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In an interview with AllThingsD, recording artist Neil Young revealed that he had discussed high definition music formats with Apple's Steve Jobs prior to his death.

The interview is summarized by CNet, in which Young claims that MP3s have just "5 percent of the data present in the original recording." Young is concerned that there is no suitable high definition available to consumers.

Higher definition music, of course, would require much larger files. Young reportedly approached Apple and specifically Steve Jobs about it:
When asked if Young had approached Apple about the idea, Young said that he had, in fact, met with Jobs and was "working on it," but that "not much" ended up happening to the pursuit.

Of note, Young made mention that Jobs was a vinyl fan, despite having helmed the company that would spearhead the way people listened to and purchased digital music.
Apple presently offers their iTunes Music store at a quality of 256 kbps AACs. Apple does support a lossless audio format that can be used on their iPods and iPhones, but these files take up considerably more space than standard AAC files, and are not sold on the iTunes store. Based on the interview, it seems there is no present interest from Apple in such an offering.

Article Link: Apple Had 'Worked On' Offering a High-Definition Music Format
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
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dont care, as long as it isnt mono sound i dont really hear a difference anyway but bummer for those audiophiles
 

Tsurisuto

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple does offer lossless music on the iTunes Store. As part of their agreement with the Beetles, Apple can only sell their music in lossless.
 

OllyW

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple does offer lossless music on the iTunes Store. As part of their agreement with the Beetles, Apple can only sell their music in lossless.

Sorry, you are wrong.
 

OneOkami

Guest
Nov 8, 2011
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Personally (I will go ahead and say I am not an audiophile), I care far more about the greater amount of music I can store on a given storage medium and the saved bandwidth when streaming that mp3s provide me than the supposed increase it audio quality that I may or may not notice from lossless formats (and I'd wager if it was noticeable, I'd have to put some kind of effort into noticing enough to care).

Correct me if I'm wrong (probably am to some extent) but isn't the idea of mp3 compression to remove the audio data that you can't/won't really hear anyway?
 

Tilpots

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Apr 19, 2006
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Apple does offer lossless music on the iTunes Store. As part of their agreement with the Beetles, Apple can only sell their music in lossless.

That is incorrect. The best you can get from iTunes is 256kbit/s AAC. Also a thread on Young and Jobs already exists here.
 

jmggs

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2007
125
0
Finally some one that speaks my language. I'm 31 and in remember that in past people used to have an hi-fi system an listen to vinyl and CD. Today people listen to music in crappy pc speaker and ipod headphones. Most people don't have hi-fi system. That's not evolution!:confused:
 

heyyoudvd

macrumors regular
May 13, 2011
211
39
As someone who greatly appreciates high fidelity audio, I've got to say, high definition (aka. lossless) music is rather pointless.

The difference between a 256 kbps AAC file and a lossless file is incredibly minor - especially with the audio equipment that the vast majority of people use. Even to a discerning listener with high quality speakers or a great pair of headphones, the difference will still be very minor. Once you've reached 256kbps, you've passed the point where diminishing returns has taken over any additional data is hardly noticeable - even to an audiophile.

Besides, as long as record producers keep releasing overly compressed, loudness war'd garbage, most music will continue to sound horrible regardless. In most cases, upgrading to lossless music would be like offering a multi-vitamin to someone who has just had his legs blown off. The level of dynamic range compression that exists throughout the music industry is many orders of magnitude more significant in harming overall sound quality than the 256kbps bitrate is.
 

ma2ha3

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2007
237
0
stevejobs sell us crap while he listen to the real deal.

Steve Jobs listened to vinyl at home... because it sounded better than his iPod
By Lydia Warren
He transformed how we buy and listen to songs, but when it came to his own music collection, Steve Jobs preferred to take it back to basics.

The creator of the iPod chose to listen to vinyl records when he was at home rather than use more modern gadgets, Neil Young has claimed.
The rocker, speaking at a technology conference, said the Apple founder preferred the sound compared to the iPod's digitally-compressed files.


'Convenience': Apple founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in October, preferred listening to vinyl at home rather than using his own product, the iPod
'Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous,' Young said. 'But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.'
Speaking at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Southern California, Young said he had spoken to Jobs about creating a format that allowed the music to stay truer to its original form - rather than being compressed.

More...With a little help from my dad's friends: Ringo Starr and Eagles' rocker Joe Walsh support Paul McCartney's musician son James

While modern formats, like MP3, are convenient, they do not represent the original sound of the music, the 66-year-old singer-songwriter said.

