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What bitrate do you use?, MP3,AAC,Vorbis,MPC.
What bitrate do you use?
MP3
V7 or less [ 3 ] ** [0.54%]
V6 [ 7 ] ** [1.25%]
V5 [ 44 ] ** [7.86%]
V4 [ 28 ] ** [5.00%]
V3 [ 42 ] ** [7.50%]
V2 [ 137 ] ** [24.46%]
V1 [ 19 ] ** [3.39%]
V0 [ 110 ] ** [19.64%]
320 kbps [ 51 ] ** [9.11%]
I don't encode to MP3. [ 119 ] ** [21.25%]
Modern codecs: AAC, Vorbis, MPC etc...
~64 kbps or less [ 12 ] ** [2.14%]
~80-96 kbps [ 22 ] ** [3.93%]
~128 kbps [ 59 ] ** [10.54%]
~160 kbps [ 71 ] ** [12.68%]
~192 kbps [ 84 ] ** [15.00%]
~225 kbps [ 39 ] ** [6.96%]
~256 kbps [ 63 ] ** [11.25%]
~320 kbps [ 21 ] ** [3.75%]
More than 320 kbps [ 33 ] ** [5.89%]
I don't use modern codecs. [ 156 ] ** [27.86%]
Total Votes: 718
  
uart
post Jul 11 2009, 18:49
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QUOTE (kinnerful @ Jul 11 2009, 10:24) *
the second poll result looks like a bell curve to me:)


Yes that also struck me, the way the non-mp3 results seem to follow a simple "normal like" distribition whereas the mp3 distribution tends to cluster around three particularly popular levels (V5, V2 and V0). I suppose these more or less correspond to "portible", "standard" and "best" (vbr) quality respecitively.

This post has been edited by uart: Jul 11 2009, 18:50
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Daemon7
post Jul 14 2009, 19:29
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V2

I don't use newer codecs.

---

According to the quality vs. file size chart on the wiki page for LAME, V2 is not much lower quality than CBR 320 but massively smaller file size. In fact, it seems to be the best you can do before you start sacrificing more quality for smaller file size reductions.

As for newer codecs, the advantages they offer are fairly dubious, not well supported in most hardware, and they seem to mainly be trying to lure you into more heavily patented codecs (WMA/AAC) or into a religious war over licensing. (Ogg Vorbis).

Really I don't care about newer codecs for those reasons, Lame is a great MP3 encoder, there's plenty of open source decoders, and all hardware supports it, MP3 is probably the most open and universally supported codec there is despite the few lingering patents that have already started expiring that only *some* countries recognize.

People that use "black box" codecs like WMA just bewilder me. wink.gif
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kornchild2002
post Jul 14 2009, 23:52
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 14 2009, 12:29) *
As for newer codecs, the advantages they offer are fairly dubious, not well supported in most hardware...


I don't want to start a war or anything but this statement is technically false. Why? Most portable hardware (that is currently out there and being sold) is taken up by iPods and iPhones. They are 100% AAC compatible. Even Microsoft and Sony are jumping on the AAC board which means that only a few companies are left behind (mainly SanDisk as they don't support AAC in all of their portables and Insignia, Creative has made AAC compatible players for awhile now). Now, once iPods stop taking up over 70% of the market share (ie less than 50%), then that statement will become true. Additionally, support for AAC is growing in other hardware areas. There are over a handful of DVD players at Best Buy that support them, many Blu-ray players, car CD decks, every current generation home console, and every current generation portable console (ie DSi and PSP) all support AAC files.

Sure, AAC may not offer the same "across the board" compatibility that mp3 does but I wouldn't say that the AAC community is being "dubious" especially considering the constantly growing range of devices that can playback AAC files.
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greynol
post Jul 15 2009, 00:31
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I agree. "Dubious" is a poor word choice.

Drawing conclusions from the wiki's chart about sound quality was not a very good idea either (a terrible one, actually). That chart is simply intended to show that bitrate affects size and quality. To what degree depends on what is being encoded and must be determined through blind testing from which the results will certainly vary depending on the individual. Personally I think that chart should be scrapped.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jul 15 2009, 00:33


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audioaficionado
post Jul 15 2009, 01:43
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EAC 0.99a5 -> Wavpack 4.50 lossless for home play and archiving CDs.

foobar 2000 -> LAME V3 VBR for the occasional portable trans-coding.


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Daemon7
post Jul 15 2009, 22:49
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jul 14 2009, 18:52) *
QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 14 2009, 12:29) *
As for newer codecs, the advantages they offer are fairly dubious, not well supported in most hardware...


