Saturday, November 22, 2008

MEDIA publication offers : a good solution against piracy?

MEDIA publication offers : a good solution against piracy?

Printed media enclosures are a custom in Grece many years ago . Below you will find some of the facts concerned with the history of media enclosures , by the amateur view of a media observer looking regularly the local newsstands, and referring with approximate times

Here is a short parenthesis that refers to the status of piracy in Greece that explains in short the reasons media entered into these offers . In its 2006 edition IFPI showed a 50% level of music piracy for Greece , ranking them one of the top 10 countries in earth in piracy level. But considering that the lower salary todays in Greece is Eu 750 , the price of a legal CD is at least 20, is too expensive . The pirate CDs sell for Eu5 with pirate DVDs around 7-10.As far as I can remember this was also a quite long 'tradition' still from the cassette time , when tapes on 70s and 80s were sold in …baskets. But with the worst ever audio. Even music shops those old times had higher earnings selling cassettes recorded from LPs in their semipro decks . Today most of the market is driven by several mega stores in the main centre of the city and African people selling pirate copies Nearly all traditional music shops have been disappeared (except some selling only 'vintage' LPs )

The start of media enclosures came from 2 magazines of the early 90s using material in their monthly issues:

· A hard rock magazine of early 90s , offered one CD with full albums from alternative hard rock groups or mix material from various hard rock groups.

· A cinema magazine offered a video tape with selected movies of the artistic/alternative cinema. This magazine still continues

In about 95-96 a small size TV magazine was the first offering , a song collection, in each weekly issue , from popular singers in CD with full plastic cover . However in about 1- 1,5 year after , the magazine ceased its publications due to unknown reasons , possibly due to low market

Those times , if I am not wrong , was the times of coupons . One of them highest selling newspapers offered with ca 40 +10 spare coupons a big collection of classic music and little later another collection with operas,

A specialized magazine called Pista (stage ), same period , involved entirely in Greek folk music , offered one CD with 'underground' folk music promoting singers of the second and third class.

This practice arose the interest of other magazines and publications including … detergents and other commodities to sell music CDs from that time. As for example a newspaper called El Typos , offered for several weeks one Cd with traditional song collection. Dixan the well known detergent offered Latin hits.

IN ca 2004 Eleftherotypia a left wing newspaper, "offering for the knowledge", as per their motto, was the first newspaper offering one VCD for free, with documentaries from National Geographic channel, in its Saturday issue. CDs were offered in carton envelope designed with pictures of the documentary . This collection has been replaced with history documentaries from BBC and later with movies from alternative stage

Soon other newspapers offered nearly the same:

Imerisia , an economics newspaper, their offerings successor, in its Saturday issue offered DVDs from their collection ,mainly alternative movies , from the national and international cinema. This offer was with ca 2 Euro markup price , compared to the plain newspaper. It used the standard (thick )plastic DVD box

The next newspaper was Ethnos, offering selected movies from alternative stage , but soon changed the package into CD envelope with mainstream movies ..

From 2005-6 and then , nearly all newspapers and magazines (more particularly TV mags ) use CD/DVD offers in their weekend issues with mainly blockbuster movies :

The only exception is for Kathimerini , a center line -politically- newspaper that continues to use the traditional 40x 60 cm format , uses documentaries from various sources including National geographic /BBC.

And here are the most interesting cases form the nation-wide newspapers and magazines nowadays :

The listing is still not complete but will add a few more entries as ASAP

Newspapers:



Espresso , a gossip newspaper , in mid 2007 in its Sunday edition , started offering a compilation of hits from Greek singers and still continues .. From their 30th iissue they offered a series of movies from classic comedians, as eg Luis de Funes . Starting March 2008 , its Saturday issue includes a full album from legendary western rock groups Among the groups are Boston , Judas Priest, Saxon and others




Thema , the highest sold Sunday newspaper, offers blockbusters and sporadically Greeks. Movies passed via this newspaper are Zorba the greek, Miss Congeniality , Lake house , Blue velvet , Finding Neverland, Die hard 1 / 2 , keeping mum, View from the top ,Enemy at the gates and more Several fo these movies have after half and more year aired in the Greek television.In the mid November hey offer 4 Cd albums from well known singers ,one per week . Here on the right corner is Mitropanos one singer of more than 40 years of singing history






Elefterotypia the above referred very popular newspaper ,once per month , offers a thematic 3-movie subject collection. There are famous movies but of the era of 90s and then. Several subjects so far included for Nazis , Agatha Crhistie , UFOs ,time plays ,thrillers and more subjects to follow. On the pic is the 3 DVD collection of Agatha Christie







Ethnos the above refered newspaper on August 08 offered for the whole month each 'working day' from their stock 'material' including from Thema's collection, that has more recently been acquired by Ethnos. They still continue to offer each Sunday with newer DVDs






Here is Eleftheros Typos another newspaper that offered a series books from DK on management

On August 2008 everyday they offered one CD or DVD from their collection with Greek movies each Saturday for example , or international movie each Sunday.



Vima the most selling nationwide newspaper(after Thema ) , offers classical music every Saturday with the auspices of Deutsche Gramophon


Magazines :


Pista , the first music magazine offering CDs , is today publishing two monthly music magazines under the names Pista and Palko (both mean stage !)offering 3 CDs for a €10 price . Pista os for popular music and Palko for traditional music

Zapping : A quite popular TV magazine . In its 'full edition', they offer a 4 CD collection from popular singers , with 2 Cds each issue . Cost of full 4CD case € 14 .

Tiletheatis : With contract with Finos - a famous Greek movie studio - they offer a Greek blockbuster movie from 60's Cost per issue: €7 comparing to 1.5 for magazine alone.


Another paradox example for company offering oriented enclosures:

A series of publications, owned by a group that owns a TV channel , a book and mag /newspaper publishing house and several radio stations. .



