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Should I convert all my audio to 256 AAC?
Ouroboros
post May 4 2012, 17:25
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Exactly. If the music's complexity doesn't require lots of bits then the encoder produces smaller frames. Don't get hung up on the bit rate - it's an incidental outcome of the perceptual transparency ("quality") you are trying to achieve. For example, after lots of reading and lots of comparative listening tests (some ABX, some not) I settled on LAME V2 for most of my encoding, and on some albums get average bit rates around 130 kbit/s, while on others it will average around 220 kbit/s. I don't care, they still sound fine. smile.gif

For XLD (Quicktime) encoding you have three choices when it comes to picking a quality setting:

1. Do your own listening tests with a range of quality settings
2. Read around to see what settings others are using
3. Use the default / recommended setting

1. takes time but will give you results that you know work for you, 2. relies on other people, not all of whom can be relied on to be impartial or accurate, 3. assumes that the developers have done 1.

Based on my experience with LAME - settling on V2, which is towards the top end of what many people recommend for casual or portable listening to non-problem genres, and is what many people would casually recommend - I'd suggest that some test encodes using the default settings (110?) might be worthwhile, but it all depends on how much time you want to spend.
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polemon
post May 4 2012, 18:44
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QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 3 2012, 15:51) *
Hi all, I'm currently researching what the best route is to go with when converting over my CD library. I realize that everyone loves Lossless (which I'll use for archiving the CD's) but I'm looking for "the best" lossy encoding.
[...]
Is there any reason I would regret the decision to go AAC over mp3?

Well, I don't know, but I personally think, that AAC isn't as much a replacement for MP3 as a lot of people would like it to. I mean. MP3 still isn't dead, and due to improvement in encoders like Lame, it kinda get's improved over the years, even though the codec is old, etc. I'd much rather see OPUS be the next "big thing", but I believe that this just wishful thinking :)


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Kohlrabi
post May 4 2012, 18:59
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QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 4 2012, 17:56) *
I noticed that the true vbr quality 110 was showing some files coming in as low as 180 kbps per second...but i'm assuming that's due to the complexity fo the song not requiring all those extra bits.

Bitrate is no quality metric, but a size metric. You cannot compare file sizes of different material, encoded to a lossy format, to draw valid conclusions about quality differences of the resulting encodes. The variable bitrate or quality setting encodes every file to arrive at the same apparent quality, not file size.

I'd still advise to do an ABX test to determine your encoder settings, but I was certainly content with my TVBR 70 encodes. To be fair, I only encoded for portable/casual use, not for archival, so your mileage may vary.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: May 4 2012, 19:00


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flapane
post May 11 2012, 11:24
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QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 3 2012, 14:51) *
Hi all, I'm currently researching what the best route is to go with when converting over my CD library. I realize that everyone loves Lossless (which I'll use for archiving the CD's) but I'm looking for "the best" lossy encoding.


Two years ago I chose Nero AAC -q0.65 (via dbPowerAmp) for portable listening (TMo Vibrant and a pair of Yuin PK2 earphones), after having done some ABXs with similar bitrate VBR Lame encodings.
I'm happy with it, I barely notice any artifacts (mostly blues and jazz) but on some classical music files.
Needless to say, the advantage over my old LAME 128kbps CBR files is obvious.
I guess you could come to different conclusions, so you'd better do some blind tests with different encoders (and music genres) at similar bitrates.

QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 3 2012, 15:08) *
Yeah, the thing is that I have a LOT of music to convert....and it's not just converting but properly tagging with artwork and putting it in the exact format I like within the itunes file/folder structure so I'd like to avoid having to redo anything by researching the topic beforehand.