I don't want to start a war or anything but this statement is technically false. Why? Most portable hardware (that is currently out there and being sold) is taken up by iPods and iPhones. They are 100% AAC compatible. Even Microsoft and Sony are jumping on the AAC board which means that only a few companies are left behind (mainly SanDisk as they don't support AAC in all of their portables and Insignia, Creative has made AAC compatible players for awhile now). Now, once iPods stop taking up over 70% of the market share (ie less than 50%), then that statement will become true. Additionally, support for AAC is growing in other hardware areas. There are over a handful of DVD players at Best Buy that support them, many Blu-ray players, car CD decks, every current generation home console, and every current generation portable console (ie DSi and PSP) all support AAC files.

Sure, AAC may not offer the same "across the board" compatibility that mp3 does but I wouldn't say that the AAC community is being "dubious" especially considering the constantly growing range of devices that can playback AAC files.


From what I've seen, the current Lame 3.99 tree has already tied up a lot of the loose ends and bugs left in 3.98.x.

MP3 is as resilient as it is because of exactly the reasons that "should" kill it off, you're right that it's not the "newest" or "best", but from what I've seen, the guys behind MPEG-4 AAC are being far more litigious over it than they have been over MP3, the patent issue is even more of a minefield, Apple still to the best of my knowledge tries to sell inferior quality files with proprietary DRM on their standard price level that won't work on anything *but* an iPod.

Also, every device supports MP3, and while technically AAC support is growing, there's not that many legal ways to buy files from online stores in it. I think iTunes is still the only ones selling it, and at a 30-40% pricing premium over what the typical music store charges per track if you want it in the same quality without DRM.

The fact remains that AAC is not widely accepted among users, that M4P may as well be a DRM'd WMA, that even Apple themselves admitted that 97% of the files on an iPod were MP3 files that didn't come from iTunes. (And I'd really like to know how they got those numbers without spying on their customers), and for whatever reason the market is still demanding MP3. WMA, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis are fighting over the scraps, and in that order.

A true ISO-standard AAC file that was acquired legitimately is still very much a rarity unless you ripped them yourself, then you come across the fact that there are no good options for encoding them. You can choose FAAC which is sub-par, or you can use Nero or iTunes and depend entirely on the whims and licensing of the people that make that encoder. With WMA, there is only one thing that can encode them properly.

The fact is that the industry has made a damned mess, Microsoft has a totally non-standard black box format, Ogg Vorbis may very well violate patents in some countries, and there is no heir-apparent to MP3, only a tower of babel, with MP3 as a lowest common denominator. rolleyes.gif Maybe if Apple, Microsoft, Real, the MPEG group, and the RIAA had been just a tad less greedy, instead of acting like sharks and trying to stab the end user in the back and then go after each other once there was blood in the water.... tongue.gif
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rpp3po
post Jul 15 2009, 23:43
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
MP3 is as resilient as it is because of exactly the reasons that "should" kill it off, you're right that it's not the "newest" or "best", but from what I've seen, the guys behind MPEG-4 AAC are being far more litigious over it than they have been over MP3, the patent issue is even more of a minefield,


That's not true. AAC licensing is straightforward, it's a one stop shop.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
Apple still to the best of my knowledge tries to sell inferior quality files with proprietary DRM on their standard price level that won't work on anything *but* an iPod.


Not true. DRM-free is the standard for quite a while. Perfectly spec compliant AAC.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
Also, every device supports MP3, and while technically AAC support is growing, there's not that many legal ways to buy files from online stores in it.


Well just the biggest online music outlet in the world.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
I think iTunes is still the only ones selling it, and at a 30-40% pricing premium over what the typical music store charges per track if you want it in the same quality without DRM.


0,99 per DRM-free track and 8,99 for an album is a 30-40% premium? Over what?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
The fact remains that AAC is not widely accepted among users,


Got a reference?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
A true ISO-standard AAC file that was acquired legitimately is still very much a rarity unless you ripped them yourself, then you come across the fact that there are no good options for encoding them. You can choose FAAC which is sub-par, or you can use Nero or iTunes and depend entirely on the whims and licensing of the people that make that encoder.


Well besides buying ISO compliant AAC at the iTMS directly, what is it that is so enslaving about Nero's free command line encoder? That it doesn't run natively on Puppy Linux?

And BTW, the reason I prefer AAC is the really high number of LAME problem samples, that could never be fixed, even at 320kbit/s. Because the devs should not be less talented than Nero's, which could fix about anything in the past, I conclude that the format itself has too many constraints to compete with modern AAC.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Jul 16 2009, 00:19
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kornchild2002
post Jul 16 2009, 00:42
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Both greynol and rpp3po pointed out some very good points that I won't go over again. I would like to touch on this statement though.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 15:49) *
The fact remains that AAC is not widely accepted among users, that M4P may as well be a DRM'd WMA, that even Apple themselves admitted that 97% of the files on an iPod were MP3 files that didn't come from iTunes. (And I'd really like to know how they got those numbers without spying on their customers), and for whatever reason the market is still demanding MP3. WMA, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis are fighting over the scraps, and in that order.