The publishing house called Modern Times , publishes the economic newspaper Ependitis (investor ). Starting from ca 2005 it offered in its only Saturday edition , one Greek movie of 60s in dual DVD , one cartoon in VCD and several pamphlets. A total of 10-11 offerings. The CDs and DVDs are offered in carton envelopes. The newspaper stopped the Greek movies offer in the number 116 and then replaced with music CDs in slim DVD plastic case

The second side of the above dual DVD series was with one b/w English movie (40-60s? ), replaced then Italians and 'western spaghetti movies' (cowboys etc ) then with Sherlock Holmes (inspector )type series,(as well Rex the dog and Maigret ) etc

As for summer 2008 the newspaper offers two audio CDs , a summer hit collection of 12 CDs with 20 songs each (10 Greek 10 American of 60s ) and one CD with Greek poets . From September 08 they offer a collection of 30 Cds with rebetiko , the older greek folk format .On late Novemeber thay also offer DVD from international cinema with a total of 4 DVDs per issue!


The company publishes a weekly TV program magazine TiVo on start 2006 in two editions. The full edition costed €3 and offered a dual side DVD for about 40 issues in carton envelope . The first side was with series of movies from famous actors. The second side with epic movies from Cinecitta and classical 'western spaghetti'. They then replaced the dual DVDs with simple Dvds offered in slim plastic case and raised the price to 4 Euros . IN more recent issues they offer 3 versions (1) a reprint of an old music magazine with 'western' music , together with one CD with 20 songs of 60s at price of 5 euro (2) version with old dramas and another from their collection and little later (3) a series of cooking guides (book and DVD ) with a diversification of targets for the 60s albums between Athens and remain Greece . and possibly due to low audience



Their newer magazine Avanti , started as a gossip magazine on early 2007 , offering one Greek movie of 80s (mostly comedies). After 10-15 issues they offered a second disk with music collections from their radio stations and more recently a reissue of the mini series of Franco Jefirelli , Jesus. but continuing their 80s offer. From nearly end of 2007 they re-ofered movies of 60's in slim plastic case with western spaghetti movies together with the continuation of the series of 80s movies

This company is totally full issue minded. I once asked the company for buying several of their older Greek movie DVDs and they insisted selling me the full edition of Ependitis or Tivo !!! (magazine with all the enclosures )

Another drawback for this media group: most of their DVDs had flaws in the video processing ,especially for the 2007 period.

Another example of same company are the two music magazines: Difono and Oasis . Both of these magazines are offered with 3 music CDs.

Difono is an old music magazine that recently entered into this group of companies in a big paper format 8.5 x 12” . Its main orientation is in the alternative music, though ther new ownership intends to enter it to the mainstream music too.


Oasis is a new magazine devoted to the Greek folk music, edited by a specialist in this field . Most articles are old interviews but it also discusses on today’s popular and secondary Greek singers. Also article previews of new release albums In the picture is shown the Dec's Issue with Notis Sfakianakis (oneof the top singers from mid-90s ). ON the right bottom corner is a compilation with his preferences , including comments by him.Other albums are selections from wide known composers of the past



On the same magazine set , on the rear part of the packing,the supporting cardboard is printed with a painting.Ther picture here shows Chiotis a very popular singer and buzuki player of the 80s together with a samll epic for this 'giant'






And more recently the group acquired one of the oldest music magazines in Greece `Pop and rock' magazine is now on its issue , using again the same selling format. As for example for the pilot issue there are 3 Cds with music as shown in the picture at left.










By closing the subject , I asked a lawyer about the legality status of these offerings . His answer is very clear: These Cds /DVDs are absolutely legal as the CDs and DVDs offered in the stores .



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bonkenc #3 : remain converters

BLADE ENC
This is a plugin offered from the program's web site as 'optional ' . I have also installed it for testing
Blade is one of the oldest freeware converters but with closed coding although recently ity has been open source . The version used is 0.94




As you may see the codec configuration is very simple . Just the bitrate and some basic adjustments with also separate channel encoding (the dual channel)
Bitrates are standard with 32, 48 , 56 , 64 , 80-, 96 , 128 192 224 256 and 320 being the highest

Here are the measurements with BLAde


CD WAV b/W
320 14.19 12.9 22kHz 6.87
192 15,87!! 13.12 22 kHz 6.62
128 17.81!! 16.06 16 kHz /peak 800 Hz
96 18.53 16.75 -7 db<2.4k ,-4<16k,-42>16
48 18.46 16.77 -40<2.6, -17<-5, 7.5-16> -7.5


The first column is ripping time from CD of a song of 2,26 mins
Secoind columns from the WAV ripped song
b/w is the measured bandwitdth in terms of db and kHz in plain text . though it can sound too technical will be analsyzed a bit below.

MY comments:
As shown above the ripping times are slightly increased as far as the bitrates are lowered! For me its is quite incommon but it is posibly the problem with the coder
For the bandwidth measurements , 192 and 320 are OK as a 'store format'
128 means Hi quality FM format with a peak of the tone LA
96 : everything below the speaker's voice is truncated leaving just the trebles to be heard . testing one song converted from 128 to 96 , the sound was quite 'plastic'
48 : the spectrogram showed a stair shaped drawing , meaning that the 'higher tones have higher audio level ' . in plain language it means that there is no bass and the trebles have a bad mood. A song cannot be heard properly in this mode




OGG VORBIS

The ogg vorbis format , though i have rread somewhere is much more xcomplex thanthe standard MP3 format seems here to be in a oversimlified adjustments
As is quite known , ogg vorbis offers quite better audio then MP3 (at least for the FhG fastenc codec ) thogh from my measuremenrs below the new LAME goes a little better !



and



As shown in the two ictures above the adjustmsnt are very simple and seem tobe very clse to the LAME format

