Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Oct 2011 20:42 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Apple Apple has open sourced ALAC. "The Apple Lossless Audio Codec is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. ALAC is a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec project contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format and WAVE files. A description of a 'magic cookie' for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license."
Order by: Score:
Comment by aaronb
by aaronb on Fri 28th Oct 2011 21:31 UTC
aaronb
Member since:
2005-07-06

Long live FLAC!

Reply Score: 9

JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

... but libavcodec handles ALAC already (the format was reverse-engineered a number of years back), which means that everything based on that library already plays ALAC.

Reply Score: 5

Gusar Member since:
2010-07-16

Yes, but but libavcodec only contains an ALAC decoder, not an encoder. So while we've had an open source decoder for a long time, we now also have an open source encoder.
Edit: Oops, I see libavcodec contains an encoder too. Interesting.

Edited 2011-10-28 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

It's a good thing there is an FFmpeg decoder/encoder as releasing this under the Apache license makes this next to useless since almost everything you'd want to use this with is GPL and the two licenses are incompatible with each other.

Reply Score: 2

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

It's a good thing there is an FFmpeg decoder/encoder as releasing this under the Apache license makes this next to useless since almost everything you'd want to use this with is GPL and the two licenses are incompatible with each other.


well it is more like apache is incompatible with gpl. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but you can take stuff from apache and put it in gpl software...

Reply Score: 6

videokilledradiostar Member since:
2009-11-03

It's a good thing there is an FFmpeg decoder/encoder as releasing this under the Apache license makes this next to useless since almost everything you'd want to use this with is GPL and the two licenses are incompatible with each other.


The Apache License is compatible with the GPL. If you have a GPL application you can include Apache licensed code.

However, if you have an Apache licensed application and include GPL licensed code, you must distribute the derivative work under the GPL.

So really this is the best possible solution, as Apache licensed code can become GPL, or stay Apache licensed, depending on what kind of project you include it in.

Reply Score: 1

bah, apache license
by TechGeek on Fri 28th Oct 2011 23:36 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I don't really care for the Apache license. Considering this is Apple, I would be cautious about giving them code. Apple has a erratic behavior around open source projects. Some benefit, others are just used.

Reply Score: 5

Patents/royalties
by LB06 on Sat 29th Oct 2011 00:21 UTC
LB06
Member since:
2005-07-06

Being open source is nice, in the sense that you have the specs and all, but the real question is whether or not this standard is also patent and royalty free, like FLAC is.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Patents/royalties
by HowDoIShotWebM on Sat 29th Oct 2011 01:50 UTC in reply to "Patents/royalties"
HowDoIShotWebM Member since:
2011-02-04

That's what the Apache license does.

http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html

3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

Reply Score: 5

Comparisons with FLAC
by umccullough on Sat 29th Oct 2011 00:34 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

So, if I was considering one or more lossless audio formats, I can imagine three major questions that come to mind:

1) Which produces smaller files?
2) Which performs better for encoding/decoding?
3) Which one is most flexible for metadata storage within the file format?

Any conclusive comparisons between ALAC and FLAC for these? I admit, I just glossed over the first page of google results when I checked, and didn't see anything substantial.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comparisons with FLAC
by Tuxie on Sat 29th Oct 2011 20:28 UTC in reply to "Comparisons with FLAC"
Tuxie Member since:
2009-04-22

ALAC is worse than FLAC in just about all aspects, except that it's natively supported by Apple products. Both decoding and encoding ALAC has been supported by ffmpeg for quite a long while as well. I guess those are the reasons they chose to open source it.

Use FLAC or WavPack.

Reply Score: 6

24bit music
by fran on Sat 29th Oct 2011 13:20 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Listening to music in 24 bits is such a treat that i hope more and more download sites including google music will support it.
I have some 24bit 44Hz WAV files i listen to regularly and there is a perceptible difference.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 24bit music
by zima on Sun 30th Oct 2011 06:24 UTC in reply to "24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Did you properly ABX your perceptions?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: 24bit music
by fran on Sun 30th Oct 2011 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE: 24bit music"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Yes, what do i know.

