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luckylisp
Apr 3, 2006, 03:26 PM
What do most of you use? AAC or mp3? Is AAC smaller than mp3? How big is the sound difference?

I have been using 128 kbps AAC, but I'm new to this and i'm not sure if it's the best choice?



KKKL
Apr 3, 2006, 06:54 PM
i use 192kbps MP3 format

iGary
Apr 3, 2006, 07:00 PM
192kbps is good for most people.

That's what I rip at, personally.

luckylisp
Apr 4, 2006, 01:37 AM
Anyone use 192 aac?

stridey
Apr 4, 2006, 01:42 AM
Can't help but mention my recent blog entry about compression, here (http://stridey.blogspot.com/2006/04/is-itunes-aac-distinguishable-from.html). Basically, my view is that 160 kbps is totally indistinguishable from uncompressed. Existing MR thread about it here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=190864).

WinterMute
Apr 4, 2006, 05:12 AM
Can't help but mention my recent blog entry about compression, here (http://stridey.blogspot.com/2006/04/is-itunes-aac-distinguishable-from.html). Basically, my view is that 160 kbps is totally indistinguishable from uncompressed. Existing MR thread about it here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=190864).
As you'll see from Stridey's thread, not everyone agrees...

AAC is a more musical codec than MP3, and the higher the rate the better the quality, I use 320kbps AAC in the iPod and occasionally Lossless, which is probably overkill.

The bottom line is simple, if you like the way it sounds at 160kbps for instance go with that.

Through most standard ear-buds, it's just not possible to hear much change and file size becomes the main issue.

student_trap
Apr 4, 2006, 05:39 AM
AAC is supposed to be smaller than mp3 but the same quality at the differing relative compression rates, for example (correct me if i'm wrong guys):

128 AAC = 160 mp3
160 AAC = 192 mp3
192 AAC = 256 mp3 etc etc

I rip at 192 AAC, for me thats the sweet spot of functional compression and musicality (any larger and it starts taking up loads of space - i can only get around 3 and a half thousand songs on my 20gig ipod).

The point is though, that you should rip at what suits your needs, i'd advise to test a few different qualities and see if you can tell the difference, if you can't, don't worry. ON th other hand, if you don't mind dedicating hard disks to music (and aren't using an ipod), why not rip at 320 or Lossless.

Erendiox
Apr 4, 2006, 07:39 AM
Also keep in mind that many digital media players wont be able to play AAC. EVERYTHING can play MP3s, which is why I use 196kbps encoding for my entire library. I totally acknoledge that AAC is a better codec, but I like to keep things future proof. MP3 is just more common and flexible.

alexstein
Apr 4, 2006, 08:04 AM
I rip everything in 192kbps aac. I do have some older stuff in 128kbps MP3, 160kbps MP3, 192kbps MP3. Maybe some day I will re-rip my older CD into 192kbps aac. I can hear a difference between 128kbps MP3 and the 192kbps aac but otherwise everything else is pretty close(IMO)

HiRez
Apr 4, 2006, 08:38 AM
I agree that 192 Kbps AAC is very good quality and even with a good pair of headphones (Sony MDR-V6) in a quiet environment, using a high-quality FireWire audio converter, it's difficult to tell differences to uncompressed at that rate. 128 kbps AAC (iTMS) is good quality but there is a significant improvement moving from there to 192. I'd probably buy a lot more iTMS tracks if they were available encoded at 192 kbps. Of course quality is both subjective, to your own ears, and relative, to your gear (converters, amps, speakers/headphones) and listening environment.

As for MP3, the best MP3 encoders (LAME) can approach the quality of AAC, but in my experience never quite meet or exceed it at the same bit rate. In general I'd say 128 kbps AAC is equivalent to between 160 and 192 kbps MP3, depending on the encoder, so AAC wins either in terms of slightly better quality or slightly improved space savings, take your pick. Although as you get both formats over 192 kbps it gets difficult to distinguish one from the other, or either from uncompressed. Erendiox is also right that MP3 is a bit safer for "future-proofing".

