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Re: Sound file formats for journal

I wouldn't rely on Flash or any other de-facto standard. I would also advise against a server-side solution, journal web pages disappear as fast as author pages.

If you really want to ensure that the media will not disappear they should be part of the document itself.  The PDF format has support for embedding media (audio and video) and I would highly recommend making use of that.  Most PDF software can render the attached media without making use of any external software (e.g. Acrobat will play wav, mp3, mp4, aif and wma inline once you click on a trigger). This imposes no extra burden on the user and guarantees that the data will be available instantly all the time.  This is a much more streamlined experience, you see a graph, you click on it, you get a sound.  Redirecting people to websites, necessitating an internet connection, or extra software is not of much help.

If one wishes to use a more exotic audio format it is also possible to add a file attachment to a PDF which can then be rendered by the appropriate software externally. It is trivial to embed any kind of media using either standard GUI desktop software or LaTeX, so there's minimal burden on the authors.

We're actually in the process of pushing the IEEE to allow that functionality for audio-related PDFs in their library. The sticking point is that the archival quality PDF format does not embed media, but that was an arbitrary decision which will eventually be revised.


On Sep 14, 2012, at 8:47 AM, Bryan A Pardo <pardo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

A lot of people are trying to get away from flash and move towards HTML5. HTML5 playback of MP3 is OK if your client is Chrome or Safari. Firefox does not pay licensing fees for MP3 so you need to support file playback in Flash if you use MP3, or you can run with Ogg Vorbis for Firefox to stay in HTML5. If you just make files available for download then this isn’t an issue….
-          Bryan Pardo
From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception [mailto:AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John O'Connell
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 7:41 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [AUDITORY] Sound file formats for journal

Hi Robert,

You didn't mention how you planned to implement this embedding of sounds into the online journal. As it is online then perhaps this solution would work... its used by sites like soundcloud and last fm and it supports a lot of formats and a lot of different browsers and devices.


It probably doesn't support flac:


Also, if you don't have time to implement support for all these audio codecs, you could utilise software like ffmpeg on the server side to transcode all uploaded stimuli to wave/MP3.  You thus avoid the issues associated with online playback of audio. You could then offer users the option to download the stimuli in their original formats.



El 14/09/2012 14:00, "Etienne Gaudrain" <egaudrain.cam@xxxxxxxxx> escribió:
Hello Dan,

I realized part of my message was unclear.

I might be wrong but I think the ubiquitous method to play sound files in a web-browser is, to date, based on Flash. This is the only third-party multimedia plugin that is available on almost all computers (and plateforms). Now if you download an MP3 file on your machine, of course there's gazillions of (free) software that will let you read them, not disputing that.

Now, as Flash is more-or-less set to disappear, especially on portable devices, a lot of people have turned to HTML5. There you really rely on what the browser natively supports. Again, I may be wrong but to my knowledge, while IE, Chrome and Safari support MP3 (and not OGG, apart for Chrome), Firefox and Opera support OGG (and not MP3). They all support WAV though (well, except IE but who cares). So if compatibility is to be maintained with all three main browsers, then both MP3 and OGG should be used. That's what I wanted to suggest.

As for Nick's suggestion about mp3HD, I think this is a bit dangerous because only players (and readers) supporting mp3HD will read the lossless part. The others will only read the compressed part. So it might be a bit tricky to know which part is actually used.


On 14/09/2012 09:55, Dan Stowell wrote:

It's not clear to me whether you're asking about short-term presentation or long-term archival. I think Etienne's response covers the important points for short-term (although I would point out that MP3 has an overwhelming critical mass of usage, and certainly doesn't rely on flash for playback!).

For archival, the "TC04" archiving standard (IASA 2009) would recommend that you aim for 24bit / 96 kHz BWAV (BWAV, "Broadcast WAV", is related to ordinary WAV, with some small tweaks to the format for scaleability).


On 13/09/12 15:54, Robert Zatorre wrote:
Dear list

In an effort to enhance the Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience
journal, we would like to enable sounds files to be uploaded for
reviewers to be able to hear the stimuli used in a given experiment.
Eventually we would also like to have a means of having these sound
files embedded directly into the online journal article so that readers
can hear the stimuli used. (Of course this could apply not only to
stimuli, but also to other sound files that are part of the study, such
as recorded vocalizations, speech or musical sounds produced under some
experimental conditions, and so forth)

My question for you all is what file formats do you think we would need
to support? The two obvious ones are wav and mp3, but perhaps there are
others that you may think are important or that have some advantages
that should also be considered.

Thank you for your thoughts.

PS feel free to send me your comments directly


Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D.
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University St.
Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B4
phone: 1-514-398-8903
fax: 1-514-398-1338
e-mail: robert.zatorre@xxxxxxxxx
web site: www.zlab.mcgill.ca