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Why Continue MP3 Development Given AAC?
lvqcl
post Dec 18 2011, 14:32
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QUOTE (izzyfinhaifa @ Dec 18 2011, 17:19) *
Is AAC 96 from Itunes good enough so that I can squeeze lots of songs on to the player without worrying about sound quality?


Yes.

This post has been edited by lvqcl: Dec 18 2011, 14:37
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jukkap
post Dec 18 2011, 15:18
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QUOTE (marc2003 @ Dec 18 2011, 12:57) *
oh i know that. but you still have relatively few options looking for an AAC player compared to mp3.

All 3G phones can play AAC and HE AAC so there are quite many AAC players.
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Glenn Gundlach
post Dec 18 2011, 17:36
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QUOTE (marc2003 @ Dec 17 2011, 02:06) *
that's the key issue for me. i think i'm the only person i know who doesn't have an ipod but i'm still important, damn it. tongue.gif


You're not the only one but my kids both have iPods. My car also plays MP3 and will not play an M4A file even if not protected. The car system will play directly from a thumb drive which I use and need NO music player of any type.

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kwanbis
post Dec 18 2011, 18:07
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QUOTE (Elbart @ Dec 18 2011, 10:23) *
iPods aren't the only portables with AAC-support.

There is NO player that would not support MP3. But, there are a lot of players that would NOT support AAC.

Hence, MP3 is more universal than AAC.

Since quality difference @128kbps is practically none, let alone 192kbps and above, the advantage of using AAC is greatly diminished.

Besides, people that are THAT concerned about quality generally use LOSLESS.

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Dec 18 2011, 18:08


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marc2003
post Dec 18 2011, 21:33
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 18 2011, 14:18) *
All 3G phones can play AAC and HE AAC so there are quite many AAC players.


3G? and that is relevant because?? laugh.gif

assuming you mean smartphones in general, i have no interest in those.
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Kujibo
post Dec 19 2011, 02:19
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I was once of the mindset many years ago that I wanted to move away from the legacy of MP3 onto something more modern, be it Vorbis or AAC or whatever. I've spent my share of time over the last decade in my professional life porting and optimizing the MP3 codec to various platforms and I was a bit bothered by both the technology and patent issues.

However, in my personal life I tried moving to AAC a few years ago so I could listen to stuff on my PS3 and my iPod while fitting some more songs on them at equivalent quality to what I was getting for MP3. It was hard to find an encoder to work with Foobar (I won't go near the horror show of iTunes). Then I got stuff encoded, and it wouldn't play because the PS3 expected some different container or tag format. Spent some more time messing with it but in the end I just got frustrated and it seemed not worth the bother so I gave up. Maybe I was doing something dumb and things are probably different now but I just can't be bothered to fight it when I have something that already works.

So this is the problem I have with some of the more modern codecs, they come with their own problems. AAC seems to be a bit too flexible in terms of being able to put it in any container which increases compatibility problems. Ogg/Vorbis I have much love for, but I think there was a mistake made there where they let the codebooks be open ended in specification so it's really hard to get hardware with limited resources be able to efficiently decode any codebook that might come along in the future.

With MP3 it doesn't suffer any of these kinds of problems, worst you might find is a decoder that gets tripped up on an exotic tag, but that should all be straightened out after all these years.

What I am most surprised with and impressed with regarding MP3 is the continual improvements to an encoder such as LAME has yielded. I recall trying to encode lower bitrate stuff with LAME many years ago and I wasn't too impressed at all, and Vorbis back then stomped all over it. This coloured my perception of what MP3 was capable of at low bitrates, and why we should be moving on from it. However, recently I've tried to cram as many songs as possible onto what must be a 10 year old 512 megabyte MP3 player my daughter uses, and I was shocked at how well LAME did at bitrates that must have been somewhere around 64-80 kbps. It is quite listenable. Around the same time I also encoded as much as I could fit with AoTuV Vorbis at 64 kbps to my wife's Cowon player that only has about 3 gigabytes storage. I didn't perceive a massive difference in quality between the low bit rate MP3 and Vorbis.

So for me if MP3 is actually keeping up fairly well with modern codecs and is universally playable anywhere, what is the incentive to move on to something else? To me it's the continued effort of the LAME developers that have made this possible and made my life simpler. My hats off to them and please do keep working on it.









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MichaelW
post Dec 19 2011, 03:52
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QUOTE (marc2003 @ Dec 19 2011, 08:33) *
3G? and that is relevant because?? laugh.gif


Perhaps as a rough marker of the date of phones in question? From about the time of 3G, phones have tended to decode AAC? Even featurephones. Oh, and 3G here is the wireless technology, not the model name of an Apple product, in case that's your problem.
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pdq
post Dec 19 2011, 05:38
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QUOTE (izzyfinhaifa @ Dec 18 2011, 09:19) *
My friend has a very tiny Apple player, only 2 gig.

