I guess my reasoning is correct and please tell me if i am wrong.

Still a bit baffled what to think of that all...
Purchasing music should be straight and with best quality in mind. Making it a gamble on purpose is really annoying.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #1
It's a terrible practice. According to the EFF in 2008 Sony also engages in watermarking.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #2
I will order the new CD version of Discovery today only to have a look what things they do to the different versions  :)

It is really absurd how they treat us customers.
People trying to build systems that have noisefloors near the atomic level but the label adds noise only a few dB below the hood to fight the piracy that supposedly makes them starve.
Here in germany we had open discussions about closing www content for child abuse, terror and alike but the consensus was to not block this and fight the sources more in favour of an open net.
Guess who enforces www locks first now? Exactly!
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #3
I have some Oldfield.  The CDs have pre-emphasis.  They are old but maybe they still come that way.




I would not be surprised if Amazon mp3s are watermarked.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #4
I received my CD and i have to say i am confused  :-\
No matter what of these 3 versions i create deltas of i see the watermark as leftover.
This means the watermark in each version must be different or simple deltas don't do it.

The CD version has the same frequency response as the 44.1 qobuz download but a lower peak level that in my theory means the watermark was added to the download.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #5
What program can see that? For now I have only 'Spek'. Googling's not helpful.
I wish I could check my Qobuz downloads too.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #6
I am not aware of any program that can detect it directly. A foobar plugin would be nice.
My only idea is these delta files. Not to much feedback here also.
Without multiple files you can only listen for the little vermin breathing inside.
I am not to familar with the sound yet because i have mostly CDs and older music but some people claim over time you learn to hear it and then it is the pest. Maybe worse as any modern lossy codec.

My CD compresses slightly better as the download files btw. another hint to the watermark bonus! In that case both qobuz versions are watermarked.
You get a High Resolution watermark in a Studio Master, yummy!
The hefty roll-off for 44.1 resampling on CD and download is a joke also. Maybe needed to simulate some HiBit superiority.

Edit: When i visit universalmusicclassics i see ECM, DECCA, Deutsche Gramophon and Mercury. Ouch...
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #7
DONE!
The To France 1984 Suite version of the Bonus CD and the stereo capture of the bonus DVD of the same song nulls roughly in Audio Diffmaker.
I spent another 1,68€ and got that track from qobuz also qobuz link
The download shows a fat ugly watermark shaped vermin against the DVD and the CD.

I am sure now both versions from qobuz are watermarked. The CDs are clean but badly resampled by technical means. Hard to justify any further purchsases.

Whenever qobuz carefully worded says they don't add watermarks they don't even lie because if the label already delivers it with watermark the wording is right.
In my case i have an Email that is worded "our files are not watermarked"
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #8
Whenever qobuz carefully worded says they don't add watermarks they don't even lie because if the label already delivers it with watermark the wording is right.

I thought the whole idea of watermaking was that each individual copy could be uniquely identified. If so then watermarks delivered by label mean nothing. Or at least I don't the any point in it. Unless they want to identify the userbase which is more likely to leak the downloads (by then suspending the reseller)

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #9
I thought the whole idea of watermaking was that each individual copy could be uniquely identified. If so then watermarks delivered by label mean nothing. Or at least I don't the any point in it. Unless they want to identify the userbase which is more likely to leak the downloads (by then suspending the reseller)

This, too, puzzles me.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #10
Whenever qobuz carefully worded says they don't add watermarks they don't even lie because if the label already delivers it with watermark the wording is right.

I thought the whole idea of watermaking was that each individual copy could be uniquely identified. If so then watermarks delivered by label mean nothing. Or at least I don't the any point in it. Unless they want to identify the userbase which is more likely to leak the downloads (by then suspending the reseller)

This is technically possible but in practice is not being (widely) used at this point.  Or at least that is what the labels claim.  What is publicly claimed is that "wholesale" digital files are watermarked to help with the ongoing process of researching the sources and destinations of pirated copies.  Tracking is only back to the level of the pressing or stream source but not to an individual purchase.  This information will presumably be used to leverage more fees out of some or all retailers, to justify more draconian watermarking in the future, or perhaps to support existing legal actions.

So qobuz gets a mangled master and sells exactly the same mangled file to all its customers.  They can claim not to be altering the music they sell in any way.  I suppose they might even claim not to know that the files have been watermarked, although it seems a stretch that they would be so naive.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #11
IIRC (and it's a decade since I looked) there are research papers that suggest how to remove such watermarks. There is also a Verance patent which describes how the watermark works (though, again IIRC, what's in the actual product is a small part of the patent, which is much broader).

While I think the discussion of cracking copy protection is against the rules here, I am not sure about these watermarks. The main reason to remove them would be as a kind of audio restoration, to remove the annoying artefact. A detector would be useful for concretely identifying which downloads to avoid, when there's no "clean" CD reference to prove the point.

What do the moderators think? Can we discuss such things?

Cheers,
David.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #12
I doubt it can be removed because even the two watermarks in my sample seems to be totaly different and are seen sharply shaped against each other.
The page of Matt Montag i linked to in my first post goes pretty deep into details already.
He also did a Matlab script to smoth out the effect.
The interesting quote of Montag is "This coding scheme allows blind detection (without access to the original file)"
A simple foobar detector plugin may not be fiction then.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #13
What do the moderators think?
That is above our pay grade.  An administrator will have to weigh-in.