Do you have any links to news articles, Apple quotes, and studies (that aren't older than 2 years) to backup these statements? It just comes across, to me, that you have these negative grudges against WMA, AAC, OGG Vorbis, etc. You pretty much dislike anything that isn't mp3 yet you are either relying on false information, opinionated articles from 2003, or just don't care. I give you this graph:


Those are quarterly iPod sales up through March 2008. It is outdated but it represents the sales of new iPods. Apple sold a little over 21 million units, world wide, in the month of December in the year 2006. They then sold over 22 million units during December 2007. That is over 43 million iPods that they sold. Yeah, that doesn't look like wide adoption of the AAC format. Most people actually download iTunes, plug in their iPod, and start ripping CDs without changing settings. They don't realize that you can change audio import settings. The average person just wants things to work and they don't focus on the small details such as AAC, Lame mp3, WMA, FLAC, Apple Lossless, whatever. The majority of the portable audio community uses AAC files whether they intend to or not. Case in point, Apple has sold over 6 billion songs since its launch back in 2003 and is the number one music retailer (beating out CD sales from Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon.com, Best Buy, ANYONE!) in the U.S.

Nope, people just aren't buying 4 million + songs a day in DRM-free AAC files. Nope, they sure aren't adapting the format. I don't mean to sound so negative but the iTunes Store sales alone are enough to show that people are in fact adopting the mpeg-4 AAC audio format with the majority players being sold in stores (and sitting in homes), across the world, working with AAC files.

Edit: I am not trying to say that Lame mp3 (or mp3 in general) is teh sucksorz or anything like that. I am just trying to get across that AAC support has drastically grown and that this is mainly due to high iPod sales and the iTunes Store becoming the number one music retailer in the U.S. (while also being extremely popular in other countries). AAC encoders are no longer these "black boxes" that you speak of. iTunes gives people a bunch of different way to use its AAC encoders (not as much as QuickTime Pro but you get the picture) and Nero even offers a free, high quality, command-line AAC encoder.

This post has been edited by kornchild2002: Jul 16 2009, 00:45
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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 00:47
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QUOTE (rpp3po @ Jul 15 2009, 18:43) *
QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
MP3 is as resilient as it is because of exactly the reasons that "should" kill it off, you're right that it's not the "newest" or "best", but from what I've seen, the guys behind MPEG-4 AAC are being far more litigious over it than they have been over MP3, the patent issue is even more of a minefield,


That's not true. AAC licensing is straightforward, it's a one stop shop.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
Apple still to the best of my knowledge tries to sell inferior quality files with proprietary DRM on their standard price level that won't work on anything *but* an iPod.


Not true. DRM-free is the standard for quite a while. Perfectly spec compliant AAC.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
Also, every device supports MP3, and while technically AAC support is growing, there's not that many legal ways to buy files from online stores in it.


Well just the biggest online music outlet in the world.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
I think iTunes is still the only ones selling it, and at a 30-40% pricing premium over what the typical music store charges per track if you want it in the same quality without DRM.


0,99 per DRM-free track and 8,99 for an album is a 30-40% premium? Over what?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
The fact remains that AAC is not widely accepted among users,


Got a reference?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 23:49) *
A true ISO-standard AAC file that was acquired legitimately is still very much a rarity unless you ripped them yourself, then you come across the fact that there are no good options for encoding them. You can choose FAAC which is sub-par, or you can use Nero or iTunes and depend entirely on the whims and licensing of the people that make that encoder.


Well besides buying ISO compliant AAC at the iTMS directly, what is it that is so enslaving about Nero's free command line encoder? That it doesn't run natively on Puppy Linux?

And BTW, the reason I prefer AAC is the really high number of LAME problem samples, that could never be fixed, even at 320kbit/s. Because the devs should not be less talented than Nero's, which could fix about anything in the past, I conclude that the format itself has too many constraints to compete with modern AAC.


http://www.tuaw.com/2009/04/13/billboard-i...-up-sales-down/

"The iTunes Top 100 chart has 40 different songs with a new price of $1.29, and one day after the changes, those songs dropped an average of 5.3 places on the chart, while cheaper songs moved up on average. And on the second day of the price change, ten of the tracks that saw their prices rise within 24 hours dropped a huge 12.4 chart positions on average."

The last time I used iTunes was in like 2004, back when they *only* offered crippled 128-bit CBR, non-standard AAC, but I have played around with Nero. Anyway, last I heard the normal pricing for an iTunes track which wasn't crippled was $1.29, with 99 cents for crippled files being their norm. I just won't have it on my computer for a multitude of reasons including the fact that I've seen spyware infestations that didn't damage Windows as badly. (Or start as many system services)

I can't really tell the difference between a Nero AAC file and a Lame MP3 file of the same bitrate (CBR) or around the same size (VBR) until you get to ridiculously low bitrates and Nero HE-AAC kicks in and goodbye to most of the hardware that plays AAC.

