Is this the Death Knell for MP3?

New ‘.rip’ music file format captures the DNA of any song, making it possible for anyone to interact with music like never before

South London-based audio technology firm Neuratron Group Ltd has unveiled a new audio file format which will make it possible for users to convert CD or MP3 audio into a new, proprietary format called ‘.rip’ – which essentially turns any song “inside-out”, making it possible for users to interact with and manipulate the track as they wish.

The first piece of software to use this stunning new format is Hit ‘n’ Mix for Windows – software which allows mashup DJs to create stunning new tracks from their existing MP3s – which is available from www.hitmix.com now for £79.99. A free, limited use version called Hit ‘n’ Mix Player can also be downloaded from the site.

The proprietary technology that generates .rip files uses a short scanning process that deconstructs any song into its component parts, which can then be manipulated individually or collectively. For example, vocals can be stripped or replaced; drums can be suppressed or altered; piano can be added or subtracted; brass or strings tweaked – virtually every element of any song can be manipulated, either individually, in batches, or automatically using the software’s presets.

It has to be seen and heard to be believed. Until now, audio processing has only allowed users to manipulate full audio mixes as a whole – shifting pitch up and down across the entire range of frequencies. With the new .rip file format, it becomes possible for users to bury deep within the DNA of any song, choosing to play with individual instruments, notes, families of instruments – anything.

The file format’s uses are endless, but here are a few which are possible:

  • Generate backing tracks from full songs, allowing you play instrumental parts yourself
  • Touch up individual notes within chords in the studio
  • Audio restoration and up-sampling
  • Create a limitless supply of karaoke songs by clicking on vocals to remove them
  • Compose and share your own bespoke music remixes easily, either remixing an entire track, or just certain elements of it
  • Play with different music styles by automatically changing a song or its component parts into different styles
  • Understand more about composition by “seeing” what an entire piece of music looks like using the visualiser
  • Generate music ‘stems’ from any piece of music
  • Convert any piece of music into a rhythm action game
  • Convert mono tracks to stereo/surround, and alter spatial positioning of notes already in stereo/surround.
  • Audio compression – it should be possible to compress files in this format much more strongly than from a standard wave-type format.
  • More intelligent and effective music visualisers/screen savers.
  • Surround/stereo audio room tracking (so listener can move around and always hear optimum spacial effect)
  • .rip files in playlist being played can be adjusted by computer games to fit the current mood of the game
  • Record companies selling .rip ‘style’ packs to allow people to get more variety/lifespan out of their purchased music.

The .rip file format is the result of years of audio technology research from music software specialist Neuratron. The firm’s other titles include AudioScore – which enables users to open a CD track or MP3 file and automatically transcribe it to a musical score – and PhotoScore, which automatically translates sheet music into fully editable MIDI and notation.

“The great Arthur C Clarke once said ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ – and that’s exactly how those who’ve seen the early prototype of the .rip file format have reacted,” says Martin Dawe, CEO, Neuratron Group Ltd. “The software is the culmination of 10 years of research in audio technology, and its results are nothing short of spectacular. We’re convinced the .rip format can go on to become the de facto file format for those with an interest in personalising their music.”

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