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This reminds me of Monty's A Digital Media Primer for Geeks[0] and Digital Show & Tell[1] - the delivery, the explanations and the way the experiments are set up is superb.

[0] https://xiph.org/video/vid1.shtml [1] https://xiph.org/video/vid2.shtml




The article's author, Chris "Monty" Montgomery, is one of the authors of Ogg Vorbis [1] and Opus [2].

It puzzles me that many people don't yet know about Opus. Let me quote the FAQ [3]:

"Does Opus make all those other lossy codecs obsolete?

Yes.

From a technical point of view (loss, delay, bitrates, ...) Opus renders Speex obsolete and should also replace Vorbis and the common proprietary codecs too (e.g. AAC, MP3, ...)."

[1] https://xiph.org/vorbis/

[2] http://www.opus-codec.org/comparison/

[3] https://wiki.xiph.org/OpusFAQ#Does_Opus_make_all_those_other...


I use Opus for music playback for all my archived music. The reason it's not more widespread was opposition of the likes of Apple to free codecs. Today they are losing this, and Opus is making its way even to Apple's systems.


Is there a particular reason you don't opt for lossless formats (e.g. FLAC) for your music archive? I imagine the only constraint would be space, though storage gets cheaper by the year.


I use FLAC for storage, and Opus for playback. I.e. in essence I use both. The benefit of lossless is ability to re-encode later to any new codec (Opus-next?) if it will be useful. For playback, transparent Opus is good since it takes less space.

I.e. in practice - in my main archive I use FLAC. On some portable players and etc. I use Opus encoded from that FLAC.

That's why I always try to buy music in FLAC when possible and stores like Bandcamp are great for it.


I love opus just as much as I loved musepack and vorbis, the one thing all of them lack to one degree or another is support and hardware acceleration. If I throw an opus file on my Android 8.1 phone, it has no idea what to do with it unless I manually open it with vlc or foobar. For the regular user the support needs to be seamless, otherwise they are not going to bother.


I thought for a moment that Spotify uses Opus, but it turns out that they use Vorbis. Wonder why a switch isn't on their roadmap.


Do they publish their roadmap?

I'd imagine they consider what they have is good enough considering the backwards compatability issue it'd likely introduce.


They don't publish their roadmap, but there have been threads on their community forums suggesting this, and an official "Not Right Now" response:

https://community.spotify.com/t5/Live-Ideas/Music-Use-Opus-C...


I've yet to see them implement anything suggested on their forum (or github).


> Wonder why a switch isn't on their roadmap.

Just a guess but I bet it's because the cost would be higher than the extra revenue it would generate.


The use of analogue gear in #2 is one of those things that as someone who _already believed what Monty is showing here_ I wouldn't have thought to do. But it really heads off a bunch of arguments.

And twenty years from now it's going to be hard because you'll have to scrounge the gear from a museum instead of it being available for a reasonable price from eBay or borrowing it off somebody who kept it in the cupboard after upgrading to modern digital gear. So I'm glad Monty did it in that era where the gear was still available.


Honestly it is remarkable how many engineers (self-proclaimed or otherwise) in audio don't understand the basics of sampled systems and quantization. You'd think that anyone making broad claims about these kinds of systems would have at least a rough understanding of the foundational principles, but no.




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