WMA9 or AAC which is better technically?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Francesco, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Francesco macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    Hey there, Which is better, WMA 9 or AAC? I

    Has anyone figured a way to get music for itunes if there in Canada?
  2. dwishbone macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2002
    On the Moon
    AAC. it preservers more of the original audios sound.
    just listen to the same song with the same basic settings when ripped from a CD. you can tell...believe me.
  3. pinto32 macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2003
    AAC was devoloped by DOLBY.
    WMA was developed by MICROSOFT.

    Who would you expect better quality from?

    Thought so....:)
  4. G4scott macrumors 68020


    Jan 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I can't seem to find the link, but there was an article that compared mp3, wma, and AAC, and AAC came out on top for sound quality. If I'm right, WMA cuts out the top 1/5 of what humans can hear... Or maybe it was mp3, but either way, AAC came out on top...
  5. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    They are pretty damn close in quality, but AAC has slightly better frequenncy response - less dithering in the compression (the whooshing sound). But AAC files are slightly larger.

    'Course, with a 10, 20, and 40gb iPod, who cares?

    Then, of course there are the DRM and ideological differences, but seemed more geared toward actual sound.
  6. Maritan macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2003
    Here you go:
  7. gwangung macrumors 65816

    Apr 9, 2003
    Note that this is a fairly old study, done before the most recent version of WMA came out.

    Note also, there are lossless compression settings for WMA (which few programs use).
  8. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    And I bet the compression ratio for lossless is the reason why it's almost completely ignored in general. And regardless, there are other codecs out there (open codecs for that matter) that deal entirely in lossless compression, so I can't say that it's particularly interesting :) .
  9. kidA macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    lossless WMA does exist, but the files are like 25 MB each. it's not really practical to use it for most people.

    at 64 kbps, WMA is the winner hands down, IMO. at 64 kbps, though, even though WMA is better, the sound quality is still not even close to "CD Quality" whatever that means. even though WMA is the best at 64 kbps, you can still tell that sound has been stripped/lost (hence the term lossy).
    at 128 kbps, all 3 (WMA, MP3, and AAC) are pretty good. at that bitrate, WMA and MP3 are pretty comparable. the sound is pretty true, but still not perfect. AAC at 128 kbps is truer than the other 2 though. IMO, AAC at 128 is the best balance of keeping the files small and also preserving really high sound quality. at 128 kbps, WMA, AAC, and MP3 will all yield pretty similar file sizes, AAC is slightly larger, but the difference is pretty small.
  10. Francesco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    Thanks for your help guys.

    The website i'm getting my music off of (puretracks.com) compresses at 320 WMA so I was wondering if it's worth getting music off that website or waiting till there's an AAC website or itunes opens in Canada.

    I guess 320kps is should be pretty on
    par with AAC 128 though.

  11. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    WMA's dirty little secret

    Perhaps they've stopped doing this, but I recall when WMA was relatively young it was discovered that the encoder was also increasing the amplification by +4db, or something like that. The supposition as to why is due to the fact when a human listens to two sounds that are identical in every respect except for volume, the louder sound is perceived to be of higher fidelity.

    Yeah, basically MS was cheating. :D

    When testers adjusted their samples to compensate for that small volume increase, the perceived quality of WMA went down. Wish i could remember what I was reading - it was a comparison of WMA, MP3, Real, and some other codec (this was in the pre-iTunes, pre-iPod days).
  12. Francesco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    I totally believe that. And I have noticed when I listen to WMA files they are slightly louder but don't sound better.

    If I encode AAC at 320kps is it lossless? What encoding does itunes have that IS lossless?

  13. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    All AAC will be lossy. AIFF is lossless.
  14. kidA macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    the windows media audio lossless codec is something like 470-960 kbps VBR. that's pretty high. i think with AAC at 320 it will be close enough to lossless that you won't be able to tell the difference. most people cannot even tell any difference at 128 kbps. at 128 kbps AAC, i honestly have to be listening really really closely and it's only noticeable on a high quality set of speakers and even then only with certain kinds of music. like horrortaxi said, though, AIFF is truly lossless.
  15. Francesco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    What's this VBR about? I know it stands for Variabal Bit Rate Encoding but what does it do? higher quality sound?

  16. benixau macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    it is for the best quaity:size ratio.

    VBR means that when there is a lot of sound the bit rate is higher and when there is only a small amount of sound the bit rate is lower.

    The higher the bit rate the larger the file. Most VBR files are rated about an average of 192Kbps - they are about 50-100% larger than an average MP3 but sound excellent by comparison.

    I do however reccommend AAC at at least 160Kbps. I use reverse quality - if a CD is supposedly equal to 128Kbps - then encoding at 160Kbps hopefully keeps enough data for those few extra sounds that I need.

    Hope this helps.

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