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320kbps Vs. ALAC - Page 2

post #16 of 112
Originally Posted by BlindInOneEar View Post

Are there quality differences between various encoders?   Are the encoders that come with Foobar decent quality?  My Foobar shows MP3 (LAME) and AAC (Nero), among others.  Would these be satisfactory or would I need to look for something else?


Yeah, there are differences, but these days, probably not much.  Some of the older mp3 encoders are terrible compared to modern ones.


LAME is the best for MP3, and Nero is supposedly the best for higher variable bitrate AAC (probably what you want to use anyway).  But I don't think Foobar actually comes with those encoders?  You need to already have the command-line executables on your computer for the encoders you want to use and direct foobar to their locations.

post #17 of 112

You're right, Foobar doesn't come with the needed codecs.  Fortunately, it prompts you for what it wants making a search real quick and fast.  Thanks for the tip!


And the 256K VBR AACs do sound pretty nice, too!

post #18 of 112
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
My ears are fine. I am a very critical listener. I work in the entertainment business.


I didn’t doubt your hearing, your listening habits or your professional background. Look, I’ve been manually cutting and splicing ¼" tape on Studer machines probably many years before you were born :-)




Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
AAC 256 is fine as a master.


If you allow me the analogy: I don’t know any professional photographer (with the exception those working for sports and news) who would consider a compressed, lossy JPEG a master. I still think having a lossless, unaltered copy of an audio CD stored on a computer’s hard disk offers the best playback quality and the greatest flexibility when it comes to transcoding or exporting tracks for various mobile devices and other areas of application.



Edited by wberghofer - 6/26/12 at 10:49am
post #19 of 112
I cut 1/4 too, and magstripe. I've recorded to 24 track analogue, and I worked sound on the first digitally recorded TV show. I've operated ProTools workstations recording, editing and mixing in 24 bit. I've been around the block a few times.

I posted a track that had been encoded over and over. Now, once I've ripped to AAC, I don't know why I'd ever have to transcode even once. The same file that works great on my iPhone is small enough to email, and it also sounds perfect on my main home stereo. But that's not even the point. The point is I reencoded that file *ten* times. Do you know what ten generations would sound like on a 15 ips quarter inch tape master? Or a 2 inch 24 track master that had been bounced back to tape ten times? It would sound like crap.

The fact that AAC 256 VBR sounds as good as lossless is great. The fact that it can be encoded ten times and still sound good means that it can do anything a normal person would want to do with his music. No one can disagree with that on the basis of listening to the track. All of the disagreement is based on the theory that the reduced file size is somehow degrading the sound in ways that you can't hear.

I don't listen to music with theories. I listen with my ears. AAC is all my ears need. Now someone may have less music in their library, and may have the luxury of archiving as CD disk images, WAV files, FLAC or other jumbo sized files. But those files don't sound any better than my AAC files. No one *needs* to rip to lossless.

P.S. I don't personally know a lot of pro photographers to know what they shoot, but I do know that sports photographers definitely shoot JPEGs. They want their camera to recover from each click as fast as possible, not shuffle redundant bits to the drive in their camera for a few seconds between each shot. I believe Ken Rockwell shoots JPEGs exclusively. JPEGs are used in prepress PDF files too.
Edited by bigshot - 6/25/12 at 12:34am
post #20 of 112
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I don't listen to music with theories. I listen with my ears. AAC is all my ears need. Now someone may have less music in their library, and may have the luxury of archiving as CD disk images, WAV files, FLAC or other jumbo sized files. But those files don't sound any better than my AAC files to me.
I don't *need* to rip to lossless.


Fixed this for you.  With all due respect, I know a couple of people who CAN tell the difference.  I can't tell the difference - but as I have the room and I want a perfect lossless copy - I'll continue to rip to FLAC.


Just because you personally (and I also) cannot tell the difference - it does not mean the difference doesn't exist - nor that it isn't audible.  To presume otherwise (for everyone) solely based on your (and my) hearing would be just a tad pretentious IMO.

post #21 of 112
I don't believe there are people who can identify the difference between AAC 256 VBR and lossless. I know there are people who claim they can do that, but that ability disappears into random choice with controlled double blind testing. I know it might come as a shock to you, but a lot of audiophiles are full of hooey.

The biggest mistake in home audio is focusing on theories and numbers on paper instead of sound. If someone really wants great sound, there are MUCH more important and effective ways of accomplishing that than by using lossless files. In the grand sceme of things, as long as your bitrate is sufficient to accurately reproduce the music without artifacting, it doesn't matter what file type you use.

The only exception to that is compatibility issues. If that concerns you, you would want to use WAV, MP3 or AAC... the three big cross platform file formats.
post #22 of 112

Sorry mate - seen it done.  Double blind and repeatable.  I can't do it - but just because I can't doesn't mean a few others can't.

post #23 of 112
I bet you are talking about a test involving MP3 not AAC. MP3 is different than MP4.
Edited by bigshot - 6/25/12 at 1:14am
post #24 of 112

Nope - 256 CBR aac - it was definitely track dependent - some were completely transparent to him.


Doesn't matter anyway - you do what you're comfortable with - I'll do same.  I'm just saying with something like sound - we're all built unique - and even if you and I can't tell the difference - it doesn't  mean that everyone cannot.  Personally I'm quite happy I can't - means space for more music on my Touch wink.gif.

post #25 of 112

I rip to ALAC and then create a second 320 kbit copy for use on my iphone. Why do I do this? Because hard disks are cheap, and I like to feel I have the best lossy portable copy I can have, even if I might not be able to tell the difference from 256, I like to think I can, ha ha beyersmile.png

post #26 of 112
Thread Starter 

My Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin air is pretty high tech , am I going to hear the difference ??

I'm going to use Werner's tip :) 

post #27 of 112
Originally Posted by Twilight Dawn View Post
I'm going to use Werner's tip smily_headphones1.gif

Great choice, I’m sure you won’t regret it. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the Zeppelin's performance, because I never had the chance to listen to it, but I guess the differences between 256 kbps AAC and lossless ALAC shall be hard to recognize on this device.

When I began to rip my CDs more than ten years ago, I used AAC with bitrates of 192 and 256 kbps. Afterwards I sold my CDs because I was pretty happy with the playback quality. But things changed dramatically a few years later as I added the first stand-alone DAC (digital to analog converter). Now the sound differences between 256 kbps AAC and ALAC became quite audible and obvious. I deleted all my lossy files, had to purchase a lot of CDs again (there was some really rare stuff in my collection) and started the whole ripping game all over. But this time I used a lossless file format.

My suggestion to you is based on my own experience. Just wanted to save you from the disappointments I encountered on my quest to really satisfying file based audio playback. I’m convinced that losslessly ripped files scale pretty well with better equipment you may add later, especially high quality DACs and revealing headphones.

Unfortunately I can’t claim the same for lossy audio files: the moment your playback equipment’s sound reproduction quality increases, they sound worse.

Kind regards,


Edited by wberghofer - 6/25/12 at 8:14am
post #28 of 112
Thread Starter 

What is the difference between mp3 and AAC ? 

post #29 of 112
post #30 of 112
Thread Starter 

Yeah ! Thank you ! You've been a great help :) 

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