Most will not hear it because they dont have the equipment. (monitor quality speakers ect.)
Also the majority of music is beat, emo orientated.
It will comes into its with music with higher timbral complexity.

"The advantages of 24-bit audio will vary with different recordings, different equipment, different listeners--but if you’re an audiophile with excellent gear and a trained ear, you should notice the bump up in quality. Now that we’ve got a handle on 24-bit audio, it’s time to broaden our focus; bit depth and sample rates aren’t the only factors in the quality equation."

http://www.tested.com/news/the-real-differences-between-16-bit-and-...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 24bit music
by zima on Sun 30th Oct 2011 14:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It was a simple question. Your defensive tone right at the opening is really the whole answer needed...

"audiophile with excellent gear and a trained ear" have been shown, again and again, to be generally unable to demonstrate their claims when any sort of rigour is applied to them. And no wonder, their brains are the most invested (emotionally or otherwise) in those claims, and are also treated as a self-contained instrument of judging them (vs. following an essentially scientific methodology in ABX)

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: 24bit music
by fran on Sun 30th Oct 2011 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 24bit music"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Will you ridicule my opinion and experience.
Then I respond and now you say I am defensive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: 24bit music
by zima on Sun 30th Oct 2011 15:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Again: it was a simple question.

About a procedure which is fairly accepted (well, outside parts of "audiophile" circles) as most dependable, when assessing claims about audio quality and such.

You ridiculed yourself when you immediately jumped on defensive (where did I claim there you don't know anything?), and subsequently on "audiophile rampage" claims.
If you'd just say ~"no, I didn't do ABX - but it's how I like it" that would be absolutely fine... but no, you have to feel better than that, you have to push some pseudo-authority while clearly distasteful of documenting it reliably; you need to tickle yourself by having better gear, ear, or music taste than commoners.

(but this being OSNews, I invite you to hydrogenaudio.org )

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: 24bit music
by fran on Sun 30th Oct 2011 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: 24bit music"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Do i need to do ABX to proof a higher bitrate IPS panel give better colour reproduction than a normal LCD or another example. Or can i just say that i see it.

If i am of the opinion that motion flow on a 120Hz tv looks better than a 60Hz do I then have to do ABX for you also?

Can you give me an ABX that I am wrong? That a bitrate of 24bit does not sound better than 16bit.

Edited 2011-10-30 15:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: 24bit music
by aaronb on Sun 30th Oct 2011 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: 24bit music"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

Can you give me an ABX that I am wrong? That a bitrate of 24bit does not sound better than 16bit.


You are making the claim, so it is up to you to back up the claim and not for others to disprove you.

For example, if I said that I saw flying ostriches today on the way to the shop. Without me backing this strange claim up you probably would come to one or more of the following conclusions:
1. He is simply suffering the effects of a high fever.
2. Not telling the truth.
3. He does not know what an ostrich is.

That ostrich claim would probably be more believable if I had video and or photographic evidence that was later backed up independently.

An ABX using Foobar2000 would only take a few minutes and would backup your claim that you can hear the difference. No body can prove that you can or cannot hear the difference.

Edited 2011-10-30 20:31 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: 24bit music
by zima on Fri 4th Nov 2011 23:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Do i need to do ABX to proof a higher bitrate IPS panel give better colour reproduction than a normal LCD or another example.

Short answer: YES!

If i am of the opinion that motion flow on a 120Hz tv looks better than a 60Hz do I then have to do ABX for you also?

Probably inadvertently, but you asked here a very different thing: "looks better" is not the same as (I presume, from "give") "is better" - if you confuse the two, that could also add to some things.

Longer answer: if you (vs., say, even a quick look at reliable specs, in most shopping scenarios) want to prove that, if you want to BE the measuring instrument - then yes, an ABX test would be an advisable approach.

