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Should i start using AAC? Can you notice a better quality?
Bahamut2
post Jan 2 2012, 06:19
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I have read everywhere that it is better than MP3, but will i be able to notice the difference?
I encode all my files to VBR -V0 and i don't know anything about AAC, what would be the equivalent encoding settings for AAC?

Can you people really notice that theyre is a reall difference in quality? I want to test it by myself (encoding always it max quality off course) but first i want to ask here.
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zima
post Jan 29 2012, 12:59
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QUOTE (Bahamut2 @ Jan 2 2012, 07:42) *
I read everywhere that "AAC is better than MP3" so that is why i ask this. I know this applies at low bitrates but at high bitrates too?

I'm sorry, but I can't help it, a car analogy popped into my mind tongue.gif (and such, as everybody knows, are the benchmark in ~computing...):

I read everywhere that "AAC is better than MP3" seems a bit like "higher octane fuel is better" ...yeah, sure, it kinda is, in how it allows for "more on the edge" things technically, potentially higher-performing engine designs.
But virtually any engine is tuned & works with particular, perfectly sufficient octane levels - so pouring into the tank a "better" (than specified for the engine) octane fuel won't really bring any relevant improvement in its operation (at least in a non-malfunctioning engine), despite what many people think & say.
(I guess hearing system is a rough equivalent of the engine here... hm, maybe this analogy didn't turn out entirely horrible after all wink.gif - and now that I think about it, there's plenty of audiophile-like snake oil salesmen in automotive field, too)


Now, on to make my post less silly...

QUOTE (Bahamut2 @ Jan 2 2012, 14:09) *
I did a quick test with foobar and im surprised i can not even hear any difference between q.35 AAC and a FLAC file! And .35 means about 100kbps, with MP3 im sure i would have heard a difference... i guess.
[...]
I will test more when my new senheisser hearphones arrive, i read somewhere that with hearphones you ear more "sound bugs".

Such surprises tend to happen quite often, when people do a proper ABX test ...and I think you really should also do an ABX of LAME encodes at similarly low bitrates (~2 lower than your usual encodes); the results might very well surprise you similarly.
(BTW, ~training yourself to notice particular kinds of "sound bugs" also helps in hearing them - but IMHO one should really reconsider the utility of essentially trying to notice them, if the idea is supposedly listening to music)


QUOTE (hlloyge @ Jan 2 2012, 07:52) *
[...] do ABX tests, see what is the lowest bitrate where you can't tell the difference between original CD audio and mp3 (or aac) compressed audio. For me it's rather low, between 128 and 160 kbit - so I'm using around 192 kbit encoding, to be on safe side.

Is that really "rather low"? Per the MPEG tests linked nearby (for just one example), it would seem close to typical, at worst.


QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 2 2012, 16:03) *
the iTunes store no longer sells any 128 kbps AAC files; everything has been 256 kbps for a couple of years

I don't think that's quite as universal? Quickly searching for some confirmation brings up http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1711 "Why is iTunes Plus format available for certain music, but not all?" (plus I believe it's a bit country-specific, also in how some areas still get DRM'd music)


QUOTE (Defsac @ Jan 23 2012, 09:40) *
I have heard people speculate Apple chose CVBR for iTunes because they were worried about users being confused about songs resulting in different bit rates even though the quality settings were the same, but I don't know how accurate that is. iTunes (on OS X at least) also used to have issues with calculating bit rates on true VBR AAC files but this may have been fixed since.

Edit: Just did a quick test with the latest iTunes using 256kbps VBR, the resulting file reads as 256kbps in iTunes and 269kbps in OS X Finder. XLD using constrained VBR produced a file that reads as 269kbps in both Finder and iTunes. I suspect iTunes is deliberately displaying the bit rate as 256kbps when the files are produced through iTunes conversion.

It would certainly seem more elegant if iTunes and iPods simply displayed, from the start, some "quality preset expressed as nominal bitrate" tag - while the actual bitrate (essentially hidden from the user, normally) were allowed to float in a true VBR fashion.
But maybe they weren't so confident in the fully VBR mode, at the beginning? (I suppose CBR, maybe also ABR, is somewhat more straightforward to implement properly at the beginning / any codec dev here would like to shine a light on it?)


