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Core Audio/QuickTime True VBR vs. Nero AAC, How efficient is the new True VBR mode?
DocterD
post Jun 2 2009, 14:38
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QuickTime 7.6.2 is out. Any improvements?
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skuo
post Jun 2 2009, 18:02
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QUOTE (DocterD @ Jun 2 2009, 06:38) *
QuickTime 7.6.2 is out. Any improvements?

Distortion heard in Kraftwerk reported in http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=70442 was fixed.
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rpp3po
post Jun 2 2009, 21:35
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That's great news!
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jmcguckin
post Jun 3 2009, 02:15
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there is also a noticeable increase in encoding speed, at least on my end (average speed when using v. 7.6 was ~25-26x, and and now with 7.6.2 it regularly averages between 28-29x)... would be nice if someone else could verify this, though.


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Larson
post Jul 6 2009, 08:33
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I also tried AAC true vbr lately Q127 quality encoding set to MAX and i must say that it's pretty good but i don't wether are my ears or not i feel like voices are a bit,how could i say,unclear. Instead AAC 320 ABR MAX encoding quality feels good. What do you think? VBR is supposed to be a lot better anyway,for costant quality.

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jido
post Jul 6 2009, 12:17
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Larson, your ears can't lie. If you want to know whether you really hear a difference try doing an ABX test between the 127 kbps and the original or the 320 kbps encoding.

As for me Quicktime 128 kbps AAC used to annoy me a little, but not any more since a few versions. I generally use 128 kbps VBR and occasionally 160 kbps.
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DocterD
post Jul 10 2009, 11:15
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Any low bitrate comparison on quality 80 or so?
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Larson
post Jul 23 2009, 14:19
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QUOTE (jmcguckin @ Jun 3 2009, 03:15) *
there is also a noticeable increase in encoding speed, at least on my end (average speed when using v. 7.6 was ~25-26x, and and now with 7.6.2 it regularly averages between 28-29x)... would be nice if someone else could verify this, though.




to me it averages also between 33-34x,around 30x for sure anyway. I'm still testing,i find it really good and the problems with voiced were only suggestions of my mind. The only thing i'm noticing right now is the it seems to sound a bit "flat" compared to an iTunes Plus AAC 256 VBR in general; i guess i should abx it even better then.

I still don't know how on Windows there is no program such as dbpoweramp to easily convert with Quicktime AAC Encoder,just like XLD!
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Larson
post Sep 1 2009, 09:55
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so Snow Leopard is out with Quicktime X (7.6.3) and true vbr AAC has been improved so Q127 uses up to 320 and more bitrates,i tested it and it's really nice (plus XLD uses two cores to encode,much faster). Did anyone test to see how it compares to Nero AAC? New Nero AAC version is in progress so i guess it should be out anytime soon.

We'll see if Apple will release the new quicktime + itunes 9 on september 9 for Windows users and if all can access true vbr.

This post has been edited by Larson: Sep 1 2009, 09:56
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ozmosis82
post Sep 3 2009, 02:27
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QUOTE (Larson @ Sep 1 2009, 02:55) *
so Snow Leopard is out with Quicktime X (7.6.3) and true vbr AAC has been improved so Q127 uses up to 320 and more bitrates,i tested it and it's really nice (plus XLD uses two cores to encode,much faster). Did anyone test to see how it compares to Nero AAC? New Nero AAC version is in progress so i guess it should be out anytime soon.

I just noticed this a few seconds ago. I was encoding some files and noticed my AACs are HUGE! I was, like, "WTF?!"

I'm going to have to go back and check all this stuff over again!
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ozmosis82
post Sep 3 2009, 02:57
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W.O.W.

They have REALLY done wonders in v7.6.3. VBR Constrained @ 128 kbps is bloody close to transparent now. I've got picky ears, but it's so close it's scary. I'm particularly sensitive to cymbal smears, and the sample I use to test encoders was damn near transparent (eventually I did hear smearing... but I can almost guarantee that most people probably wouldn't).

For True VBR, q75 now equals what used to be 100 (roughly). And going up in steps of 5 doesn't cause for the same output in terms of bitrate/size (at least from what I can tell).

Well done Apple!

