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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #100

I would like to see the experts perform a 256kbps test here on hydrogenaudio.  Maybe comparing WMA, iTunes AAC, Lame mp3, WinAmp AAC, and a fifth format like OGG all at 256kbps.  Then again, that is asking a lot as I am sure 256kbps is hard to distinguish and having 5 formats to test at that high of a bitrate would make a lot of work.

I asked about this early on in this thread, and the only reply I got was that it would be to heard to do a 256K listening test. The poster thought that there wouldn't be enough difference to notice I believe.


Yeah, I gathered that.  Still, it would be nice to see a test like that.  I am sure the differences between the encoders would be very small but, if you are encoding your music at the 256kbps bitrate range, then you would care about those slight margins of quality.  A test like this wouldn't be needed but it would be nice for curiosity sake.  Then again, it really isn't worth running a test just for curiosity.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #101
Many testers found AAC 128kbps transparent in the 128kbps multiformat listening test, so the assumption is that 256kbps would be transparent to nearly everyone.
I'm on a horse.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #102
The only reason they created Apple Lossless and did not use an existing lossless format is because they needed  a format with fast encoding in addition to decoding for their AirTunes technology where sound is encoded to Apple Lossless on-the-fly before it is transmitted wirelessly to the AirPort Express.
they should have at least talked to me first then... it's proven quite easy to speed up the flac encoder, much easier than to invent a whole new codec.
Well Josh, like I posted, I think it's kinda like the situation WinAmp developers faced, i.e. the licensing issue?

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #103
The only reason they created Apple Lossless and did not use an existing lossless format is because they needed  a format with fast encoding in addition to decoding for their AirTunes technology where sound is encoded to Apple Lossless on-the-fly before it is transmitted wirelessly to the AirPort Express.
they should have at least talked to me first then... it's proven quite easy to speed up the flac encoder, much easier than to invent a whole new codec.
Well Josh, like I posted, I think it's kinda like the situation WinAmp developers faced, i.e. the licensing issue?

libFLAC switched to BSD 4 years ago, more than a year before ALAC came out.  with winamp, the plugin part was GPL and only recently I changed it to LGPL.

I really can't figure out why the same company that was OK with betting the farm on AAC for lossy decided to build an inferior lossless codec from scratch.

Josh

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #104
libFLAC switched to BSD 4 years ago, more than a year before ALAC came out.  with winamp, the plugin part was GPL and only recently I changed it to LGPL.

I really can't figure out why the same company that was OK with betting the farm on AAC for lossy decided to build an inferior lossless codec from scratch.

Josh

I think I have the answer for you Josh... You are not the easiest guy in the world to contact. I know several years ago (about the time Apple was prepping Apple Lossless for release) I tried over and over to get in touch with you at your, I believe, sourceforge.net E-mail address to no avail. I had to track you down by PM by HA, and Apple may not have been that persistant at trying to locate you to get in touch about licensing FLAC, and instead went their own way with ALAC. Also it took a while to hear back from you. Since you don't publish your contact phone or mailing address, it is likely Apple may have tried and never got hold of you, as the E-mail address on the FLAC site was having problems back then (if I am remembering correctly). So, perhaps there you have the reason why FLAC wasn't chosen by Apple. It appears you are annoyed or upset over their (Apple's) choice for lossless codec by your recent posts in this thread. I doubt Apple tried to slight you. Perhaps they just couldn't reach you back then...

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #105
Yeah, I gathered that.  Still, it would be nice to see a test like that.  I am sure the differences between the encoders would be very small but, if you are encoding your music at the 256kbps bitrate range, then you would care about those slight margins of quality.  A test like this wouldn't be needed but it would be nice for curiosity sake.  Then again, it really isn't worth running a test just for curiosity.


My canned response:

Code: [Select]
Why a listening test at high bitrates (192+kbps) wouldn't work:

1) Most samples would have already reached transparency at that bitrate.
And choosing only problem samples would make the test less significant
since you wouldn't be testing a broad range of musical styles.

2) Only a handful of golden ears would be able to reliably ABX the
samples, and even after ABXing they would hardly give scores lower
than 4.5

3) Since all scores would be around 4.5, the error margins would be big
enough to make all codecs tied. To avoid that, you would need to have
hundreds of participants, in an attempt to bring the error margins down.

4) You would have a hard time finding hundreds of golden ears, and even
more, hundreds of golden ears willing to participate, because the test
would be very fatiguing and frustrating, due to the difficulty of ABXing.

5) At the end, even if you managed to bring the error margins down, the
codecs would be ranked so close that you wouldn't be able to produce a
decent conclusion. All codecs would seem (or be) tied to each other.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #106
I think I have the answer for you Josh
...
Perhaps they just couldn't reach you back then...

