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  1. I'm trying to determine what lossy audio codec to use and what quality setting to use for my music collection. I'd read that complex music requires a higher bitrate. Does anybody have such a music file that I can use for testing purposes?

    What audio codec do you think is best and what's the lowest variable bitrate you can go to where you can't hear a difference between that and a higher bitrate?

    I listen to my music on my Windows PC and at the moment I use Winamp. I'm most interested in the difference between MP3, AAC and OGG but if there's other formats that are better then please let me know.
    Last edited by VideoFanatic; 26th Mar 2019 at 06:46.
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  2. Provide more details - what kind of codecs you are interested, HW or SW player, compatibility and market penetration etc.
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  3. I listen to my music on my Windows PC and at the moment I use Winamp. I'm most interested in the difference between MP3, AAC and OGG but if there's other formats that are better then please let me know.
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  4. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    OPUS has the best efficiency out there. AAC and Vorbis would be runners up.
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  5. When a US$125 hard drive can hold over 10,000 albums of uncomrpessed CD audio does it make sense to use lossy compression? Use uncompressed WAV. Or lossless flac to get about twice as much.
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  6. I agree with jagabo, unless you are really limited by storage then lossless compression may be best solution as it will remove uncertainty related to audible or not quality loss due lossy compression.
    If you pursue for very high quality then you may be interested a bit old but still good Musepack (as usually less complex coding is less intrusive).
    Agree with KarMa - OPUS is probably best modern audio codec, AAC deliver HQ, MP3 can deliver very good quality too.
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  7. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    FLAC is another option, but I would probably agree on uncompressed WAV.
    FLAC: https://xiph.org/flac/
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  8. I know FLAC is best for quality but I'm interested in testing for myself how low a bitrate I can go to where I can't tell the difference between lossless and compressed audio. Does anybody have a good test file I can use that would require a higher bitrate than normal?
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  9. DECEASED
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    Originally Posted by VideoFanatic View Post
    I know FLAC is best for quality but I'm interested in testing for myself how low a bitrate I can go to where I can't tell the difference between lossless and compressed audio.
    MP3 is a hybrid codec, so if you have golden ears, you will notice artifacts even at 320kbps.
    You should prefer MP2 at 320 OR 384 kbps.
    AAC should be perceptually-lossless at 192kbps if you use a decent compressor (qaac, fhgaacenc).
    256kbps for 2.0 AC3.
    For stereo DTS: 510 kbps at 48000 Hz and 468.5625 kbps at 44100 Hz.

    opus and vorbis were deviloped by xiph.org, therefore they are pure evil
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  10. Originally Posted by VideoFanatic View Post
    I know FLAC is best for quality but I'm interested in testing for myself how low a bitrate I can go to where I can't tell the difference between lossless and compressed audio. Does anybody have a good test file I can use that would require a higher bitrate than normal?
    There is plenty samples from audiophile sources - perhaps:
    https://www.24bit96.com/24bit96khz-download-sites/hd-music-download.html#Free2496downloads
    You can resample source to 44.1 or 48 and use as a reference to listen perceived difference - i use frequently http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html
    most of normal people is unable to perceive difference for VBR mp3 with 192kbps encoded with decent encoder (lame for example).
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  11. AAC kicks the shit out of both MP3 and OGG. Transparency depends on the sample but is anywhere from 64-128 kb/s. I've heard samples as low as 48 kb/s that were very good and some required 140 kb/s to sound perfect.
    Opus is a new codec which unfortunately limits itself with a low delay so it loses to AAC on tonal songs but triumphs for broadband songs.
    MP3 is garbage, that 140 kb/s song I mentioned earlier didn't even sound transparent at VBR 320 kb/s with MP3.

    Use abchr to do your audio codec testing.

    Also, wait for xHE-AAC to come out. Opus is the successor of OGG Vorbis, xHE-AAC (USAC) will be AAC's successor.
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  12. Originally Posted by Aludin View Post
    AAC kicks the shit out of both MP3 and OGG. Transparency depends on the sample but is anywhere from 64-128 kb/s. I've heard samples as low as 48 kb/s that were very good and some required 140 kb/s to sound perfect.
    Opus is a new codec which unfortunately limits itself with a low delay so it loses to AAC on tonal songs but triumphs for broadband songs.
    MP3 is garbage, that 140 kb/s song I mentioned earlier didn't even sound transparent at VBR 320 kb/s with MP3.