I know what you mean, that's why I wrote a Bash script that parsed my thousands old 128kbps mp3 files ID3 tags and wrote them into my new aac files. I found a way to copy jpg covers too, but I can't find that version of the script atm.
Hope it helps
CODE
#!/bin/bash
#script per copiare le tag da un file mp3 nel file m4a con lo stesso nome
#script for id3 tag cloning from mp3 file into an m4a AAC file with same basename
#flapane.com 24jan10

for file in "$@"
do

title=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TIT2[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
artist=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TPE1[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
album=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TALB[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
year=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TYER[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
genre=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TCON[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p' | awk '{print $1}' )
bandorchestra=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TPE2[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
composer=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TCOM[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
#publisher=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TPUB[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')
#track=$(id3v2 -l "$file" | sed -n '/^TRCK[^:]*:[[:space:]]*/s///p')

#echo $title
#echo $artist
#echo $album
#echo $year
#echo "$genre"
#echo $track
#echo $bandorchestra
#echo $composer
#echo $publisher

filemp4=$(basename "$file" .mp3).m4a

mp4tags \
-s "$title" \
-a "$artist" \
-A "$album" \
-y "$year" \
-g "$genre" \
-R "$bandorchestra" \
-w "$composer" \
"$filemp4"

done


This post has been edited by flapane: May 11 2012, 11:35


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DaGrandMastah
post May 14 2012, 15:32
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Thanks a lot! I'll check this out later on when I get home.

As a follow up, I'd like to thank everyone for giving me their opinions and helping me decide.

I'm now ripping my CD's to FLAC (for backup) and then converting the FLAC files to AAC True VBR 110. The songs sound absolutely fantastic and it doesn't waste nearly as much space as 320 kbps. smile.gif
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F17
post May 14 2012, 21:19
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QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 3 2012, 14:51) *
Hi all, I'm currently researching what the best route is to go with when converting over my CD library. I realize that everyone loves Lossless (which I'll use for archiving the CD's) but I'm looking for "the best" lossy encoding.

I was originally planning to encode all my CD's into 320 CBR but it seems that almost everything I read states that this is a waste of space as their is nary a difference (except to the most trained ears) between 320 CBR and VBR v-0. Ultiamtely, I don't mind the difference in space when on my computer hard drive but it does become more of an issue when uploading to my iphone for portable listening so then I switched course and started thinking I would go with VBR v-0 (I posted a similar question to this in the mp3 forum) but now I'm reading that I may even be better off going with AAC 256?

This may make the most sense for me being that I'm a Mac user (imac, iphone, ipad) and I'm going to playing all my music out of my itunes library.

Is there any reason I would regret the decision to go AAC over mp3?

Also, for those with experience with this, could you direct me to the best possible setting to use in XLD for encoding CD's/FLAC files to aac?

____________________________________________________________________________

Just go with mp3(lame 3.98.4) using dbpoweramp V0 settings. It's easy with mp3 as u can find lot of tagging softwares and every hardware supports it.

Now could be irrelevant to this topic but why don't you try this maybe it will deliver some other new concept (http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/can-you-hear-this-hearing-test/)

best wishes


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greynol
post May 14 2012, 22:06
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Could be irrelevant to this topic? No, try completely irrelevant to this topic.

FWIW, the test samples on that web page are fundamentally flawed, easily allowing for false positives depending on hardware and software configuration.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=93660

This post has been edited by greynol: May 14 2012, 22:09


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F17
post May 15 2012, 16:30
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QUOTE (greynol @ May 14 2012, 22:06) *
Could be irrelevant to this topic? No, try completely irrelevant to this topic.

FWIW, the test samples on that web page are fundamentally flawed, easily allowing for false positives depending on hardware and software configuration.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=93660



THNX rolleyes.gif
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FLAC plz
post Jun 3 2012, 22:11
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grandmastah, i think you should conduct some ABX tests to see what bitrate works best for you. your ears won't lie to you if it's a blind ABX test. i think you would be surprised how well AAC does a lower bitrates. i just wrote about this in another thread, but i used to encode at q100, and i realized that was overkill after doing some tests on myself. i now encode at q80 and it's perfectly transparent to my ears.

also, don't worry about the bitrate with the true vbr mode. sometimes when i encode at q80, i end up with some frighteningly low-bitrate files. sometimes i end up with files as low as 80kbps, but every time i try ABX'ing them with the original FLAC, i can't tell the difference. of course, the tracks with these bitrates are generally pretty quiet and less complex sounding.

