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What is best? ac3/aac/mpc/ogg/etc.?
chrizoo
post Oct 19 2009, 23:20
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Hi, I think there should be a sticky for the question

Which is the best lossy audio codec?
(with "best" meaning "best performance in terms of the quality/filesize tradeoff").

This is probably an immensely controversial topic and thus difficult to answer,
but I think there should be a stick regardless of whether the question will be answered or not,
just because this is propbably the number 1 FAQ !

Maybe a rudimentary anser can be given in the sticky anyway, or at least some links to the best HA-topics here, discussing the issue.

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 20 2009, 19:00
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chrizoo
post Oct 19 2009, 23:23
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It would actually be the equivalent
of the thread http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=33232
in the "lossless" section http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showforum=19

This post has been edited by chrizoo: Oct 19 2009, 23:23
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kornchild2002
post Oct 20 2009, 00:52
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It would be hard to give an answer as that FAQ would have to go through a series of sub-answers and guidelines that deal with hardware compatibility, it would have to be constantly updated whenever new encoders are released, one scenario wouldn't fit everyone (ie a recommendation to use AAC would not work for SanDisk Sansa users), it would be hard to narrow down encoders (especially with AAC as both Nero and iTunes/QuickTime perform about on par as has been discussed ad nauseum), etc. There are just too many variables that go into this question.

Now, if there was an interactive program where someone can punch in different options then that might work but it would require a great deal of effort to make something like that.
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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 01:04
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Well, then maybe your answer should be stickied, kornchild2002. I think this is (at least newB) FAQ n1, so I think there should be some element of answer somewhere ...

Also note, that my question was really construed in the simplest terms (i.e. from the standpoint of quality/filesize tradeoff only!), so your objection "would not work for SanDisk Sansa users" is not applicable.
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tpijag
post Oct 20 2009, 01:25
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Summarize the threads you mentioned, write it up, and present it to the powers that be.

terry
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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 01:29
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I am not experienced.
I didn't mention specific threads (about lossy audio encoding).
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Soap
post Oct 20 2009, 03:27
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QUOTE (chrizoo @ Oct 19 2009, 20:29) *
I am not experienced.

Everyone starts off w/o experience. wink.gif


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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 03:30
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Yes, and I don't mind.
(Since you are here for me wink.gif .... just kidding).

But one inexperienced user won't write a sticky user guide for other inexperienced users ...
I wouldn't have the necessary info and background knowledge anyway.
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Canar
post Oct 20 2009, 11:18
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"Just use MP3." Don't have a reason to avoid it? Why not stick with the standard? Even -V5 is very nice these days.

This post has been edited by Canar: Oct 20 2009, 11:19


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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 20 2009, 13:59
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If you own an ipod , aac might be an interesting alternative to mp3.
But yes, each time I was interested by the multiple modern codec, I always ended by the conclusion: "just use mp3
and don't bother with compatibility issues".

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Oct 20 2009, 14:02
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PaJaRo
post Oct 20 2009, 15:37
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QUOTE (Canar @ Oct 20 2009, 12:18) *
"Just use MP3." Don't have a reason to avoid it? Why not stick with the standard? Even -V5 is very nice these days.

Patents
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 20 2009, 15:50
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@PaJaRo
That's a valid reason, but average users are usually not concerned by this.
Also some applications tell you just to get the lame.dll from the web, I don't know if they can
bypass the royalties this way .

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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 15:51
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Oct 20 2009, 13:59) *
If you own an ipod , aac might be an interesting alternative to mp3.
But yes, each time I was interested by the multiple modern codec, I always ended by the conclusion: "just use mp3
and don't bother with compatibility issues".


(Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate you many showing up with different inputs, ...) but this discussion got a bit sidetracked though, because the initial question was not about compatibility, widespread usage, patents, etc.
It was merely about the best quality/filesize tradeoff.

I know this is still a hard question, but I intentionally wanted to exclude all these other (abovementioned) aspects which tend to make the question really unanswerable ...

This post has been edited by chrizoo: Oct 20 2009, 15:53
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2Bdecided
post Oct 20 2009, 15:51
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I suppose this thread is now destined to become yet another one which clearly demonstrates why there isn't a simple answer to this question!

EDIT: your question is of little practical value chrizoo. you can probably get the best quality/filesize trade off using an algorithm that's too complicated to encode or play back in real time on current hardware, and isn't support anywhere. Is this a useful answer to your question?

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Oct 20 2009, 15:54
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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 16:07
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Oct 20 2009, 15:51) *
I suppose this thread is now destined to become yet another one which clearly demonstrates why there isn't a simple answer to this question!

