The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Will lossy compression ever die? Audio Interfaces
Old 20th December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Will lossy compression ever die?

Back in 1998 mp3 and other lossy formats made sense. Today though, imo there's no excuse to keep using lossy formats.

Will there ever be a time where lossless files are the preferred distribution method?

I hope sites like bandcamp.com make it big, and itunes offers lossless but I'm not sure this will ever happen.

Thoughts?
Old 20th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Cursed Lemon's Avatar
Edit: Nevermind, point is I agree.
Old 20th December 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Geissler's Avatar
mp3 is transparent at V0 and higher. Deal with it.

And just to elaborate a little: people who care enough to want lossless will track it down, because it is available if you look in the right places. The rest will continue to enjoy the small footprint and universal compatibility of mp3.
Old 20th December 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
mp3 is transparent at V0 and higher. Deal with it.
I'd be happy enough if V0 was the standard distribution format, but it's not.
Old 20th December 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
 
captainate's Avatar
 

Yes. And then it will be replaced with newer technology. And it will be just as bad, in a different way. People used to complain about vinyl and tape, remember?
Old 20th December 2010
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Geissler's Avatar
True, but if you know where to find higher-quality files, then I'm not really seeing the problem. Are you horrified by the thought of your own songs being converted to 128kbps?
Old 20th December 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainate View Post
Yes. And then it will be replaced with newer technology. And it will be just as bad, in a different way. People used to complain about vinyl and tape, remember?
Lossy compression was the first technological "advancement" that degraded audio quality. Everything else in the history of audio electronics was designed to improve fidelity.

Incidentally, there was a time when people were concerned that a 16bit text file took up too much space. Now it's a complete non-issue. We're getting to the stage where transcoding, even to V0, is just as silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
True, but if you know where to find higher-quality files, then I'm not really seeing the problem. Are you horrified by the thought of your own songs being converted to 128kbps?
If things keep going the way they are, there won't be such thing as "high-quality" files in the future.
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Geissler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
If things keep going the way they are, there won't be such thing as "high-quality" files in the future.
Paranoid bull****. What are you basing this statement on? How often have you seen music released in only low-bitrate mp3 formats? Keep in mind we're talking data compression here - the loudness war is a different story.
Old 20th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tvsky's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post

Incidentally, there was a time when people were concerned that a 16bit text file took up too much space. Now it's a complete non-issue. We're getting to the stage where transcoding, even to V0, is just as silly.
bandwidth , not storage capacity , is the issue at the moment . Many of us take ultra fast broadband connections for granted , but its not always the case for everyone in every situation (mobile phones for example)

as this changes high def media content will become standard . mp3 might be here for a while but as stated at very high bit rates it not too bad
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
Paranoid bull****. What are you basing this statement on?
More and more albums are becoming exclusive to itunes - fact.
Old 20th December 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Geissler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvsky View Post
bandwidth , not storage capacity , is the issue at the moment . Many of us take ultra fast broadband connections for granted , but its not always the case for everyone in every situation (mobile phones for example)

as this changes high def media content will become standard . mp3 might be here for a while but as stated at very high bit rates it not too bad
Good point. Storage capacity is another issue - we're crrently in a transition period from hard drives to flash in our portable media devices, and storage is still expensive. There's no point in using FLAC files which are 5 times larger than their mp3 counterparts when you'll be listening on the train with ****ty earbuds.

slight correction: at high bitrates mp3 is better than "not too bad" - it's literally indistinguishable from the original lossless files.
Old 20th December 2010
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
slight correction: at high bitrates mp3 is better than "not too bad" - it's literally indistinguishable from the original lossless files.
So you're saying a V0 converted back to WAV will be bit for bit identical to the source WAV file?
Old 20th December 2010
  #13
Gear Addict
 
buddachile's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
Lossy compression was the first technological "advancement" that degraded audio quality. Everything else in the history of audio electronics was designed to improve fidelity.
Really? So 8-track and cassettes are better quality than the vinyl that preceded them? I think not. 8-track failed but cassette was a big hit. Many many albums sold on cassette goes to show how convenience can trump quality in a consumer market.
Old 20th December 2010
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Lossy audio coding was originally intended for streaming audio and not distribution. It will probably be used for that well into the future.