AAC for me just kind of seems like a headache to fix a few trivial design oversights in the MP3 format. If you *have* to pull out a spectrogram to tell the difference between two files, two formats, two encoders, or two bitrates, chances are that you've gone into overkill somewhere.

By my estimation, precisely every legal store that isn't iTunes isn't selling AAC anyway. AAC is what? Almost 10 years old now and it has one backer?
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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 00:54
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jul 15 2009, 19:42) *
Both greynol and rpp3po pointed out some very good points that I won't go over again. I would like to touch on this statement though.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 15:49) *
The fact remains that AAC is not widely accepted among users, that M4P may as well be a DRM'd WMA, that even Apple themselves admitted that 97% of the files on an iPod were MP3 files that didn't come from iTunes. (And I'd really like to know how they got those numbers without spying on their customers), and for whatever reason the market is still demanding MP3. WMA, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis are fighting over the scraps, and in that order.


Do you have any links to news articles, Apple quotes, and studies (that aren't older than 2 years) to backup these statements? It just comes across, to me, that you have these negative grudges against WMA, AAC, OGG Vorbis, etc. You pretty much dislike anything that isn't mp3 yet you are either relying on false information, opinionated articles from 2003, or just don't care. I give you this graph:



No, and it doesn't *matter* how many devices can play AAC if nobody is using it.

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Thoughts on Music

Steve Jobs
February 6, 2007

"Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, thatís 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

Todayís most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store..."

-----

I'm assuming that since most of the less than legal music floating around, and all the music in less expensive stores that don't hose Windows is all in MP3 format, that anything out of the 97% of music that lands on the "average" iPod that is not purchased from Apple, and that the user did not encode with iTunes, is not AAC.

So if they sell 500 billion iPods and 10 billion AACs, but 100 billion MP3s get on them "somehow", AAC is still comparatively tiny. Apple marketing likes to play numbers games because if you list numbers rather than percentages, it looks bigger. (And this is with me *trying* not to facepalm over that stupid "Don't Steal Music" sticker on every new iPod)

I'm surprised that Jobs managed to go to percentages to show that almost nobody buys more than 1 or 2 albums before they give up on iTunes. That's a pretty big flub. smile.gif

Anything that isn't MP3 has ultimately had the fate of becoming an "also-ran". People tend to choose MP3, people that don't know what the hell they are doing buy whatever the store sells them.

As for WMA, I just don't like the idea of "Put your data in....*magic*...out pops your file.", MP3's backers never went to lengths to hide how the format works. (AAC also more open than WMA, but with FoulPlay DRM that's a whole different story)

This post has been edited by Daemon7: Jul 16 2009, 01:04
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antman
post Jul 16 2009, 01:00
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Why are you guys even going at it with this guy? It's getting lame quick. dry.gif

And the MP3 settings should've been dropped from this poll. We do one every year. No need for a mid year "what V setting do you use" poll.

A strictly AAC bitrate poll would've been interesting, and without the "I don't use modern codecs" option. I don't care what you don't use. To know how the people who exclusively use AAC, use AAC, would be interesting.
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/mnt
post Jul 16 2009, 01:24
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Hardware support for AAC is growing mainly because of Apple's support, which kornchild2002 mentioned above and also its support by major mobile phone manufacturers.

But IMO i think most of the average iPod user's music is likely to be transcoded from 128kbps WMA to 128kbps AAC, by migrating from WMP to iTunes.

ATM Mp3 is still a very competitive codec at mid and high bitrates e.g LAME V2 - V0 due to it being more mature then AAC. IMO i can see future AAC encoders performing alot better, while Mp3 encoder devs are stuck with design flaws i.e. block usage and sfb21.

This post has been edited by /mnt: Jul 16 2009, 01:28


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greynol
post Jul 16 2009, 01:30
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 16:47) *
"The iTunes Top 100 chart has 40 different songs with a new price of $1.29, and one day after the changes, those songs dropped an average of 5.3 places on the chart, while cheaper songs moved up on average. And on the second day of the price change, ten of the tracks that saw their prices rise within 24 hours dropped a huge 12.4 chart positions on average."

If you're going to use quotations to make a point, be sure they actually make your point (bolding mine). laugh.gif

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 16:47) *
AAC for me just kind of seems like a headache to fix a few trivial design oversights in the MP3 format. If you *have* to pull out a spectrogram to tell the difference between two files, two formats, two encoders, or two bitrates, chances are that you've gone into overkill somewhere.

