Encoding music

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I've been doing some blindfolded analysis of different formats: 128 and 160 aac/ 128 and 160mp3/aiff at different bit rates.



I always pick out aiff as the best but...



Here's my problem:



I've been preferring mp3 over aac in almost all my tests. I even tend to choose 128 mp3 over 160 aac.





Now, I need some professional guidance because I have seen tests that say aac is way better than mp3 but what do you guys think in real life?



I find aac rather dull sounding, both 128 and 160.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    dmband0026dmband0026 Posts: 2,345member
    AAC kicks Mp3s butt. No contest from what I've heard. I encode all my stuff at 160kbps AAC now. I don't know what you're hearing.

    The quality is much higher, and the file size is lower. Can't go wrong. If I had the HD space I would go all AIFF with my stuff, but I can't do that.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Well, the aac to me is very dull while having very piercing or augmented highs (treble)



    the treble is really loud and hurts my ears.



    I have the Sony fontopia MDR-EX71SL





    you sure about the actuall sound of aac being better? did you ever objectively blindfoldedly compare the two?
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Ewwwweeee!!!! mp3...



    I only use .ogg (http://www.vorbis.com) when ripping CDs (which are mine and I am using the copies for personal use... yah.)



    Tests prove that ogg is much better then mp3.



    Edit... however you would be hard pressed to find a good digital music player that supports the format.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by stevegongrui

    I've been preferring mp3 over aac in almost all my tests. I even tend to choose 128 mp3 over 160 aac.



    I have noticed that MP3s do sound better. For lack of proper terminology I will say that MP3s have a "fuller" sound. To give an analogy I will say MP3s are like big speakers and AAC like little speakers.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Quote:

    Originally posted by iPeon

    I have noticed that MP3s do sound better. For lack of proper terminology I will say that MP3s have a "fuller" sound. To give an analogy I will say MP3s are like big speakers and AAC like little speakers.





    Right on! That is exactly what I'm experiencing!



    So what's going on????



    AAC is not 'pristine' then?
  • Reply 6 of 16
    daverdaver Posts: 496member
    To my ears, the 128 Kbps AAC files offered at the iTMS sound awful. The highs are fairly "pristine," as the say, but everything else sounds terribly muddy. By all counts the AAC files should be kicking MP3 ass, but something's just not right. Perhaps AAC's purported great clarity is just highlighting how bad lossy compression at low bit rates really sounds!



    I encode all of my music as MP3s using LAME 3.9x and its standard or extreme encoding presets, which yield VBR files around 180 and 220 Kbps, respectively. I suppose that AAC around 192 Kbps would sound decent, but I prefer to stick with what tests have proven to work well.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    how do you use lame?



    I'm asking about the specific options, you seem to have to put in thing like dash -128 -h or something like that.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Old conventional wisdom: You should always go against stevegongrui's suggestions.

    New conventional wisdom: Yep.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by stevegongrui

    how do you use lame?



    I'm asking about the specific options, you seem to have to put in thing like dash -128 -h or something like that.




    The following setting will produce VBR files in the neighborhood of 170 kbps: --alt-preset standard



    The following setting will produce VBR files in the neighborhood of 220 kbps:

    --alt-preset extreme
  • Reply 10 of 16
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by stevegongrui

    you sure about the actuall sound of aac being better? did you ever objectively blindfoldedly compare the two?



    There's a little thing called Mean Square Error. AAC has a lower MSE than MP3 for the same file size. So the sound is truer to the original source, whether you like it or not.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    you know, if youre having a party and the speakers are blaring, no one is gonna be able to tell the difference between .aac and mp3. and what other reason would you need files to sound good in large speakers?



    no for real though, i have almost all .aac, and i've heard some pretty rich sound come from my ipod, through a belkin tunecast (which sucks), and into a car stereo. seriously, for something to sound decent coming from a tunecast, you know its good. i think the reason mp3's sound fuller is that you've heard that before and its called the placebo effect. i used to htink mp3s sounded better, so i had duplicates of songs and let them play randomly, i sure as hell couldnt tell the difference, but then again, i dont claim to have a miracle-ear like some of you. point is, 99.9% of iTMS users cant tell the difference, think aac is better, or dont give a shit.



    anyways....
  • Reply 12 of 16
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ipodandimac

    i think the reason mp3's sound fuller is that you've heard that before and its called the placebo effect.

    anyways....




    Actually, yes, I was suffering from the placebo effect, but the other way around.

    I had the notion that AAC was far superior (Steve Jobs convinced me in his keynote)
  • Reply 13 of 16
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,261member
    This discussion is more suited to Digital Hub.



    Moving now.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by stevegongrui

    Actually, yes, I was suffering from the placebo effect, but the other way around.

    I had the notion that AAC was far superior (Steve Jobs convinced me in his keynote)




    well, it works both ways--really they all sound the same.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    daverdaver Posts: 496member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ipodandimac

    well, it works both ways--really they all sound the same.



    Except when they don't, which is most of the time.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Daver

    Except when they don't, which is most of the time.



    alright. i'll stop trying to make a case because neither of us will budge. guess who can fit more songs on his ipod though
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