This post has been edited by ozmosis82: Sep 3 2009, 03:06
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jmcguckin
post Sep 8 2009, 18:26
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QUOTE (ozmosis82 @ Sep 2 2009, 21:57) *
VBR Constrained @ 128 kbps is bloody close to transparent now

if you don't mind my asking, is there a particular reason you opted for VBR Constrained @ 128kbps vs. True VBR @ -q65? I can't imagine that there could be any quality gains from boxing in the encoder versus letting it encode as freely as possible, but I was moreso just curious about your choice (or if you were just sharing your results from testing different parameters).


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kornchild2002
post Sep 8 2009, 19:19
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I don't want to speak for ozmosis but that probably has to do with the settings that iTunes uses. In other words, the VBR constrained setting is used by iTunes and you have to access QuickTime Pro (or XLD) in order to use true VBR encoding. That may all change tomorrow but, right now, only CBR and VBR constrained settings are used by iTunes.

Due to the apparent quality improvements of QuickTime 7.6.3, I wonder if Apple will finally stop using 256kbps VBR as the default ripping/encoding setting in iTunes. I had to help someone today as their 8GB iPod nano was completely filled despite having about 1700 songs on it. They simply downloaded iTunes, installed it, and started ripping their CDs without changing the settings. All of their files were encoded at 256kbps VBR (the iTunes Plus setting). I had the person conduct a few blind ABX tests and it turns out that the iTunes Plus setting is about twice as much as they needed.

I thought it was rather "silly" that Apple made that the default ripping/encoding setting in iTunes. This isn't the first time that I have encountered someone like that.
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antman
post Sep 8 2009, 21:40
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I don't think it's silly. An 8GB Nano was never meant to hold your entire library.

And since when do people buy and use only what they need? Do you need 268HP to get to work everyday?
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jmcguckin
post Sep 8 2009, 22:37
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Sep 8 2009, 14:19) *
I don't want to speak for ozmosis but that probably has to do with the settings that iTunes uses. In other words, the VBR constrained setting is used by iTunes and you have to access QuickTime Pro (or XLD) in order to use true VBR encoding. That may all change tomorrow but, right now, only CBR and VBR constrained settings are used by iTunes.

point taken, though based on what ozmosis has shared, he/she seems to already have access to XLD or some other means of encoding via QuickTime's True VBR settings, and based on that I was just curious about his/her choice in Constrained VBR over True VBR. I actually used Constrained VBR through iTunes (the simpler route that you mentioned) prior to Apple's releasing QT 7.3, at which point I discovered the advantages of True VBR... and while my current workflow is just slightly more tedious/time-consuming compared to just popping in a cd and importing it through iTunes as I had been doing, I'm much more satisfied with the results (hence my question).

QUOTE
Due to the apparent quality improvements of QuickTime 7.6.3, I wonder if Apple will finally stop using 256kbps VBR as the default ripping/encoding setting in iTunes. I had to help someone today as their 8GB iPod nano was completely filled despite having about 1700 songs on it. They simply downloaded iTunes, installed it, and started ripping their CDs without changing the settings. All of their files were encoded at 256kbps VBR (the iTunes Plus setting). I had the person conduct a few blind ABX tests and it turns out that the iTunes Plus setting is about twice as much as they needed.

I thought it was rather "silly" that Apple made that the default ripping/encoding setting in iTunes. This isn't the first time that I have encountered someone like that.

agreed, it seems that in regards to at least their music downloads/iTunes, Apple have become more concerned about selling iPods than with offering music with a reasonable quality/filesize (either sold in the iTunes Store or imported with iTunes), at least for the large majority of iPod users for whom 256kbps audio of any format is a ridiculous amount of overkill... honestly, though, I've spoken with quite a few people who, even with little to no ABX-ing experience, would tell me that music that they "imported with iTunes" sounded "funny" (which I assume is a non-technical reference to the smearing and other artifacts commonly found at lower bitrates, i.e. iTunes' original default setting of 128kbps CBR). my guess is that Apple were aware of this and as a result made the jump toward selling their music (and setting default import settings in iTunes) at a much higher quality/filesize- though why they made such a huge jump is beyond me... unfortunately, though, it's next to impossible to explain any of this to someone who just uses iTunes because it's the "only way to get music on my iPod."


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antman
post Sep 9 2009, 01:43
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QUOTE (jmcguckin @ Sep 8 2009, 16:37) *
it seems that in regards to at least their music downloads/iTunes, Apple have become more concerned about selling iPods than with offering music with a reasonable quality/filesize


It's all about perception. Amazon and Walmart are both selling 256kbps mp3s. They can't give out the perception that their store is second rate.
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kornchild2002
post Sep 9 2009, 03:25
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QUOTE (antman @ Sep 8 2009, 14:40) *
I don't think it's silly. An 8GB Nano was never meant to hold your entire library.

