bawi wrote:I was under the impression that AAC was supposed to replace MP3 when it came out, but it seems people still use MP3 quite frequently.
Often the case with new formats, I'd think -- at any rate, when people have a lot of files encoded in an older format. The same would go for JPEG. It might be better to use JPEG2000, but few people do, because there are so many JPEGs already around -- and also, consequently, a lot of software that handles that format. However, MS has JPEG in its sights and has introduced a new format for images. It'll be interesting to see if they can make that one stick:
Anyway, advantages of AAC:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_A ... s_over_MP3
Nevertheless, note that the LAME encoder in particular has been so highly tuned that people generally get good results with it -- at any rate, at relatively high bitrates. So long as people can get acceptable results, there's less reason for them to use something else when they already have existing archives and they know they'll have wider compatibility with a large pool of existing software.
My question is, is there any reason i would want to encode to 320 MP3 with Max, when i can already encode 320 AAC? Is it the same thing, or is AAC acutally better or what? Also would it be unwise to reencode FLAC files into either of these formats for space saving?
the context of this is that i only rip my CDs for use with my ipod, and i want it in good quality without having to rip it as obscenely large files. but i would really like to get these two questions sorted out.
I think these are matters of personal choice, really. Myself I prefer *either* lossless files, such as FLAC or medium bitrate AAC or MP3 files to high bitrate MP3s. In fact, I prefer to have *both* and have both. It seems to me that a high bitrate MP3 is "neither flesh nor fish nor good red herring". While you haven't got the fidelity you have with lossless, you lose on filesize, too. In practice, most of us might not be able to distinguish a high-bitrate MP3 from a FLAC, but if you're going to go that far why not go all the way? Large external hard drives are cheap enough these days, after all. (I don't keep FLACs on the main drive my OS is on.) So I do what a number of people here and elsewhere do: keep a permanent lossless archive and transcode from that to a lossy format for portable use. The advantage of that is that you know you have as faithful a copy of your CD as you can get -- which is nice to have in case your original CD gets damaged -- and you can also transcode from that lossless format to any
lossy format that might be around now or in the future, and that any particular player might use, as and when you need to.
For portable use on an iPod I think that a medium bitrate -- say, around 160kbps -- gives a good compromise between sound quality and filesize. If you encode at a far higher bitrate than that, then you can get so much less on. I think it's generally been found that you'd also pay a penalty in shorter battery life. On the iPod I use AAC myself -- 160 VBR (set for quality) -- rather than MP3. I do that simply because the iPod can handle AAC. But I'm sure LAME MP3 as its standard setting -- the one labelled "transparent" in Max -- would be equally as good with most samples (and possibly better with some) for only slighter larger files. Maybe that wouldn't suit you, but I do think you might want to do some blind listening tests before committing yourself to encoding really high bitrate lossy files, such as 320kbps MP3 or 256kbps CBR AAC files, for portable use. There's such a downside there in terms of how much you can carry on an iPod, and is the improvement in quality going to be noticeable for most tracks in what will probably be less than ideal listening conditions anyway?