Question

Opus codec support on SoundCloud?

  • 27 November 2014
  • 16 replies
  • 1108 views

Userlevel 1
Do you plan to add support for Opus codec (*.opus files) for upload and playback? Opus is patent free, state of the art modern codec which surpasses MP3 and Vorbis and AAC.

16 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi again shmerl ;-)

This is not planned for immediate release, but I've made sure to pass it on to the relevant product team for review. Thanks for posting on our help forum!

Cheers,
Mathis
I'll just place this here...
https://www.opus-codec.org/examples/
Userlevel 1
I'd also add this: http://listening-test.coresv.net/results.htm
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
I'd also add this: http://listening-test.coresv.net/results.htm
Thanks for the feedback!
Userlevel 3
Please support Opus. It's a much more efficient codec than mp3 with virtually zero artifacts at the existing 128kbps bitrate you are using for mp3. It has native support on every mayor browser by now: http://caniuse.com/#feat=opus (hopefully it will be integrated into Edge as well, see https://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/257854-microsoft-edge-developer/suggestions/6513488-ogg-vorbis-an...)
Userlevel 1
Please support Opus. It's a much more efficient codec than mp3 with virtually zero artifacts at the existing 128kbps bitrate you are using for mp3. It has native support on every mayor browser by now: http://caniuse.com/#feat=opus (hopefully it will be integrated into Edge as well, see https://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/257854-microsoft-edge-developer/suggestions/6513488-ogg-vorbis-an...)
3/10 != 50%+ of all browsers
especially mobil browsers are missing still

I don't understand though why Chrome for Android doesn't support it, yet
and Firefox doesn't run performant enough on my mobil devices that I could use it there

And it's a bummer that M$ and Apple aren't using it, yet
Userlevel 1
I would like to know whether it is on the engineers agenda to atleast implement support for Opus as a format that we can upload audio files in

It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

yeah but I just said that because implementing it for playback would require additional space because the browser fallback is still needed
What I'm wondering about though is why soundcloud doesn't already use aac instead of mp3.
Aac provides way better sound quality than mp3 and the browser support is the same (see caniuse: http://caniuse.com/#feat=aac)
And soundcloud should support atleast a bitrate of 196kbit/s or even 256kbit/s for premium.

And even though you shouldn't upload your songs with opus, it won't make a significant difference at high bitrates and soundcloud should atleast support it IMO.
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

Simple - AAC is patent encumbered and requires paying royalties. And quality wise, Opus beats AAC for the same bitrates (see listening test link above).
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

ok, paying royalities is a good reason
though I don't know much higher they are than the ones they already need to pay for MP3
but I doubt it
especially since it's free to distribute aac encoded material (for example as a stream or a file)
http://www.vialicensing.com/licensing/aac-faq.aspx

^you only need to pay royalties for sold encoders/decoders

and I was talking about the support
opus doesn't have near full browser support, yet
so it's no ideally, sadly

the test you linked is good but
why do they even test aac at a 50kbit/s bitrate
what is that supposed to show? that an audio file encoded at a lower bitrate than others sounds worse? that's expected already

and faac is not the best aac encoder (afaik)
already the apple aac shows that, because it sounds similar to opus at bitrates above 100kbit/s (at 128kbit/s it's probably indistinguishable from opus)
and there is another encoder that wasn't even compared here: fdk aac (Frauenhofer IIS), this codec is recommended by Handbrake for example

in the end I would prefer opus over aac being used
but it's not much better and less supported

first of all soundcloud would probably switch to aac
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

For Soundcloud to use aac encoder to distribute stuff (i.e. to publish on the site) - they'll have to pay royalties as far as I know. Any patent encumbered codec is a major mess and financial drain to use. So they should simply avoid them. Opus support in browsers is catching up, and with Edge supporting it it will be practically universal.

Apple will probably never support free codecs just because they hate the idea, so not sure if there is anything that can be done about that. With advance of WebAssembly, an efficient Opus decoder can be written in it may be to bypass Apple's nastiness.
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

lol, you know that ALAC is open-source and royalty free?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless

We will see about webm and opus support in the future, they might never support it, who knows?

anyways, you should at least read a few you points of the faq (via) I linked
[...]Besides the license fees, are there any other costs involved?
There is an initial fee of $15,000 due upon execution of the license. This fee is a one-time charge and not an annual fee or an annual minimum.[...]

[...]Are there use fees for aac?
No. License fees are due on the sale of encoders and/or decoders only. There are no patent license fees due on the distribution of bit-stream encoded in AAC, whether such bit-streams are broadcast, streamed over a network, or provided on physical media.[...]

though I'm not completely sure, as it also says:
[...]An AAC patent license is needed by manufacturers or developers of end-user encoder and/or decoder products.[...]

so maybe it's really enough to pay the developer of the encoder you are using?
I'm not sure.
Userlevel 1
It would be nice to have it for playback but that is no neccessity
Uploading anything that will be transcoded is not useful if you don't do it in lossless format (since transcoding from lossy to lossy will degrade quality). So I wouldn't worry much about uploading, but actually would be more interested in direct Opus playback on the site.

Those patent conditions are a minefield because they can change at any time. Relying on them is a risk. Imagine investing a huge amount of effort into that, and then being hit with some patent fee.

And ALAC is a simple NIH effort. Where is Apple's support for FLAC?
Please support Opus. It's a much more efficient codec than mp3 with virtually zero artifacts at the existing 128kbps bitrate you are using for mp3. It has native support on every mayor browser by now: http://caniuse.com/#feat=opus (hopefully it will be integrated into Edge as well, see https://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/257854-microsoft-edge-developer/suggestions/6513488-ogg-vorbis-an...)
Good news:

https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2016/04/18/webm-vp9-and-opus-support-in-microsoft-edge/
Userlevel 1
damn, I'm sorry for my harsh comments back then.
They weren't meant to sound that way. Looking back, ugh :/

Anyways:
Apple finally added support for FLAC and opus in iOS 11 :)

EDGE supports Opus now as well (see Khalid's comment)
only Opera Mini and ie remain, which likely won't change.

I wonder whether soundcloud's engineers are also waiting because of the beautiful but impractical ogg container (http://hardwarebug.org/2010/03/03/ogg-objections/)

Even Spotify introduced ogg vorbis only together with a custom indexing technique to allow proper seeking.

They could use opus in a webm/Matroska container instead though.

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