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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru Zygoma's Avatar
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    What is the most accessible audio file format?

    Good Morning from -1 Degrees C, sunny, 3 inches of snow, Wakefiled UK :-)

    Heres the situation... I recoded an interview off the radio which I want to upload onto a website. The file extension is .M4a (used my ipod). I can only open it in Quicktime which concerns me.

    So my question is - if I convert it to a different file format what should it be to make it more accessible IE the majority of users could open it without hasstles.

    And what should I use to convert it?

    After googling around the problem it was suggested MP3 would be the most accessible format for web users.

    Any insights welcome :-)
    Last edited by Zygoma; Jan 6, 2010 at 04:43. Reason: typo
    I have had a perfectly wonderful
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    Julius "GROUCHO" Marx - 1890-1977
    http://www.davidclick.com

  2. #2
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    Streaming mp3 128 bit 44k standard is what you want for good quality audio. A lot depends if its music or just voice etc. If its voice only 64k works well.

    Last edited by Paul O'B; Jan 6, 2010 at 11:44.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru Zygoma's Avatar
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    Nice one thanks :-)
    I have had a perfectly wonderful
    evening, but this wasn't it-
    Julius "GROUCHO" Marx - 1890-1977
    http://www.davidclick.com

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    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    We've got six-inches up here by Haworth; do you want some more snow, we can send some down there.

    It can depend upon what platform you are using most people consider MP3 de facto whereas WAVE is possibly more widely supported (but typically too large). Then we have OGG which is patent-free unlike MP3 so more likely to be supported by [Li]nux (ogg runs in the newer Firefox too). There are obviously other formats to consider but that's just a brief run-through.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot vassilevsky's Avatar
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    You should take a look at AAC.
    No licenses or payments are required to be able to stream or distribute content in AAC format. This reason alone makes AAC a much more attractive format to distribute content than MP3, particularly for streaming content (such as Internet radio).

  6. #6
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    MP3 is the most widely compatible format, many portable media devices do not support AAC, WAV or OGG so they are probably not the best option (unless you only want iPod users to be able to use the files). If your recording contains just voices, then 96kbs MP3 is considered the "sweet spot" for quality VS size, if it's music based however then you want 256kbs (to cover the quality for audiophiles). 64kbs for voices can work, but I find it sounds slightly tinny (where as 96kbs sounds great).

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member DjMorley's Avatar
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    its defo mp3 but saying that mp4 is slowly creeping up behind

  8. #8
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    MP3 is the most widely compatible format

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    mp3 is the best format cause almost any player in the world can play it.

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    I am recording teachings every second sunday.

    As said earlier, use mp3 if it is important that as many as possible should be able to listen to it.

    Choose 64kbit mono for smallest files and best sound quality. Mono because then you save half the file size.
    Software developer at ADCom Data
    My blog for dumping information

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    Quote Originally Posted by paalgg View Post
    Choose 64kbit mono for smallest files and best sound quality. Mono because then you save half the file size.
    A 64kbit stereo file is exactly the same size as a 64kbit mono file, though it would have a lower perceived quality as some of the bandwidth (though not nearly half as you might think) is used to store a reduced amount of stereo information.

    Stereo mp3s are generally encoded using joint stereo - there's not a direct 2:1 correlation at all when using this, the stereo information is encoded using far fewer bits than the main mono information, as in most stereo files there is only slight differences between left and right channels.

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    The best format that i can recommend to you is to used mp3 format. And we all know that there are many people who uses and preferred mp3 format for audio..

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    I thought mp3 is the worst lossy audio format around when it comes to compression ratio.
    Simon Pieters

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    zcorpan, it's not the worst (by far), RA (RealAudio) is probably the worst I have come across. However it is a lossy format (it's how the compression is engineered) so if you want audiophile quality audio you would be better off using a lossless format like OGG or a raw WAV. I usually say have one of each... the widely compatible MP3 version (for the average joe) and an OGG file for the seriously audio-lusty individuals

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    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Technically the Ogg Vorbis family is a container format and has Lossy versions; just in case anyone gets confused. Typically it is assumed a "Lossy" but may contain an audio stream compressed with FLAC (Lossless).

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    Windows Media, maybe.

    But MP3 beats all of them. The beauty of MP3s is that they combine great sound quality with small file size — up to 12 times smaller than standard WAV files. While MP3 is traditionally used for downloading and uploading audio files, it is fast becoming a popular streaming format. It's a little more complicated to set up than other formats but offers many advantages including being the most compatible format.

  17. #17
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    xhtmlcoder, actually (Technically), FLAC is an entirely different format proposed by XIPH (the group who manage both FLAC, Theora and Vorbis), OGG itself is the container which can have lossy or lossless versions but generally their either wrapped using Vorbis which CAN be lossless if quality is set to 100% (but it still compresses) or it can degrade to a lossy format (the default as you said) and FLAC is a purely lossless format when compression is applied.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Guru Zygoma's Avatar
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    Ok so MP3 is king today thank you for your replies now brace yourselves for the second conundrum...

    On this page:
    http://www.pauserefreshment.co.uk/pressreleases1.html
    right at the bottom Ive got this bit of code:

    Code:
    <embed src="audio/ridings_fm_5jan_2010.mp3"
    autostart="true" loop="false" controller="true" id="whatever.mp3"
    name="bg song" pluginspage="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/">
    </embed>
    As you can see it score 1 point out of 100 for fast download. Previous posts have talked about flash streaming is a method to stop it taking days to down load the audio track.

    So my question is:
    How do I get a flash player thing into the code and onto the website?

    Any insights welcome :-)
    I have had a perfectly wonderful
    evening, but this wasn't it-
    Julius "GROUCHO" Marx - 1890-1977
    http://www.davidclick.com

  19. #19
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    Have a look at longtails media player, it's well documented on how to embed and use.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    zcorpan, it's not the worst (by far), RA (RealAudio) is probably the worst I have come across.
    Ah, fair enough; I probably should have said "one of the worst".
    Simon Pieters

  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru Zygoma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastCoast View Post
    Have a look at longtails media player, it's well documented on how to embed and use.
    Nice one thanks :-)
    I have had a perfectly wonderful
    evening, but this wasn't it-
    Julius "GROUCHO" Marx - 1890-1977
    http://www.davidclick.com

  22. #22
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    I agree with everyone above Mp3 is most popular and widely used audio format used throughout the globe

  23. #23
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    I have a client who is a comedian and for his website I used the standalone version of WP Audio Player for streaming long audio clips to his visitors.

    It's simple, good looking and gets the job done.

  24. #24
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    If you want to make the audio clips as accessible as possible I would also add a transcript link so that if a person is deaf thy can read the clip.


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