Fun_People Archive
4 Jan
An Assessment of MP3 vs. Lucent's EPAC

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  4 Jan 99 20:17:31 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: An Assessment of MP3 vs. Lucent's EPAC

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
[No gag, but I know there are a lot of musicians and other people interested
 in audio distribution on the Fun_People list, and I'm interested, so...

Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: Tim Ruddick <>
Forwarded-by: Bernie Mueller <>
Forwarded-by: michael h mueller <>
Forwarded-by: John Klett <>
Subject: [Motu-Mac] MP3 vs.EPAC - alert to composers, producers, engineers

Dear MOTU-Mac mail list -

Just two days ago, I attended a meeting at SESAC with Lucent
technologies/Bell Labs, which was called to order by none other than Phil
Ramone. At the meeting, Lucent did blind A-B playbacks of their new
software encoder-playback technology (EPAC), compared to CD playback of
the same music. This type of technology has many applications, such as
making music files available on the internet for sale or retreival. There
is NO doubt that, very soon we will all be buying and selling music this
way. (Everything from pop hits to music libraries. Think: the audio
equivalent of EPAC is truly outstanding. Undistinguishable
from the CD playback, in my view. Some of the attendees actually preferred
the decoded EPAC sound.

Then, we heard MP3 playback, a competing technology. Ouch! Sounds to me
like a super-compressed, flanging audio cassette. Truly awful, to the ears
of everyone at the meeting. But, we feared, potentially quite acceptable
to many lower-end consumers, AND ... there is no doubt that MP3 has gotten
out of the gate first. It is already in use.

Hey, it's Beta vs. VHS all over again. Damn it, DON'T SETTLE! Do whatever
you can to give Lucent/Bell the support they deserve for this outstanding
work. Do not let MP3 become the crappy little de facto standard (in my
opinion) it will surely become, if we sit around and let it. Please -- we
owe it to ourselves to take a stand for the quality that we all slave so
hard to create.

And furthermore: Lucent is implementing watermarking/encoding technology
-- in tandem with the sound technology -- which is designed not only to
help us create and claim our ASCAP/BMI/SESAC rights, but will ALSO prevent
consumer-level recopying of our music. This, too, was demonstrated for
us. It's nice to know, for a change, that a big important company like
Lucent (with 2000 PhD's and 10 Nobel Prize winners) has taken the effort
-- from the beginning, and without prompting -- to hold our interests as
dearly as their own.

As Phil Ramone warned, the implications are sweeping, regarding both
quality and copyright protection. We are witnessing our livelihoods and
professions at the crossroads. In the meanwhile, it's my understanding
that MP3 is already being used in unauthorized copying situations that
composers are unable to prevent.

Could the choice be more clear?

But don't take my word for it. Make it your business (actually, it already
is) to hear EPAC for yourself. For more information, contact:

Joyce Eastman
Manager=F3New Ventures Group
Bell Labs
480 Redhill Road
Middletown, NJ 07748

And while you're at it, PLEASE forward this to the other audio pros that you

Keep up the good work.

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