Is AAC really that crappy?

Mar 15, 2003
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I've been reading a lot of negative press regarding Apple's implementation of AAC and I'm wondering if it's all hype or true... I upgraded to iTunes 4 and converted all of my highbitrate (192+) mp3s to 128k AAC (using Itunes codec) in order to save space on my IPOD and honestly can't hear a difference (on grado SR60s) - am I missing something? I'm enjoying the extra space I've gained but wonder if I'm screwing myself somehow..
 

Platypus

Lifer
Apr 26, 2001
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If you can't tell the difference why does it matter if they suck (which they do horribly)?
 

HendrixFan

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2001
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Well, when you re-encode an audio file that has already had lossy compression, there are two different types of artifacting that can occur. Becuase of the higher compression, a 128k AAC file should be comparable to a 192k MP3. You should consider re-encoding to AAC from the original wav files.

Of course, if you cant hear any difference, then nobody else's opinion should matter.
 

tweakmm

Lifer
May 28, 2001
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I've heard that the headphone jack on the Ipod sucks, so that could be why you can't hear a difference.
edit:
I'm going to have to go with the majority sentiment in this thread, if you can't tell a difference then why do you care?
 
Mar 15, 2003
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Well, I do find that my G4 was stupid, overpriced crap.... I was sorta forced into it because I'm a film student and FinalCutPro is the industry standard right now (AVID still has industry support but people say FCP is the future).. But my ipod was definately not stupid, over priced crap.. Best portable audio equipment I've ever bought... Anyways, yeah, I can't hear a difference on my headphones but my concern is that it'll sound like crap if I hook my pod up to a stereo... What confuses me is that I hear a lot of people say AAC is superior to MP3 and other saying the opposite.. I know xferring to lossy to lossy is not ideal - I could just crap 30% more stuff onto my ipod that way..
 

Platypus

Lifer
Apr 26, 2001
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Originally posted by: freedomsbeat212
Well, I do find that my G4 was stupid, overpriced crap.... I was sorta forced into it because I'm a film student and FinalCutPro is the industry standard right now (AVID still has industry support but people say FCP is the future).. But my ipod was definately not stupid, over priced crap.. Best portable audio equipment I've ever bought... Anyways, yeah, I can't hear a difference on my headphones but my concern is that it'll sound like crap if I hook my pod up to a stereo... What confuses me is that I hear a lot of people say AAC is superior to MP3 and other saying the opposite.. I know xferring to lossy to lossy is not ideal - I could just crap 30% more stuff onto my ipod that way..

I also own an iPod, it was overpriced, but I use the damn thing all the time, so I have to agree it was a good purchase. Those who say AAC is better than mp3 are apple fan boys. I use VBR mp3s on my iPod all the time because they sound a hell of a lot better than AAC ever would. Once people realize(the mass majority anyway) that AAC is complete crap, their little marketing scheme will die off and they'll have to create another pretty clear box to entice people with too much money to buy it.
 
Mar 15, 2003
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Well, I'm big on price vs. use/performance, so to me the iPod wasn't overpriced, per se.. I've had various mp3 players and the build quality on all of them were terrible.. Had my ipod over a year and it still works like new.. Granted, I know that apple did not make this product but that they only market it- I would have jumped on a high quality hd player by sony if it was available (without some stupid form of copy protection).. Also, doesn't the iPod's toshiba hard drive go for $200 on it's on? That's not the point though, I guess I'll have to take your word on AAC - I read articles from over a year ago comparing aac to mp3 (before apple's press machine started their campaign) and, at lower bitrates, aac seems to win.. But I'll continue to look into it..
 

HendrixFan

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2001
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The reason people claim AAC to be better than MP3 is because of its tighter compression. Just as MPEG-4 files can look as good as an MPEG-2, while being smaller; AAC files can sound as good as MP3 while being smaller. Both formats are newer, and as such they can use tighter compression. You need about a 400mhz machine to playback an MPEG-2. You need about 3 times that (1.2Ghz) to play back a DivX 5 MPEG-4 file. As processing speed increases, newer compression algorithms can be more demanding and still achieve realtime decompression for playback. AAC (and OGG for that matter) can use less bitrate and sound as good as an MP3.

Of course, MP3 being the more common format, it is much more "user friendly" to move around, share with others, burn, etc. You have much greater flexibility and support than with AAC.
 

Platypus

Lifer
Apr 26, 2001
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The way it compresses audio is using a 128kbps rate. There is no way this can compare to VBR. 128 sounds muddy, lacking the high's most music with cymbals contains. The bass is cloudy, and it sounds non-dynamic. With VBR, it compresses the audio according to what is neccesary for the moment. If it's a high concentration of cymbals and drums, the bitrate is higher, if it's quiet, it lowers itself accordingly. If you'd like, I can send you a song in VBR and you can compare it to the same song in AAC format.
 
Mar 15, 2003
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Well, comparing very high bitrate VBR (I noticed some of my VBRs peak at 300+) to 128k AAC isn't fair.. i rarely use VBR as I honeslty download my stuff and don't encode it myself (192 seems to be the P2P norm).. My question is, how does 128k AAC compare to 192K mp3 (non-vbr).. I will take you advice when archiving my own CDs- I'm positive that you're right about VBR sounding better
 

HendrixFan

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2001
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Originally posted by: CorporateRecreation
The way it compresses audio is using a 128kbps rate. There is no way this can compare to VBR. 128 sounds muddy, lacking the high's most music with cymbals contains. The bass is cloudy, and it sounds non-dynamic. With VBR, it compresses the audio according to what is neccesary for the moment. If it's a high concentration of cymbals and drums, the bitrate is higher, if it's quiet, it lowers itself accordingly. If you'd like, I can send you a song in VBR and you can compare it to the same song in AAC format.

Make a VBR MP3 that averages about 128, and compare it to AAC at 128. Im not arguing that a 128 AAC file will best a LAME VBR MP3 at its highest quality settings. Im saying that at any given bitrate (and therefore filesize) AAC will best MP3.