As much as I despise the idea that they create an audible degradation, we have not been exactly flexible with TOS9.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #14
Another idea to the watermark conspiracy theory and unfortunately Mr. Oldfield again.
The new 2016 remaster of The Killing Fields soundtrack may be another milestone in how to break it.
In the loudnes database the download version is much louder on some songs as the CD but not all: Loudnes Database
The music of this soundtrack is silent chorus or even solo violin in some places. The songs with very silent peaks are much louder in the download version. I can't verify how valid the entries are.
Can it be these are only made louder to have enough headroom to hide the watermark? How far do they go if it is like that? Changing the relation underneeth the songs and changing the albums original flow only to force the watermark in?
Any volunteer to check it? I won't spend another Cent to verify this and i am still baffled...

Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #15
I've raised the point to the admins.
We have yet to receive any response, so I humbly suggest that we don't advocate discussion surrounding the circumvention of watermarking.

I am not a lawyer however.
If you're like me, you also don't have a financial stake in the matter.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #16
I guess we don't have to go that far. I still hope with making this thing more public the resellers get enough complaints to stop this nonsense. My intension is trying to avoid any purchase with a watermark in. At least i will ask for a refund for every single track with one i got from qobuz so far.
For this a simple way of detecting is most important.
A detector player plugin won't bypass or modify anything.
I hope we find someone capable of doing it here.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #17
Besides that the 44.1 version must have been butchered thru a really weird resampling routine as you can see in the delta.

Hi Wombat,
Doesn't it look like a lossy file ? This is exactly the kind of lowpass that we can see in mp3. Do these files have any information above 16 kHz ? If they do, they are just from a lossy source. If they don't, we can't tell.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #18
Hello Pio2001! Long time not seen here.
No, mp3 behaves completely different. qobuz did sell me mp3 as lossless before, not these. I should know how a mp3 looks like.
Here is 1 sec. roughly selected at ~45.5 to ~46.5 of my SoX resample against the 44.1 download/CD
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #19
To keep it On Topic and to have a screeny of mp3 here is another "Mike Oldfield at qobuz" pearl.
I purchased a single track in "16bit CD quality" lossless last year and it was 100% mp3. Mike Oldfield - Lakme @ qobuz
Today i re-downloaded only to see nothing changed.
Isn't it crazy? If this was a story somebody told me i wouldn't believe it  :o
How high is the chance i hit a nerve with my few purchases? What else could be found there?
Mr. Mike Oldfield if you can read this please excuse me. None of these posts are meant to discredit any note of your brilliant work!


Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #20
Instead of the delta file, can you post some 30 seconds clips from the files you mentioned in this thread as well? So that all of us can examine them.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #21
I bought a "lossless" album from them too when I heard people recommend it. I picked an album I had on CD so I ccould reliably confirm if it's properly lossless. It turned out to be lowpassed and the tracks even had silence between them when the transitions should have been gapless. I didn't know to check for watermarks.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #22
Whenever qobuz carefully worded says they don't add watermarks they don't even lie because if the label already delivers it with watermark the wording is right.

I thought the whole idea of watermaking was that each individual copy could be uniquely identified. If so then watermarks delivered by label mean nothing. Or at least I don't the any point in it. Unless they want to identify the userbase which is more likely to leak the downloads (by then suspending the reseller)

This is technically possible but in practice is not being (widely) used at this point.  Or at least that is what the labels claim.  What is publicly claimed is that "wholesale" digital files are watermarked to help with the ongoing process of researching the sources and destinations of pirated copies.  Tracking is only back to the level of the pressing or stream source but not to an individual purchase.  This information will presumably be used to leverage more fees out of some or all retailers, to justify more draconian watermarking in the future, or perhaps to support existing legal actions.

So qobuz gets a mangled master and sells exactly the same mangled file to all its customers.  They can claim not to be altering the music they sell in any way.  I suppose they might even claim not to know that the files have been watermarked, although it seems a stretch that they would be so naive.

Unique watermark does exist, and it happened to me. I can tell the story here...

Several years ago my sister listened to the radio and knew about a music competition. A pop singer provided his voice without background music and the participants needed to compose and arrange the music for his A cappella. My sister urged me to join the competition. After I submitted my application I got a link of the voice data as show in the screenshot.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #23
I bought a "lossless" album from them too when I heard people recommend it. I picked an album I had on CD so I ccould reliably confirm if it's properly lossless. It turned out to be lowpassed and the tracks even had silence between them when the transitions should have been gapless. I didn't know to check for watermarks.
I think everyone who suspected they have watermarked files should upload some samples. It can arouse public attention and someone with relevant skills can have more data to analyze and eventually some sort of reliable detectors will appear.

Re: Oldfield watermarked at qobuz?

Reply #24
I am afraid that watermarking is a pretty universal strategy among music download sellers.
I read the book 'The mp3 story' recently written by a Fraunhofer Institut insider. From that I took that watermarking is the technology which overcame copy protected downloads which mean strong restrictions for playback. Guess that's the price we have to pay.
As long as it's really inaudible (or very very close to) it's an acceptable price to me (especially as I do lossy codec download - iTunes AAC most of the time). For lossless codecs it's a different beast of course.
lame3995o -Q1.7
opus --bitrate 140

 
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