What is Apple's "MP3" Format like compared to others

figoagogo

Well-known Member
Currently I rip CDs to my PC using WMA (@ 160kbps I think), I also have a small collection of MP3s, in the trusty standard MP3 format.

I also have a Sony PSP that I would occasionally like some tunes put on it, but it aint WMA compatible, it plays MP3s fine. I dont really want to convert any tracks to ATRAC (I dont like Sonys software after using NetMD in the past), however the PSP is AAC compatible.

I am also thinking of getting the missus an IPOD Nano for Xmas, so that could potential play MP3 or AAC.

So if WMA isn't compatible with either of these units, I plan to change formats, I would just use MP3 but as its older than the other formats its compression isn't as brilliant as say ARTAC/WMA etc, i.e. you get less tunes per MB.

So, what its AAC like? Does it compare to WMA/ATRAC in terms of compression?

AND finally, I understand iTunes is compatbile with PODCASTING, can I get ITunes to sync with my PSP?

:eek: All these choices and formats :eek: :suicide:
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Well-known Member
AAC is superior to MP3 in sound quality but you won't see any more compression, therefore ATRAC files will still be considerable smaller so you'll have to splash out on a 2GB Duo if you want a decent amount of tunes on there. I've not heard of the ipod and PSP interacting in anyway, PSP definately can't sync with itunes, only ipods and the itunes mobiles.
 

cwick

Active Member
Cloysterpeteuk said:
AAC is superior to MP3 in sound quality but you won't see any more compression
Not quite true. For the same filesize (bitrate), AAC will sound better. But for a given sound quality, AAC files will be smaller (e.g. you might find that a 192Kbps mp3 offers the same quality as a 128Kbps AAC file). AAC (MP4) offers better compression than MP3.

I really wish Apple didn't call it AAC. It's MP4 - just as much a standard as MP3. But by calling it AAC everyone assumes it's some sort of evil, proprietary encoding format.
 
M

mick's cat

Guest
cwick said:
I really wish Apple didn't call it AAC. It's MP4 - just as much a standard as MP3. But by calling it AAC everyone assumes it's some sort of evil, proprietary encoding format.
I don't mean to sound patronising, so slap my wrists and I'm sorry if I do, but actually, Advanced Audio Coding (ie, AAC) has nothing to do with Apple in origin. It was developed by MPEG and others as an improvement over mp3, and is incorporated into MPEG-2 (ie, DVDs and the like), as well as MPEG-4 and other technologies. So AAC is indeed the correct term to use for the encoding technology it offers - it just so happens that MPEG-4 is the global, and current multimedia standard that uses it.

It's technologies like WMA and ATRAC that are the evil, proprietary encoding formats, as they don't follow the global, and current multimedia standard...
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Well-known Member
cwick said:
Not quite true. For the same filesize (bitrate), AAC will sound better. But for a given sound quality, AAC files will be smaller (e.g. you might find that a 192Kbps mp3 offers the same quality as a 128Kbps AAC file). AAC (MP4) offers better compression than MP3.

I really wish Apple didn't call it AAC. It's MP4 - just as much a standard as MP3. But by calling it AAC everyone assumes it's some sort of evil, proprietary encoding format.
I know it's meant to provide better SQ for a comparable bit rate but i've never noticed smaller sizes, I encoded one of my cd with itunes and it came to exactly the same file size. Plus in the bad old days I used to have to convert mp3 audiobooks to aac (actually .m4b files) and I the files never shrank any, at least they didn't whenever I kept the same bit rate.
 

figoagogo

Well-known Member
I thought MP4 was a video standard :( ooops

I think I may go down the AAC route as it seems the most compatible for PSP/IPOD/PC!

WMA and ARTAC are too limited, and I dont want multiple copies of tunes on my PC. And MP3 seems a bit "old hat" but that maybe an unfair statement.
 
M

mick's cat

Guest
Hmm, mp3 may be old hat, but it's the lowest common denominator - ie, it'll work on all DAPs, and with all music apps on all computers. If you're thinking of a PSP and an iPod though, AAC is fine too and *is* a better format.
 

Uridium

Well-known Member
I'd stick with MP3, at some point in the future you may decide to buy a new DAP or a Wireless Media player
or something.

EVERYTHING will always support MP3 for some years to come, will save some pain in the future if you stick with MP3.
 
E

Eraserhead

Guest
uridium said:
EVERYTHING will always support MP3 for some years to come, will save some pain in the future if you stick with MP3.
... provided that you are using CBR mp3 :lesson:
Unfortunately VBR mp3 that are much better are not supported by some less decent mp3 players...
 

Uridium

Well-known Member
Eraserhead said:
... provided that you are using CBR mp3 :lesson:
Unfortunately VBR mp3 that are much better are not supported by some less decent mp3 players...
makes a good point, although not to much hassle to convert to CBR if you had too (although far better to stay away from devices that don't support VBR)
 

cwick

Active Member
Cloysterpeteuk said:
I know it's meant to provide better SQ for a comparable bit rate but i've never noticed smaller sizes, I encoded one of my cd with itunes and it came to exactly the same file size. Plus in the bad old days I used to have to convert mp3 audiobooks to aac (actually .m4b files) and I the files never shrank any, at least they didn't whenever I kept the same bit rate.
Of course you wont get smaller files for the same bit rate. If it's "128 kilobytes per second", then for every one second of music you'll get 128kb of compressed music, whichever format you use. Hence, your files always end up the same size (roughly, headers and meta-data will make a small difference).

The smaller file sizes come from using the lower bitrates - the newer encoding formats are more efficient, so they allow you to use a lower bitrate than you would with an older encoding format for a given level of sound quality.

Mick's cat - thanks for the heads-up, although I'm already familiar with all that - I think we're making the same point. I guess a lot of people think that, with so many "A"s in AAC, it must be some kind of Apple format. If they'd just gone with mp4 (from a marketing standpoint, rather than technical accuracy), then maybe people wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it's a non-standard format quite so readily (not implying anyone on this thread - I just get the general impression that many have already reached that conclusion).

The trouble with sticking with MP3 for now is that it is, as Mick's cat said, the lowest common denominator. You're compressing to a more-lossy format, so throwing away detail in the music that you'll never recover. Far better to stick to a lossless format (assuming you care, and have the disc space), and then convert to whatever is the format of the day.

Cheers, Carl.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
I always use MP3 simply because as others have said, virtually everything on the planet supports it.

I hate it when companies try and push their own formats, however "great" they may be.
 

Rob_J

Active Member
I prefer ogg vorbis to any other audio format, mp3pro next.
 

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