Musepack (formerly MPEGplus ) is a free, based on MP2 codec algorithms for lossy audio data compression that has been optimized for very good sound quality at high bit rates down.


Musepack was launched in 1997 by Andree Buschmann and later further developed by Frank Klemm. Musepack is designed to achieve better transparency than other former codecs that were designed for constant bit rate. Musepack used exclusively variable bit rates. As the " Musepack Development Team ", took over the development continues under the direction of Frank Klemm, 2004, the source code was released and placed under the GNU Lesser General Public License. At the present time (2008) the further development is uncertain.

Differences to other formats

Used at the time of emergence Muse packs the popular audio codecs ( such as the most widely used MP3 codec ) mainly constant bit rate, which overall very negative impact on the sound quality. In contrast, Musepack used exclusively variable bit rate, the bit rate 3-1300 kbit / s may fluctuate. Furthermore, were introduced several technical innovations, such as Huffman coding and noise substitution. Current codecs like AAC support these or similar procedures but also in the meantime.

File Format

Musepack files have the file name extension mpc, mpp or mp . Metadata is added in the form of APEv2 tags.

Supported input formats when encoding

  • Channels: 1 to 8 ( SV8 )
  • Bit Depth: 1 to 32 bit linear PCM
  • Sampling rates: 32 kHz, 37.8 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz
  • WAV, raw PCM data, many compressed audio formats such as FLAC, LPAC, APE, OptimFROG and Shorten


  • Very good sound quality, especially at bit rates from about 160-180 kbit / s For many listeners transparency is achieved here already.
  • Very fast encoding / decoding
  • Relatively good software support. Supporting programs ( natively or through plug-ins) are, for example, Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit ), VLC Media Player, Windows Media Player
  • Gapless playback ( gapless playback of consecutive audio files)
  • Free of patent- prone procedures ( according to developers )
  • Open Source


  • No support for sample rates above 48 kHz (what a music format, however, is not a disadvantage in practice, see Nyquist frequency)
  • Good quality only at bit rates of approximately 100 Kbit / s or more. Other formats such as Vorbis and itself (which technically obsolete ) MP3 deliver at lower bit rates usually better results.
  • Low penetration
  • Hardly hardware support


The importance of Musepack has in recent years (as of 2007) decreased significantly. The most widespread was Musepack under very demanding music lovers who were not satisfied by the sound quality of MP3. Due to the decline in prices for mass storage devices (especially hard drives) but is now more likely to put in this area to lossless compression. Not least, the MP3 codec, we have continuously developed and optimized, variable bit rates are here now standard. Winamp ( V5.57 ) for example, supports the format continues (as of January 2010).