And here are my measurementsga

OGG from the above WAV saved file of 2.26 mins
A192 1.20.30 A126 1.30.66 A065 1.30.38 V0.6 18.74!!! v0.4 19.59 v0.2 20.53 v0! 20,53 v-1.9 21.25

as in result , the average bitrates require neartly the half time of the song, whnile the variable bit rates are quite fast and increase slightly with the decrease of the variation level

And here are the bandwidth results from various bitrates qith the seocnd way of processing: WAV file > Ogg then ogg> wav out for spectral analysis on cooledit


A 192 22k linear A 126 18K1 slightly curved up as above 8 kHzby 3db A 64 15k curved after 6Kto 0 on 15 kHz -- V0.6 22k linear v0.3 17k slightly curved up as above 8 kHzby 3db v0.1 16k v0 15k2 curved after 6Kto 0 on 15 kHz (as A64) v-0.9! 15 curved after 6Kto 0 on 15 kHz,rippled 11- 15 (A48 same )


From the abovee the latest vorbis encoder ofers slighly less spectrum then the lame on the highest fidelity !
But from the resulted adio even on the 45 /v-0.9 is very clear in contrast to the same bitrate of LAme that had artifacts



FAAC the freeware converter for AAC and MP4
In the reality AAC and MP4 are exactly the same!




As you wil see there is noting special with this converter .
It used a CBR rating per channel though the file sizes are always the same for 8 - 48 kbps in my tests. It did happena also to converrt files of dferent sizes
IN conrtast the VBR levels shown a difenrence in the file sizes for the 1 min noise bering 1.42MB for the 100% dropping 967KB (as 128 for MP3 ) for the 42% and 448KB (64kb MP3 size) for the 10% with obvious audio artifacts



And here is nothing special except for the object type . Thw main and low options are very fast , but the LTP (Long Term Prediction) is very slow , upto 4 times

For more info on this format you may look at : http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=AAC




FLAC

Ands another codec with lossless AAC The amin site for FLAC describes it this way :

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.



As shwon above , the FLAC converter uses several presets and two stereo modes the standard joint stereo and the non standard 'adaptive'
The presets are between the fastest and the best compression in 8 steps total Sizes come between 9.76 and 9.84 MB for the preset 8 and 1 . The times to convert a 4 min noise WAV file are:
19 secs for the best compression or 4.75 sec per MB resulting to 40.942.070 Bytes
7.93 secs per MB for the festest or 1.98 secs resulting to 41287186 BYtes
Original WAV noise file is 42336044 BYtes

Another experiment :
A song of 3.55
-18.15 secs 27815488 BYtes for the highest compression
-7.34 secs 30719266 BYtes for the fastest compression




here is a definaition for the subset on http://flac.sourceforge.net/format.html
FLAC specifies a subset of itself as the Subset format. The purpose of this is to ensure that any streams encoded according to the Subset are truly "streamable", meaning that a decoder that cannot seek within the stream can still pick up in the middle of the stream and start decoding.





And here the most intereting point is :
apodization , which means taperring or trimming. A little more googling shows that apodization is clearing the residual parts of the bel curve berlow a predefind level More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apodization_function which sown also various functions

Info on the linear predictor:

FLAC uses a class of computationally-efficient fixed linear predictors (for a good description, see audiopak and shorten). FLAC adds a fourth-order predictor to the zero-to-third-order predictors used by Shorten. Since the predictors are fixed, the predictor order is the only parameter that needs to be stored in the compressed stream. The error signal is then passed to the residual coder.

Bonkenc#2 : process standards and LAME

IN this and the following articles you will find som measurenemts  for the encoders used with bonk:
first let me advise you the  method  i used for  measuring

1. For the times measurements : Used
- A song from a CD  of 2.26 mins ripped directly . I order no to damage the CD i then  ripped it to WAV  format
-a stop watch unit from  DS clock,  a  simple visual  (and free )clock  program , with .01 sec accuracy. most of the results have +/- 0.15 secs tolerance 
- Snagit one of the oldest capturing programs  for capturing part of the screen
- After snagit was started capturing   i start the stop watch and then bonkenc
- After Bonkenc ended its task , i stopped the timer and then the capturing
- i then measure the bars progressing and do the time  subraction

Here is a video  with the above methodology

>>>
2. For the  sprectrum measurememnts

A WAV file  is first made with  white noise  of one minute duration on 44000 Hz  and 16 bit 
-then is converted  in all formats , compression levels and quality adjustments and named accordinly (LAM/98/5 for example )
.Though Audacity is one solution for making the WAV file , Cooledit (a very old version) is still  my most preferable for allthe next measurements.

Then :
For the mp3s : - the file is dragged into Cooledit marked for about 15 -20 secs then scanned from the spectrum analysis window   for the RMS values via a relatively  big sampling rate ie 2048 or 4096 and 'calculating the curve into text'
For files  not supported  by Cooledit :
-conversion  via Bonk to WAV
-draging into Cooledit  and then using the above  method

Though  i do not think  that this method is flawy , if soemone has any claims  plase let me know


And  a short description of my computer system:
Pentium PC with  3 GHZ
768 MB
80GB HArd disk




LAME

LAME (Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder!!!)
For me Lame  is the most interesting converter that has a ton of adjustments  best for the very geeky , a much  higher level than myself who is mostly  to the audio response level .
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=LAME




The lame encoder  has too many parameters to use . the most important for me is the quality item that can convert from  just  4 secs for the worst quality to 25 secs  for the better quality. IN this paramter  i prever to use the highest possible number - usually 3 and 2 -  inorder to have the best  audio quality - though mine ears  do not  find any  significant diference .