Who said anything about having to look at a spectrogram? What makes you think the shortcomings of the MP3 format are only trivial?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 16:54) *
No, and it doesn't *matter* how many devices can play AAC if nobody is using it.

That's a big "if". I think notion that nobody is using AAC has been thoroughly discredited.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 16:54) *
I'm assuming that since most of the less than legal music floating around, and all the music in less expensive stores that don't hose Windows is all in MP3 format, that anything out of the 97% of music that lands on the "average" iPod that is not purchased from Apple, and that the user did not encode with iTunes, is not AAC.

How much of that number do you thing is music that was encoded with iTunes?

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 16:54) *
Apple marketing likes to play numbers games

They're not the only ones. rolleyes.gif


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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 02:53
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QUOTE (/mnt @ Jul 15 2009, 20:24) *
Hardware support for AAC is growing mainly because of Apple's support, which kornchild2002 mentioned above and also its support by major mobile phone manufacturers.

But IMO i think most of the average iPod user's music is likely to be transcoded from 128kbps WMA to 128kbps AAC, by migrating from WMP to iTunes.

ATM Mp3 is still a very competitive codec at mid and high bitrates e.g LAME V2 - V0 due to it being more mature then AAC. IMO i can see future AAC encoders performing alot better, while Mp3 encoder devs are stuck with design flaws i.e. block usage and sfb21.


Well, in 2000 an AAC encoder would give you horrible quality, in 2009 it's on par.

You could argue that sfb21 bloat is a problem with MP3, and you'd be right. It's becoming less of one as storage expands. I could maybe buy into this particular argument if you were talking about those little 4 gigabyte "chewing gum pack" $30 MP3 players (or the same thing from Apple for about $90, minus a screen), but I really don't see your point when a decent hard drive player has almost 200 gigabytes and nothing you ever do will fill it. Hell, even flash players have 32 gigs now and a micro-sdhc expansion port. At any rate you're still arguing about how many weeks or months worth (if played nonstop) of music you can pack onto a device that will be obsolete next year by a model with twice the space that costs half as much. If you did skimp on storage, the -y switch should unbloat the file quite nicely at the expense of a very small amount of quality.

It's getting to the point where file size matters less and less as codec makers are still brutally trying to compete to be the world's tallest midget at absurdly low bitrates. I think that when MP3 has overstayed its welcome, it will be because storage has gotten to where you will think nothing of using lossless formats. I'd expect lossy codecs in total have maybe another 5-6 years left in them, further I have to seriously doubt the relative sanity of anyone who actually buys any lossy files at CD prices. rolleyes.gif To each their own.

Frankly, what concerns me more than anything is how people trust binary-only encoders and decoders that are put out with extremely restrictive terms of use. (And especially with DRM, nothing can guarantee that they'll even be able to get any of their data back out later.)

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/mnt
post Jul 16 2009, 03:19
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 02:53) *
You could argue that sfb21 bloat is a problem with MP3, and you'd be right. It's becoming less of one as storage expands. I could maybe buy into this particular argument if you were talking about those little 4 gigabyte "chewing gum pack" $30 MP3 players (or the same thing from Apple for about $90, minus a screen), but I really don't see your point when a decent hard drive player has almost 200 gigabytes and nothing you ever do will fill it. Hell, even flash players have 32 gigs now and a micro-sdhc expansion port. At any rate you're still arguing about how many weeks or months worth (if played nonstop) of music you can pack onto a device that will be obsolete next year by a model with twice the space that costs half as much. If you did skimp on storage, the -y switch should unbloat the file quite nicely at the expense of a very small amount of quality.

It's getting to the point where file size matters less and less as codec makers are still brutally trying to compete to be the world's tallest midget at absurdly low bitrates. I think that when MP3 has overstayed its welcome, it will be because storage has gotten to where you will think nothing of using lossless formats. I'd expect lossy codecs in total have maybe another 5-6 years left in them, further I have to seriously doubt the relative sanity of anyone who actually buys any lossy files at CD prices. rolleyes.gif To each their own.


The main problem is that everyones music collection grows, and most dap customers do not want to upgrade their daps every year.

There is alot of people that might a want a flash based dap (e.g iPod Nano or Touch) to carry around their whole music collection instead of a hard drive based dap. Which atm flash storage still playing catch up with size and it's still more expensive then hard disc storage. Also if everyone adopts lossless for music, then theres still be some good use with lossy codecs for streaming media to save bandwidth.

I have to admit paying full CD price for a lossy album is pretty lame, but it does the job for very rare albums that you cannot find.

This post has been edited by /mnt: Jul 16 2009, 03:21


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rpp3po
post Jul 16 2009, 03:31
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 03:53) *
Frankly, what concerns me more than anything is how people trust binary-only encoders and decoders that are put out with extremely restrictive terms of use. (And especially with DRM, nothing can guarantee that they'll even be able to get any of their data back out later.)


