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UMG Audible Watermarking on Files in Apple iTunes Store - Page 2

post #16 of 65

Until some actual samples are posted, it is really mostly just guessing, and the usual armchair debate.

post #17 of 65
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

Until some actual samples are posted, it is really mostly just guessing, and the usual armchair debate.


If you watch the video link I posted, there are examples of distortion caused by 256K AAC compression in it.
post #18 of 65
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
If you watch the video link I posted, there are examples of distortion caused by 256K AAC compression in it.

And as I have posted before in another thread: what does listening to M/S separately have to do compared with transparency of lossy compression (when listening to the file as intended)?

It's a complete non sequitur (logic fail) to even suggest that when you can hear artifacts in the M or S channel that it also must be audible during normal listening.


Have you ever thought about that the artifacts heard in M/S separately may cancel each other when summed/subtracted (L/R aka simple stereo)?

Edited by xnor - 11/8/13 at 9:23am
post #19 of 65
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I couldn't find a way to post the nine-second sample here. Plus, since it is .m4a Purchased from Apple, I had to reconvert it to 320 mp3 to edit it in Cakewalk Sonar X3 so I could slice out the relevant sample. And then there's no guarantee the resulting file would be scientifically representative, though it still demonstrated what I'm hearing. Plus I remain diligent about respecting legal principles regarding distribution of other people's work, even if I'm the last on the planet doing so and am overly cautious about it. smily_headphones1.gif

Instead, I contacted Universal Music/Deutsche Grammophon, and they are looking into it.

Bottom line, Krystian Zimerman's Performance of the Chopin Ballades deserves Better Encoding! smily_headphones1.gif

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
post #20 of 65

I know nothing about Cakewalk, but Audacity supports AAC import and FLAC export, which would minimize further corruption.

There are a multitude of web services that will host your files. Even Google Docs will suffice if you already have an account.

post #21 of 65

I doubt <10 seconds requires/benefits from any compression for the few downloads likely - just post the .wav


copyright "fair use" is unfortunately "subjective" but non-commercial, educational use for exploring compression artifacts in few % of the performance, not impacting the copyright holder's commercial prospects may clear a few of the legal tests

Edited by jcx - 11/8/13 at 8:00am
post #22 of 65
Thread Starter 
Ok will fiddle with all that (have a Soundcloud account, could use that). Not sure I have permission yet as a newb here to link to files.....?

In the meantime, I suspect (can't tell since I've purchased) that if you go to the Apple Store and simply Preview the recording, you'll hear it.

The album is Chopin: Ballades, Barcarolle, Fantaisie. Artist: Kristian Zimerman.

Let me know if you hear anything if you do that, thanks! Listen via IEMs with good mid-range detail and presence, for the most distinctive result. It basically sounds like the sound is palsied. Same as if the sustained note were being sung with heavy vibrato.
post #23 of 65

If it's a compression artifact, shouldn't it be audible in just about any headphone? My experience is that when encoding messes up, it creates a clearly audible splat or gurgle. Not subtle.

post #24 of 65
Thread Starter 
True, but I can't know how well other people hear; it's obvious to me, but might not be to some listeners.

When I hear it, it makes me feel like I'm developing Parkinson's, not relaxing at all! smily_headphones1.gif
post #25 of 65
Thread Starter 
Okay, further test example for what I'm hearing:

1. Go to iTunes Store
2. Look for Elliott Carter Clarinet Concerto, BBC Symphonietta
3. Click on 2nd movement preview, Deciso
4. Listen to first 32 seconds, and wait for clarinet to hit the loud, high note. To be specific, it's at about 29 seconds to 32 seconds.
5. Do you hear the "flutter" I'm talking about?
Edited by Copperears - 11/16/13 at 8:56am
post #26 of 65
Thread Starter 
One further thing I've noticed: this issue is showing up on a number of Universal Music Company classical releases on iTunes (labels: Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, L'Oiseau-Lyre).

At this point I suspect the publisher (UM) is doing something wrong in their encoding. I have contacted the publisher and will see what they say.

I wouldn't say this is a phenomenon with iTunes recordings, or classical recordings; it appears to be isolated to this company's products.
post #27 of 65
Thread Starter 
OKAY! I've finally discovered what is causing my problem:


No more UMG music for me, period.

I'd advise you to consider the same.mad.gif
post #28 of 65

Thanks for being so persistent. I've heard of watermarked audio before but didn't think it was that audible. That's just horrible...

Makes you wonder: are those guys at Universal deaf?



@StudioSound: See, it has nothing to do with compression.

Edited by xnor - 11/18/13 at 9:50am
post #29 of 65
Thread Starter 
Yes, I was quite surprised, as I have other music with quiet passages and solo voice/tones and noticed no such artifacting, even though they are also 256 AAC iTunes Store purchased downloads.

It's been driving me mad for months, I thought maybe it was my equipment, my internet connection, my hard drive, my nervous system..... none of the above, it fortunately turns out.

Once you hear it one place, you can detect it almost anywhere it's happening.

On older recordings with an audible noise floor (analogue recordings digitally remastered but still with some tape hiss), even if it's not audible in the music, you can hear it in the modulation of the tape hiss during silent sections.

I took a look at the waveform in my audio software (again, I'm very scrupulous about not publishing any copyrighted material online, not even in fair-use format, I've respected an industry which has failed to respect me at this point, my entire life; so I will not post a sample), and there's a very noticeable, regular fluctuation in the waveform that has nothing to do with anything in the actual recorded sound, which could well be an indicator of the presence of this watermark.

I have no interest in fiddling with the files and trying to remove it myself; it's a problem UMG fixes, or I don't buy their music, period. That simple.
post #30 of 65
Thread Starter 
NOTE: I've changed the heading of this thread to point to the currently-theorized source of this problem. I will of course update with any further info I might discover or receive.

Hopefully, it's something UMG will just fix, not just for me, but for the world. It's shameful that some historic recordings are being destroyed by this kind of corporate insecurity.
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