Instead, a new format would contain 100 per cent of the data created in a recording studio rather than the five per cent in compressed formats.
Insight: Speaking at a conference in Southern California, rocker Neil Young said Jobs had been keen to develop a new format that did not compress music
But he added that due to the size of the files, a device might only be able to hold 30 albums and each song would take 30 minutes to download.

'Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl'Neil Young
Suggesting users could download songs overnight, Young said: 'Sleep well. Wake up in the morning.
'Play some real music and listen to the joy of 100 percent of the sound of music.'
While Young admitted there was no practical plan in place to develop the format, he said Jobs was keen to get involved before he died in October from pancreatic cancer.

'I talked to Steve about it. We were working on it,' Young said.
Upgrade: Speaking with Walt Mossberg, Young said the format would use all of the data created in a studio rather than the 5 per cent played on an iPod
'You've got to believe if he lived long enough he would eventually try to do what I'm trying to do.'

In 'Steve Jobs', Walter Isaacson writes that the Apple founder once collected concert records by Bob Dylan from his electric period in 1965 and 1966.
His collection also included seven Beatles albums and six Rolling Stones albums.
But it was 'Dylan’s words [that] struck chords of creative thinking,' Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, told the biographer.

He added that he hoped it was a project 'some rich guy' would take on.
Interviewer Walt Mossberg said Jobs had expressed surprise that 'people traded quality, to the extent they had, for convenience or price'.
Young agreed: 'The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn’t have to make that choice.'

He added: 'My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for the past 50 years.
'We live in the digital age and, unfortunately, it’s degrading our music, not improving it.'
Jobs, who launched the first iPod in 2001, was a music collector, particularly enjoying the sounds of the sixties.
Sounds of the sixties: Jobs, who died aged just 56, particularly enjoyed music by Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, according to his biographer
Walter Isaacson explains in his biography of the Apple founder that Jobs once collected concert records by Bob Dylan - particularly from his electric period in 1965 and 1966.
His iPod also had songs from seven Beatles albums and six Rolling Stones albums, Isaacson wrote.
But it was 'Dylan’s words [that] struck chords of creative thinking,' Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, told the biographer.
 

The Mad Mule

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2010
116
103
MP3s have just "5 percent of the data present in the original recording."

How did he pull that number up? Maybe if the MP3 was @ 64kbps...

And there is a "high-definition music format." It's called FLAC.
 

stepmuel

macrumors newbie
Feb 1, 2012
13
12
The part about the 5% is just ridiculous… The amount of Data doesn't really matter, unless its just white noise. What matters is information. You can store information with as many data as you want. The important thing is the lower bound; thats what you should compare and use as measurement. For example, if you have a signal with only 0, it doesn't include any information and a file with size 0 could represent all its information. That would be 0%, and still contain all the information. Music is something between white noise and this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(information_theory)
 

dagamer34

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If Apple really cares about audio quality, they'd ship and sell better headphones. Music is only ever as good as the speakers being used.
 

Killyp

macrumors 68040
Jun 14, 2006
3,859
5
As someone who greatly appreciates high fidelity audio, I've got to say, high definition (aka. lossless) music is rather pointless.

The difference between a 256 kbps AAC file and a lossless file is incredibly minor - especially with the audio equipment that the vast majority of people use. Even to a discerning listener with high quality speakers or a great pair of headphones, the difference will still be very minor. Once you've reached 256kbps, you've passed the point where diminishing returns has taken over any additional data is hardly noticeable - even to an audiophile.

Besides, as long as record producers keep releasing overly compressed, loudness war'd garbage, most music will continue to sound horrible regardless. In most cases, upgrading to lossless music would be like offering a multi-vitamin to someone who has just had his legs blown off. The level of dynamic range compression that exists throughout the music industry is many orders of magnitude more significant in harming overall sound quality than the 256kbps bitrate is.

Over-compression in the mastering stage almost always leads to inter-sample peaks which are highlighted by MP3 and AAC compression. In some ways, well mastered and recorded music will be less affected by the conversion from PCM/Lossless into MP3 or AAC than poorly recorded music.

This argument for more music-per-GB & bandwidth is moot for the majority of people using iTunes nowadays. With the amount of hard-drive space now readily available, there's no need to continue forcing consumers to listen to inferior quality audio.

Lossless DOES sound better than AAC by quite some margin in some ways (front to back imaging, space between instruments etc) and not so much better in other ways. Either way, it's still a step back from where we were ~10 years ago with CDs.

Vinyl -> CD was a step back in sound
CD -> iTunes was a step back in sound
iTunes -> Spotify was a BIG step back in sound

Sound quality has slowly been eroded by each 'advance' in audio technology over the last 25 years.