You are running in circles. You cannot even buy DRM'ed AAC anymore. And what's DRM got to do with AAC, anyway? Is paper bad because you can print toxic securities on it? And you are still owing an explanation what those "extremely restrictive terms of use" would be. Freely encode what you want as much as you want for personal or buy a license for commercial use? Yes, what a rip-off!

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 03:53) *
You could argue that sfb21 bloat is a problem with MP3, and you'd be right. It's becoming less of one as storage expands.


It's not mainly a bloat problem*. It's a quality problem. You could have noticed that already just by reading this thread.

We have just recently discussed a sample here, where LAME wasn't even able to encode a single wind instrument without artifacts up the the maximum bit rate. Nero was able do it transparently < 200kbit/s. There's no single known sample, yet, where it would be the other way around and MP3 beat (Quicktime or Nero) AAC .


* The efficiency gain comes free.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Jul 16 2009, 03:39
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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 05:30
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QUOTE (rpp3po @ Jul 15 2009, 22:31) *
And you are still owing an explanation what those "extremely restrictive terms of use" would be. Freely encode what you want as much as you want for personal or buy a license for commercial use? Yes, what a rip-off!


No, in WMA's case it's more like "Encode as much as you want, all you want (and then find out that playback on anything that's not Windows requires reverse engineered codecs, maybe can't be burned, maybe can't be transferred to a DAP, and you certainly can't make more of the damned things without Windows. But maybe you're just clueless now and we can spring this on you when you've had enough of Windows.)" smile.gif

After that argument, every other gripe about WMA is pretty much gravy.

As for AAC, you require a codec that says you can encode as much as you want, all you want, and if you play it back at a nightclub or something then you have to pony up. The way the encoder operates is a secret, and the only open source AAC encoder is light years behind. (Which is definitely a bigger problem than just ignoring the personal use only legalese)

With MP3, the personal use only crap still applies (again, you can ignore it easily), but both encoding and decoding have high quality open source and publicly documented implementations.

Ideally yes, Ogg Vorbis would come save us from the personal use crap (every other format) and the "black box codec" (WMA and to a much lesser extent AAC) crap, but since Microsoft and Apple refuse to support it, it's going nowhere.

My argument for MP3 has never been that it was the best, it's a least common denominator with acceptable quality. It beats having your data held hostage in a format that is not well understood or not widely implemented.

"Yes, go ahead, use it all you want, pile up GIGABYTES of data in our format, we'll turn things around on you later" It's kind of easy to see the "credit card mentality" of proprietary file formats.

QUOTE
We have just recently discussed a sample here, where LAME wasn't even able to encode a single wind instrument without artifacts up the the maximum bit rate. Nero was able do it transparently < 200kbit/s. There's no single known sample, yet, where it would be the other way around and MP3 beat (Quicktime or Nero) AAC .


I'm beginning to have my doubts that many such samples actually exist. At least every so-called "mp3 killer" sample I've ever ran across sounded pretty much like the source file when I've encoded it. Most of the "mp3 killer" samples just means your particular encoder is not all that great and needs tweaking. LAME has been notorious for some tracks that other MP3 encoders (or later versions of LAME)have handled fine.

I could show you plenty of things that AAC encoders used to mutilate, still do (FAAC), or need a higher bitrate than the MP3 for. I've never blamed the bitstream format though.

There's been plenty of worse things done to audio than MP3, cassette tapes and vinyl records spring to mind. I still facepalm when I see where someone has encoded a vinyl record, made 100 megabyte tracks in FLAC format, and you go to play them and it's like popping and clicking, and the record has obviously been in a 100 degree attic for 30 years, and they still insist they need FLAC because the record is better than a CD.

Back to the subject of sfb21, most MP3 encoders, including Helix and the "Fruenhofer IIS" official MP3 encoder both just throw away *everything* in that band just to avoid having to deal with it. You have to opt-in to have it even attempt to mess with it. Kind of shows you how important "they" think it is.

LAME is the only MP3 encoder that I've seen that really wants to have anything to do with sfb21 in VBR mode, and I'm wondering if there's any rhyme or reason to it, or if it's more of a "Shot in the dark, probably wasting bits" thing.

This post has been edited by Daemon7: Jul 16 2009, 05:58
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ozmosis82
post Jul 16 2009, 05:41
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FLAC for archives, iTunes True VBR @ q100... yields around 135-140 kbps (I voted 160).
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Larson
post Jul 16 2009, 11:09
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Flac for archiving and Nero true VBR AAC q 0.95 for everything else (listening on pc,ipod,mobile phone)
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rpp3po
post Jul 16 2009, 11:56
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
No, in WMA's case it's more like "Encode as much as you want, all you want (and then find out that playback on anything that's not Windows requires reverse engineered codecs, maybe can't be burned, maybe can't be transferred to a DAP, and you certainly can't make more of the damned things without Windows. But maybe you're just clueless now and we can spring this on you when you've had enough of Windows.)" smile.gif


Nobody is advocating WMA here. Do you even read the other posts in this thread? Unlike AAC it is a proprietary codec. One could get the impression that you have to resort to that, because you realize what BS you were serving up the whole time regarding AAC.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
The way the encoder operates is a secret, and the only open source AAC encoder is light years behind. (Which is definitely a bigger problem than just ignoring the personal use only legalese)...

