AAC and Ogg and LAME - What do you think?
Jan 12, 2003 at 2:44 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


Apr 1, 2002
I've been experimenting and comparing compression results from LAME mp3, Ogg Vorbis and AAC mp4. I'd be curious to get other's opinions on the merits and drawbacks of each of these formats.

Thus far I have to admit that I am most impressed with AAC via Quick Time Pro 6.1 (which does indeed seem to offer improvements in the encoding engine from 6.0). If I encode @ 256, 44.1 kHz, stereo, "best" quality, the results are truly amazing - almost entirely transparent. The only thing I have found that is better - and very slightly - is ATRAC-R from my Sony JA555ES deck. (I have compared both carefully, played through my Van Alstine Transcendence DAC). Listen to the soundstage and imaging on AAC! Somehow they got this right. LAME mp3 at maximum quality cannot even come close to this! (I am surprised at these results, particularly from QT Pro's built-in encoder, from which I expected subpar performance.)

BTW, a stereo AAC file @ 256, stereo, best quality, will be the same size as a LAME mp3 @ 256, joint stereo, best quality.

LAME mp3 @ 256, joint stereo, has been my usual preference, and it does not sound flattering next to AAC. Even if I go up to 320, the timbres still sound pinched and the soundstage always narrows ever so slightly. It sounds more or less accurate, sonically, but the air is lost.

Ogg Vorbis, via a freeware app called Ogg Drop: What to say about this? Ogg quality setting at 7 and above sound quite good, soundstage and impact better than LAME mp3, but the sounds seem shifted somehow. Has anyone else ever noticed this, how Ogg appears to do strange things with the imaging? It is subtle but it is there. Of course it could be the Ogg Drop encoder and not the Ogg format itself. Can anyone here with more experience with Ogg Vorbis let me know about this?

I know I am giving a very brief sketch of all of this, but I don't want to get bogged down in detail, at least not as a topic starter. I'll be happy to give more detail if asked. I will say, however, that I am through with using mp3, period. AAC will now be my compression format of choice (aside from ATRAC-R, of course). The jury is still out on Ogg. I like what I hear, but am concerned about the sonic shifting. I think I will try a different encoder and see if it does the same thing.

Please jump in with your opinions, experiences, etc.
Jan 12, 2003 at 3:24 AM Post #3 of 4

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