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Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital Audio Preservation Question

Hi Brandon:

Can you cite a reasonable scenario where there will be an ability to read bits and bytes in the future but the whole idea of CODECs was forgotten? Especially the MP3 CODEC? I can't think of one, so that's not my reason for being anti-lossy schemes. My reason is simply audio quality. As for blowing up to WAV, as I said, it won't gain any quality but might (small probability) make the file slightly less vulnerable to being zapped by a drive-sector flaw due to less packing density (that might not be the right computer-engineer term, but what I'm saying is in WAV format, more space on the drive, more sectors are required for the same linear time in audio, so one bad sector might zap for instance a few measures that might be repeated elsewhere in the WAV file but it could completely destroy most of a lossy-compressed MP3 file and render it un-fixable). However, I think you run about the same probability of that sector cropping up in the file table or even the boot blocks, so the golden rule is many copies in many places.

-- Tom Fine

PS -- for these open-source volunteer-work CODECS, the idea that they might be unreadable in 50 years seems slightly more plausible. But MP3 is an industry standard established by paid scientists and is widely licensed by for-profit companies and propagated.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Brandon Burke" <burke@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 3:50 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital Audio Preservation Question


Converting an accessioned archival MP3 file to WAV doesn't, in an of itself,
mean creating
a 24/96 derivative. And it sounds to me like you're jumping to that

In this case (Martha's original point), the issue is readability in the
future: 10, 20, 50 years down
the road. Of course, my guess is as good as anyone else's here but, i think
conversion to WAV
(16/44.1) still sounds like a pretty good idea..


Right, Richard, I read the original post. I was commenting about lossy
formats in general.

As for the original poster's specific question, I don't see any benefit in
blowing up an already inferior file, but I'd make several extra copies in
different places on the theory that one bad sector could destroy an MP3 file
whereas it might only cause a fixable glitch in a WAV file due to the much
denser info-pack of the MP3 (ie what's left after the lossy compression
packs more audio linear time into fewer hard drive sectors than if the file
had been left full WAV). However, there's equal probability that the sector
that will fail first will be the file table so the whole drive is rendered
damaged, perhaps fatally. So it's a gray area. It all comes down to many
copies in many places as far as digital storage but as far as audio quality,
I believe there is no good argument that lossy compression is ever a good
idea with archival versions of things.

-- Tom Fine

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