    Use abchr to do your audio codec testing.

    Also, wait for xHE-AAC to come out. Opus is the successor of OGG Vorbis, xHE-AAC (USAC) will be AAC's successor.
    Thanks. What is abchr?

    What is the specific version of the AAC codec I should be using? I use Nero AAC 1.5.4.0 and encode to AAC-LC at the moment.
    Can you give an example of a tonal and broadband song as I don't know what you mean?
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  13. Originally Posted by VideoFanatic View Post
    Thanks. What is abchr?
    A program for comparing audio clips in a controlled, unbiased way. Attached.

    What is the specific version of the AAC codec I should be using? I use Nero AAC 1.5.4.0 and encode to AAC-LC at the moment.
    That implementation is the best I've tested, though it's been years so who knows if other companies created better ones. Use abchr to compare it against others and decide for yourself.

    I'd stay away from Hydrogenaudio, it's the doom9 of audio.

    Can you give an example of a tonal and broadband song as I don't know what you mean?
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    Originally Posted by Aludin View Post
    AAC kicks the shit out of both MP3 and OGG. Transparency depends on the sample but is anywhere from 64-128 kb/s. I've heard samples as low as 48 kb/s that were very good and some required 140 kb/s to sound perfect.
    Opus is a new codec which unfortunately limits itself with a low delay so it loses to AAC on tonal songs but triumphs for broadband songs.
    MP3 is garbage, that 140 kb/s song I mentioned earlier didn't even sound transparent at VBR 320 kb/s with MP3.

    Use abchr to do your audio codec testing.

    Also, wait for xHE-AAC to come out. Opus is the successor of OGG Vorbis, xHE-AAC (USAC) will be AAC's successor.
    what are you on about? aac is the worst codec out there
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  15. Originally Posted by Zero-11 View Post
    what are you on about? aac is the worst codec out there
    As the ole saying goes: citation needed.
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  16. just choose a song u know by heart and rip it from your cds.. listen and compare
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  17. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Worst? Best? Give me a break. AAC is very good - better (more efficient) than MP2, MP3 and AC3, but worse probably than Opus, but all are dependent upon chosen bitrate. Those transparency figures spouted by Aludin are bogus, but that is often a subjective evaluation anyway. I can tell most lossy codecs aren't transparent until their top tier, sometimes even then. Easier to tell when you do long-term A/B-ing. Particularly using my method (special checkerboard edit).
    If the OP wants best quality upload/playback, there is no substitute for using a lossless codec, period! If other priorities are also involved (capacity, compatibility), the OP will have to decide for themselves how to weigh the differences.

    Scott
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  18. Thanks everyone for your input. When using the AAC codec what is the specific version of the AAC codec I should be using? I use Nero AAC 1.5.4.0 and encode to AAC-LC at the moment.
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  19. Originally Posted by VideoFanatic View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input. When using the AAC codec what is the specific version of the AAC codec I should be using? I use Nero AAC 1.5.4.0 and encode to AAC-LC at the moment.
    The best AAC encoder that I known of it's Apple's, you can use it with qaac, MeGUI has a tool and instructions to extract what you need without the need to install Apple iTunes.
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    There just isn't any hard and fast rule for how much bitrate you'd need because it all depends on the source quality.

    This usually means how good were the mics used in the recording, and btw the mics used in most studios aren't that great. High quality mics are more likely to break if dropped and pro audio custmers don't like that very much.

    If it's music that's been affected by the loudness wars it's going tpo be so compressed you can lower the bit rate quite a bit. The musci's been pre ruined anyway.

    I do downsample many cds because so few are really recorded that well anyway, usually to 320K mp3. Can'tr be bothered to dick around witht that many settings.
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  21. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    By tonal you mean a retro MIDI tune?
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  22. Originally Posted by KarMa View Post
    By tonal you mean a retro MIDI tune?
    I mean exactly what I said, consistent with the definition of the word 'tonal' in the English language. A lot of content is tonal, retro, non-retro and non-MIDI alike. But the sample I provided is a more outstanding example of what Opus is bad with.
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