What amazes me is that people chop their audio down to 16x44.1 and then encode it whereas there is no reason higher sample rates and word-lengths couldn't be used. One way to think of it is very smart dithering.
Old 20th December 2010
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Geissler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
So you're saying a V0 converted back to WAV will be bit for bit identical to the source WAV file?
Well, V0 is technically transparent but I've very occasionally noticed artifacts with V0, because the variable detection will sometimes **** up. For the sake of the discussion let's take 320 as the example.

What I'm saying is that in a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell the 320 mp3 from the original WAV.

You do have a point with the iTunes-only releases. Sooner or later Apple will surely offer lossless files, though. My main gripe with the itunes store is that it's AAC only, and even though 256kbps is more than adequate, you can't transcode to mp3 without losing quality...
Old 20th December 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

I've got a 24 bit 5.1 Mudvayne DVD of the album Lost and Found, which came with the regular cd for an extra $10. I wish that was a trend that took off
Old 20th December 2010
  #17
Lives for gear
 
jitterybit's Avatar
I think the next step for much digital media is a 'cloud' type of collection. All data is streamed to you iphone/ipod/acura/xbox via apple's giant server city that they are building. I doubt they will stream hd/lossless.
Old 20th December 2010
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Star Ark View Post
I've got a 24 bit 5.1 Mudvayne DVD of the album Lost and Found, which came with the regular cd for an extra $10. I wish that was a trend that took off
Same here. I was a big fan of DVD-A while it lasted.
Old 20th December 2010
  #19
Gear Addict
 
captainate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddachile View Post
Really? So 8-track and cassettes are better quality than the vinyl that preceded them? I think not. 8-track failed but cassette was a big hit. Many many albums sold on cassette goes to show how convenience can trump quality in a consumer market.
Well said, you beat me to it!
Old 20th December 2010
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by buddachile View Post
Really? So 8-track and cassettes are better quality than the vinyl that preceded them? I think not. 8-track failed but cassette was a big hit. Many many albums sold on cassette goes to show how convenience can trump quality in a consumer market.
Thanks to the walkman and car stereos.

You're comparing apples to oranges really.
Old 20th December 2010
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
More and more albums are becoming exclusive to itunes - fact.
Very few major releases are - fact. Some singles maybe. I don't know any label worthy of the tag that releases an album only digitally.

At any rate, you think that these people mix straight to MP3? as soon as there's no reason to stick to MP3, there'll be full bandwidth versions available. Just look at DVD - just because something's on DVD before, it's still possible to make a Blu-Ray disk for re-release.
Old 20th December 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
mp3 is transparent at V0 and higher. Deal with it.
Ha ha ha.
No.

But lossy compression is quite useful for web pages, Flash games, cell phones, etc. It can stick around for as long as it likes since I remain free to listen to non-compressed versions of songs.
Old 20th December 2010
  #23
Gear Nut
 
soulglow's Avatar
 

In the next couple years (hopefully it will take that long), the internet is going to "break." You will likely be paying for tiered service, paying per MB, paying surcharges for certain types of traffic (esp. media), or all of the above.
A huge majority of consumers will pay for services that stream the lowest quality they can tolerate, e.g. 64kbps AAC. Keep in mind that many people use YouTube as their personal music library and are perfectly content doing so. The rest of us will be relegated to hunting for 16-bit CD's at flea markets and buying vinyl which will continue to go up in price to match its hipness.

Fire, brimstone, etc....

So no, it won't die in the foreseeable future.
Old 20th December 2010
  #24
Gear Addict
 
buddachile's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
Thanks to the walkman and car stereos.

You're comparing apples to oranges really.
False. It's a good comparison.

Walkman of yesterday is the iPod/media player of today. Car stereos of the past are, well car stereos.

Past popular delivery options:
- vinyl (came first)
- 8-track (came next)
- cassette (came later)

Current popular delivery options:
- cd (came first)
- mp3 and other lossy file formats (came next)

Sorry, I don't see how this is an apples to oranges comparison.
Old 20th December 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
Back in 1998 mp3 and other lossy formats made sense. Today though, imo there's no excuse to keep using lossy formats.

Will there ever be a time where lossless files are the preferred distribution method?

I hope sites like bandcamp.com make it big, and itunes offers lossless but I'm not sure this will ever happen.