With MP3, the personal use only crap still applies (again, you can ignore it easily), but both encoding and decoding have high quality open source and publicly documented implementations.


AAC encoding and decoding is not a secret, it's a well documented standard. Just like MP3. LAME is just an implementation, no additional public documentation. There are also high quality open source decoders for AAC. You can't blame the standard that FAAC isn't taking off in face of such excellent free encoders.

You can use LAME binaries without having paid for a license and you can use the binary-only encoders without a license. The evil AAC empire is not going to erase the en- and decoders remotely from your disc. LAME's open sourceness has got nothing to do with the licensing situation.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
Ideally yes, Ogg Vorbis would come save us from the personal use crap (every other format) and the "black box codec" (WMA and to a much lesser extent AAC) crap, but since Microsoft and Apple refuse to support it, it's going nowhere.


Again, AAC is not a black box codec! You somehow confuse open standards with the availability of one implementation's source code. Ogg Vorbis is an idealistic project. Nobody is there to guarantee that it is patent free. It's just supposed to. It can make more sense for a company to drop some money for licensing in a thoroughly researched patent environment.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
My argument for MP3 has never been that it was the best, it's a least common denominator with acceptable quality. It beats having your data held hostage in a format that is not well understood or not widely implemented.


Yes, people often project personal feelings onto stuff like that. "I rather stick to what I know and what is good enough than falling over and over again for the newest fancy!" kind of things... Nobody is going to hold your property hostage with AAC, nobody is able to. Talk about paranoia. At least not a single bit more than with any other format.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
I'm beginning to have my doubts that many such samples actually exist. At least every so-called "mp3 killer" sample I've ever ran across sounded pretty much like the source file when I've encoded it. Most of the "mp3 killer" samples just means your particular encoder is not all that great and needs tweaking.


Well some people may have better ears than others. Plenty of people at HA do hear differences and post ABX logs.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
I could show you plenty of things that AAC encoders used to mutilate, still do (FAAC), or need a higher bitrate than the MP3 for. I've never blamed the bitstream format though.


There we are again, in the good old times, when everything was better. Present just one sample that LAME would handle better than Quicktime or Nero with current versions. You'll have a very hard time. The other way around there are plenty.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 16 2009, 06:30) *
Back to the subject of sfb21, most MP3 encoders, including Helix and the "Fruenhofer IIS" official MP3 encoder both just throw away *everything* in that band just to avoid having to deal with it. You have to opt-in to have it even attempt to mess with it. Kind of shows you how important "they" think it is.


That's flawed reasoning. Something that's fucked up beyond repair might not be worth the time spent commercially. Nobody ever said that the >16k band was unimportant. Much music I own sounds muffled when you low-pass it at 16k.

This post has been edited by rpp3po: Jul 16 2009, 12:08
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cpchan
post Jul 16 2009, 13:55
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QUOTE (rpp3po @ Jul 16 2009, 06:56) *
Ogg Vorbis is an idealistic project. Nobody is there to guarantee that it is patent free. It's just supposed to. It can make more sense for a company to drop some money for licensing in a thoroughly researched patent environment.


Monty claimed that Ogg Vorbis is throughly researched by patent lawyers. Also, AAC is not immune to submarine patents either. Witness what happened to the html standard in the recent Eolas case.
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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 15:05
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QUOTE (cpchan @ Jul 16 2009, 08:55) *
QUOTE (rpp3po @ Jul 16 2009, 06:56) *
Ogg Vorbis is an idealistic project. Nobody is there to guarantee that it is patent free. It's just supposed to. It can make more sense for a company to drop some money for licensing in a thoroughly researched patent environment.


Monty claimed that Ogg Vorbis is throughly researched by patent lawyers. Also, AAC is not immune to submarine patents either. Witness what happened to the html standard in the recent Eolas case.


But why would anyone need submarine patents on AAC when there's an entire surface fleet? rolleyes.gif
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kornchild2002
post Jul 16 2009, 17:07
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QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
No, and it doesn't *matter* how many devices can play AAC if nobody is using it.


