Planetary Bio-Harmonics

Designed for the
Attunement, Transformation &
the Evolution of Consciousness

FAQs About the m4a (MP4)Audio Files

(2008 Information)

Topics on this web page:

Downloading Issues
About m4a Files
Burning m4a Audio files onto a CD
Sound Adjustment: Headphones; Sound Chambers & Sound Beds
m4a Software Players
Portable m4a Players

Downloading:

Because people often encounter various problems when downloading files of any type, and information about these problems is prolific but scattered on the internet, I've added the most obvious issues and their solutions here.

ZIP Archive files (.zip)

All of the audio files are in the .zip archive format. Downloading .zip files should be pretty straight forward on any computer including a MAC or PC.

If you ordered the complete Audio Package, consiting of nine audio files, you can download the entire package using the Bio_Har_audio_pk.zip file; or you can download one file at a time. The .zip package is quite large (~150 Mb), thus recommended for a broadband (high-speed) connection to the internet. Individual files are also in the .zip format (simply to make downloading easier, because most computers know what to do with zip.files).

Dial-up Downloading

If you are trying to download large files with Dial-up, you may also want to consider an "external download manager" used with "Flashgot." This will continue a download where it left off should the download be interrupted or if the line conncetion is dropped, which is common with dial-up. The Flashgot extension will work with many browsers and external download managers. See: External Download Managers.

Where are my Downloads?
Where to find download settings on your computer

* Windows -Tools: Options: Downloads - Ask me where to save every file / select option
* MAC OS X - Safari: Preferences: General - Save Download Files To / select option
* Mac OS X - Firefox: Preferences: Downloads - Ask me where to save every file / select option
* On Linux - File: Preferences: Downloads - Ask me where to save every file / select option

About m4a Audio Files

m4a is the audio format succeeding the MP3 audio format. The m4a format uses the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and thus is also called an AAC file format. The m4a file extension is that used for the audio portion of MPEG-4 (MP4) DVDs, which contain both audio and video. One main advantage of the m4a (AAC) format over the older MP3 format is its better sound quality, approaching that of a studio produced CD, while maintaining a smaller file size.

There are a few different file extensions used for naming the audio portions of MPEG-4 files: The common ones are m4a, m4b and m4p.

* MPEG-4 files with audio and video generally use the standard .MP4 extension.
* Audio-only MPEG-4 files generally have the m4a extension (or m4b or m4p).
The m4b format indicates the file may have "chapter bookmarks" (typical of audiobooks and podcasts)
The m4p format indicates a DRM protected audio file - typical of music downloads covered by "FairPlay."

Most audio/video players capable of playing MPEG-4 files will recognize audio files with either .m4a or .m4b file extensions. The m4p file extension (a DRM protect version) can be played only on media players that support the DRM protected versions, such as iTunes.

The "bit rate" of an audio file also effects the quality of the audio and also the file size. The higher the bit rate the larger the file. m4a audio files typically have stereo bit rates of 128 kbps, 192 kbps, or 256 kbps. The Planetary Bio-Harmonic audio downloads are m4a files / 256 kbps bit rate (the highest quality m4a files).

More technical info can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding

Burning m4a Audio files onto a CD

If you burn the m4a files directly to a CD, you would have to have a multi-media CD player that plays MP4 files. The common approach is to convert the m4a files to the older MP3 format (slightly lower quality) before burning to a CD because most CD players will play MP3 files. You will then have to burn a MP3-CD (Note: Very old CD players may not play MP3 audios either.)

There are many audio format converters available for MAC and PC. iTunes can convert m4a files to MP3 files (and and other formats), and burn CDs as well. "Switch" by NCH Swift Sound is an excelent and simple audio file conversion utility for MAC, Windows, and LInux.

Professionally produced Music CDs generally uses the non-compressed AIFF format, which is in the CDA format category). There are also Super Audio CDs (SACD) recently developed by Sony/Philips. Both of these formats are very high-quality and are not suitable for internet streaming or downloading due to their very large file size.

A CD has the space for these larger, higher quality formats, where as the MP3, the new m4a, and some other audio file formats are designed for downloading or streaming (being played) over the internet.

Even though the MP3 format is a lower quality and was originally developed for internet audio, CD recorders and players were developed that could record and play the MP3 format simply so people could record downloaded files from the internet onto CDs. Putting an MP3 on a CD does not improve the quality of the MP3. Once a higher quality (raw) audio file is encoded as a lower-quality file suitable for the internet, there is no way to get the higher quality data back. Burning a lower quality file format downloaded over the intent onto a CD is simply done for convenience. It is something that can be done on a home computer. However, you will never end up with the quality of a professionally produced Music CD.

The m4a format, as mentioned above, is a significant improvement over the MP3 format, approaching that of CD quality; but it was also designed for internet audio as well. Burning m4a files to a CD does not improve its quality either. But only m4a media players will play a m4a files. The purpose of the m4a file format is to improve the quality over the MP3 format and still be able to offer it over the internet. Audiophiles wanting the best quality music files should purchase CDs that were originally engineered with the CDA or SACD formats.

Bottom line: converting the m4a audio files to MP3 files and burning them onto a CD will reduce the quality slightly but it will not destroy the bio-harmonic effect of the Planetary Audios.

The only other consideration here is that most CD players will play all of the songs on a CD in succession (one right after the previous one). Thus you may need to stop the player after one audio meditation so the next one does not automatically start when you do not want it to. (There are several seconds of silence at the end of each meditation, which helps.) Some players may allow you to play only one song and stop. The other option is to burn each meditation on a separate CD.

Sound Adjustment

Stereo Headphones, Sound Chambers and Sound Beds

Stereo Headphones are highly recommended because additional harmonics are produced within the brain from the audio frequencies entering the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Unless you have a stereo setup where the left and right audio is isolated on each side of the head, this would not occur. There are also very low frequencies that may not be as audible without headphones. I have not done any research using the audios without headphones for this reason. So please keep this in mind if you choose to not using headphones. Sound Chambers or Sound Beds are another option to consider. Generally these are designed for optimal audio effects, and can provide a means for the entire body to be exposed to the planetary harmonics.

Equalizers

For media players that have an "audio equalizer" such as iTunes, it is best to adjust the Equalizer to "Flat." This will keep the many low frequencies common to these audio file meditations from distorting. If you have the equalizer adjusted properly and hear any low-frequency distortion, simply lower the volume for comfortable listening.

Software Players that support m4a Audio files (as of 2008)

There are many software players that play m4a audio. The most common are:

* iTunes (for Mac and PC) http://www.apple.com/
* Media Player Classic
* MPlayer
* QuickTime 7 (for Mac and PC) http://www.apple.com/quicktime/
* RealPlayer
* Winamp Media Player 5.52 http://www.winamp.com
* Windows Media Player 11 http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/default.aspx

Windows Media Player (including WMP11) requires an AAC codec - available here:
http://www.orban.com/plugin/

Note: Some players advertised as "MP4 players" are actually MP3 players with an AMV video capacity added. Those players may not play the MPEG-4 format, or m4a audio files.

Portable Players capable of playing digital m4a files(as of 2008)

* iPod
* iPhone
* BlackBerry 8100 | 8300 | 8800
* Nokia N Series, Nokia 5300 and Nokia 5700
* PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable
* Sony Walkman and Sony Ericsson Walkman Phones
* AT&T Tilt
* Verizon XV6800
* Samsung SGH ULTRA series