Sam*
Apr 4, 2006, 08:39 AM
I use VBR MP3, most of my music is between 190 - 250 VBR Mp3

Sean7512
Apr 4, 2006, 08:50 AM
128 aac...I just kept it the same. I don't have an ear for this stuff...In my personal opinion, 128 on my ipod sounds just as good as a portable cd player...I cant tell the diff. To each his own.

Glenn Wolsey
Apr 4, 2006, 12:22 PM
Aiff

adk
Apr 4, 2006, 01:40 PM
I rip at basic 128 mp3. I know it's not the best quality, but you never know what the future holds and if I switch to an mp3 player someday that doesn't support AAC I don't want to have to re-rip all my songs.

Mammoth
Apr 5, 2006, 04:02 PM
Apple Lossless all the way for me. I do Lossless mainly because I want to keep my CD's on the computer not only to listen to, but as a backup.

min6characters
Apr 13, 2006, 06:34 PM
Just wondering; should there be any difference in quality between
1) a file originally ripped from CD in mp3 format at 320kps, then converted to AAC 192kps

and

2) a file ripped directly off of CD at AAC-192 ?

Also, is there any way in iTunes to
1) change the "track number" format from "1 of 10" to just "1"
2) edit the length of songs; for example, editing out 60 seconds of dead air between the end of a song and the beginning of a "bonus track" that's been added to the track? I've seen this feature in other applications, but not in iTunes.

Thanks

Mitthrawnuruodo
Apr 13, 2006, 06:44 PM
1) change the "track number" format from "1 of 10" to just "1"
2) edit the length of songs; for example, editing out 60 seconds of dead air between the end of a song and the beginning of a "bonus track" that's been added to the track? I've seen this feature in other applications, but not in iTunes.1) In the info window (mark one or more songs and choose File -> Info or just cmd-I), the Info tab, under Track Number, remove the 'of' number...
2) Also in the info window, the Options tab, set Start Time and/or Stop Time.

About the convert from mp3 vs rip from CD, the quality should be better if you re-rip from CD, but if you'll ever notice any difference is more uncertain... ;)

balamw
Apr 13, 2006, 06:58 PM
Just wondering; should there be any difference in quality between ... In general yes, the 320 kbps encoding will introduce some artifacts that the AAC encoder will then try to replicate, and the AAC encoder will introduce other artifacts on top of that.

In practice, you probably won't hear any difference though...

B

mandoman
Apr 13, 2006, 10:08 PM
mp3 192kbs using lame

mp3: more future proof than aac
192: noticeably better sound than 128
lame: faster encodes on my amd linux box than my g4

Now if apple would only support flac, than it'd be a whole
new ballgame...

mannix87
Apr 13, 2006, 10:42 PM
I know this site is not that accepted here but it does give a great crash course in audio codecs http://music.allofmp3.com/help/help.shtml?gs=944&gd=12559811&rnd=218731&popup=yes#top

donga
Apr 15, 2006, 05:00 AM
i also use 192 aac to rip after doing informal tests on a few songs to listen to the differences between 128-192-256 and aac/mp3 at those rates.

when i bump the ipod in the car i can really tell if it was encoded at less than 192 aac b/c of distortion, otherwise it sounds pretty damn good at high volumes.

hope this helps. :cool:

student_trap
Apr 15, 2006, 08:13 AM
aac is the best for me, it has better sound quality at the same bit rate than mp3. For me, i rip at 192 most of the time, however for jazz or classical, I rip a little higher

min6characters
Apr 16, 2006, 11:47 PM
Thanks, all these comments have been helpful. I ripped over 1,200 songs using iTunes AAC at 192kps/VBR and loaded on my iPod... now, I've come across something that is driving me nuts.

I first noticed it after my girlfriend asked me to throw some of her tunes (ripped/copied from various sources, mp3 format at various kps) onto my iPod, and she commented that her songs "sounded better." At first I thought she was trying to tell me my taste in music sucks; but after listening to some of her songs, they obviously play back "louder" and "crisper". My next thought was this was because most of my songs were ripped from older CD's, but I then noticed that even recent releases from my library sounded dull compared to her songs.

