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Not sure which lossy format to use for Android playback
Cromulent
post Dec 6 2012, 15:02
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My music collection is currently encoded in FLAC format and was ripped using cdparanoia. I want to convert some of my FLAC files to a lossy format for listening on my Android phone at work (Nexus 4 for reference) but am unsure which codec to use. I think the choice is really between AAC and Ogg Vorbis but I'm not really sure. I'm basically looking for the best sound quality with the smallest file size.

Can anyone offer some advice for a newbie in this field (prior to this I've only ever really used lossless formats such as ALAC or FLAC).? Thanks.
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Seren
post Dec 6 2012, 16:48
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I use Opus with Rockbox on my my Phone (running 2.3), Rockbox is in development still for android but it's extremely useful. There are other players on Andriod that play Opus and are more stable but mostly require 4+.
If your one who likes to use the integrated player then you'll most likely want to use AAC (using QAAC).

EDIT: I was using Vorbis before Opus, since I've never really been a fan of low-bitrate AAC, although many listening tests show people prefer AAC over Vorbis.

This post has been edited by Seren: Dec 6 2012, 17:26
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AiZ
post Dec 6 2012, 16:52
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Hello,

I won't give an advice as I dump my FLAC files in my androphone.

Just have a look here:
Hydrogenaudio Listening Tests - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
Public Multiformat Listening Test @ ~64 kbps (March 2011)
Results of the public multiformat listening test @ 64 kbps (March/April 2011)

After reading those pages, I would go with:
qaac
QAAC discussion, questions, feature requests, etc. - Hydrogenaudio Forums

The only thing to do is testing a few tracks with various bitrates to find what floats your boat.

Have a nice day,


AiZ


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yourlord
post Dec 6 2012, 17:26
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Android supports OGG Vorbis natively.

I encode from FLAC to ogg using quality 2, which averages around 96Kbps..

I've yet to find reason to complain about the quality or the file size.
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DonP
post Dec 6 2012, 17:33
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QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 09:02) *
I want to convert some of my FLAC files to a lossy format for listening on my Android phone at work (Nexus 4 for reference) but am unsure which codec to use. I think the choice is really between AAC and Ogg Vorbis but I'm not really sure. I'm basically looking for the best sound quality with the smallest file size.


I would go with vorbis (or Opus, if you're feeling like an early adopter). I pick vorbis because for me it is more universal. All my players play it and all my computers have encoders. Not so for AAC. Are you planning to convert on the fly (select flac albums and they are automatically converted before loading to your phone)? If so, then encoding speed should get some consideration.

WHat I use though is a cloud service (Google Music). WHen at home (or anywhere with unmetered downloads) I can just click on what albums I want stored locally on my tablet and then I'm all set for when I go off grid (no phone data on it) Recently played songs tend to still be in the cache as well. If you aren't bumping against your data plan quota (or your employer is ok with using their wifi for music) then you can of course listen to anything in your collection at will.

If you upload from your flac files (or, I think, anything but mp3), the uploader converts to 320 kb/s mp3 and may stream to you at a lower rate depending on your connection speed. Most of mine I uploaded as lame V5 so I can cache more songs and keep the data down when I do go on a phone plan. With Google the free storage limit is 20,000 tracks.
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Cromulent
post Dec 6 2012, 17:35
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QUOTE (AiZ @ Dec 6 2012, 15:52) *
Hello,

I won't give an advice as I dump my FLAC files in my androphone.

Just have a look here:
Hydrogenaudio Listening Tests - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase
Public Multiformat Listening Test @ ~64 kbps (March 2011)
Results of the public multiformat listening test @ 64 kbps (March/April 2011)

After reading those pages, I would go with:
qaac
QAAC discussion, questions, feature requests, etc. - Hydrogenaudio Forums

The only thing to do is testing a few tracks with various bitrates to find what floats your boat.

Have a nice day,


AiZ


QAAC is out of the question I'm afraid since I'm on Linux and it appears to require some Apple stuff.

QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 6 2012, 16:26) *
Android supports OGG Vorbis natively.

I encode from FLAC to ogg using quality 2, which averages around 96Kbps..

I've yet to find reason to complain about the quality or the file size.


96kbps seems awfully low. I was planning on going with 192kbps VBR but yeah Ogg Vorbis does sound like a good choice.

QUOTE (DonP @ Dec 6 2012, 16:33) *
QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 09:02) *
I want to convert some of my FLAC files to a lossy format for listening on my Android phone at work (Nexus 4 for reference) but am unsure which codec to use. I think the choice is really between AAC and Ogg Vorbis but I'm not really sure. I'm basically looking for the best sound quality with the smallest file size.