QUOTE (shadowking @ Jan 29 2012, 04:16) *
The modern lossy bitrate is far too bloated.
[...]
The other thing is mp3 was always competitive at 192k if you don't count rare problem samples. Even then it could probably sound very acceptable and satisfy 90 something % of people . This is probably true even for the old CBR 192 encodings.

Where its at today you could have just stuck it out with 256 CBR mp3 ten yrs ago , ignored any audio lossy development since and still be competitive .

I'd go further: since for many listeners, in many parts of the world, p2p (certainly with quite "random" quality - heck, how many are transcodes from other lossy files?), Youtube (etc., similarly random) videos, or low-bitrate streams are a major medium of music...

And people seem to be generally happy with those. Likewise with FM radio, or non-plus DAB in areas using "too low" MP2 (two!) bitrates (or at least, research suggests they're fine - in fact, the complaints seem to be at least partly 'audiophile' in nature)


Overall, IMHO, the main utility of AAC (particularly as HE-AAC v2; generally, any of the "more advanced" codecs) lies in being able to cram more music, in perfectly acceptable quality, into portable players and mobile phones (or the just mentioned radio streams - but then, many stations don't seem to bother...) - after all, as HA tests show, we're getting where 96 kbps is already quite decent, and it (and lower) will only improve.
OTOH, it looks like space constraints might become moot, even on the cheapest of devices, in relatively near future... (well, maybe even then it will be still "which format and bitrate gives best battery life on this particular player?" - energy storage doesn't improve nearly so fast; likewise bandwidths, for large part of human population)