I then made several copies from a CD of the same song and loaded on the iPod:
1) using iTunes, AAC format at 192 kps/VBR
2) using iTunes, mp3 format at 192 kps
3) using MusicMatch, mp3 format at 192 kps

Both selections #1 and #2 sounded comparable to eachother in loudness (slight edge to #1 in quality), and dull compared to #3, which sounded more consistent with the quality of the other songs created outside of iTunes. It wasn't even close. I looked at my settings in iTunes, but couldn't recognize any settings that would account for this. Am I missing something? Should I be using an app other than iTunes to rip my CD's? I'm not looking forward to ripping all these songs over, but will gladly put in the time to get it right.

Has anyone else experienced what I've described above?

JordanNZ
Apr 17, 2006, 01:07 AM
Thanks, all these comments have been helpful. I ripped over 1,200 songs using iTunes AAC at 192kps/VBR and loaded on my iPod... now, I've come across something that is driving me nuts.

I first noticed it after my girlfriend asked me to throw some of her tunes (ripped/copied from various sources, mp3 format at various kps) onto my iPod, and she commented that her songs "sounded better." At first I thought she was trying to tell me my taste in music sucks; but after listening to some of her songs, they obviously play back "louder" and "crisper". My next thought was this was because most of my songs were ripped from older CD's, but I then noticed that even recent releases from my library sounded dull compared to her songs.

I then made several copies from a CD of the same song and loaded on the iPod:
1) using iTunes, AAC format at 192 kps/VBR
2) using iTunes, mp3 format at 192 kps
3) using MusicMatch, mp3 format at 192 kps

Both selections #1 and #2 sounded comparable to eachother in loudness (slight edge to #1 in quality), and dull compared to #3, which sounded more consistent with the quality of the other songs created outside of iTunes. It wasn't even close. I looked at my settings in iTunes, but couldn't recognize any settings that would account for this. Am I missing something? Should I be using an app other than iTunes to rip my CD's? I'm not looking forward to ripping all these songs over, but will gladly put in the time to get it right.

Has anyone else experienced what I've described above?

There is something wrong...

Either that, or people are starting to find the sound of mp3 compression 'pleasing'.

eXan
Apr 17, 2006, 05:56 AM
I import CDs at 128 KB AAC, if somebody gives me some songs (on a flash drive for example) that are already ripped, I usually do not re-encode them

Really there's no difference between CD and 128 KB AAC even on my huge speakers & subwoofer in our livingroom.

min6characters
Apr 17, 2006, 07:22 AM
There is something wrong...

Either that, or people are starting to find the sound of mp3 compression 'pleasing'.

My thinking is, it's got to be something going on in iTunes; either I've got something set up/defaulting incorrectly, or it's just inferior at decoding compared to other apps. I don't think it's the format I've selected, since the mp3 ripped using MusicMatch sounds better (or, at least louder and crisper) than the mp3 ripped in iTunes. I would have ripped AAC in MusicMatch for comparison also, but that option is not available. (The AAC ripped in iTunes did sound a little better than the mp3 ripped in iTunes - this being based on the sample of one song - so I would prefer to stay in AAC)

Would it help if I re-installed iTunes? I had downloaded it from Apple's website, but also have the install disk that came with the iPod. Are there other apps out there to use to compress files using AAC?

Hoef
Apr 17, 2006, 07:52 AM
Just wondering; should there be any difference in quality between
1) a file originally ripped from CD in mp3 format at 320kps, then converted to AAC 192kps


I have a follow-on question .... will my 320kpb AAC music files converted to 160kpb mp3 sound bad? That could be an insurance when for some reason in the fuure I can't play aac anymore

balamw
Apr 17, 2006, 08:44 AM
Both selections #1 and #2 sounded comparable to eachother in loudness (slight edge to #1 in quality), and dull compared to #3
Sounds like we've got another victim of SoundCheck. The iTunes files are tagged with the a tag that determines the average volume of the track. The iPod can then normalize the volume of all of your tracks so that, in principle, you don't end up with the TV commercial effect. i.e. you turn up the volume for some songs and another one comes out blaring.