Does anyone else here find it amusing to hear 2 gig referred to as "very tiny"? Or was that a reference to the physical size?
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jukkap
post Dec 19 2011, 09:10
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QUOTE (marc2003 @ Dec 18 2011, 22:33) *
QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 18 2011, 14:18) *
All 3G phones can play AAC and HE AAC so there are quite many AAC players.


3G? and that is relevant because?? laugh.gif

assuming you mean smartphones in general, i have no interest in those.


3GPP standard - playback MPEG-4 video and audio with third-generation mobile phones. MPEG-4 includes AAC and HE AAC. These mobile phones can play 3GP and 3G2 video/audio formats. M4A (the standard container for AAC and HE AAC) is identical format to 3GP and 3G2 and therefore these devices should be capable of playing AAC and HE AAC also in M4A container format.

Mobile phone can be as good AAC audio player as iPod. It can be even possible to wirelessly play the audio via car stereo or home cinema with Bluetooth connection, which is something iPods cant do.

The point is there are millions of M4A / AAC / HE AAC playback enabled devices worldwide.

I've personally moved from MP3 to AAC because of audio quality.
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Porcus
post Dec 19 2011, 12:26
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 09:10) *
I've personally moved from MP3 to AAC because of audio quality.


And for the mp3s already around? wink.gif Quality or not, mp3 will stay around until the last person on Earth gives up and transcodes his/her lossies.


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marc2003
post Dec 19 2011, 12:47
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QUOTE (MichaelW @ Dec 19 2011, 02:52) *
Oh, and 3G here is the wireless technology


yes, that was exactly my point.
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Goratrix
post Dec 19 2011, 15:30
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I would only consider moving away from mp3 if there was a codec that would cut the filesizes significantly (50% or so) at the same quality... anything esle is not worth the effort of converting 1 TB of lossless into a new format. But filesize optimization would be nice, seeing that the capacity of players has not improved at all for the last few years.
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probedb
post Dec 19 2011, 15:35
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 08:10) *
I've personally moved from MP3 to AAC because of audio quality.


...and what precisely did you find wrong with MP3?
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saratoga
post Dec 19 2011, 18:51
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QUOTE (Kujibo @ Dec 18 2011, 20:19) *
So for me if MP3 is actually keeping up fairly well with modern codecs and is universally playable anywhere, what is the incentive to move on to something else? To me it's the continued effort of the LAME developers that have made this possible and made my life simpler. My hats off to them and please do keep working on it.


Your experience matches mine. My initial enthusiasm for newer formats faded when it became apparent that in practice improving the quality of typical MP3 files was no longer possible verses what LAME was capable of. At that point newer formats essentially just offered small decreases in file size in exchange for large decreases in compatibility. From my point of view, it is no longer possible to develop a format better then MP3. Since disk space (and now flash space) is so cheap, I really don't see myself moving from MP3 anytime soon, and I've gone back and replaced most of my AAC and Vorbis rips with MP3 files.

That said, AAC is still a neat format, and I continue to be interested in optimizing it for rockbox. I just probably won't bother using it aside from testing my work.
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jukkap
post Dec 19 2011, 20:59
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QUOTE (Goratrix @ Dec 19 2011, 16:30) *
I would only consider moving away from mp3 if there was a codec that would cut the filesizes significantly (50% or so) at the same quality... anything esle is not worth the effort of converting 1 TB of lossless into a new format. But filesize optimization would be nice, seeing that the capacity of players has not improved at all for the last few years.



QUOTE (probedb @ Dec 19 2011, 16:35) *
QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 08:10) *
I've personally moved from MP3 to AAC because of audio quality.


...and what precisely did you find wrong with MP3?

AAC just gives better audio quality with half the bitrate of MP3. Very helpful when transferring my large music collection between my playback devices. From my experience 128 kbit/s Dolby Pulse AAC is about identical sound quality to 320 kbit/s LAME MP3.
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saratoga
post Dec 19 2011, 21:18
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As per our forum rules, if you are going to make claims like this you must support them with double blind tests.

This post has been edited by db1989: Dec 20 2011, 12:12
Reason for edit: removing unnecessary full quote
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kwanbis
post Dec 19 2011, 22:18
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 20:59) *
AAC just gives better audio quality with half the bitrate of MP3. Very helpful when transferring my large music collection between my playback devices. From my experience 128 kbit/s Dolby Pulse AAC is about identical sound quality to 320 kbit/s LAME MP3.

So you are saying that aac@128kbps = mp3@320kbps? I HIGHLY doubt it.

