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ATRAC3+ (HiMD) now playable by ffmpeg

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I am happy to report that the most recent releases of ffmpeg (going back no more than a couple of months, I haven't yet pinpointed exactly what date this happened) have support for playing and also transcoding the Hi-MD formats.

This does NOT include ATRAC Advanced Lossless, sadly, but perhaps this will follow in due course.

This is an amazing breakthrough! I haven't tested it yet but I think this means that all previously unreadable files uploaded from MD and HiMD are now playable. It may not yet work with VLC, and I will report back on that once I have downloaded and installed the very latest of that. I will also test the ability to play back files that have not been run through the File Conversion Tool to remove their encryption.

Update:

1. It looks like the key release was made in March though there are some updates (which likely have nothing to do with ATRAC) since then. This is a RELEASED version, not beta-test.

2. Uploaded files no longer need to be decrypted/deprotected/converted to be played by ffmpeg and its relatives. I tested this. This means that all the folks who come here looking for help with files that got lost with a Windows update/regen are now able to play them without restriction.

Finally, just to be clear, there is now a completely windows-independent way to play ATRAC files of most types. This includes (or will include, at any rate, very soon indeed) players like VLC running on Android tablets and phones, as well as on linux and Mac. The latest VLC does not yet include these changes, but I believe the developers are working on them as I type.

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ffmpeg is not a player. But it can be, and is used by some players as the "action" layer. There's something called ffplay which comes with it.

The same technology finds its way into VLC, with which you are probably familiar.

The streaming server I use on LAN, uses it to convert and/or stream over DLNA. And there are several such products. The solution is to stream something more standard (high rate mp3 or WAV) which today's wireless devices, and network-aware hifi understand.

Make sense?

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Thanks for the informations.

I used WinFF (which uses ffmpeg) to convert all my unusable oma files recorded my self using Mz-th10 to convert them in mp3. My PC did an overnight work to convert all 933 files worth 16 gb.

your information made my day.

thanks once again.

 

One thing is sure, i will never come back on a drm based recording format like atrac.

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You're welcome.

 

Sony actually abandoned protection when they went to Atrac Advanced Lossless (by contrast WMA Pro lossless is a protected format, I think, maybe someone will correct me, also Apple lossless). The latest gear will play AAL, I know because I have one of their new walkmen.

 

I don't like the ranting about protection. ATRAC is still a wonderful format, giving the biggest bang for the buck in terms of wonderful sound using minimal amounts of disk space.

 

I had to set my ffmpeg conversion for LP2 and LP4 (132 and 66kbps respectively) to default to 256kbps mp3. The default conversion that ffmpeg wanted to do gave me a pile of c*&p with 128kbps and 64kbps mp3. So make sure you check what the output rates of your converted sound are - or you may have a horrible shock.

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Really, there are new products that can read ATRAC AL?  How do you even encode that nowadays?  Still have to use SonicStage?  Since ATRAC AL is a core/residual format (IIRC) that means the new products should read any ATRAC3+ files too, right?  Or is DRM stopping that from happening?

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You are correct. Remember that AAL never had DRM. The info is in several other threads, but the gist is the Japanese version of the walkmen will play ATRAC without any restrictions (that I know of) and can read drag-and-dropped files.

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Followup re: VLC

 

I contacted the lead developer at VLC about the fact that (when I last checked) the VLC player does not play ATRAC3+ at all. Apparently someone gave them the wrong sample (probably an ATRAC3 sample) for testing.

 

Is there anyone out there reading this who is well in with the VLC crowd? If not, I would appreciate a flurry of bug reports coming from lots of different people to shame them into fixing this (assuming it isn't fixed already). I was really underwhelmed by Monsieur Kempf's moving this into "Bugz Paradise", without waiting for any followup - his idea of efficiency, I imagine. No response to a further 3 or 4 emails I sent.

 

VLC is a fine product but this action leaves us out there stuck in the wind. Long live ffmpeg!

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I got a note in my mailbox this morning indicating that this bug is now fixed. The nightly builds for today are not yet posted. However we can probably expect them to be done shortly.

 

This means that with the exception of AAL (which was never encrypted anyway) all MD formats uploaded to PC are no longer locked down to the machine and that VLC as well as ffmpeg can now play ANY ATRAC3 or ATRAC3+ file on demand.

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I have now tested this and I am happy to say that the 32-bit Windows version works perfectly.

 

If you want to check it out, go here:

 

http://nightlies.videolan.org/build/win32/vlc-3.0.0-20150208-2058/

 

I am not sure why, but the 64-bit version doesn't seem to be working yet. It dies with no error message whatsoever. Stay tuned.

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Followup: the fix has found its way into "Weatherwax", the latest stable released version of VLC, 2.2.0 to be precise.

 

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html

 

Once again, I would repeat that this is the ONLY way to play your files for those of you who uploaded to PC and got stranded by Sonic Stage's protection if you failed to run the File Conversion Tool.

 

Stephen

(I have tested the 64-bit version as well, and it works).

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And.... indeed, into the version of VLC for Android phones! Amazing, now I can copy .oma files straight onto my generic Android device and play them. Probably not as good as Sony's Walkmen, but certainly convenient.

 

Is the real end of the minidisc, I ask myself?

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