Anyhow, Soundcheck can create exactly the effect you describe. Files from iTunes sound muddy while non-iTunes sound clear. Turn off any EQ and SoundCheck, and make sure your files don't have an EQ setting applied per file, then come back.

B

min6characters
Apr 17, 2006, 09:20 AM
Sounds like we've got another victim of SoundCheck. The iTunes files are tagged with the a tag that determines the average volume of the track. The iPod can then normalize the volume of all of your tracks so that, in principle, you don't end up with the TV commercial effect. i.e. you turn up the volume for some songs and another one comes out blaring.

Anyhow, Soundcheck can create exactly the effect you describe. Files from iTunes sound muddy while non-iTunes sound clear. Turn off any EQ and SoundCheck, and make sure your files don't have an EQ setting applied per file, then come back.

B

Thanks, that worked. At first I thought you were referring to the Sound Check option in iTunes and was going to ask if I needed to re-sync, but now realize there is also a Sound Check option on the iPod - which was set to "on". Setting it to "off" was indeed the fix.

The Sound Check would actually be a good feature if wasn't limited to files created in iTunes, since some older CD's do come out lower (and Sound Check doesn't negatively impact sound clarity); but not being able to apply it to files created outside of iTunes seems to defeat the purpose of having the sound leveling feature (i.e. I'd rather have a few songs that are quieter be the exception than have the louder songs be the exception).

bodeh6
Apr 23, 2006, 06:03 PM
I might need to rerip my CDs. I originally used 160 AAC for all my CDs, (about 800 songs), but this summer I am getting a new car and it plays MP3 so I am going to rerip my CDs at 192 MP3 and get rid of my other library. No need for redunency and also everything can play MP3s but not AAC.

snakelda
Apr 23, 2006, 11:50 PM
I use 128 MP3 and it's fine

Demon Hunter
Apr 24, 2006, 03:50 AM
AAC@256kbps VBR. :cool:

That is, unless I give in and go to iTMS...

macpastor
Apr 24, 2006, 06:48 AM
Thanks, all these comments have been helpful. I ripped over 1,200 songs using iTunes AAC at 192kps/VBR and loaded on my iPod... now, I've come across something that is driving me nuts.

I first noticed it after my girlfriend asked me to throw some of her tunes (ripped/copied from various sources, mp3 format at various kps) onto my iPod, and she commented that her songs "sounded better." At first I thought she was trying to tell me my taste in music sucks; but after listening to some of her songs, they obviously play back "louder" and "crisper". My next thought was this was because most of my songs were ripped from older CD's, but I then noticed that even recent releases from my library sounded dull compared to her songs.

I then made several copies from a CD of the same song and loaded on the iPod:
1) using iTunes, AAC format at 192 kps/VBR
2) using iTunes, mp3 format at 192 kps
3) using MusicMatch, mp3 format at 192 kps

Both selections #1 and #2 sounded comparable to eachother in loudness (slight edge to #1 in quality), and dull compared to #3, which sounded more consistent with the quality of the other songs created outside of iTunes. It wasn't even close. I looked at my settings in iTunes, but couldn't recognize any settings that would account for this. Am I missing something? Should I be using an app other than iTunes to rip my CD's? I'm not looking forward to ripping all these songs over, but will gladly put in the time to get it right.

Has anyone else experienced what I've described above?

This is the best site I have ever found about the details of ripping. Ken Rockwell has got it figured out. I would highly recommend reading his article here...

http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/itunes.htm

Good luck and enjoy.

Bern
Apr 24, 2006, 06:55 AM
I use 128 AAC. I like to have as much room possible for my iPod with video 30GB :D

GnarleyMarley
May 1, 2006, 05:52 PM
So would 128 AAC be better than 128 MP3?:confused:

balamw
May 1, 2006, 05:55 PM
So would 128 AAC be better than 128 MP3?:confused:
Please define better. :p

The files would be the same size, and would both play on an iPod and generally be listenable to. Beyond that it depends on the music, the MP3 encoder, ....

