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posted by martyb on Thursday May 04 2017, @01:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the lets-party-like-its-1999 dept.

MP3 decoding was already free and got recently included in Fedora. But now, encoding is also free according to Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS: "On April 23, 2017, Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated." The Wikipedia MP3 article confirms that.

So, do you still use an MP3 library or have you switched to another format or means of listening to music such as (spying built-in) streaming services?

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cafebabe on Thursday May 04 2017, @05:22PM (2 children)

    by cafebabe (894) on Thursday May 04 2017, @05:22PM (#504411) Journal

    I'm envisioning a semi-hypothetical system which is base on Meridian Audio's digital speakers. Each speaker recieves a serial stream and contains its own amplifier(s). The traditional hi-fi selector/amplifier unit is relegated to a selector/sampler/transcoder/expander/reverb for eight or more speakers. It would be convenient if the intermediate format to the speakers was sigma-delta format rather than PCM because this would provide the best dynamic range for analog sources, such as vinyl records, cassette tape and radio. Sigma-delta format is hugely verbose and uncompressible when used as a music storage format. (See Super Audio Compact Disc.) However, it works very well between "amp" and speakers. Within each speaker, the process is to decode received bits sequentially where zero means decrement by one voltage level and one means increment by one voltage level. This incurs the obvious problem that there is a maximum gradient which can be encoded accurately but this is functionally equivalent to the maximum swing voltage of operational amplifiers or suchlike.

    The speaker requires minimal processing power to maintain a running total. The most advanced part of the speaker is dropping the running total into a one bit DAC which is likely to operate above 1GHz and may utilize Chinese Remainder Theorem to count accurately at this speed.

    You are correct to be concerned about phasing. When this was first described to me by one of Meridian's engineers, I was concerned that crystals being out of phase would lead to soundstage rotation. This is true but rotation is extremely small and therefore completely inperceptible. Headphones are an entirely different matter and that discussion led to a job offer.

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday May 05 2017, @12:07AM (1 child)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday May 05 2017, @12:07AM (#504598)

    So what does all this have to do with whether it's viable to encode your music library with something other than MP3?

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday May 05 2017, @03:03AM

      by cafebabe (894) on Friday May 05 2017, @03:03AM (#504655) Journal

      Your position was that the majority of compressed audio is decoded using a CPU with an MMU. I concur. However, if maximum quality is desired and the number of audio channels is large (5.1 surround, 7.1 surround, 22.2 surround) then the use of CPUs without MMU becomes increasingly cost effective.