There are also several presets as medium (VBR), standard , extreme, insane , adn their  fast versions R3mix and ABR All except ABR do not uncover their presets. ABR standsas for automatic bitrate ans is shown in the VBR tab
  However  the  documentataion reveals this  info:
 -preset medium  > V4 rh
 -preset fast medium > v4 mrh
 -preset  standard > v2rh
 -preset  fast standard >v2mrh
- preset extreme v0
- preseet fast extremev 0
- preset insane C320


The bitrate can be from 8 to 320  to preset numbers ( 8, 16, 24, 32 , 40 48 56 64 80 96 112 128 144 160 192 224 256 and 320)
There  is also a size ratio.   in uncomon numbers as 90!   the resulted  file is deleted  immediately after the  conversion.

The quality rate  is soemthing for me very interesting . Quality  zero means here the best  quality (therefore the highest time for encoding ) and 9 the lowest quality (and very fast )

Beofre going on  with the other  tabs let me show my results in ripping /converting from CD and WAV onto MP3: or song of 2.26 min (146 sec)

at CBR on 128 kb
       CD           wav
 at 0 > 1.13.67    1.12.72   ie the half !!!
    1 > 0.39.50      39.00   nearly the half of 0
    2 > 0.33.06      30.12
    3 > 0.19.06      17,13
    4 > 0.18.94      16,63
    5 > 0.17.81      15,28
    6 > 0.17.19      14,63
    7 > 0.12.13       9,82
    8 > 0.12.19      10,16
    9 > 0.08.46       5,29
 LAME COMPRESSIONS on 128kbps

Here is per compression rate at CBR times in secs
320 kb  17.06   14.1
256     16,63   14.17
192     16,25   13,84/13.66
128     17,91   15.47
96      18,75   16.41
48      16.44   14,5
--
24       9,35   7.16  requires adj to output sampling rate
8        8.47   6,38 requires adj to output sampling rate


the two latest formats  require  downsampling (audio processng )in order  to perform the coversion , usaually on 8 or 11 kHz

And here is a test based graphical  analysis of the most common CBR rates:


256   20 kHz

192   19kHz
practically  this bandwidth (B/W) means a store level

128-9 22kHz!!

128-5 19

128-0 19 kHz

the worst quality level due to speed offers a  artificial whole b/w level . the other quality levels offer a Cd quality

112/9 22kHz !!
112/5 19 kHz
112/0 19 kHz
the same as above

96/9  22 kHz  distorted!
96/5  19 kHz
96-9  19 kHz curved down by 3 db


64-0  8k @-3 max to 18 kHz
64-5  18 k linear
64-9  22k! linear
and here is the funny: the best quality  cuts freqs above the 8 kHz though the wirrst modes ofer a 'transparent' quality

Lame 48 0          10 kHz  
Lame 48 5          17 khxz
Lame 48 9          22 kHz!!


16-9   6 kHz   @-3 8 khzoff
16-5   5 k ,6k @-3 8 K off
16-0   1.7kHz  @-3 4.5 kHz coff



once again the  numers show narroweer audio for the best encoding !!
==
ENCODER



And above LAME shows  its more important characteristics the  two variable rates . for a  better explanation i lend the info from the wiki  of LAME  as foun in the site of Hydrogen audio:


CBR:  the standard constant bit rate
constant bitrate mode. CBR encoding is not efficient. Whereas VBR and ABR modes can supply more bits to complex music passages and save bits on simpler ones, CBR encodes every frame at the same bitrate.

CBR is only recommended for usage in streaming situations where the upper bitrate must be strictly enforced.

VBR: this is the variable bit rate
variable bitrate mode. Use variable bitrate modes when the goal is to achieve a fixed level of quality using the lowest possible bitrate.

VBR is best used to target a specific quality level, instead of a specific bitrate. The final file size of a VBR encode is less predictable than with ABR, but the quality is usually better.

Unlike other MP3 encoders which do VBR encoding based on predictions of output quality, LAME's default VBR method tests the actual output quality to ensure the desired quality level is always achieved.

rh adn mrth are two dierent algorithms.Mrth  offers abou two times faster processing

ABR: average bitrate mode.
A compromise between VBR and CBR modes, ABR encoding varies bits around a specified target bitrate. Use ABR when you need to know the final size of the file but still want to allow the encoder some flexibility to decide which passages need more bits


AS shown above in the photo , VBR can be asjusted  in tbetween minimums and maximums


misc


The misc tab determines some usual MP3 standards as copy right bits rtc  but en/disables padding on frames
ISO compliance : This refers  mostly  for the MP3 harware players  , in order  for the resulted file  to be compaliant to the MP3 standard (compatibility problems)
padding : a patch


expert tab:


thisis possibly the most dificult setting  with the  explanation from other pages :

ATH : absolute threshold of hearing 
The Absolute Threshold of Hearing (ATH) is the volume level at which one can detect a particular sound 50% of the time. If one has a low absolute threshold, it means that he is able to detect small amounts of stimulation, and thus is more sensitive. If one has a high absolute threshold, then he requires more stimulation and thus is less sensitive  (from  http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=ATH)
Much more can be found here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing


Temporal masking effect

Temporal masking occurs when a sudden stimulus sound makes inaudible other sounds which are present immediately preceding or following the stimulus. Masking that obscures a sound immediately preceding the masker is called backwards masking or pre-masking and masking that obscures a sound immediately following the masker is called forwards masking or post-masking. Temporal masking's effectiveness attenuates exponentially from the onset and offset of the masker, with the onset attenuation lasting approximately 10 ms and the offset attenuation lasting approximately 50 ms.(from Wikipedia )
For more information  you can find  http://www.mp3-converter.com/mp3codec/maskingeffects.htm  and here         http://www.gnuware.com/icecast/chap_02_03.html  and in more depth analysis on http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug98/articles/datacompression.html
       



Audio processing



This pane is the easiest for me and the simplest  comparing to other more 'advanced' adjustments !
There are the standard resample rates of 8 ,11 22 44 and 48 kHz , the first two necessary  for the lower bit ratets  to operate.