What happens is that aac@128kbps is "almost" transparent, as it is mp3(lame)@128kbps.

This post has been edited by kwanbis: Dec 19 2011, 23:51


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slks
post Dec 20 2011, 06:43
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QUOTE (pdq @ Dec 18 2011, 22:38) *
QUOTE (izzyfinhaifa @ Dec 18 2011, 09:19) *
My friend has a very tiny Apple player, only 2 gig.

Does anyone else here find it amusing to hear 2 gig referred to as "very tiny"? Or was that a reference to the physical size?


I have a 4 gigabyte iPod Nano, which I consider to be pretty small, so I could go with 2 GB as "very tiny".

My old player, a Rio Karma (circa 2004) had 20 GB. My cell phone has 16 GB. Oftentimes, I'm carrying around a USB stick with another 16 gigs on it. My entire music collection now measures over 100 gig.


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probedb
post Dec 20 2011, 09:41
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 19:59) *
AAC just gives better audio quality with half the bitrate of MP3. Very helpful when transferring my large music collection between my playback devices. From my experience 128 kbit/s Dolby Pulse AAC is about identical sound quality to 320 kbit/s LAME MP3.


Care to show us some ABX tests you've done to show this?
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pdq
post Dec 20 2011, 13:33
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QUOTE (slks @ Dec 20 2011, 01:43) *
I have a 4 gigabyte iPod Nano, which I consider to be pretty small, so I could go with 2 GB as "very tiny".

I still remember when an eight inch floppy held 64 kBytes, which was a big improvement on the boxes of punch cards that I used before that. smile.gif
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jukkap
post Dec 20 2011, 14:02
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Dec 19 2011, 22:18) *
As per our forum rules, if you are going to make claims like this you must support them with double blind tests.

I am sorry I don't actually claim that 128 AAC is in fact better than 320 MP3 but I don't notice differences so it just works great for me. I guess the actual quality depends of the AAC encoder. I use Dolby Pulse but it has not been in listening tests yet.
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IgorC
post Dec 20 2011, 14:16
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jukkap

While your AAC encoder is CBR (or "short windowed ABR") it can't compete with Apple and FhG AAC VBR encoders. As simple as it is. Period.

P.S. Also I have a hard time to hear the difference between old Coding Technologies AAC encoder and your new Dolby Pulse encoder. For my ears it's just the very same encoder with some very tiny retouches. Rebranding the same product is a normal procedure today.

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shadowking
post Dec 20 2011, 15:05
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Even 5 ~ 10 yrs ago the difference between aac and a decent mp3 encoder was like 32k : 160 k mp3 would likely sound similar to 128k aac.. The big battle was 128k CBR and mp3 wasn't great but even then you had the space for 160 or even 192

AAC back then wasn't that stable either. Today and in the future maybe AAC could be like MPC quality @ 160 .. 190 VBR with hardware support but again mp3 is also competitive there too. At lower bitrate < 128k AAC has a clear advantage

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greynol
post Dec 20 2011, 18:33
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QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 20 2011, 05:02) *
I am sorry I don't actually claim that 128 AAC is in fact better than 320 MP3 but I don't notice differences so it just works great for me.

Perhaps, but you did say:
QUOTE (jukkap @ Dec 19 2011, 19:59) *
AAC just gives better audio quality with half the bitrate of MP3.

This is not compliant with our terms (specifically #8) which you agreed to follow upon registering here.

This post has been edited by greynol: Dec 20 2011, 19:09


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Engelsstaub
post Dec 20 2011, 20:06
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Some here are saying that MP3 is "universal." I know of no devices that won't play AAC. My iPods play it. Android plays it. My daughter's Zune plays it. In fact the Zune (and Windows Phone 7) actually plays files purchased from my iTunes account which brings me to this point: if iTunes is the number one distributor/retailer of music (QT AAC @256 Kbps VBR,) how can one logically claim that MP3 is still more universal?

...the answer is it is still more universal for those who do their own encoding. (Probably.) Moreover Amazon, and some other retailers of digital music, sell it in the MP3 format. And yes: there probably are a few players out there that won't support AAC currently. Are any of these players of significant marketshare that the vast majority would have some problem playing back an AAC file purchased from iTunes?

An interesting side-note: every popular device I know of, for playing ripped videos (using Handbrake, etc.,) requires the audio to be mixed down in the AAC format. This includes the XBox 360, Playstation 3, and others. I would hate to have encoded my rips with MP3 audio and then try to find something other than VLC that will play it.

So in reply to the title of the OP's post, I would say development should and will continue because more than enough people want to use MP3 and see it developed to its full potential. These codecs can coexist and do so nicely. No one should be disparaged for preferring one over the other. Choice is good.


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