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Music

Matthew Weigel's Journal: Music Formats

Journal by Matthew Weigel

Well, I guess this is the place to put this:

Even though Ogg Vorbis isn't big time like mp3 yet, it's getting there - and it's picking up a little support in every area where mp3 holds sway, too.

That makes me kinda happy, although as with anything there are caveats:

  • Limited stereo component support: as far as I can tell, the sliMP3 is the only such a thing to support Ogg Vorbis, and it does it in a screwy fashion, using the custom server to reencode Ogg music into mp3 at play time; quality suffers, of course, because you're going from one lossy format to another, but it's probably pretty manageable.
  • Limited portable support: again, it's very limited, with just a portable here and there... but with the new PalmOS 5 devices coming out with processors that can run decoding software, I'm almost willing to forego 5+ GBs of music if it means I don't have to carry around another device. I rarely use my iPod for more than about an hour of music at a time anyway, so it is tempting to go with, for example, the Tungsten T with a software Ogg decoder.
  • Limited encoders: for Macs, there is Ogg Drop... and that's it. For Windows? I don't even know, but the field is not as rich as it is for mp3 encoders. Which is kind of surprising, given that the Ogg library is as totally free as you can possibly get. Maybe it will change? I dunno.

And, well, that's all- most software players now support plug-ins, and all the ones I care about have such plug-ins: notably iTunes, and the iTunes competitors Audion and Mint.

Quality is better per bit, it's free, and the players (home and portable) that stopped Ogg before are starting to come out now; since I no longer have an iPod, or most of the music that was on it, I've got to encode all my CDs again anyway. I am seriously looking at switching over to Ogg entirely and completely.

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