iPhone AAC vs. Aptx and Aptx-hd real world

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by neil74, Oct 4, 2017.
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  1. Jeepz
    So if the phone & headphone are using the AAC codec, Spotify (OGG Vorbis) and Apple Music (AAC) should sound about the same?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  2. DarwinOSX
    Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis. The paid version uses 320k Ogg.
  3. Jeepz
  4. Monstieur
    AAC to AAC transcoding is still transparent because it's the same algorithm - there would only be a negligible loss in data after transcoding. But (in theory at least) Vorbis to AAC transcoding would cause additional loss since each algorithm discards data slightly differently. However, since the output is 256 kbps AAC, the bitrate is high enough that it should still be transparent to humans.

    At 256 kbps AAC, you can completely ignore quality as a factor even with transcoding from different players and codecs. I doubt anyone could tell the difference between even 128 kbps and 256 kbps AAC outside of a critical listening environment.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    Jeepz likes this.
  5. DarwinOSX
    Ogg is a pretty dated and inefficient algorithm whose chief advantage to Spotify is that it’s free. I’ll take 256k over 320k Ogg any day.
  6. Jeepz
    AAC is the main reason I went the Apple Music route.

    That... and Siri. Stupid closed iOS ecosystem :triportsad:

    Although honestly, I can't really tell much difference between 320 OGG and Apple's offerings on my BT set.
  7. bigshot
    It really doesn't have anything to do with how hard you listen. Artifacting is pretty clear, no matter how hard you listen for it. The thing that matters is the music you're encoding. There are certain kinds of sounds that react with codecs and create artifacting. I've got a Sammy Davis Jr CD that has some tracks with massed strings that are very difficult to encode without the tell tale outer space gurgling sound. It can be perfectly encoded at 256 with AAC and 320 with LAME. I haven't tried OGG.
  8. DarwinOSX
    How does it being “closed” affect you.
    On a good headphone I can hear the difference.
  9. Jeepz
    I don't have all day to list them all out, lol. More than I can count on both hands.

    But in this case, the lack of Siri + Spotify compatibility is very sad. I mean, Siri sucks as it is, and being closed makes it even worse. On top of that, Apple Music's interface is inferior to Spotify. By a long shot. Especially on desktop.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  10. Jeepz
    That's so strange why macOS comes with aptX and AAC disabled by default. Every new Mac system I use I have to enable either in Terminal.

    Wonder what the reasoning behind that is?
  11. Monstieur
    It's not disabled by default. It must be an issue with your Bluetooth receiver, requiring you to force it. macOS prefers aptX over AAC too, when the receiver supports both.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  12. neil74
    So how about if we flip them his around and look at using an android device (that supports AAC). Would it be the same? i.e. using AAC limited headphones such as QC35s or Beats studio 3s on an android device, would there be any difference with how they perform on an idevice vs. a droid?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  13. Monstieur
    Android's audio stack is inferior, and various degradations could theoretically have occurred before the AAC compression stage. The ability to choose the output compression format is a recent feature. It's unknown whether all manufacturers implement it correctly.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    neil74 likes this.
  14. Jeepz
    This isn't true. On all my Macs (Air, Mini, iMac) I need to manually enable AAC/aptX in Terminal. I only had to do it once on each machine, but out of the box, macOS will use SBC.

    This was the case for my Sony XB950's, my ADV Model 3's as well as my Bose SoundSports.

    AirPods will use AAC without changing the settings, though.

    This has been discussed in depth here:

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  15. Monstieur
    That article doesn't attempt to identify the cause of the issue and simply assumes that all Macs use SBC by default, which is false - just because someone asserts it, it doesn't mean it's true.

    Your experience is also uncommon because macOS has always preferred aptX over AAC over SBC for years. It's not a Sony issue either because I've also had the MDR-1000X, WH-1000XM2, and MUC-M2BT1 and all three of them default to aptX out of the box on a Mac. I've also tested the QC35 and it defaults to AAC, not SBC.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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