And since when do people buy and use only what they need? Do you need 268HP to get to work everyday?


No but that is less than half of what it "should" hold (according to the specs on Apple's website and the iPod box). Well, I use what I need. I have a coupe Honda Civic that has about 160 HP. I can go nearly 500 miles on a single tank of gas and I drive back and forth two hours a day to get to work. So yeah, that is exactly what I need. I don't see anything wrong with the person complaining about their iPod getting filled up while having a lot less on it than the advertised number of songs. They actually purchased an iPod to hold their entire library. Nothing wrong with purchasing an 8GB player to do just that especially whenever their library was only 1GB in size at the time they purchased their player and they purchase about 2GB of music per year.
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DocterD
post Sep 9 2009, 19:41
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They released QuickTime 7.6.4 with HE-AAC Support. I guess iTunes and the iPhone can now handle this kind of codec.

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Larson
post Sep 9 2009, 19:48
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itunes 9 also released. Apparently there's no true vbr AAC but HE AAC,can anyone confirm?
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/mnt
post Sep 9 2009, 20:37
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QUOTE (Larson @ Sep 9 2009, 19:48) *
itunes 9 also released. Apparently there's no true vbr AAC but HE AAC,can anyone confirm?

No true VBR still, but HE-AAC encoding is support though.


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Sebastian Mares
post Sep 9 2009, 20:53
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QUOTE (Larson @ Sep 9 2009, 20:48) *
itunes 9 also released. Apparently there's no true vbr AAC but HE AAC,can anyone confirm?


I can confirm HE-AAC support: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=74675

Anyone interested in an AAC listening test? smile.gif


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Alexxander
post Sep 9 2009, 21:06
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QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Sep 9 2009, 21:53) *
Anyone interested in an AAC listening test? smile.gif

Yes
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/mnt
post Sep 9 2009, 21:17
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QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Sep 9 2009, 20:53) *
Anyone interested in an AAC listening test? smile.gif


A updated AAC listening test would be interesting.


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kornchild2002
post Sep 9 2009, 22:00
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Was HE-AAC support transferred down to iPods or just in iTunes/QuickTime? A firmware update hasn't been released for my 120GB iPod classic (which is exactly the same as the "new" 160GB iPod classic aside from the hard drive) and I haven't seen it mentioned regarding either iPod shuffle or iPod nano.

Edit: A quick look through the various iPod tech specs pages shows that the iPod shuffle and 5G iPod nano support HE-AAC files. The iPod touch and iPod classic don't support it. Kind of make sense now that a 32GB iPod touch is $299 but Apple is still selling an 8GB model, I am sure HE-AAC support would have been nice for that capacity model. HE-AAC would have been nice for older iPod touch models as well. Apple's tech specs also don't mention HE-AAC compatibility for the iPhone 3Gs. So it looks like the 5G iPod nano and 3G iPod shuffle are the only ones that can playback HE-AAC files.*

*Whenever I say playback, I mean properly playback and not just decode the LC portion of HE-AAC files.

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ozmosis82
post Sep 10 2009, 04:01
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QUOTE (jmcguckin @ Sep 8 2009, 11:26) *
QUOTE (ozmosis82 @ Sep 2 2009, 21:57) *
VBR Constrained @ 128 kbps is bloody close to transparent now

if you don't mind my asking, is there a particular reason you opted for VBR Constrained @ 128kbps vs. True VBR @ -q65? I can't imagine that there could be any quality gains from boxing in the encoder versus letting it encode as freely as possible, but I was moreso just curious about your choice (or if you were just sharing your results from testing different parameters).

I was just curious. Since iTunes is the furthest your regular user would go for importing music, 128 kbps VBR Constrained is a good snapshot of what people in general would expect "straight outta the box". I would also imagine that Apple would be working that particular setting to make it as transparent as possible.

For my own library, I encode at q100 q65 True VBR. (And yes, I use XLD.)

Also interested in a listening test... though I will probably conduct a more thorough one in the future to see if I can afford to lower the Q for my encodes... though that will mean I may have to do another MASSIVE encode. (Remember that, kornchild?) Oh, the horror.

(Edit: Fixed True VBR settings)

This post has been edited by ozmosis82: Sep 10 2009, 04:19
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