Is MP3HD the future of digital music?

Er, probably not.

MP3HD is a lossless format, which means it delivers a perfect digital copy of the original audio – but it manages to do it more efficiently than WAV or AIFF files, which can be massive…

We’ve been here before. Nearly eight years ago Thomson announced a new, higher quality kind of MP3 called MP3Pro.

Like MP3HD, it was backwards compatible, so your files would play on any MP3-supporting program or device; like MP3HD, it offered better sound quality by combining a high quality and low quality version in the same file. If your device didn’t support MP3Pro you’d get the low quality one; if it did, you’d get the high quality one. It was very clever, and with the exception of MusicMatch Radio, hardly anybody used it.



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0 responses to “Is MP3HD the future of digital music?”

  1. It’s the future of music in the same way that Blu-Ray is the future of DVD. Virtually no-one cares enough about the modest increase in quality to make it viable.

  2. Gary

    Absolutely. I think it’s a nice idea several years too late.

  3. Thing that crossed my mind was; what size is it as a lossless mp3? I’m sure that were you to offer the kids sitting listening to phones on buses a better quality sound, but only at tenth of the number of tracks you’d get stabbed.

  4. Sorry. Lossy mp3?

  5. Squander Two

    Exactly. The idea sounds nice to me, and then I see the file size and I think, well, fuck it, why not just use AIFF?

  6. Squander Two

    I think where it’s important is that it means people are still working on better compression systems. One day — especially if none of us buy these not-good-enough efforts — someone’s going to come up with lossless compression at 8 or 9 meg per song. Or maybe just a whole different better system of encoding in the first place that means file sizes are that small without compression being required at all.

  7. Or storage improves to the degree that no-one bothers with compression at all.

  8. Squander Two

    I think it’s already pretty much done that, but storage isn’t the only issue. Data transfer times are a big deal too.