Future Of MP3 and Surround Sound

Wired magazine is running a story pondering the MP3 format, how long it will last, and where surround sound is going to fit in. Basically, it looks like it will be around for a while even though better formats, like AAC or MP3Pro, are out. AAC is part of the MPEG4 standard, but a lot of people, like the geeks on Slashdot have issues with Fairplay encoded AACs (or Digital Rights Management (DRM) AACs. Stuff you buy off iTunes Store for example).

For myself, I gave up encoding to MP3 years ago. Most everything I encode now is 160 or 192 (due to cymbals in some jazz recordings getting “washed out” at 160) bit AACs. They sound great on my iPod (and new iPod video), and on both my stereo systems (studio and home).

I see AAC and MPEG4 winning out over other formats, though we will probably have to put up with WMA (Microsoft) formats for a while longer.

5 thoughts on “Future Of MP3 and Surround Sound”

  1. No, I’m not saying this article is lame, but the LAME codec (which is the standard for MP3 encoding) is capable of everything that AAC and FLAC and any other encoding method is; it’s got variable bitrates, support for bitrates of 320+ kbps, and even lossless encoding. As a bonus, it’s programmers are forever working on the next version and it’s updated very frequently. WMV is pretty much a crapshoot, because it’s VERY vulnerable to malware (think password/credit card theft and pop-ups) and FLAC and AAC simply aren’t as universal as MP3 for the time being. MP3 is a superb format simply because it’s got no wasted data in it; it’s compact, high-quality, and doesn’t add any of the file size that AAC and WMV do for DRM and such.

  2. Your statements are flawed. AACs do not add DRM to them. And they are smaller, and sound better than MP3s at the same bit rate. Go search google for some comparisons.

    FLAC is not in a category like MP3s or AACs. FLAC is a lossless compression. You don’t lose any sound quality, but you cut down the file size somewhat. It’s your compression ratios are not going to be anywhere near MP3 or AAC.

    WMA (WMV is the Video version), is just something I am not going to deal with. It’s not supposed well crossplatform (Mac/PC or even Unix). And every listening test has put it behind AAC.

    I used to use LAME for encoding MP3s, but what is the point? I could record on VHS as well, but couldn’t I use a DVDR or TiVo? AAC is the successor to MP3. Look it up. Apple’s DRM version is used in the iTunes store, but you can encode non-DRM AACs that simply sound great for the size. I’ve said it before, but I generally encode everything now to 160 bit AACs.

  3. Hehe, what was I thinking? That’s what I get for typing at 4 am. But I still stand by my statement that wmv has very poor malware protection. I’ve never gotten a virus from trying to play an MP3, but I’ve known people to get a lot from wmv’s.

  4. This is starting to get off track, but how about that anti-virus software junk they sell at Wal-Mart. It’s utter crap, but the elderly buy it thinking, “anything this expensive MUST work well!”

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