(also, since you mentioned eyes - go through the list of visual illusions, and read about how non-detailed most of our field of view really is - in short, it's essentially a huge blur with tiny clear area in the centre, the brain just extrapolating / feeling it as quite uniform; and generally, in regards to all senses and their true nature, consider also hallucinations or dreams)


And as a side note, retreating towards the path which leads to "do I need to do ABX to tell the difference between twilight and noon" doesn't help your (only original by now, I hope) position...

Can you give me an ABX that I am wrong? That a bitrate of 24bit does not sound better than 16bit.

...and THIS "gem" obliterates it completely - you essentially clearly demonstrate a doubtful accuracy of your claims, if you uttered something so contrary to dependable approaches, demanding a proof of such negative (also, Russell's teapot, read about it)

The burden of proof is on those who make the claims about existence of something (here: perceptible differences)

Edited 2011-11-04 23:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: 24bit music
by fran on Sun 30th Oct 2011 15:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 24bit music"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

""audiophile with excellent gear and a trained ear" have been shown, again and again, to be generally unable to demonstrate their claims when any sort of rigour is applied to them. And no wonder, their brains are the most invested (emotionally or otherwise) in those claims, and are also treated as a self-contained instrument of judging them (vs. following an essentially scientific methodology in ABX)"

I agree many of these things is just hot air.
Like that the picture with a $500 dollar HDMI cable looks better than an $50 dollar one.
That low oxygen interconnects, anti vibrations cones, powerconditioners will all perceptibly improve your sound. I don't believe that.

I do however listened to some guitar music in 24 bit flac files.
There isn't a huge difference but i do hear it, especially on the guitar.
You sound like someone that knows more than me on these stuff. I'm not saying this sarcastically.
I would have given you the benefit of the doubt if I had not spoken to musicians and studio people in the last few years that record their music in that format and attest the sound difference. Not so much the HZ but the jump from 16bit to 24bit. Like i said before you would have to listen to it through something like studio monitors or headphones and maybe a class A or A/B amplifier will also help. But thats another argument.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: 24bit music
by zima on Fri 4th Nov 2011 23:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

...
I don't believe that.
I do however listened to some guitar music in 24 bit flac files.
There isn't a huge difference but i do hear it, especially on the guitar.

The scale of assumed (especially when you defend some of them) differences is mostly irrelevant - if your brain "knows" what "should" be better, it WILL be perceived as better.

It just works differently in such cases, our brains are very powerful like that; those are trivial tricks for them, for example: http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/2008/pr-wine-011608.html http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/mktg_shiv_pricing.shtml

Your hugely complex personal neural network didn't evolve, over the last half a billion years, for accurate rating of minute differences in stimuli - it evolved for survival (which included, say, being over-sensitive to stimuli which you anticipate - even if that sound you thought you hear was NOT a predator in 99+% of the cases, you were still better at passing your genes if you assumed that)

Go through a list of cognitive biases - this is our primary mode of operation. We largely make it all up as we go (it needed to be only "good enough" within the limited energy & time available for processing the surrounding world)

Consider: split-brain patients are virtually unchanged, while we very much held the feeling of "monolithic me" - this is the (poor) level of grasp we have about our minds. There is also one localised brain trauma which results in people becoming completely blind without them realizing that

ABX is one of the methodologies we developed to deal with such biases. And if you have any doubt those methodologies work, just look at our modern, technical civilisation - brought to you by the scientific method.

(heck, if you claim you are immune to those effects, and can make accurate judgements without the need for methods like ABX, you should perhaps contact some academic neurologists - since there would be something very weird and curious about your brain ;) ...but don't even think about doing that before performing proper ABX yourself, since this is the real test of such abilities - without first doing it yourself, you'd be virtually certainly just wasting their time)

You sound like someone that knows more than me on these stuff. I'm not saying this sarcastically.