I guess maybe, but it had to have been easier to reach me that develop a new audio codec!  I do have to prioritize the email/requests I get because of time, but apple would have jumped to the top of the list real quick.  my contact info was on the site, as were the mailing lists, and in the code, which I know they read based on the similarities between FLAC and ALAC.  since then I have been in touch with apple but they want an NDA before even talking to me, and when I asked for just a friendly introductory meeting they never replied.

I don't think they were doing it to slight me, I just think it was an ill-informed decision.  the best thing to do is recognize it and fix, the sooner the better.  there are benefits for apple as well as FLAC.  if you think so too, tell them: http://flac.sourceforge.net/itunes.html

Josh

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #107
I thought the reason for the choice of 256 kbps was obvious from a marketing standpoint.  256 is double 128, so to the lay-person it sounds "twice as good" and is thus a bargain given that it only costs 30% more.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #108
I thought the reason for the choice of 256 kbps was obvious from a marketing standpoint.  256 is double 128, so to the lay-person it sounds "twice as good" and is thus a bargain given that it only costs 30% more.


Exactly. I'm sure this whole "upgrade" thing will prove to be a prime example of the observer-expectancy effect

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #109
Looks like Microsoft wants in on the action too:
link

Quote
A REPORT on Computerworld said that Microsoft will drop DRM (digital rights management ) on its Zune machines too.

But rather than accept that Apple trumped it in a PR move by saying it had decided to drop digital rights management, instead Microsoft claimed it had been talking to the music companies for ages.

A rep told the magazine that it's obvious that people want unprotected music.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #110
I think these first DRM "less" files would have some type of metadata tagging or watermark so their inevitable appearance on PTP networks could be tracked.Hopefully someone with the appropriate skills will look for this when they are out.

I think the move to better quality files for a premium is a great business model.I would pay a further premium for lossless files if available.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #111
Looks like Microsoft wants in on the action too:
link

Quote
A REPORT on Computerworld said that Microsoft will drop DRM (digital rights management ) on its Zune machines too.

But rather than accept that Apple trumped it in a PR move by saying it had decided to drop digital rights management, instead Microsoft claimed it had been talking to the music companies for ages.

A rep told the magazine that it's obvious that people want unprotected music.


bahahaha...

Microsoft are now nothing more than a joke.
err... i'm not using windows any more ;)

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #112
I think we are all missing a point here. 128 ripped by iTunes in AAC IS TRANSPARENT.

listening tests are old come on guys...

I think selling songs at the 256 level is somehow related to avoid piracy....donno how but think so...

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #113
I think we are all missing a point here. 128 ripped by iTunes in AAC IS TRANSPARENT.

listening tests are old come on guys...

I think selling songs at the 256 level is somehow related to avoid piracy....donno how but think so...


Thanks for your valuable input. And you get a free TOS #8 warning.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #114

I think we are all missing a point here. 128 ripped by iTunes in AAC IS TRANSPARENT.

listening tests are old come on guys...

I think selling songs at the 256 level is somehow related to avoid piracy....donno how but think so...


Thanks for your valuable input. And you get a free TOS #8 warning.


Well, seeing how most listeners (in this test) perceive 128kbps iTunes AAC to be transparent, their post borders on violating TOS #8.

I have to agree with the comment though.  I would think that the average iPod user can't distinguish between 128kbps iTunes AAC and the CD.  The average iPod user is probably ripping their CDs to the default iTunes setting of 128kbps AAC without even knowing it.  I would much prefer DRM-free 128kbps files instead of 256kbps.  I would think that upping the bitrate to 256kbps is another ploy to stop illegal downloading as many people who illegally download material have the common census of "a higher bitrate means better quality" even though they can't really perceive the higher bitrate.  In other words, they think they can hear a difference but they really can't.  So, by Apple posting these higher bitrate files (even though the average person is fine with 128kbps), I think they are trying to lure these slackers into legally purchasing music.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #115
Well, seeing how most listeners (in this test) perceive 128kbps iTunes AAC to be transparent, their post borders on violating TOS #8.


That was in a listening test discussion. But superpoincare explicitly wrote:

128 ripped by iTunes in AAC IS TRANSPARENT.

listening tests are old come on guys...


I agree that "XY is transparent" is hard to prove (especially if you don't value listening tests). But if you can't prove it, don't claim it.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #116
Well the TOS #8 needs support ? Apple website claims that ... Am sure you have seen it... plus am no average user...

coming to piracy what I meant was that I think it can become easier for Apple to find out who is swapping files and go ahead and stop them.. again no proof for claims... its not even a claim ... just a thought...

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #117
Well of COURSE Apple's website claims it. Sigh.
err... i'm not using windows any more ;)

 
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