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Converting audio files?
killthishype.
post Dec 3 2010, 07:31
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Hi guys, not sure if it's the right forum to post at, but here goes.

Have got like 2k songs in different formats (MP3/AAC etc.) with bitrates ranging from 192-320kbps; some were previously converted by the iTunes encoder, e.g. from 192kbps to a higher bitrate (took me until today to realize it's pointless)

I understand that converting a lossy format to another lossy one would result in a loss of details, but I still hope to consolidate all of my songs to a similar format and bitrate (e.g. all songs in AAC format at 256kbps). Or should I just leave it?

Also, should I continue using the iTunes encoder or switch over to LAME instead?

Any form of advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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mjb2006
post Dec 3 2010, 09:01
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The question probably belongs in MP3 - General or General Audio.

The iTunes encoder is comparable to LAME. There's no reason to use one over the other unless you need a specific feature. As for your collection, having them in a consistent format is pointless, too, isn't it? What do you hope to achieve by doing that?

Lossy to lossy is always a degradation...maybe (probably) a very slight, unnoticeable one, but a degradation nonetheless. It doesn't matter if you're going up in quality or bitrate from the last transformation. It's like trying to take 98% of 96% of 95% and thinking you'll get something better than 89.3%. If you want to redo your collection to make it consistent in format, you should re-rip the original sources (or use lossless copies thereof). But if whoever is listening to the transcodes won't notice, there's no harm in AAC-izing your collection, I suppose. Try converting a few files and see how they sound. If they're fine, then go for it.

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killthishype.
post Dec 3 2010, 10:06
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QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Dec 3 2010, 16:01) *
The question probably belongs in MP3 - General or General Audio.

The iTunes encoder is comparable to LAME. There's no reason to use one over the other unless you need a specific feature. As for your collection, having them in a consistent format is pointless, too, isn't it? What do you hope to achieve by doing that?

Lossy to lossy is always a degradation...maybe (probably) a very slight, unnoticeable one, but a degradation nonetheless. It doesn't matter if you're going up in quality or bitrate from the last transformation. It's like trying to take 98% of 96% of 95% and thinking you'll get something better than 89.3%. If you want to redo your collection to make it consistent in format, you should re-rip the original sources (or use lossless copies thereof). But if whoever is listening to the transcodes won't notice, there's no harm in AAC-izing your collection, I suppose. Try converting a few files and see how they sound. If they're fine, then go for it.


Thanks for the input. Basically, I'm just trying to get everything into the same format and bitrate (OCD perhaps?)
Have tried converting a few files, sound basically the same, so should I just convert to AAC/256kbps? Or 320kbps?
One more question though, is VBR important? Thanks!
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mjb2006
post Dec 3 2010, 11:44
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You don't seem concerned about quality, so you might as well save space, so use the lowest bitrate that sounds good to you. I highly doubt you'll be able to tell the difference between 320, 192, or 128 with AAC. You could probably go even to even lower bitrates since your original MP3s probably have no signal above 16 kHz. As for VBR, generally you want to always use it. The situations where you need CBR are extremely rare for MP3 and practically nonexistent for AAC, as far as I know.
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Soap
post Dec 3 2010, 12:10
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QUOTE (killthishype. @ Dec 3 2010, 04:06) *
Basically, I'm just trying to get everything into the same format and bitrate (OCD perhaps?)

Yes. OCD. Don't do it. You gain nothing except feeding into an ill-informed urge and damage the tracks you have even further.

Now if you were ripping your own CDs I'd say go ahead an make them all the same format and same bitrate. But you're not. You are transcoding lossy files to lossy files, increasing the loss for no gain.

Next?



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jrchris3
post Dec 3 2010, 18:02
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QUOTE (killthishype. @ Dec 3 2010, 04:06) *
QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Dec 3 2010, 16:01) *
The question probably belongs in MP3 - General or General Audio.

The iTunes encoder is comparable to LAME. There's no reason to use one over the other unless you need a specific feature. As for your collection, having them in a consistent format is pointless, too, isn't it? What do you hope to achieve by doing that?

Lossy to lossy is always a degradation...maybe (probably) a very slight, unnoticeable one, but a degradation nonetheless. It doesn't matter if you're going up in quality or bitrate from the last transformation. It's like trying to take 98% of 96% of 95% and thinking you'll get something better than 89.3%. If you want to redo your collection to make it consistent in format, you should re-rip the original sources (or use lossless copies thereof). But if whoever is listening to the transcodes won't notice, there's no harm in AAC-izing your collection, I suppose. Try converting a few files and see how they sound. If they're fine, then go for it.


Thanks for the input. Basically, I'm just trying to get everything into the same format and bitrate (OCD perhaps?)
Have tried converting a few files, sound basically the same, so should I just convert to AAC/256kbps? Or 320kbps?
One more question though, is VBR important? Thanks!


Convert it to the most convenient. You should know.
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mixminus1
post Dec 3 2010, 19:25
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Well, that was pointless...

Moving on...+1 on what Soap said, and also:

You've mentioned iTunes - is that your primary method of playing your files? If so, there is absolutely no reason to "consolidate" to one format. iTunes can handle MP3 and AAC equally well, and you can only lose quality by transcoding (although as mjb2006 said, it may not be audible...but it certainly won't be an improvement).

This post has been edited by mixminus1: Dec 3 2010, 19:26


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SonicBooom!
post Feb 23 2011, 04:59
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For portable purposes, I think it's much better to convert 320kbps MP3 to 256kbps AAC, but converting an mp3 below 256kbps to 256kbps? Yeah, it's pointless indeed. You're making the file bigger while lowering it's quality in every conversion. Can't hear any difference between AAC and MP3 in 320kbps, but try testing them in 64kbps and know why I prefer AAC smile.gif laugh.gif


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