You don't seem to act very much on this impression of yours in few other posts...

I would have given you the benefit of the doubt if I had not spoken to musicians and studio people in the last few years that record their music in that format and attest the sound difference. Not so much the HZ but the jump from 16bit to 24bit. Like i said before you would have to listen to it through something like studio monitors or headphones and maybe a class A or A/B amplifier will also help.

Proper ABX test is what would help.

That's especially true with people such invested in this as musicians (most of them lose a large part of hearing over the years BTW, often a "simple" loudness damage) or studio people - heck, most of them aren't about accurate reproductions, but into what is technically noise - flavours of distortion they like.

And/or you confuse music recording and editing with music listening, they are two different things - yes, 24 bit is quite useful in the former, it eases (it's not impossible with 16 bit, just much, much harder - so why bother?) avoiding errors and undesirable distortions. But for playback, 24 bit offers little, if anything, above 16 bit (notice I am not stating this in absolute way, scientific approach can't prove a negative)

Edited 2011-11-04 23:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: 24bit music
by Excarnate on Wed 2nd Nov 2011 05:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 24bit music"
Excarnate Member since:
2011-08-01

"It was a simple question. Your defensive tone right at the opening is really the whole answer needed..."

No, you were intending to be a dick from the start and fran detected it.

For me, I can tell the different, in a blind test, with music I know very well, with really good headphones, the difference between different levels of compression and uncompressed CD quality. Is that the top end? I don't know, I didn't have anything with a higher bit rate, and anyway, that's just my ears.

That said, I pretty much agree with you, zima, but fran is right to be defensive, and you are wrong to continue to pursue it. Find some other hobby.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: 24bit music
by zima on Fri 4th Nov 2011 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

No, you were intending to be a dick from the start and fran detected it.

Excuse me? How exactly do you know that?

Maybe, maybe, I was considering the possibility of encountering somebody who indeed has (this being a spectrum) an extraordinary hearing (somebody like that being, say, very valuable and useful to further codec improvements) - and trying to ascertain that by the most reliable means available, possible ABX results.

fran being a dick right after that... not only didn't clarify the above matter. His dismissal, by principle, of serious methodologies pretty much made clear that his claims are BS, that he can't detect the difference (while you suppose he can, from short neutral sentence, detect what others think?)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 24bit music
by aaronb on Sun 30th Oct 2011 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 24bit music"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

I think that most people who think that one format is better than another in terms of sound quality would be surprised how difficult it is to tell the difference when they have actually tried to.

Having said that, you are right, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending funds on higher quality equipment or going for 24bit 96KHz tracks instead of 16bit 44.1Khz tracks if thats your thing.

However, like most things, if you are making a claim, there will always be someone ready to swoop in and ask for some evidence to back it up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 24bit music
by ruinevil on Tue 1st Nov 2011 01:04 UTC in reply to "24bit music"
ruinevil Member since:
2009-01-08

It's pretty hard to find 24bit music, since audio CD's are only 16bit 44.1khz PCM streams. Converting 16 to 24 would just add 8 0s to every value, changing nothing.

I probably would not be able to hear the difference with foobar2000 feeding a receiver via SPDIF using WASAPI.

Everyone can agree lossless always sounds better than MP3, especially electronica and classical; psychoaural compression has its limits.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: 24bit music
by zima on Fri 4th Nov 2011 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: 24bit music"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Everyone can agree lossless always sounds better than MP3, especially electronica and classical; psychoaural compression has its limits.

I can't; with "always" this claim is also too strong.

You can quite easily find examples / settings where lossless will sound better than lossy, sure, but not anywhere near "always" - not only this requires just one counterexample to falsify, there are also many cases of people (also those previously thinking they can easily hear the difference) who were "shocked" at how low bitrates they still couldn't tell a difference from the originals, when performing for the first time a proper ABX testing.

Edited 2011-11-05 00:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2