I'd call that a self-fulfilling prophecy

QUOTE
you can probably get the best quality/filesize trade off using an algorithm that's too complicated to encode or play back in real time on current hardware, and isn't support anywhere. Is this a useful answer to your question?

Your answer is correct, but very theoretical. With a bit of luck I can even prove it by asking you to name the specific "alorithm" you had in mind.
Maybe we can limit the possible choices to the 99% most discussed lossy audio codecs here.

This post has been edited by chrizoo: Oct 20 2009, 16:08
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Teknojnky
post Oct 20 2009, 16:13
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I thought the answer was very simple?

lame mp3 -v2


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chrizoo
post Oct 20 2009, 16:23
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QUOTE (Teknojnky @ Oct 20 2009, 16:13) *
I thought the answer was very simple?
lame mp3 -v2

So you think that lame mp3 is better than the other codecs discussed@HydrogenAudioForums>LossyAudioCompression in terms of quality:filesize ratio?

This post has been edited by chrizoo: Oct 20 2009, 16:24
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Teknojnky
post Oct 20 2009, 16:33
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I think quality/filesize is irrelevant unless your trying to use a 256 meg or similar mp3 player.

If size is that much of a concern that v2 is too big, then sure go with v3,4,5 or even 6.

At that point I would not expect to be used as primary library and your likely even transcoding from lossless so it does not even matter the quality really as if a particular V isn't good enough you can simply adjust to suit. Transcoding on the fly during sync avoids having to manage/maintain duplicate libraries.

I think mp3 ubiquity trumps all other factors, and it comes down to the simple matter of what is transparent for most primary lossy based libraries, in which v2 is the simple and therefore best choice.


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Zarggg
post Oct 20 2009, 16:50
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Will this discussion ever die?

chrizoo, there is no right answer to your question. The different codecs all have their merits and failing points. MP3 is the most common codec used, in general, with -V2 being a very common setting. That's "good enough" for many people, and probably the answer you're looking for anyway.

This site isn't about what you're asking. The "real" answer you would get from us is "do some ABX tests and find out what works best for you".
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2Bdecided
post Oct 20 2009, 17:04
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QUOTE (chrizoo @ Oct 19 2009, 23:20) *
Which is the best lossy audio codec?
(with "best" meaning "best performance in terms of the quality/filesize tradeoff").
But you haven't sufficiently defined "best" even now.

Which is best out of these...
  • 1000kbps, No audible artefacts, ever.
  • 250kbps, almost no audible artefacts.
  • 64kbps, no substantially annoying artefacts.

So, which do you mean by "best" quality/filesize trade off...
  1. the codec that can completely avoid audible artefacts at the lowest bitrate
  2. the codec that can avoid audible artefacts for 99.99 (how many 9s? wink.gif ) % of the time at the lowest bitrate
  3. the codec that can avoid sounding "annoying" at the lowest bitrate
  4. the codec that can sound best overall at Xkbps

You give me a can of worms, I'll use a can opener! wink.gif

Cheers,
David.

This post has been edited by 2Bdecided: Oct 20 2009, 17:05
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Trondis
post Oct 20 2009, 20:19
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QUOTE (Teknojnky @ Oct 20 2009, 10:13) *
I thought the answer was very simple?

lame mp3 -v2


I don't think this is very simple. The choice of codec can tie you up to a specific brand of portable players if you want gapless playback.

In my case I started with Sony players. The first was a HiMD minidisk, the second was NWHD1. This only supported the Atrac codec, so I started to rip my entire collection to Atrac3plus. The next was NWHD3, that supported Atrac plus MP3. I saw no reason to switch to MP3, because only Atrac was gapless, there was a general consensus that Atrac3plus sounded better than MP3, plus Atrac files drained the battery slower than MP3. So I thought that Atrac was the perfect codec. Then the evil Sony people decided to drop Atrac on their new players. So all my ripped CD's wasn't future proof, and I looked for an alternative.

I moved to a Dell Axim pocket PC with the Pocket Player software. They claim to have gapless playback. I soon found out that MP3 wasn't perfectly gapless after all. But OGG files worked very nicely. So I started to rip my CD's to OGG. After that I found a much better software, Phantasm Music Player. But, alas, this didn't support OGG. So there I go again. Phantasm supports perfect gapless on MP3 and iTunes encoded MP4. MP4 was the recommended codec, and I started to rip my CDs to that. But shortly after I bought this software the evil developer decided to stop selling it outside the US, and denied international costumers upgrades. Now the standard OS for new windows mobile phones is version 6.5, and my software will probably not run on that.

So will my ripped files play on my next player, with perfect gapless? I have so many gapless albums that this is an absolute requirement. Which players can I possibly buy now? iPods, probably. But I just read that the iPod Touch doesn't play gapless anymore with the latest firmware. I am very uncertain where to go from here.
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