MP3 Obsolete Already?



Audioholics Robot
Staff member
While the debate rages on (sort of) regarding MP3 vs AAC vs Ogg vs LAME vs (insert CODEC here), one new format seeks to differentiate itself as the new "Music 2.0" system. This month, the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) will decide if MT9 - the new kid on the block - will be adopted as a new international standard.

Discuss "MP3 Obsolete Already?" here. Read the article.


Let me guess, along with improved frequency and headroom, DRM will be part of the standard...


While the debate rages on (sort of) regarding MP3 vs AAC vs Ogg vs LAME vs (insert CODEC here)
LAME is encoding software for creating MP3s, not a codec in its own right. It's sort of like saying "Cars vs Trucks vs SUVs vs Toyota vs (insert vehicle here)".


This article is just a little strange for me in that it's about the most fringe, unheard-of, uncared-about format available. There is zero chance that anyone will ever give two drops about it. It has less than zero chance of ever becoming a format that anyone would use. Writing something about it taking over MP3 is... preposterous.


Audioholic Spartan
I read a similar article on msnbc today and the article said that the advantage of MP3 is a higher quality digital file and it will be hard to get people to migrate away from the CD. Does that make any sense?

Now while I will say that it is very difficult, if not impossible, on most types of music to tell the difference between an MP3 encoded at a high bitrate from uncompressed PCM, it is not that the MP3 is higher 'quality'. It is about convenience, small file sizes, and most importantly the ubiquity of the format - every device under the sun supports MP3. MP3 has become synonymous with digital audio and the public is not going to quickly switch away from that. If the iPod can't or won't (per an Apple corporate decision) support the new format, it is dead in the water at least until such time as some other player supplants the iPod as the most used portable digital audio device.


Senior Audioholic
LAME is encoding software for creating MP3s, not a codec in its own right. It's sort of like saying "Cars vs Trucks vs SUVs vs Toyota vs (insert vehicle here)".
LAME Ain't an Mp3 Encoder


Audioholic Chief
LAME Ain't an Mp3 Encoder
ah babies!

"At one time, LAME was simply a set of patches against the separately distributed ISO demonstration source, hence the claim that it "is not an encoder". The ISO code had a restrictive license but was available without charge.

In May 2000, the LAME project reimplemented the last of the ISO source code, and thus LAME was then a totally new implementation — compiling recent versions of LAME no longer requires the ISO source code.

As recent LAME releases are no longer a patch against ISO encoder code, LAME is now itself an MP3 encoder; the LAME acronym has become a misnomer."


Audioholic Chief
MT9? 6 layers? ....... naaaaah!

they had mp3 surround and my mustache didn't even moved for that.

All I care for is if they could remove those damn low-bandwidth files, should they be mp3, wma, abc or xyz!! They are really destroying my music enjoyment! I downloaded ONCE from a store... thinking it would be lossless... NO! Now I had to go back to HMV to buy the fn album over again to be able to enjoy the full dynamic range of the recorded music.

Listening to 320kbps mp3s or FLACs though is a real digital enjoyment!


I think it will always be MP3 for playback and lossless computer file (in replacement of CD's) for archival.

MP3 will just keep improving with tag upgrades, and better codecs.


There are a lot of subtle implications to MT9 that I don't think people have fully realized.

All MT9 appears to be is a container format for an unmixed record. That is, instead of taking a multitrack production and downmixing all the instruments to stereo, you encode each instrument to a separate track as .MT9 and let the player do the downmixing. There's no technical innovation involved here. MT9 is probably (well hopefully) just a container around a mainstream codec like MP3 or AAC.

Therefore, MT9 does not in any way compete with MP3 or other mono/stereo lossy codecs - although it may be able to use them internally. As is mentioned, it could be used as an alternative means to deliver music, but the odds of it ever catching on in popular music are rather slim. That all press discussion (and MT9's own web site!) have focused on that aspect is quite unfortunate.

From a encoder standpoint, this is still kind of a win - because there's a 1 to 1 correspondence between channel and instrument, you no longer have to worry about weird stereo collapse issues, you only have to tune the encodings for mono, etc. The bitrate would likely still be much higher than MP3 for high quality, simply due to the number of channels involved.

From a playback quality point of view, the MT9 system precludes the use of global dynamic range compression and limiting. That is, because mixing is deferred until playback, mastering must also necessarily be deferred until playback. This, of course, is a partial solution for ending the loudness war and is a huge win. Compression can still be applied to individual tracks, but because the listener has control over the volume of individual tracks, there would be much less impetus for producers to try to make a particular track stand out in the mix. Of course, this also strongly implies that producers would not need to employ mastering engineers in the traditional sense, bringing costs down.

This has virtually no chance of supplanting other formats for commercial music. But the deals with karaoke and possibly cell phones are probably the perfect application for this at the moment: very closed markets, and the music is often custom produced anyway so doing a multichannel production is not a big deal. But as I mention, I suspect I wouldn't mind buying normal music in this format either.

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