Enabling  filtering can make you remove some frequencies  or determine a whole bandwidth to cut
For better  undersitanding it is better   to experiment a bit with them . NOtice that lowpass filter  must be biiger numer thanthe low pass frequency !!


Bonk enc #1: a very good (shell) program for ripping your CDs ...

.........and reconverting your MP3s  into another forrmat ........... A REVIEW


The program has been found i think in the freewaregenius web site (together with mediacoder , toibe reviewed later here ) several months ago, bvased on a very short review, which normally acts as a shell program for several freeware /open source audio codecs.

The program can be found  in the adress http://www.bonkenc.org  and includes  the latest two versions  , together  with two extra plug ins. The most curent is 107

ONce you download the  program the screening is shown as below:





The program has the following  specifications:
- is totally free and comes with its  source
- it can be just unzipped into a folder and  work . Thefore it is a green program
- There are various language translations including a program that handles translation fields
- Connectivity with  CDDB  for automatic  album naming (if avaialble )
- automatic ripping after a CD is inserted  and  recognized (setable)
The latest colleciton i  converted  has been  totally found from the CDDB databqase
- about 5  conversion systems
 FLAC, Blade , Lame ,Ogg, AAC and its own Bonk
- auto titling  based on the information of the artist and title given , including the ID3 info saved
- mass ID3 saving
- CD /file operations:  playback and insert/escape button shown below the web adress
- also facility  to manually update - via the help menu
- plug ins  for in- and out-put

a very interesting point is that the program allows  you not only to add the ID tags (ID 1 and 2 )  but also
- set the case letters  towards: each  word in lower or in upper cases ,
- set the tag for all the songs  included in ripping
- set a spscial  label for the music kind
Here are several  screenshots from its settings: here is just the  encoders settings. As you may see  there is also a filename naming pattern





And another settings view  for playlists . There is the ability to use cue sheets



And here you will find some screeshots  for the  encoding abilities . As  you may see  Fraunhofer FhG and WMA  codec are  missing . I think this is because FhG  codec is commercial .....WAVE OUT as show in the picture comes fromta export plugin .Blade enc is a optional codec  that can be found in the program's site  that has several peculiar conversion specs .All codecs here are  freeeware modules.




In the next pages you will find in depth (as posible ) reports on the codecs  and their operations  includeing more pictures



Here  are several imprtant notice from my usage  for about 2 months



The ID3 tags : upon the preset format , they can be shown OK to Wianamp, Windows explorer and sevreal ID tagging programs but in seeral others not . the proble consisted onthe UTF 16LE . Setting to ISO encoding  the porblem  has been solved


Cons  I found two types of crashes:
- The program crashed when resizing the time Bonk was converting
- several dragged /dropped MP3s also made it crash. I donot know  what  is the problem with these MP3 files . But dropping  their  directories into Bonkencs'  file window there was not problem



In the next pages   you will see a description of the  encoding schemes
=================================================





The blade enc adjustments:(a very  easy and simple encoder )


 

The lame encoder - which is trhe most complex encoding system.



The lame encoder  has too many parameters to use . the most important for me is the quality item that can cnvert from  just  4 secs for the worst quality to 25 secs  for the better quality. IN this paramter  i prever to use the highest possible number - usually 3 and 2 -  inorder to have the best  audio quality - though mine ears  do not  find any  significant diference . In the second part i will  show you several intereting experiments with them

Here is a  screenshot for FAAC , surely a form of AAC ,an open source MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 AAC encoder of lesser general public license  :



and here  which shows the encoder configuration with both kinds of versions




and here for ogg vorbis : note averager instad of constant bitrate is used





and here is for FLAC (a free lossless audio codec )  with also very great amount of adjustments:



with expert  encoider configuration as here:







In the next posting I will  place several measurements  on some if the above codecs

Saturday, February 16, 2008

comparison between mp3 and wma codecs , (linked pdf file )

You can find it in these links (direct pdf files , please use "save as" with the right mouse click , or press ctrl + for opening into your web browser.
The file is just 200 kb.

multiply article
geocities article in case the previous does not work

The file shows the methodology i use plus a big table with compressions in wma FhG and lame mp3 vers 1 codecs in terms of spectrum analysis
This file has been originally edited on 2005
Please leave here you r comments

Oversimplified listing of the MP3 compressions

This is an notice shown on the  same webpageand also refered here separately.  This just describes the various compressions levels and thier main use



Here is a oversimplified listing  of the MP3 compressions :Notice that as the number in the left pane is higher ,  the  higher the filter and thus higher fidelity audio. The higher numbers can offer the abilities or the  lower numbers  too.  
Notice: The program  used  for analysis  is Music match jukebox that offers  the  curves shown in my
blog above

kbps

approximate usage -

8 - 11 kbps

suitable for recording telephonic conversations , voice  recording . narrowband AM radio

16

the above plus high fidelity  speech, AM radio, low fidelity streaming radio

24- 32 kbps

high quality speech , AM radio [medium and shortwaves ]

44-56

low fidelity FM radio

64

older fidelity FM radio

96-128

CD  quality audio

192

studio CD quality -

256

'Store'  mode for CD  quality


and for WMA - fior anyone interested , as  tested with Musicmatch Jukebox . For me  mostly

5-8-12

 just simple voice recording

16-22

high quality speech recording , 22 seems  as HIFI

44

 good for FM

48

CD audio  compromise , best for mass storage

64

CD  recording   = 128 on MP3

96

'high quality' CD recording =192 on MP3


And notice the  following:
The above listing is still controversial  and depends on the program and codecs you use. Older  lame codec [used in goldwave ] does not offer the same audio quality

And several  comments on windows media wma files:
- offering lower dynamic range :  they can clip very low voices , The  dynamic rrange  is aoubt 50 db
- on MP3 hardware players :
   - they can drain the double current (Sansa E130  and Creative Zen Plus  ).
   - in most older MP3 players i tested (as sansa 130 ) , the WMA codec  can  offer better audio than its MP3  codec!!
   - the  wma codec may introduce its own noise  with 'cracks' in sudden audio changes  or in loud points. See also the http://zlgr.multiply.com/reviews/item/32

The reason not to use low MP3 compressions!

