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Mr.Twinkie

AAC vs MP3

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I really started to wonder about that iTunes option where is allows me to convert higher bit rate songs to AAC.

 

I had some reads about AAC and some say it's better in quality and others say it doesn't make much of a difference from MP3.

 

So what do you guys reckon?

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My assumption is that apple likes to make their own stuff and aac is one of them. Quality wise though I don't think there is much of a difference if not at all given at the same sample rates, just different formats. I certainly find it difficult to differentiate flac from mp3 at 320kbps, it just comes down to whether or not you can tell the difference.

 

EDIT: I have confused aac with alac *facepalm*, anyhow speaking of aac not alac with aac supposedly being the successor to mp3 why wouldn't you go aac over mp3?.

Edited by peterspants

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MP3 tends to destroy certain frequency ranges no matter what bit rate you are using. High frequencies from cymbals are particularly bad, is painful to hear the cymbals I've spent time selecting and a LOT of money (decent cymbals start at around $400 each) buying getting ruined that way.

 

I personally only use lossless formats for music digital music, storage isn't really an issue any more. FLAC is my codec of choice but Apple Lossless does the trick also.

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AAC is more efficient at lower bitrates. Lower bitrates are better for mobile devices. Guess why AAC is popular for mobile devices like things that run on itunes ; )

 

AAC is also used for low bitrate applications like digital radio (DAB+, not internet streaming, in this example).

 

At moderate to high bitrates, you probably won't notice a difference, unless you have good hearing and good speakers and a good DAC, and know what you are listening for with certain types of sample/sound that MP3 encoders struggle with. Or if you want more than stereo.

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AAC is more efficient at lower bitrates. Lower bitrates are better for mobile devices. Guess why AAC is popular for mobile devices like things that run on itunes ; )

 

AAC is also used for low bitrate applications like digital radio (DAB+, not internet streaming, in this example).

 

At moderate to high bitrates, you probably won't notice a difference, unless you have good hearing and good speakers and a good DAC, and know what you are listening for with certain types of sample/sound that MP3 encoders struggle with. Or if you want more than stereo.

So essentially there isn't really any harm converting to AAC except that you probably won't hear the difference?

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That feature I think is for where you have lossless quality files you want to sync to an iOS device, but you don't want the associated file size on a device that you'll probably see no benefit of lossless files over 256k.

That's what I use it for anyway, saves me having to maintain a lossless library for my PC, and a lower bitrate library for my portables.

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but you don't want the associated file size on a device that you'll probably see no benefit of lossless files over 256k.

Touche, as the saying goes "it's only as good as the weakest link in the chain" and is there a heck of a lot of links.

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So essentially there isn't really any harm converting to AAC except that you probably won't hear the difference?

If by converting you mean from lossless or a CD or etc, then sure, go for it. You'll save some space. If you mean convert from MP3, then don't do it >.>

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If you're going from lossy to lossy, it's waste of time. If converting from lossless to lossy then you'll be saving space on your portable device.

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I think it helps when you realise where each of these audio specs come from ...

 

MP3 = MPEG 2 Audio Layer 3 = the audio spec from MPEG2 (yes, that ye old video spec)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp3

 

AAC = Advanced Audio Coding = Standardised in MPEG2 AND MPEG4, and High Efficiency AAC is the audio codec for MPEG4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding

 

AAC was designed as the replacement for MP3, as part of the larger MPEG specs.

 

Also, for reference, MPEG gets it name from the group doing the standards - Moving Picture Experts Group.

So yeah, it was them and the companies therein making a successor.

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