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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.

8 replies on “Is MP3HD the future of digital music?”

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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