Try it yourself, with a couple of tracks you rip yourself, don't base any conclusions on files transcoded from one lossy codec to another.

B

BurtonCCC
May 1, 2006, 06:47 PM
I recently converted 8,000 or so of my songs from 192-320kbps MP3 to 128kbps AAC. I probably freed about 10GB of hard drive space with no audible change in quality whatsoever. I hope that clears up anybody asking about whether AAC really is smaller and if it sounds bad.

Daniel.

ObsidianIce
May 1, 2006, 08:34 PM
thought i would weigh in here. although i swear i've already said this. I compared several different burned verions of a couple songs in different bitrates. That was an old test on my old system though. I won't bore you with song names, it was a variety and they all came direct from a CD some songs i pulled off an audiophile CD. also, For the most recent i ripped at 128, 192, 256 and 320 (using error correction) as well as right off the CD itself. Quick rundown of the equipment eclipse headunit, Arc audio ACS 6.5 inch component speakers, Brax amplifier, single arc 12 inch flatline ( alas this sweet subwoofer is not mine). don't know if you guys know car audio but it is EXCEPTIONALLY good equipment, all brands clearly know to be audiophile level SQ ( sound quality) components. There is a definitive difference in the quality of the the encodings. **sidenote** the mp3 files were ripped..and then burned back to CD from that mp3... because my headunit doesn't play Mp3s so there was a dual conversion** Running through each of the songs i could clearly hear a difference bewtwen some of them. I even closed my eyes and just started hitting random so i didn't know which bitrate version of which song was playing...i could not tell you the exact bitrates at first..but there was a marked difference between them, and if i bothered to do it long enough i'm sure i could nail down which bitrate was which. Once i nailed down that there was a marked difference i played some more. I didn't bother comparing mp3 vs AAC since i'd determined that during my test with previous equipment.But i did test to see what was missing. The one issue with the test version of songs hosted in the blog...is that we have no idea what the reference song sounds like so we can't really tell what's missing. I haven't bothered listening to them more than once since i'm sitting at work with a pair of cheap sony headphones plugged into my g5 so not even sure i could tell the difference. There is true loss in the low end right off the bat. if any of you have heard an Arc flatline they are one of the top SQ subs...but also capable of some serious, serious low end grunt. Much of the low end was lost especially when it came to the notes played by a church organ and cannon fire. Not to mention the bass mekanik CD and some of the sine bombs that i ran through also. High end was lost as well. The Arc Tweeters are silk so they're incredibly smooth so you can play at very high volumes without getting that ear splitting feeling that i got from my old Boston acoustics. High's are less noticeably missing...but they definitely are almost a little less lively and oddly enough i noticed it most on a fiddle solo so that was just odd... plus just some plain detail was missing, off the Cd i could actually hear fingers sliding across strings...not just the sound of the strings. you know that sound when you open your mouth..or wet your lips ( stupid yes i know) i could actually hear that during some jazz i was testing, but on the lowest bitrate i tested i could not...but i could soon as i sent to 192 it was back. From the Dallas wind Symphony there was distinct loss in audio quality. The piccolo, clarinet, etc lost some of the high end in the ripped versions. Now it could be all in my head but i don't really think so. so i would throw my vote in with the people that say there is a difference between bitrates. So Also i noticed a note on the mackie site that says "Please, no iPods. We love 'em too, but gads, compressed music files aren't going to give you an accurate read on the low end these monitors can deliver." So Mackie agrees with us as well ;)

rick6502
May 1, 2006, 10:04 PM
I rip everything in Apple Lossless. I make my initial backup as AIFF, then use an script to convert them to Apple Lossless. I listen to them over my stereo, and I CAN tell the difference. The only disadvantage is they still take a lot of space. I filled up my 300GB drive, and still not done ripping my collection.

eXan
May 2, 2006, 05:43 AM
I rip everything in Apple Lossless. I make my initial backup as AIFF, then use an script to convert them to Apple Lossless. I listen to them over my stereo, and I CAN tell the difference. The only disadvantage is they still take a lot of space. I filled up my 300GB drive, and still not done ripping my collection.

You're a madman :eek: