are 256k aac audio files lossless ? do they sound better ?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Jungo, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Jungo macrumors regular

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #1
    I am updating my old 128k rips from the iCloud - wondering if

    1. 256k aac files are lossless
    2. will they actually sound better than my 128 rips from 7 years ago?
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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  3. Jungo thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #3
    I should qualify - is there a substantial increase in dynamic range or frequency response with 256

    at 59 my ears have some top end rolled off but i can still notice an increase in soft to loud dynamics -

    was just wander in general if folks can hear the diff with 256
     
  4. mroddjob macrumors member

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #4
    as miles01110 said
    1) No
    2) Depends, it depends on your ears and what you're listening through. IMO I can tell the difference between them even on standard iPod headphones and I wouldn't say I have the best ears in the world but slightly better than average. Best thing to do is rip a couple of track in 256k and compare them with your 128k yourself, blind if possible, there are some ABX audio comparison applications for mac or just get someone else to play each track in a random order and see if you can tell the difference. :D
     
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #5
    1. No. That is why they are called 256kbps aac files. If they were lossless, they'd be known as lossless aac files.

    2. Yes, if you have an ear for sound quality.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Yes, I certainly can hera it. But with more bits you don't get dynamic range and frequency response. Those are specs that are constant over time what you gain is better transients and a lack of compression artifacts.

    In other words with 128K MP3 you hear it OK for a few seconds then a drum hit happens that happens to sound like mud. You get a loot fewer artifacts with AAC and even less as the bit rate moves up to 256.

    That said lossless is the way to go. It is a bit per bit copy of the CD data. Diska are now so cheap there is not much reason to save space.
     
  7. RolledUp20s macrumors regular

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    Jun 14, 2011
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    Wrexham, North Wales
    #7
    The apple lossless is something like 928Kbps - thats a Complete CD rip.
    The files are much bigger than a standard mp3 file, sound is noticeable aswel using a good pair of headphones.
     
  8. AdrianK macrumors 68020

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    Feb 19, 2011
    #8
    Lossless CD quality audio is 1411kbps when uncompressed. You can get it a lot lower if you use a lossless codec like Apple Lossless, but it will vary from track to track - there is no set value.
     
  9. PAPO macrumors 6502

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    Australia
    #9
    I did some testing myself, with the speakers built into my laptop and the headphones that came with my laptop, 256k will sound almost as good as a CD, 128k is a bit crap, with my AKG studio headphones... I should go buy some more SACD's ;)

    but the more important thing to note is that 256k will use twice the space so you may want to check you have room first
     
  10. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #10
    But it's worth it because 256k is acceptable, 128k is not.
     
  11. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    #11
    It's recording and mastering dependent more than anything else. If the recording was garbage to begin with, then 256 won't make much of a difference.

    If your equipment has sufficient enough treble extension, then 256 might give you the impression of higher dynamic range because the treble might extend higher.

    Besides that, the most noticeable difference is within the compression artifiacts within treble itself. The artifacts will sound like an underwater effect.
     
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #12
    Of course it's dependent on recording and mastering but the compression artifacts have everything to do with the quality of the encoder and the bit rate.

    The rest of your post is true so maybe I misunderstood you.
     
  13. TMRaven, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011

    TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

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    #13
    What I'm trying to get it as often times a better recording/mastering will sound better at 128kbps than some other song that isn't so well recorded/mastered and is at 256kbps. How complex the song is can also make for large discrepancies between quality difference between those to specific bitrates. Often times a higher bitrate song of a bad recording will expose its flaws even more than a lower bitrate version of it did.

    In short, some recordings deserve to be given a high amount of bitrate. Some don't. Kanye West's Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, any song from Oasis sound like garbage no matter how high of a bitrate I rip them at.
     
  14. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #14
    Gotcha. Very true words.
     

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