This post has been edited by zima: Jan 29 2012, 13:03


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Posts in this topic
- Bahamut2   Should i start using AAC? Can you notice a better quality?   Jan 2 2012, 06:19
- - Ron Jones   Can I tell the difference between ~256kbps MP3 and...   Jan 2 2012, 07:04
- - Bahamut2   Im going to make my first ABX test soon, but i wan...   Jan 2 2012, 07:42
- - hlloyge   AAC is, technicaly, a bit more advanced codec than...   Jan 2 2012, 07:52
- - mjb2006   If you do hear a difference in a certain piece of ...   Jan 2 2012, 08:45
- - Bahamut2   I did a quick test with foobar and im surprised i ...   Jan 2 2012, 14:09
|- - markanini   QUOTE (Bahamut2 @ Jan 2 2012, 14:09) Anyw...   Jan 2 2012, 14:21
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (markanini @ Jan 2 2012, 14:21) QUO...   Jan 10 2012, 20:26
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jan 10 2012, 20:26) I fo...   Jan 12 2012, 12:05
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Porcus @ Jan 12 2012, 12:05) QUOTE...   Jan 12 2012, 16:44
||- - Porcus   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jan 12 2012, 16:44) I wa...   Jan 12 2012, 19:50
|- - polemon   QUOTE (Porcus @ Jan 12 2012, 12:05) QUOTE...   Feb 2 2012, 03:45
- - lvqcl   An example of a problem sample (specific for Nero ...   Jan 2 2012, 14:29
- - apodtele   This is yet another "discussion" initiat...   Jan 2 2012, 15:53
|- - db1989   QUOTE (apodtele @ Jan 2 2012, 14:53) This...   Jan 2 2012, 16:03
- - subinbar   I think for most people to be able to tell the dif...   Jan 10 2012, 15:12
- - Porcus   QUOTE (Bahamut2 @ Jan 2 2012, 06:19) I en...   Jan 10 2012, 17:24
- - JunkieXL   I used to use LAME v1 for all of the files I would...   Jan 10 2012, 20:22
|- - Defsac   QUOTE (JunkieXL @ Jan 11 2012, 06:22) LAM...   Jan 23 2012, 09:40
|- - Nessuno   Anyway, if one uses XLD or any other QuickTime fro...   Jan 23 2012, 18:22
|- - slks   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jan 23 2012, 11:22) Anyw...   Feb 1 2012, 10:13
|- - C.R.Helmrich   QUOTE (slks @ Feb 1 2012, 11:13) the rece...   Feb 1 2012, 22:43
- - Stillbruch   Hi everyone, This is my first post in this forum,...   Jan 12 2012, 11:00
|- - mjb2006   QUOTE (Stillbruch @ Jan 12 2012, 03:00) A...   Jan 12 2012, 11:47
|- - probedb   QUOTE (Stillbruch @ Jan 12 2012, 10:00) A...   Jan 12 2012, 12:15
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (probedb @ Jan 12 2012, 12:15) QUOT...   Jan 12 2012, 15:42
- - Stillbruch   I apologise for that claim. Since English is not m...   Jan 12 2012, 15:23
- - HTS   Quick question. Wikipedia says: QUOTE The MPEG-2...   Jan 29 2012, 03:11
|- - IgorC   QUOTE (HTS @ Jan 28 2012, 23:11) Quick qu...   Jan 29 2012, 08:19
- - shadowking   The modern lossy bitrate is far too bloated. Compa...   Jan 29 2012, 04:16
|- - HTS   QUOTE (shadowking @ Jan 28 2012, 22:16) T...   Jan 29 2012, 04:44
|- - aprofromindia   QUOTE (shadowking @ Jan 29 2012, 05:16) T...   Jun 15 2013, 10:29
|- - TomasPin   QUOTE (aprofromindia @ Jun 15 2013, 06:29...   Jun 15 2013, 20:26
- - shadowking   Yes. What I am trying to say is that at 250..300k ...   Jan 29 2012, 06:12
- - zima   QUOTE (Bahamut2 @ Jan 2 2012, 07:42) I re...   Jan 29 2012, 12:59
|- - hlloyge   QUOTE (zima @ Jan 29 2012, 13:59) QUOTE (...   Jan 29 2012, 22:01
- - RobertoDomenico   iTunes Store is 256 AAC with no DRM everywhere no ...   Jan 29 2012, 13:58
- - HTS   Does anyone know what does apple mean by the 0-127...   Jan 29 2012, 19:38
- - lvqcl   Why do you think that it has some hidden meaning?   Jan 29 2012, 21:10
- - adlai   the answer is yes. I moved years ago and I haven...   Jan 29 2012, 23:05
|- - saratoga   QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 29 2012, 17:05) Also, ...   Jan 29 2012, 23:20
|- - adlai   most of it is for stupid stuff like tagging files ...   Jan 29 2012, 23:25
|- - saratoga   So if what you really meant is that Lame is active...   Jan 29 2012, 23:37
|- - Defsac   QUOTE (adlai @ Jan 30 2012, 09:25) most o...   Feb 27 2012, 09:57
|- - nu774   QUOTE (Defsac @ Feb 27 2012, 17:57) QUOTE...   Feb 27 2012, 11:29
|- - Defsac   QUOTE (nu774 @ Feb 27 2012, 21:29) QUOTE ...   Feb 27 2012, 12:37
|- - nu774   QUOTE (Defsac @ Feb 27 2012, 20:37) I ver...   Feb 27 2012, 14:24
|- - TechVsLife   As a practical matter, if you notice artifacts tha...   Mar 24 2012, 18:49
- - IgorC   3.99 fills bitrate gap between the V0 and CBR 320 ...   Jan 30 2012, 00:05
- - simonh   Personally, i'd say stick with what you know a...   Mar 24 2012, 21:35
- - RobertoDomenico   The only reason i would use AAC is if you live in ...   Mar 25 2012, 00:05
- - greynol   I presume you mean the problem when streaming from...   Mar 25 2012, 02:00
- - RobertoDomenico   It's not an actual fault of Lame, the issue is...   Mar 25 2012, 05:41
- - greynol   It doesn't matter if -mj and -q0 are there. Th...   Jun 15 2013, 20:31
|- - TomasPin   QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 15 2013, 16:31) It d...   Jun 15 2013, 20:57
- - db1989   It should be specified that -M is not a valid sw...   Jun 16 2013, 01:08


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