Thoughts?
Yep, good point, there's absolutely no reason for it now.
.
.
Old 20th December 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
Back in 1998 mp3 and other lossy formats made sense. Today though, imo there's no excuse to keep using lossy formats.
Unfortunately, the markets are going towards streaming medium, which will mandate very compressed audio and video for some time.

The age of downloading from iTunes to your desktop is coming to a close. Enter the iPhone/iPad (ie: smartphone/tablet) age where both storage space and bandwidth are more constrained (if you're note exclusively streaming from the cloud a year or two from now).

If Blu-Ray can hang on... there's your medium for lossless compression and/or raw audio. That's a big IF, however...

Times-a-changin'.... (just not exactly how we audiophiles would like...)


PS. To surmise: It's about convenience. Cassette tapes were more convenient than vinyl. Mp3s have won over CDs. The cloud/streaming will now take over Mp3s. Maybe when broadband wireless is an abundant reality, we'll start seeing a return to high-fidelity, but for now... convenience is king and will rule the day. Lossy compression is here to stay. :-(
Old 20th December 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 
waxx's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
slight correction: at high bitrates mp3 is better than "not too bad" - it's literally indistinguishable from the original lossless files.
Till you play it on a real hi end playback system. Especially on higher volumes you can hear it (altough subtile) that some info is missing...

But 99% of the public doesn't own such a system and won't really care...
Old 20th December 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waxx View Post
Till you play it on a real hi end playback system. Especially on higher volumes you can hear it (altough subtile) that some info is missing...
Doesn't even have to be high-end. You could put something together for under $1000 and hear it easily.

Whenever I hear somebody say that damage from 320 kbps can't be heard, I have to figure they've never tried to hear it.
Old 21st December 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 
MickeyMassacre's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs Goat View Post
Doesn't even have to be high-end. You could put something together for under $1000 and hear it easily.

Whenever I hear somebody say that damage from 320 kbps can't be heard, I have to figure they've never tried to hear it.
or cared...
Old 21st December 2010
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
mp3 is transparent at V0 and higher. Deal with it.

And just to elaborate a little: people who care enough to want lossless will track it down, because it is available if you look in the right places. The rest will continue to enjoy the small footprint and universal compatibility of mp3.
You are incorrect. you can see the difference yourself on a scope or with a null test if your ears are not sufficiently educated to hear it.

Nobody serious would use MP3 for anything other than casual listening. Even its own developer, who has been known to post on this forum, admits that it's broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
True, but if you know where to find higher-quality files, then I'm not really seeing the problem. Are you horrified by the thought of your own songs being converted to 128kbps?
I'm horrified at the idea of any of my music being converted to MP3 at any bitrate, but our broken "modern" distribution system pretty much insures the inevitability of that.

Pfui!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
Good point. Storage capacity is another issue - we're crrently in a transition period from hard drives to flash in our portable media devices, and storage is still expensive. There's no point in using FLAC files which are 5 times larger than their mp3 counterparts when you'll be listening on the train with ****ty earbuds.
But not everybody does all their listening on the train with ****ty earbuds. In fact at the SF Music Tech Summit a couple of weeks ago there was a company showing an add-on high quality DAC converter for the iPod. I see people using good quality phones instead of crappy earbuds every day on the bus. And what about people who listen at home over real speakers?

This is an audio production forum. People here are interested in quality audio, not lowest common denominator junk.
Quote:
slight correction: at high bitrates mp3 is better than "not too bad" - it's literally indistinguishable from the original lossless files.
No, it's not.

A trained ear using decent quality playback gear can distinguish quite easily.

An untrained ear can usually tell the difference over decent gear if it's pointed out to them.

I would suggest you do a null test and listen to the null file. You'll be shocked at what is eliminated from the MP3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaMc View Post
So you're saying a V0 converted back to WAV will be bit for bit identical to the source WAV file?
It will not. One information is gone it's gone for good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geissler View Post
Well, V0 is technically transparent but I've very occasionally noticed artifacts with V0, because the variable detection will sometimes **** up. For the sake of the discussion let's take 320 as the example.

What I'm saying is that in a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell the 320 mp3 from the original WAV.
And what I'm saying is that in the case of an educated listener with a trained ear you are 100% absolutely WRONG.

No professional audio engineer would agree with your claims.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
kilon / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
293
wildplum / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
1

Forum Jump
Forum Jump