i hope you find out what works best for you!
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bigshot
post Jun 26 2012, 08:07
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I've been building a music server for the past few years. Right now, it stands at well over a year's worth of music, all ripped from CDs. When I started ripping, I did careful line level matched listening tests of various cdecs and bitrates and the original CD. I found that for 95% of music AAC 192 and MP3 256 were completely transparent. But I ran across a couple of CDs that had textures that artifacted like crazy. I found that in order to encode those troublesome tracks properly, it required AAC 256 or MP3 320 LAME. I settled on AAC 256 VBR and started in ripping my collection of CDs. I'm still working my way through it all.

I keep hearing shocked gasps from audiophile acquaintenes that I'm not ripping to lossless. I just don't see the need. I own the CD- it's in a box in the garage. The AAC file sounds exactly the same and it's emailable, ipod friendly and compact. Why do I want to mess with lossless?

The other day, someone said, "What if you want to transcode to another format in te future?" well, I haven't ever needed to transcode. AAC works in everything I own and it sounds perfect. So just for yucks I took a well recorded classical piece and encoded it and reencoded it ten times- ten generations of transcoding. It sounded fine.

Lossless is overkill for just simple music playback.
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Porcus
post Jun 26 2012, 09:18
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QUOTE (bigshot @ Jun 26 2012, 09:07) *
well over a year's worth of music, all ripped from CDs.
[...]
I own the CD- it's in a box in the garage.


That's OK if only one recording now and then has to be re-ripped at a higher quality. What you don't want, is to re-rip some 12000 (?) CDs. I did a job of half the size, and it took months (even with a carousel changer).


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Steve Forte Rio
post Jun 26 2012, 17:31
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Hi. Haven't read the whole thread, but answering the author's question I would recommend
CODE
qaac.exe --tvbr 127 -q 2
as the most qualitative VBR AAC mode.
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eahm
post Jun 26 2012, 17:44
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QUOTE (FLAC plz @ Jun 3 2012, 14:11) *
grandmastah, i think you should conduct some ABX tests to see what bitrate works best for you. your ears won't lie to you if it's a blind ABX test. i think you would be surprised how well AAC does a lower bitrates. i just wrote about this in another thread, but i used to encode at q100, and i realized that was overkill after doing some tests on myself. i now encode at q80 and it's perfectly transparent to my ears.

also, don't worry about the bitrate with the true vbr mode. sometimes when i encode at q80, i end up with some frighteningly low-bitrate files. sometimes i end up with files as low as 80kbps, but every time i try ABX'ing them with the original FLAC, i can't tell the difference. of course, the tracks with these bitrates are generally pretty quiet and less complex sounding.

i hope you find out what works best for you!

Agree, -V100 is overkill. After this comment http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=798420 I "redid" all my ABX and now I am truly happy with -V82 for random archival and portable use http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=798905

QUOTE (Steve Forte Rio @ Jun 26 2012, 09:31) *
Hi. Haven't read the whole thread, but answering the author's question I would recommend
CODE
qaac.exe --tvbr 127 -q 2
as the most qualitative VBR AAC mode.

The command "qaac -V127" is enough. -q2 is set by default. "As you can see, iTunes is using either ABR or CVBR. If you want the same result as iTunes Plus, just use -v256 -q2 (-q2 is set by default, so actually -v256 is enough)" from https://github.com/nu774/qaac/wiki/Encoder-configuration

This post has been edited by eahm: Jun 26 2012, 17:47
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yourlord
post Jun 26 2012, 18:02
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I rip to FLAC for a couple of reasons.

1st, I can directly play the FLAC file on my home network. I don't use any devices on the network that can't deal with FLAC so there's no reason to keep another lower quality copy around just to play.

