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AAC Encode Settings [XLD]

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Dnix, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    I encoded an album, using various "common" settings:

    • 256 CBR
    • 320 CBR
    • 256 Constrained VBR
    • 320 Constrained VBR
    • True VBR 110
    • True VBR 127

    What the heck, I don't know which to choose. They all sound too similar. Even the so-called "CBR" behaves almost identical to the "Constrained VBR" as far as bitrate fluctuations. Apparently, that is just the nature of AAC.

    My initial instinct was use 256 Constrained VBR, match the maximum iTunes quality, and call it a day. But some people on the internets swear by the True VBR.

    What do you guys use?
  2. macrumors 604


    On the rare chance I have a CD to rip (once a year?) I use iTunes and the iTunes Plus setting. Anything 256 AAC+ is indistinguishable from raw source. I don't care if you have golden ears, you can't hear a difference. Human hearing just isn't that good (more so the older one gets).
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I use afconvert, because I'm OCD and I like my files to match those that Apple sells through iTunes.

    afconvert source.wav intermediate.caf -d 0 -f caff --soundcheck-generate
    afconvert intermediate.caf -d aac -f m4af -u pgcm 2 --soundcheck-read -b 256000 -q 127 -s 2 final.m4a
    There's a droplet in the mastering tools that makes this much easier :)
  4. macrumors 6502

    Basically the Max VBR-C 256 setting should also produce an identical file.

    Anyway, sounds to me like you guys are saying just go with iTunes quality...
  5. macrumors G4

    Apple lossless. Why would I buy a CD and them save it as a lower quality file?

    Any AAC bit rate is less then the quality of a lossless format. Disk space cost only 5 cents per gigabyte, compressing the file saves about 1/10th of a cent is disk storage cost.
  6. Moderator


    Staff Member

    With a traditional hard drive, yes. With an iPhone or similar, the storage cost is about 100 times as expensive.
  7. macrumors 6502

    The AAC versions are for portable devices that aren't powerful enough to drive any "serious" audio gear. And the smaller files just stream & cache quicker with iSub.

    I use a combination of lossless and vinyl at home. I usually grab the MP3's from somewhere. But I thought I'd try encoding some AAC files, with the settings of my choice.

    Yes, there is also that.
  8. macrumors 604


    OP, where do you do most of your listening?
  9. macrumors 6502

    I don't know. Maybe 60% in my room, 40% while on the bus or something.
  10. macrumors 604


    What kind of setup do you listen on in your room?
  11. macrumors 6502

    Nothing super fancy, I hope one day to get better gear. A separate processor and amp, like Outlaw. Better headphones and/or speakers.

    • Basic AV receiver (Onkyo)
    • Slightly modified 1200MK2
    • Raspberry Pi (MPD) + iPad / iPhone remote
    • Alessandro cans

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