Notice : this aricle is my 2nd arcticle on mp3 tech and appeared on 31-5-7 on multiply site . The main reason writing that article is that many  people  are using  low level MP3 compressions (as 192 adn 256 )  that i do not think  are  so necessary  since per  my measurements  128 kbps are more than enough. To my year  wma's  of the level of 48 kbps  have neatly the  same level .



--------- Given that many users on Multiply rip or covert their music in quite big files of over 7.5 MB fr a 4 minute song ,i decided to write this article to explain why it is not necessary to use very high sampling rates.

At same time I will notice to you why I use the WMA format in 48 kbps to include mass material into a small MP3 player as shown in my previous reviews

It is important to advise you that I was in the audio technology and HiFi's since 1980 , including also the MP3 tech form ca 1997 and my first ever MP3 player was with CD on 2000.Also i used several professional equipment the older days and I know very much about it.

This is a abridged version of my blog in http://zlgr.multiply.com/journal/item/41 with a little more explanation in the pictorials If someone is still very boring to read this whole message ,please check the flies on the http://zlgr.multiply.com/journal/item/55 for his personal evaluation , though it is very worth of reading

And here is the basic background for the above theory .

1.Make a file with white noise . This noise is used primarily for testing purposes in audio laboratories. it can be used to measure the linearity of audio systems including the audio part of radio transmitters. The easiest way to make this white noise is with the Cooledit program.

For best measurements i made a file of 60 secs making a file of 10M336B [10336 Kb]I also deliberately use the linear frequency response in order to find more easily the cutoff frequencies than with the standard logarithmic freq response

click to view the original file This is our original WAV file's frequency response , designed from a white noise of 0 db level. As you may notice it is a totally linear, and will be used as reference to the results from various compressions shown later

2.Convert the files toMP3 and /or WMA in the most popular conversions . I choose the MP3 format on 128 [standard]192 [broadcast mode ] and 256kb [store mode] while for WMA the 44 [FM] ,. 48[I say just CD] 64 [default near CD ]and 96 [CD ] kb.

I always used the Musicmatch Jukebox in its 6th version which is very light comparing to the newest versions and has very good results especially if converting from CDs and MPs to WMAs . And though Cooledit has MP3 save option

3.View the resulted files back to Coledit's frequency analysis screen

:

256a
256 kb
.
As you will see the 256 kb sampling rate offers a very high audio bandwidth of ca 21 kHz filtering out everything above this frequency ,with more than 60 db cut off .But these cut off frequencies are inaudible to the ear ..
Tthe file size is 1876 KBytes
click to view the original file
192kb

The curve here goes to the 20 kHz , and about 60 db cutoff above these frequencies. This is the maximum the ear can listen The file size is 1407 Kb
click to view the original file
128 kb
And here is the standard MP3 with strong cutoff above 15.900 Hz . I do not see any significant difference between 128 and 192 in my ears though still 112 with a cut off at 14000 and 96 kb at 12000 sound nearly the same
The file size is 938 kb on the 128kb

WMA s in discussion

AS Cooledit cannot open WMA files , i used first a third party program to convert the WMA files iinto WAV and then opened with Cooledit , and here are the results :
click to view the original file

48 kbps

48 64 and 96 kb

Here all the WMA files have the same audio bandwidth at 20 kHz with the only difference on the dynamic level. ,
click to view the original file

64 kbps

The dynamic level is ca 36db , for the 48 kb , ca 40 db for the 64 kb and ca 55 db for the 96 kb compression. The 40 db are the audio levels used by most music groups. More than 60 db are used only by classical music And the file sizes are 367,484 and 718 kB respectively . IN practice that means that all these modes can offfer just high quality audio though very low audio levels are 'removed' .
click to view the original file

96 kbps

In a very careful listening you can see some minor artifacts on the 48 kbps especially in drums and high trebled audio.

click to view the original file

WMA 44

And here a funny case of the 44 kb WMA. Instead of having a smooth cuve , that reminds a triple 'treble control' , a part of the bandwidth is somehow cut out

However this happens with the MMJB 6 . Using another converter as for example the MP3WM OGG converter, the results are also diferent . The results in the MP3 conversion showed me a flat bandwidth for 128 to 256 to 22000 with 96kb having -6db on 16000max .while the WMA compressions rates were showed as a bandstop filter analogous to the compression rate ...



Furthermore these are the results with the over mentioned program . I mean , using a different program to convert files gives a different result
AS for example Cooleditwith its MP3 plugin ca offer linear response to the maximum of the bandwidth.

