QDesign Corporation was a leader in digital audio compression technologies. The company's MP2 and MP3 technologies were used in professional audio and broadcast automation systems as well as multimedia and video production systems. However, QDesign is most well known for their music codec, originally known as LBpack, developed by Dmitry Shmunk. QDesign licensed the initial version of the codec and hired the developer to create what would become the official audio compression in Apple Computer's QuickTime v3.
The codec's official name is "RaveSound", but is commonly called QDesign Codec. It is optimized to compress quite well at very low bitrates, but its aggressiveness introduces audible artifacts at higher bitrates. The QDesign codec made it possible to deliver full-bandwidth stereo audio over a 28K modem thus surpassing RealAudio in delivering high-quality real-time audio over the Internet during the early days of streaming media.
The personal version comes with QuickTime Pro and allows encoding at bitrates up to 48 kbit/s. The professional version allows bitrates up to 128 kbit/s.
Apple is now steering away from proprietary codecs in QuickTime like Sorenson Video and QDesign, and focusing on standards (MPEG-4). In recent years, usage of QDMC has generally been eschewed in favor of AAC.
The company continued its advances in digital audio compression and security to introduce "QDX", a proprietary audio format targeted at providing the music industry with a solution to secure digital music distribution. The Company was acquired in 2002 by DTS.