I would go with vorbis (or Opus, if you're feeling like an early adopter). I pick vorbis because for me it is more universal. All my players play it and all my computers have encoders. Not so for AAC. Are you planning to convert on the fly (select flac albums and they are automatically converted before loading to your phone)? If so, then encoding speed should get some consideration.

WHat I use though is a cloud service (Google Music). WHen at home (or anywhere with unmetered downloads) I can just click on what albums I want stored locally on my tablet and then I'm all set for when I go off grid (no phone data on it) Recently played songs tend to still be in the cache as well. If you aren't bumping against your data plan quota (or your employer is ok with using their wifi for music) then you can of course listen to anything in your collection at will.

If you upload from your flac files (or, I think, anything but mp3), the uploader converts to 320 kb/s mp3 and may stream to you at a lower rate depending on your connection speed. Most of mine I uploaded as lame V5 so I can cache more songs and keep the data down when I do go on a phone plan. With Google the free storage limit is 20,000 tracks.


You posted at the same time I did smile.gif. Sounds like a good plan. This will be my first Android phone so I have no experience with Google music I'll check it out.

I was going to encode the files ahead of time as my music collection is relatively static. I only get a couple of CDs a month on average so encoding as and when is not really an issue.

This post has been edited by Cromulent: Dec 6 2012, 17:39
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DonP
post Dec 6 2012, 17:37
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QUOTE (Seren @ Dec 6 2012, 10:48) *
There are other players on Andriod that play Opus and are more stable but mostly require 4+.


The OP's phone would have android 4.2
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yourlord
post Dec 6 2012, 18:19
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QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 11:35) *
96kbps seems awfully low. I was planning on going with 192kbps VBR but yeah Ogg Vorbis does sound like a good choice.


Don't focus on the bit rate number.. Do some test encodes and let your ears make that decision for you.. Seriously.. I used to encode at q6 and q8 because I was hung up on the bitrate. Then one day I decided to experiment and see at what rate I started to even notice any quality issues..

With lame I hit my limit at about 128Kbps which while it's still pretty friggin good, at that rate I start to notice the artifacts enough to annoy me. I went 1 step up and target my average mp3 bitrate at 160kbps where I can't tell the difference on all but the most brutal samples.

When I did the same test with Vorbis you could have picked me up off the floor.. At 80kbps Vorbis starts to annoy me, but otherwise it still sounds REALLY FRIGGIN GOOD.. At 96kbps it's almost totally transparent (to me at least), enough so that IF there is some rare random sample that causes a problem, it's infrequent enough that I don't care.

I've yet to regret settling on vorbis at q2.. All my wife's music on her phone is Vorbis at q2.. All my son's music on his clip+ is Vorbis at q2.. All my father's music on his clip+ is Vorbis at q2. Never has a single complaint been lodged by any of them about the audio quality.

I'm just saying try it.. You can double the amount of music you can store on your phone or leave more space for pics and video, and I bet you'll be hard pressed to tell any difference in quality, if at all.
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Cromulent
post Dec 6 2012, 18:54
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QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 6 2012, 17:19) *
QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 11:35) *
96kbps seems awfully low. I was planning on going with 192kbps VBR but yeah Ogg Vorbis does sound like a good choice.


Don't focus on the bit rate number.. Do some test encodes and let your ears make that decision for you.. Seriously.. I used to encode at q6 and q8 because I was hung up on the bitrate. Then one day I decided to experiment and see at what rate I started to even notice any quality issues..

With lame I hit my limit at about 128Kbps which while it's still pretty friggin good, at that rate I start to notice the artifacts enough to annoy me. I went 1 step up and target my average mp3 bitrate at 160kbps where I can't tell the difference on all but the most brutal samples.

When I did the same test with Vorbis you could have picked me up off the floor.. At 80kbps Vorbis starts to annoy me, but otherwise it still sounds REALLY FRIGGIN GOOD.. At 96kbps it's almost totally transparent (to me at least), enough so that IF there is some rare random sample that causes a problem, it's infrequent enough that I don't care.

I've yet to regret settling on vorbis at q2.. All my wife's music on her phone is Vorbis at q2.. All my son's music on his clip+ is Vorbis at q2.. All my father's music on his clip+ is Vorbis at q2. Never has a single complaint been lodged by any of them about the audio quality.