The same can be said for ANY format. My point was to show you that there are plenty of devices out there that support AAC. Additionally, as I previously stated, most people don't change the CD import setting for iTunes. They simply download the program, rip their CDs, and plug their iPods in. This means that they are using the AAC format without know. The quote from Jobs was in the beginning of 2007 and he was talking about their data from the year 2006. 4 billion songs have been sold from 2007-2008 so his original numbers no longer apply. Additionally, the iTunes Store has become the #1 music retailer in the U.S. since then.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
I'm assuming that since most of the less than legal music floating around, and all the music in less expensive stores that don't hose Windows is all in MP3 format, that anything out of the 97% of music that lands on the "average" iPod that is not purchased from Apple, and that the user did not encode with iTunes, is not AAC.


Well, we all know what happens when people assume things.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
So if they sell 500 billion iPods and 10 billion AACs, but 100 billion MP3s get on them "somehow", AAC is still comparatively tiny. Apple marketing likes to play numbers games because if you list numbers rather than percentages, it looks bigger. (And this is with me *trying* not to facepalm over that stupid "Don't Steal Music" sticker on every new iPod)


Apple has sold over 206 million iPods and over 6 billion songs. That means that there are definitely more AAC files on iPods (and computers) than you like to think. Additionally, Apple isn't the only company who likes to play the number game. Pretty much every company out there does it.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
I'm surprised that Jobs managed to go to percentages to show that almost nobody buys more than 1 or 2 albums before they give up on iTunes. That's a pretty big flub. smile.gif


When did he do this? Are you talking about that quote (which was not linked to) from back in 2007 before iTunes sold over 6 billion songs and became the number one retailer in the U.S.? You just can't use older numbers as the iTunes Store continues to sell over 4 million songs per day. That is no small feat and, with each purchase, the mpeg-4 AAC format is gaining in distribution/amount.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
Anything that isn't MP3 has ultimately had the fate of becoming an "also-ran". People tend to choose MP3, people that don't know what the hell they are doing buy whatever the store sells them.


What people are you talking about? Over 6 years of experience on a different website tells me that people, in general, tend to just go with what works. They will buy an iPod, download iTunes, rip their CDs, download songs, and move on. They don't care so long as it works. The same goes for people who buy other DAPs. They will use the software that comes with them without really changing settings. They don't care, they just want things to work.

QUOTE (Daemon7 @ Jul 15 2009, 17:54) *
As for WMA, I just don't like the idea of "Put your data in....*magic*...out pops your file.", MP3's backers never went to lengths to hide how the format works. (AAC also more open than WMA, but with FoulPlay DRM that's a whole different story)


I guess that is why we don't have open source WMA decoders and even an encoder or two. We just don't know how WMA works and must rely on Windows Media Player for everything...

Also, with your post above mine, I hope that you aren't trying to imply that mp3 doesn't have a series of patents surround it while other codecs do.
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Daemon7
post Jul 16 2009, 17:31
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QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Jul 16 2009, 12:07) *
I guess that is why we don't have open source WMA decoders and even an encoder or two. We just don't know how WMA works and must rely on Windows Media Player for everything...


If you want no decoding support for WMA Pro 9 or 10, no decoding support for WMA lossless, and a poorly hacked together ffmpeg encoder that produces a "valid WMA bitstream" that sounds like utter crap and is missing pretty much all the features of the MS encoder, then yes, you have *marvelous* WMA support outside of Windows. cool.gif
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jmcguckin
post Aug 18 2009, 15:37
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it's amazing how a thread could start off asking what each user's preferred format/bitrate is and somehow manage to turn into a heated debate between those loyal to a dated format and those who prefer to use a newer, more efficient one... and yes, I am referring to MP3 and AAC, in that order.

but since the debate came up, my $0.02- if I'm going to take the time to convert my entire music library to a portable, lossy format, the first thing on my mind is which format will allow me the highest quality vs. filesize... and considering I'm in the Apple camp and use a device with full capability of playing back both MP3 and AAC (i.e. an iPod), it doesn't seem all that advantageous to use MP3 when in my experience the quality gains of using AAC at a portable filesize/quality far outweigh any compatibility-based advantages to MP3. don't get me wrong, I'm all for listening to arguments toward either side, but I have to say I'm a little annoyed that I opened this thread wanting to read about people's preferred formats/bitrates and instead had to trudge through a slew of arguments about them just to read a few posts actually related to the original topic.

meanwhile, back to the topic at hand... I've been using QuickTime AAC (True VBR) for just under a year now, and while I've gone back and forth between -q 95 and -q 120, I've eventually settled on -q120 since I was able to ABX roughly 5% of the files encoded @ -q 95, whereas everything @ -q 120 is completely transparent to my ears. plus it's still moderately portable with an average bitrate of ~163kbps (my library, at least), so that's a perfect quality/filesize point for me.


--------------------
Archive- FLAC (-v 8)
Portable- QuickTime AAC (True VBR/-q 77)
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