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Whats the best format for sound quality wav,aac,wma,mp3 etc ?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by schillaci0, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. schillaci0

    schillaci0
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    Can anybody help with the above. :lease:
    I am looking to purchase an ipod photo and have just purchased a air tunes express :thumbsup: for home streaming so would like to know whats best for sound quality.
     
  2. mick's cat

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    It really all depends on your sound system and your ears, but ALAC is the best possible for an iTunes/AirPort Express combination. However, ALAC is lossless, so produces very big file sizes so will fill your iPod up more quickly.

    You might find that AAC (a lossy format - iTunes 'native' format) at 192kbps gives results that are indistinguishable from ALAC (again, depending on your sound system and your ears), and will be considerably smaller. You may even find that AAC at 160kbs or even 128kbps works fine too.

    Easiest thing though is just to try out a small range of music tracks, encoded in a range of formats and see if you can hear any difference yourself when they play. A few hours' fun experimenting will satisfy your curiosity, then you can go on to encode all your music in the format of your choice.

    Keep us posted with your results.
     
  3. ilindsay

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    If it's sound quality you're after, you should've bought the Sony!!

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/article.aspx?page=1880&head=39

    Ripping a CD using ATRAC3 Plus at 64Kbit/sec produced sound quality easily equal to an MP3 encoded at 128Kbit/sec. Unfortunately the next step up using ATRAC3 Plus is 256Kbit/sec which brings with it a correspondingly large file size - however, encoding at this level produces sound quality that is truly staggering.

    I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between an original CD and an ATRAC3 Plus encode at 256Kbit/sec, it really is that good.
     
  4. CMcK

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    Airport Express transmits your music encoded as Apple Lossless so why bother to convert it to an inferior quality using AAC or MP3.

    If your home hifi is half decent you would be mad not to use lossless. 128kbit MP3 sounds about the same as DAB radio which certainly isn't CD quality.

    In my experience >500kbit MP3 is about as good as CD quality.

    As for filling up your iPod Photo don't worry about that. Even at lossless quality you can still fit days worth of music on your iPod.
     
  5. OldSkoO1

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    Theres a whole underworld geared around this subject. http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php? is a good place to start.

    A brief summary... MPC is the best codec around at the moment in terms of file size v quality, downsides; no player supports it. Vorbis is highly considered a great codec of choice again small file sizes and excellent quality in relation to mp3s. mp3's slightly larger in size and require slightly higher bitrates to match the alternatives. Dont forget mp3s are based on a 10 year old coding engine which is currently being re-written in parts so lame 4 should be interesting. All digital audio players will play mp3s and the firmware on most players is tuned for mp3s. Therefore OGG files do chew up more battery time due to the extra decoding the player needs to do.

    At the end of the day mp3's are imho the best for portable use. The later versions of mp3s (3.96.1 up to 3.97.7a) are slightly smaller in file size, twice as fast to encode and produce (in some cases) slightly better quality. Albit the latest alphas look promising as we make the migration to lame 4. (Please note that using alphas for everyday use is not recommended as they are based upon un-tuned coding engines and will contain bugs; best waiting for 3.97 final).

    If you are going to encode with mp3's i highly recommend lame 3.96.1 They have some tailored presets which will effectivly activate the tweaks and tuned performance built into the codec. My findings after many tests are, --alt-preset standard will give you transparent results in the majority (95%) of recordings. Overall you'll need a well trained audiophiles ear to tell the differences on portable devices between the origonal. If your backing up mp3s for a high end hi-fi or music server you may wish to bump up that compression and use extreme or insane to iron out a few compression artifacts that are introduced on certain instrument; but this is hardly noticable; only really on very good quality hi-fi systems. --alt-preset extreme i find bloats mp3s by adding more bitrate where it isnt required for portable use. --alt-preset medium is a fantastic compramise for file size v quality and is probably the best option for the majority of people/non-audiophiles with mp3 players/ if you want the bleeding edge of quality on your portable and are very particular about sonics in your audio go with --alt-preset standard .

    I have an iRiver H320 myself but we also have an iPod and Ive listened to a Sony HD3. I must say both the ACC format and the ATRAC format are very competitive and to be honest i dont think the average listener could tell the differences at 192Kbits for those two.


    These are merely my oppinions... Hope this helps :)
     

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