A lot of the people who are still spending money on music are the cohort who would be genuinely interested in listening to at least true 44.1k/24bit audio.

If most people heard what their parents' 1990s separates system sounded like with a properly set up and maintained turntable or even a CD player, they'd probably be blown away at just how much stuff they were missing out on with all these crappy iPod Docks, computer 'hifi speakers' which are littering the market and the vast majority of headphones (Beats, Skullkandy, even most Sennheisers etc) which seem to be absolutely rubbish...

All I'm saying is, why not give people the option - you never know maybe people will realise everything they've been listening to isn't quite as it should be.

Just my 2c.
 

d0nK

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2011
392
209
UK
I've been saying this for years.

I still find it shocking that anyone would pay money for an mp3.

Lossless I will pay for.
Lossy I will never pay for.
 

Northgrove

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Aug 3, 2010
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There's probably no interest from Apple because 256 kbps AAC is a very high quality audio format. If Apple was once pondering something else, I'm pretty sure it was whether they were going to build something proprietary. They may have arrived at the conclusion that a high bitrate AAC song was of very high quality already after doing audio trials. It doesn't get too much better without going lossless, which would put an enormous strain on their servers if offered.
 

NutsNGum

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If Apple really cares about audio quality, they'd ship and sell better headphones. Music is only ever as good as the speakers being used.

And the bitrate at which it's being delivered.
 

rmwebs

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2007
3,140
0
How did he pull that number up? Maybe if the MP3 was @ 64kbps...

And there is a "high-definition music format." It's called FLAC.

Which, sadly Apple refuses to support.

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If Apple really cares about audio quality, they'd ship and sell better headphones. Music is only ever as good as the speakers being used.

Do people actually use the crappy headphones Apple ship? Mine always end up staying in the box...cant stand them.

I'd rather they didn't ship any at all and had a better selection of 3rd party headphones in store.
 

jonnyb

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2005
1,267
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If Apple charged a little more for lossless files I'd buy them. The extra charge would act as a disincentive to those who didn't care so much about hi-fi so the extra bandwidth required wouldn't be so great and the cost of the infrastructure for Apple would be offset by the extra revenue.

Or is that too simplistic?
 

flynndean

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2011
101
0
London, England
As someone who greatly appreciates high fidelity audio, I've got to say, high definition (aka. lossless) music is rather pointless.

The difference between a 256 kbps AAC file and a lossless file is incredibly minor - especially with the audio equipment that the vast majority of people use. Even to a discerning listener with high quality speakers or a great pair of headphones, the difference will still be very minor. Once you've reached 256kbps, you've passed the point where diminishing returns has taken over any additional data is hardly noticeable - even to an audiophile.

Besides, as long as record producers keep releasing overly compressed, loudness war'd garbage, most music will continue to sound horrible regardless. In most cases, upgrading to lossless music would be like offering a multi-vitamin to someone who has just had his legs blown off. The level of dynamic range compression that exists throughout the music industry is many orders of magnitude more significant in harming overall sound quality than the 256kbps bitrate is.

Voted Down for the comment about Lossless being pointless (although I'm definitely an Audiophile AND a Pedant)...Voted Up for the level of DRC being far more detrimental! ;-)

Screw Apple Lossless though...What we need is support for FLAC or some other true Open-Source Lossless format on iPod/iPhone. I will pay more and should be the one to decide on how much I'll compromise on Fidelity vs. Space-Saving.
 

Northgrove

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2010
1,142
426
Finally some one that speaks my language. I'm 31 and in remember that in past people used to have an hi-fi system an listen to vinyl and CD. Today people listen to music in crappy pc speaker and ipod headphones. Most people don't have hi-fi system. That's not evolution!:confused:
I'm not sure I follow those saying they enjoy vinyl, but not lossy music. Vinyl is a very very lossy transfer due to an analogue medium. Far worse than even a 160 kbps mp3.

If you don't think it's evolution to now have music offered via a worldwide network in a 256 kbps AAC format, I'm really not sure why you think that... It's not 100% CD quality, but it's like 95% that can be transfered via the air we breathe. And modern HiFi systems can do so much more than yesterday's.

I guess we all have different views on what's evolution.
 

Nebrie

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2002
591
108
Voted Down for the comment about Lossless being Pointless (although I'm definitely an Audiophile AND a Pedant)...Voted Up for the level of DRC being far more detrimental! ;-)

Screw Apple Lossless though...What we need is support for FLAC or some other true Open-Source format on iPod/iPhone.

Apple Lossless is open source under the Apache 2.0 license.
 
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