2nd, in the lossy codec world I prefer OGG Vorbis, but I do occasionally wind up with a device that won't play Vorbis files. So, with my FLAC archive I can directly encode to whatever the target device supports. Vorbis for my portable DAP, mp3 for my car stereo, etc. This allows me to use devices that don't support my codec of choice, but when a device does support a modern codec I can use the space savings they afford. I almost ended up with a car stereo that would play AAC files and if I had bought it I could have then encoded to AAC to gain the advantages of that format over mp3, but the reviews for that stereo weren't as good.

3rd, CD's can get scratched by kids, eaten by dogs (it's happened!), burned in a fire, etc. Once converted to FLAC I have a perfect copy which I then backup on 2 separate machines at home, an external USB drive at home, and that I rsync with another machine of mine at my parent's house for off-site backup. With 3 local copies I also run a monthly checksum comparison between the 3 copies to monitor for drive errors to ensure I don't lose data that way.

4th, royalty free and open source. No one is going to come in and tell me I'm a criminal for using it. I have the source code and therefore will always be able to access my collection, even if the computer architecture changes. I can always port the code to any new platform that may emerge.


Anyway,

QUOTE (DaGrandMastah @ May 14 2012, 10:32) *
I'm now ripping my CD's to FLAC (for backup) and then converting the FLAC files to AAC True VBR 110. The songs sound absolutely fantastic and it doesn't waste nearly as much space as 320 kbps. smile.gif


I personally dislike Apple, but if you're determined to use their wares then I would suggest converting to ALAC and just using that in your itunes library. Play the ALAC files directly, and you can transcode to AAC or whatever when you want to copy to your ipod, etc.
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bigshot
post Jun 27 2012, 20:41
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Jun 26 2012, 01:18) *
That's OK if only one recording now and then has to be re-ripped at a higher quality. What you don't want, is to re-rip some 12000 (?) CDs. I did a job of half the size, and it took months (even with a carousel changer).


AAC at 256 is audibly transparent. I don't see any reason to ever need to re-rip at a larger file size.

By the way, both AAC and ALAC are open source.

This post has been edited by bigshot: Jun 27 2012, 20:43
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Ouroboros
post Jun 27 2012, 21:22
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QUOTE (bigshot @ Jun 27 2012, 20:41) *
both AAC and ALAC are open source.

ALAC is open source, but I don't believe there's a good open source AAC codec. FAAC isn't - from the FAAC website:

QUOTE
Note that the quality of FAAC is not up to par with the currently best AAC encoders available


It's also not truly open source - it has patent restrictions.
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greynol
post Jun 27 2012, 21:46
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QUOTE (bigshot @ Jun 26 2012, 00:07) *
So just for yucks I took a well recorded classical piece and encoded it and reencoded it ten times- ten generations of transcoding. It sounded fine.

The infinite sample of one.

I realize we're talking about aac which has advantages over mp3 in terms of block size, but I have my doubts that transcoding in aac is immune to problems with pre-echo. Not claiming that I am especially, but maybe you're just not sensitive to pre-echo?

This post has been edited by greynol: Jun 27 2012, 22:52


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saratoga
post Jun 27 2012, 23:37
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QUOTE (Ouroboros @ Jun 27 2012, 16:22) *
QUOTE (bigshot @ Jun 27 2012, 20:41) *
both AAC and ALAC are open source.

ALAC is open source, but I don't believe there's a good open source AAC codec. FAAC isn't - from the FAAC website:

QUOTE
Note that the quality of FAAC is not up to par with the currently best AAC encoders available


It's also not truly open source - it has patent restrictions.


Being patented in some countries does not make source any more or less open.
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Ouroboros
post Jun 28 2012, 00:44
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You are absolutely right, and I meant to edit my post along those lines, but missed the edit time! It still limits what you can do with the source, but that makes it no better (or worse) than LAME in that regard.

But the point about FAAC being not the best encoder still stands!
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bigshot
post Jul 1 2012, 04:08
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 27 2012, 13:46) *
QUOTE (bigshot @ Jun 26 2012, 00:07) *
So just for yucks I took a well recorded classical piece and encoded it and reencoded it ten times- ten generations of transcoding. It sounded fine.

The infinite sample of one.


Try it yourself, my man!
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