I'm just saying try it.. You can double the amount of music you can store on your phone or leave more space for pics and video, and I bet you'll be hard pressed to tell any difference in quality, if at all.


Wow. You're right.

I just converted the same song into four files. A 96, 128, 160 and 192kbps Vorbis and also used the original FLAC file. There was a slight degradation in the audio quality in the 96kbps version but the 128kbps version was fine for listening to on a portable device where there will obviously also be background noise so having top quality play back really isn't necessary. Plus the size difference between 96 and 128kbps isn't that much so I'll go with 128kbps I think. Should be able to fit most of my music on my phone with that setting (for reference the FLAC file was 51MB and was encoded using the --best option and the 128kbps Vorbis file was 6.4MB which is a nice reduction).
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eahm
post Dec 6 2012, 19:03
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I don't want to create even more confusion but you should know about the options you have with Ogg Vorbis.

Did you try just libvorbis or even aoTuV? http://www.rarewares.org/ogg-libraries.php

This post has been edited by eahm: Dec 6 2012, 19:07


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saratoga
post Dec 6 2012, 19:21
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If you're going to use Andriod, mp3 makes the most sense since that is what Google music supports. That way you can upload your music to their cloud and stream (or download) it any where.
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yourlord
post Dec 6 2012, 19:34
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Why deal with streaming it (which can be unreliable) if you have enough local storage to just load it and go? Burning bandwidth caps to listen to music doesn't make sense to me. Plus, where am I going to be and need my music files that my phone won't also be? If I need to dump my files from my phone on a machine a standard microusb cable will do that..

Or, I also run subsonic on my media server at home so if I need better copies of my music somewhere else I can log into that and simply download the FLAC files..

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saratoga
post Dec 6 2012, 19:49
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QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 6 2012, 14:34) *
Why deal with streaming it (which can be unreliable) if you have enough local storage to just load it and go? Burning bandwidth caps to listen to music doesn't make sense to me.


It doesn't work quite like you're thinking. Basically Google music is less of a streaming service and more of a way to cache a subset of a large collection on a device with limited storage, and to sync new files across devices automatically.

So say you have 60GB of music, and a phone that has 20 GB of free space you want to use for music (assume the rest is used by apps or whatever). You'll get a giant list of all your music, some of which is on the device and some of which is only in the cloud. You can either download things for local playback (which are queued up and done only over wifi) or stream them (at which point they're cached onto local storage so that no bandwidth is used in the future).

QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 6 2012, 14:34) *
If I need to dump my files from my phone on a machine a standard microusb cable will do that..


You can of course manually move files between machines and phones, or run your own servers to do the same thing, but its more work for the same result.
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OzarkVe
post Dec 6 2012, 20:01
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QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 12:54) *
Wow. You're right.

I just converted the same song into four files. A 96, 128, 160 and 192kbps Vorbis and also used the original FLAC file. There was a slight degradation in the audio quality in the 96kbps version but the 128kbps version was fine for listening to on a portable device where there will obviously also be background noise ..


I found the same thing. I had 128 mp3 files... just because that's what we always used.... but things have come so far. I did settle on .41 aac (IIRC ~96k/s) and reduced my library by ~35% on my SD card. Now I have a 64gb card so it's not such a big deal, but your findings are just what I found. I wonder if there's an ABX app where you could test in the field under real world situations.
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DonP
post Dec 6 2012, 22:08
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QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 6 2012, 13:34) *
Why deal with streaming it (which can be unreliable) if you have enough local storage to just load it and go?


Local storage in this case (Nexus 4) is either 8 or 16 GB total (including apps, email, etc) with no card slot.
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yourlord
post Dec 6 2012, 22:43
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That's why I put in that IF biggrin.gif

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skamp
post Dec 6 2012, 23:52
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QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 6 2012, 17:35) *
QAAC is out of the question I'm afraid since I'm on Linux and it appears to require some Apple stuff.


FYI, the next version of caudec (soon to be released, or the current version in SVN) supports qaac (see the installation instructions). It's as easy to use as this:

CODE
caudec -c qaac -q 90 *.flac
caudec -c qaac -b 160 *.flac


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yourlord
post Dec 7 2012, 01:02
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Don't know if I've said this before but thanks for your work on that script..

I haven't used it yet as I haven't had need to batch convert anything in awhile, but I tend to live on the command line and appreciate a good bash script.. I'll grab it soon and test it out since my wife found a ton of her old CD's which I just ripped to FLAC and she'll want em on her phone soon.
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