At another example i was also using the ACE mult iformat converter . The results once opened or converted to WAV (for WMA) have made several interesting results . Please see the picture below, it is an animation!


ace+mmjb

From the above results , it is clear that ACE can technically offer better audio than MMJB on the MP3 format , but worse than MMJB in te WMA format

MP3 comparison chart of two encoders

Please notice that this is the first article i wrote abut mp3 tech analysis , depicted on 96-97 and appeared on my old geo site


UPDATES ( i think made on 91-92 ):

Following a series of upconvertions adn other experiments that itme i have found soem other peculiarities that are main to Musicmatch:

  1. Upconverting monophonic bit rates to stereo bit rates can cause stereo widening of these monoral audios. The lowest stereo mode i found or used was the 24 kbps
  2. UPconverting to higher bandwidths may cause / produce 'reaction /reactance carriers' . For example a 8 kb ( of 8 kHz) upconverted to 24 kb cana cause ahigher freq whistle to be heard, that can be soemtiems very annoying. please notic that this does not only happen between MP3 converions but also to convert one WAV file of 32 kHz to an MP3 file of 44 kHz bandwidth . There was indeed one reactance carrier of ca 16 kHz . The problem for this case has been corected with the usage of Xing encoder
  3. Some low rate ( such as 8/8 , 8/11 and 16/11 ) MP2-layer 3 files seem to use a 8 bit audio resolution. Using 8 bit resolution WAVS to converting to MP1 ( above 64 kb rtates at leat ) can cauise the MP3 files to have the half sixe!!
  4. As you can see from the frequwncy responses tables there is soem important information that shows a nrealy direct relation of bandwidth and compression And here is a over simplified relation.Notice trhat : any freqs above this band-stop are sharply removed Onfo is for Musimatch with slight improvement on Xing for the theoretical noise example
  5. 160kbit - 44 kHz gives a 20 kHz bandwidth
    128 kbit -44 kHz gives a 16 kHz bandwidth
    96 kbit - 44 kHz gives a 11.8 kHz bandwidth MPEG 1
    64 kbit - 22 kHz gives a 10.4 kHz bandwidth
    48 kbit - 22 kHz gives a 6 kHz bandwidth
    32 kbit - 22 kHz gives a 5,2 kHz bandwidth
    16 kbit -11 kHz gives a .4.7 kHz bandwidth
    8 kbit -8/11 kHz gives a 3.3 kHz bandwidth MPEG 2

  6. One very important point when using players with low bit rates. It is very important to disable Doirect X from the player otherwise audio will be strongly


Following a long period of digitizing my music collection into MP3 I have also experimented with two different popular encoders and below you will find some very important results:
The experiments are two based upon a standard method .( tones and white noise)
Program for making these is CoolEdit Pro (trial) with trial MP3 plug in (read only)

Step A Making the files

A 1:

Tones produced are : 3 secs each tone , 0 db level , with the following frequencies ( all are Hz)

  • 1000
  • 5000
  • 7000
  • 9000
  • 13000
  • 14000
  • 15000
  • 15500
  • 16000
  • 18000
  • 19000

and saved as WAV 44.000. mono , 16 bit resolution

A 2

Making white noise again under CoolEdit with:
1 sec blank
3 secs stereo white noise of 0 db level
1 sec blank

with 48000 kHz , 16 bit resolution

Step 2- compressing

Using the two compression programs ( Music match 5 and Xing encoder 2.1) step by step in various compression levels :
VBR - 160 – 128 – 112 – 96-80- 64- 56-48-32-16- 8 then save each produced file by compression – name
All files are then archived into a ziped file for later references
And here are some interesting and funny results ater zipping :
WAV files are expected to be compressed , nearly to the level of standard Xing compression
Thed tone file was 34.560.444 bytes and zipped to 558960 bytes
But still , Xing , tone compression , seems to still compressed at high rates . files of abt 720 kb have been compressed to only 9200 kb! See below for more

Step 3- checking compressed files back on Cooledit – commentary

Cooledit pro has been again used for chacking the produced MP3 files . After loading files a smoothing process has been calculated ( RMS levels )

Part 1 the tone response

Very surprisingly both encoders shown a ‘peculair’ attitude towards the pure tones by producing faint signals of lower levels , up to –8 db .
Both compressors did not respond to tones above 17000 kHz leaving only blank audio and ‘clicks’ between tone freq change

Music match 5 , shown a very big number of faint signals ( about 15 .) nearly as it happens with Xing encoder under VBR but levels were higher than of Xing . There was only the restriction of the bandwidth which nearly corresponds to the compression rate . More on this later
Xing however under 80-160 kb rates produced very clear ( faint free ) tones . IN some cases upper freqs ( below 17kHz) shown some ‘ripple’ ( on off ) faint signals of very low levels some hundred Hz above the main freq. VBR however was relatively ‘dirty’ as shown in the table below ( levels of 40 db or more

IN both encoders , tones of higher main freq. than bandwidth ( esp for rates below 48) produced mirror tones of 36 –40 db lower than main tone level

I have made also a try with WMA module of MM5 with results nearly of the MM-MP module

Part 2 the white noise response

While original signal was with exact edges between start and stop of noise, all MP compressed files shown a fade up and fade down of audio response ( either time or frequency domain ) as shown in the spectral view.

The table 3 shows the response of the 24kHz stereo white noise showing the decibel points

While Xing had the same audio level , MM5 had a 6 db loss

Xing also had nearly flat freq response at 99% of the spectrum while MM5 had a slow decrease response over higher freqs ( points shown )

Also 112- to 160 rates on Xing have the same response.. Though io could not see any significant differences in the spectrum alnalyzer of Cooledit, this can possibly lower the dynamic range .

MM in contrast shown a significant decrease of response dropping from 20 to 16 and 14 kHz for the 160 , 128 and 112 kb respectively ! Though playback on Winamp or MM player shows a 44 kHz range ….

Comparing to the response curves , in all cases except 16 Xing has higher response of 4-5 % than MM5

Special commentary on playback of the WAV tone file

Cooledit , as expected as playing very clear the tones .
However direct connection of line out from the SB 128 to the headphone showed nearly no audio on freqs above 9000 Hz ( mismatch??)
In contrast to it the HIFI connected same way produced all the tones till 19000 hz ( audible from the headphone output from HIFI )
Nullsoft’s Winamp 2.7 had a totally MP3 type audio (producing the ‘ghosts’or spur tones as shown in the Xing )
Also Media player had the same ‘attitude’
In contrast to it real Player produced clear audio in all the tones !

