For audiophiles and music fans, the dream of a lossless streaming service has been tantalizingly out of reach for some time. While Neil Young talked big about his still-mysterious Pono audio format, the closest we've had to a "true" hi-fi service is Spotify. That is until this morning.Online service Murfie has announced that users will be able to stream their CDs losslessly to the new Voco streaming devices, while Sonos and smartphone users are limited to 320Kbps streams.
X Lossless Decoder for Mac plays and converts from and to a wide variety of music file formats. The program is fast and features an intuitive interface suitable for audiophiles and users comfortable working with audio files.
Installation of X Lossless Decoder for Mac was nonexistent, with the mounted DMG containing the application, a README file, and a clickable icon to launch a command line interface. The README file gave a limited and brief overview of tasks the application could perform. Launching the application opens only a preferences panel, which we used to configure our output audio type and folder … Read more
If there's one thing music lovers enjoy, it's discovering new favorite artists, and there are now a wealth of online services that offer this. I was first exposed to digital music subscriptions in 1999 when They Might Be Giants released "Long Tall Weekend" via eMusic. It was one of the first Internet-only releases, and while listening to those files now shows the limitations of MP3 at the time, eMusic rebooted a concept that had fallen into disaffection: the "record club."
The first major record club began in 1955 by Columbia Records and was a way to sell music directly to the customer often with a "record of the month" suggestion. While the service and the others like it have faded from popularity, digital music sellers are now trying something similar.… Read more
If you want to listen to better-quality digital music, then FLAC files are a great way to do it. They typically use half the storage space of uncompressed music files and should sound identical to music played from a CD. And yes, you can use apps like FLAC Player to listen to them on iOS devices.
Like MP3s, there are two main ways to get FLACs legally: rip them from CDs, or buy them directly. While we cover how to rip your own music to FLAC format here, there are several sites that offer FLAC album downloads for less than the price of a CD, and yet offer the same level of quality. You'll find that most of these sites are independent and that's because major labels have yet to embrace fully lossless downloads, presumably because of the ever-present "piracy concerns."
Below are the best five stores that sell the FLAC format. If you're interested in higher-than-CD quality, some of the following sites also offer 24-bit "HD" downloads for an extra charge.… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Neil Young introduces his own Pono audio system, could rival Apple.
- Stop showing me your stupid Internet face.
- Top face pullers gurning for the UK title.
- Life-sized pictures of Google Street View screenshots printed and wheatpasted IRL.
- If you have time tomorrow, check out Field Trip Day for Android users across the country.
- Connect with Ty Pendlebury on Twitter.
MP3s are very convenient and supported by many devices from portables to car audio systems. But no matter how high the bit rate of an MP3 file, it's still a lossy format, meaning some of the sound quality is lost during the conversion from a CD.
FLAC is a lossless audio codec that doesn't lose any sound quality during conversion, but is much bigger in size than MP3 files. It's also not as widely supported in devices as compared with MP3s, but there are many more of them than just a few years ago. If sound quality … Read more
Recording artist Neil Young today said that he was working with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on a project that would push the quality of digital downloads to studio-quality levels.
In an interview with All Things Digital at the outlet's D: Dive Into Media conference today, Young discussed the quality of digital recordings, chiding MP3s for having just "5 percent of the data present in the original recording."
The answer to that other 95 percent would be "high-resolution" digital tracks that are of the same quality as the original studio recording, Young offered.
There are … Read more
Apple's Lossless audio format is a popular option for people importing CDs into iTunes who wish to preserve as much of the original song quality as possible; however, a number of people have been noticing that random tracks imported in this format become corrupted after artwork is applied to them.
As iTunes imports songs into the iTunes library, it will automatically apply cover artwork to each track if it is available in the iTunes store. If artwork is not available then you will need to add it yourself, which people generally do by selecting all of the tracks in … Read more
Still don't have a Halloween costume? Check out Superpunch's list of downloadable masks--just print and cut them out, add a string or a Popsicle stick if you're extra lazy, and off you go. Happy Halloween!
Vampire power, also known as standby power, is a reference to some electronics sucking up juice even when they're turned off, but it also works for our ongoing Halloween show title theme! Check out this article on the Learning Thermostat to see what Nest Labs is doing to kill vampire power.
The iPhone Dev-Team is already close to finishing a preliminary jailbreak on the iPhone 4S that will eventually work with the iPad 2 as well, but what happened to good old analog piracy? As it happens, Activision Blizzard is knee-deep in pirates already circulating bootleg copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.… Read more
Apple made its lossless audio format open source this week, allowing for others to view and change the code for use in their own software and tools.
As Daring Fireball notes, the format--which goes by the name, Apple Lossless Audio Codec (or ALAC)--adopted the Apache license yesterday.
ALAC was first introduced to Apple's Mac OS X Core Audio framework in 2004, where most users saw it as part of iTunes 4.5. It let users rip a CD into smaller compressed files without reduction in quality. Still, the resulting files are considerably larger than the more ubiquitous MP3, … Read more