Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

She Blinded Me With Mobile XMF

Here’s an interesting piece from Audio Design Line regarding a new file format just released from Beatnik. The format is said to produce files one-tenth the size of MP3 files and is intended for narrow bandwidth phones in emerging markets.

The format, called Mobile XMF, would work in conjunction with Beatnik’s music player, which would have to be preinstalled on the phone. Beatnik believes there’s a market for music downloads in Eastern European countries, China, Latin America, and India, where manufacturers sell lots of low-cost phones.

I sometimes hear students listening to music on their phones in the halls of the college. I find most of it unlistenable, not due to musical aesthetics, but due to the horrid audio quality. But, I imagine where the choice is between nothing and something, something wins even if highest quality is nowhere to be seen. I hope Beatnik’s offering makes a worthwhile improvement.

FYI: Beatnik was founded by Thomas Dolby of “She Blinded Me With Science” fame.


  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 31, 2007

    FLAC lossless audio for the win.

    Not as small as MP3 but smaller than a .wav and still the same quality.

  2. #2 JimFiore
    May 31, 2007

    XMF is not something I’m interested in, but I might consider adding FLAC to my Sample Wrench audio editor. I’ll have to look at the API.

    Many years ago I did some experimenting with lossless compression (zip type) of audio files. I found that if I used a double delta modulation scheme before compression I could get decent a ratio, maybe 50%, but it depended quite a bit on the source material. Lots of high end would reduce the effectiveness.

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 1, 2007

    Yeah I use FLAC for all of the music I rip. I have every CD plus a bunch of live recordings of bands all ripped to FLAC on a media server at my house. The problem is that not many if any “iPod” type devices support FLAC. I’m hoping to find something that I can use as a portable and hardwire connections in my car. I know the iRiver devices were pretty good when they came out. I haven’t checked them out recently.

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