Add on : Time rates for compressing a music file

The table is self explanatory. Notice that this has been made last year when I used the Pentium 133 with 64 Mb memory (which possibly does not matter on the compression speed so much )
The actual WAV/ PCM file is a song of 5 mins 27.86 sec of a total 57.8 MB size
First list shows the constant rate while second list shows variable rate centered at 80 kb and variations of the shown level
The 3rd list shows times produced with the MP 3 compressor another program capable to produce MP compatible WAV files ( it possibly uses the Microsoft MP encoder) . IT also produces 8 kb/8kHz files


LIST 1

Responses of clear tones on Xing encoder on various compressrion rates


lo - nor Xing Lo var Xing Xing 160 , 128 112 96 and 80 kb 64 56 48 32 16
1000Hz 12 ……….1000

-40……….5200
-42 ……….7200
-48 ……….11600
13600 ……….1800

-38 ……….5100
……….7220
……….11500



3000 50000 7000 9000 11000 with -40 3000
5000
7000 /-47
9 000
1000/-50
3000/-36
5000
7000/-24
5000 Hz -42……….200
-32……….1200
-30 ……….2800

+12……….5000

-24……….7500
-38 ……….9600
-36……….11200
-44……….12300
-42……….14000
-48……….14600

……….200
-32……….1100
-30……….2500
-25……….7500
-37……….10000
9000,

11, 13, 5 17, 19 21 kHz with –72

9000,

11, 13, 5 kHz with –72

9000,

11, 13, 5 kHz with –72

1000 3000 7000 9000 1000 ……….-36 3000
5000
7000 /-32
9 000
1000/-40

7000 hZ (+12) -40……….200
-34……….700
-32……….2100
-44……….2600….
-22………4500…
> -36……….12000
-38……….13200`14200
-32……….2100
-24……….4500
-18……….9100
-32……….11900



Clear Clear
9000 Hz -42……….700
-38……….1800
-30……….2700
-32……….4200
-20……….7500
-13……….11300
-30……….13900
-38……….15200…
&##8230;….16100
……….500
……….1900
……….2900
……….4900
-20……….6780
-15……….11200
15 and 21 kHz with-60 db 15 with-60 db - 3000 ghost @-24 3000 ghhost/-24
13000 -38……….1000
-40……….1200
-30……….5800…
𕢦….6800
-26……….8100
-14……….10700
-9……….15400
-26……….17800
-24……….19000
……….400
…… .1000
…….15600
-36.….3500
……...3800
-32….5800
…….6200
-32….6800
-26….8200
…….8500
…….9100
-14….10600
Clear Clear Is cldear ( no signal) 10000 ghost @-32

14000 -40……….200 1200 2000 2800 48005200 10100
-32……….41200
-30……….6800
-24……….7800 .9200
> -13……….11800
-8……….16500
……….15000 .15500
only for >30

-30….7800…8100
-24….8800….9100
-24….10100.11200
-16….12600..13100
-6….17600….18000


-72 with

2000

6000

10000

18000

20000kHz

Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) 9000 kHz ghost @-20
1000/-24
15000


Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) 8500/-24 db ghost
5000/-24
15500


Is cldear ( no signal ) Is cldear ( no signal) 8000 /-32 7000/-23 0/-24
16000 Is cldear ( no signal ) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal ) Is cldear ( no signal) 7000 /-23 db 8000……….30 1000/-24
18000 Is cldear ( no signal ) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) 5000/-24 db 5000 ghost /-24 2000/-24
19000 Is cldear ( no signal ) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) Is cldear ( no signal) 4000/-24 db
3000/-24

Lo - nor Xing Lo var Xing Xing 160 , 128 112 96 and 80 kb 64 56 48 32 16


FILE SIZES

Rate

Xing Size

Xing Ziped

16

71928

5159

32

143904

8748

48

215856

14533!

56

252158

7722

64

288192

8263

96

432288

8151

112

504336

8653

128

576384

8947

160

720480

9227

LO NOR

287296

216502

LO

336871

274009



RESPONSES ON WHITE NOISE FOR MM5 AND XING ENCODERS

WAV FILE HAS
1 SEC BLANK – 3 SECS WHITE NOISE – 1 SEC BLANK

AUDIO LEVEL IS +3 DB

Rate

xing encoder

M M 5

FILE SIZE XING

var low -6 db<13.5khz
30864
var lo no -6 db -60 db 20
36027
var no -6 db -60 <20>
42860
160 0db -38db/21. -2/2k
-6/16k
-11/ 20k
100320
128 Same 2 to 6 up to 16 80256
112 Same -6 to 14k 70224
96 0db <15....> -6 /11.8 60192
80
0 <10.1>
constant to 11000 @-6 50400
64 0<3,4> const to 10.4@-6 40320
56 -6 /9.2
-45/9.6
-6 to 8.8
-60 /9.2
35280
48 0
-2 /3.4
-6/7.6
-6/6k
-60/6.2
30096
32 0
-2/5.1
-60/5.5
-6 /5.2
-60/5.3
20160
20
-6 /3.8
-60/3.9

16 -6/4.0…
-60/4.1
-6 /4.7
-60/4.8
10008
8
-6/3.2
-60-/3.3


TABLE 3

Times compression ratios on A FILE

Using A 133 Mhz Pentium 1

file : wav 44 khz 16 bit size 57.834 kB 5:27.86 sec (327.86 sec)

Music Match 5 under

Mode Kb Range Fielsize Comp rate Time elapsed
8 8kb 11khz 328 kB 1/176 1:02 min
16 16 11 656 88 1:19
18 18 11 - - 1:22
64 64 22 2623 22 2.22
96 96 44 ~3924 15 2:45
128 128 44 5246 11 2.51

~ estimated

v 1%
78-79 3222 18 2.49
15%
81 3366 17.1 2.46
88%

5982 9.6 3.00

mp3 compressor

16 16
657 89 1.43
128 128 44 -
>5 min