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Old 02 July 2017, 01:46 am   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 372
Thumbs up Musepack in 2017

Hi, dev.

Andree Buschmann started working on Musepack long before graduating from Hannover university, with electrical engineering and digital audio signal processing among his degrees. Although he's been working in major companies as a software engineer, senior manager, and director of system integration, his main interests are still acoustics, audio signal processing and complicated things like that and in recent years he has made contributions to the Rockbox project, greatly improving Musepack decoding performance, among other things.

I wasn't among the earliest testers or users, so I can't tell any nice stories about that period. I've heard some things about the stages of the development and obsessive (in a good way) people who contributed to improving it, but it wouldn't be appropriate to tell half-stories, so I'll leave it to others in case they ever feel like sharing it.

Frank Klemm is a man who many people would call a DSP guru. He has had many years of experience with advanced signal processing, psychoacoustics, circuit optimization, etc. before he came in to help with Musepack development. He worked on integrating and optimizing an advanced psychoacoustic model, and much of the tweaking was based on listening tests done by himself and users. With each update or few, there were noticeable, big improvements, until it slowly reached a point where changing things further was not necessary or resulted in other things becoming worse instead.

The current state is that anyone who dares to touch anything in the audio-related code quickly realizes they're way over their head and that every tiny change can amazingly degrade everything. Anyone who looks at the audio-related code and isn't a world-class DSP guru thinks they're looking at an extraterrestrial language. After some further browsing, the response is basically "wow, I have a lot to learn", we've been getting comments like that from very experienced programmers. Well-intentioned, hoping to be able to contribute something, but we have yet to hear back from anyone but that's never a surprise. There's a funny yet true recurring quote by Frank that we like: "You have very little knowledge." followed by an explanation that makes you realize just how true it is.

For over a decade, Frank Klemm has been working at Zeiss, engineering extremely advanced devices related to life sciences. A job he had always wanted and is very happy with. A bit more important than our puny audio format .

Nicolas Botti, who did most of the work on the SV8 update to Musepack and subsequent patches, has had experience with DSP coding in the past, and even designed and released an experimental Wavelet-based video codec (called rududu). He has made great improvements and optimizations to the Musepack format, which only a person who is obsessed about optimizing things and making sure it's done right, could have done. I can't expand on more personal details.

Peter Pawlowski, known mainly as the author of foobar2000 (and of Winamp's main components, before that), has made big contributions to Musepack, migrating between programming languages, arrangement, bug and security fixes. He's a very experienced programmer who does things right and kills you if your code is bad. Well not really, although he is nicknamed "DEATH". And he's a great friend. It's funny that I think fondly of that name when I see it. It's derived from an internal joke by a great early Musepack contributor called Filburt .. (goes a bit like "MPC IST DEATH! VQF IST GOD!" )

People have come and gone, and we haven't heard from some of them in a long time, but we'll always appreciate their years-long ongoing support. Mainly Lefungus (who did plugins and other things for years) and Ganymed (the man behind Mp3tag, great guy). We get patches from people occasionally, mentioned in our SVN. We're always open to any contribution.

Seed (Meni Berman) had been a Musepack tester from the early days, and there's no one whose taste in music and sound in general I appreciate more. He and I are musicians, and I'm a sound engineer, mastering engineer, and audio production software algorithm designer, so yeah, good sounds is what we're all about . Along with him, I had fought to save Musepack back in 2003 when business people with interests in competing as well as unrelated formats were trying to get rid of Musepack by means of taking over other software projects, and web domains (including this one) and trying to bury it while promoting other things. I won't expand on that terrible time, but I'll just say we have all the info, logs, everything we'd ever need, in case anyone ever decides to open that shameful chapter in open-source software. Being lovers of music and fine sound quality, it has always been in our interest to make sure support for Musepack grows and is available to everyone in the software and hardware they use. To a large extent, we've had great success since then, and today it's possible to play MPC files on any mobile device that's worth anything, and many other devices.

I've been providing info/answers to all kinds of people, from users to students to journalists to developers who want to integrate Musepack in their production-oriented software, and I've been hosting the site and software since 2004 and making sure that we always have stellar uptime, without asking for support from anyone and without putting a single ad on it, and that's how it's always going to stay, completely free of any "special interests". grimmel (real name private), another great old friend of ours has been a great help with SVN and Trac hosting.

There is indeed not much happening these past years, but definitely that doesn't mean anything is wrong, we're always here and MPC is working great and making people and their batteries happy .

Nice to hear from you.

Ah and I'm not sure exactly how the name "Musepack" was reached, but it was meant to be a short for "Music Packer" and of course a replacement to the old, less appropriate name, and it correlates with the "MPC" file name extension.
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