Musepack is an audio compression format with a strong emphasis on high quality. Keywords:
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Recent inquiries about audio player options available to Musepackers have prompted this news item. Reminder: our Program Overview page, which lists several types of applications available on various operating systems and devices may prove useful.
The recently refreshed list includes players for Android such as Poweramp, Neutron Music Player, DeaDBeeF Player, Rocket Player and jetAudio, and players for iOS: Pure Player, Media Player PRO and BUZZ Player.
As always, Musepack support continues to grow and we can all enjoy the benefits. Happy Musepacking in 2013!
The software front is calm, so have fun in the meantime:
People worldwide deserve free access to proper performances of music by some of the greatest, most influential composers who ever lived. Kickstarting this notable cause, a fine recorded performance of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's most important works, by pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, has recently been made available online, free of copyright.
Readers of the Musepack website can now enjoy a select remastered version of the Open Goldberg Variations.
What is Musepack?
Musepack is an audio compression format with a strong emphasis on high quality. It's not lossless, but it is designed for transparency, so that you won't be able to hear differences between the original wave file and the much smaller MPC file.
It is based on the MPEG-1 Layer-2 / MP2 algorithms, but since 1997 it has rapidly developed and vastly improved and is now at an advanced stage in which it contains heavily optimized and patentless code.
What's behind the quality claim?
Musepack is not particularly optimized for low bitrates. The encoder was designed to be transparent at the --standard setting, thus little low bitrate tuning has gone into the codec, opposite to that of AAC, Vorbis, WMA and others which focus more on this region. However, as can be seen on the following listening test pages, Musepack is always at the top:
ff123's 128 kbit/s group listening test
ff123's second 128 kbit/s group listening test
rjamorim's 128 kbit/s group listening test
rjamorim's second 128 kbit/s group listening test
Examples for Musepack's extraordinary quality at higher bitrates can be found on the "High Bitrate Tests" thread on Hydrogenaudio. It can be seen that Musepack had greater success providing indistinguishable results. We encourage you to contribute your results to the above thread, as there is a lack of formal listening tests at high, supposedly transparent bitrates.
Musepack is FAST
Nowadays, when most desktop and laptop computers can decode MPC files at rates well above 100x realtime, decoding speed may not seem as important as it used to be. In fact, it has never been more important. Low-power devices that don't rely on complex instruction sets to accelerate application performance have become more widespread than ever and energy efficiency continues to be a growing, crucial factor. On devices supported by the Rockbox firmware, for example, Musepack is decoded faster than all other modern lossy audio formats, such as Vorbis and AAC, and faster than MP3. This translates to longer battery life.
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