MP3, WMA, AAC OK -> Where is Real Audio?
The article "2U4U DMR-300 WMA Player" is very interesting. Fially somebody compare side by side audio compression. Grate idea. It will be also good idea to compare Real Audio codec just as a reference. I consyder Real Audion codec better then MP3 but I am not sure how it compare to MWA and AAC.
I just encoded a song using AAC and here's what I think:
The max quality I could get from the software I got was called "good quality". It sounds better than 192 kbps mp3. Great.
Downside: It took my XP 1800+ at 1.70 GHz about 4 minutes to encode the one song.
If my baby don't love me, I know, I know, her sister will.
Don't know about Real or AAC codecs, but I have used WMA and I don't like it. I can easily distinguish high frequency artifacts. The low frequencies are not much better. I really can't stand listening to it for long.
Since I don't have a memory-limited MP3-player, I prefer to use Lame --r3mix instead of codecs designed specifically for low bitrates (Real and WMA).
But the best thing to do is to judge by yourselves.
New presets are better than the old --r3mix.
To activate these presets:
For VBR modes (generally highest quality):
"--alt-preset standard" This preset should generally be transparent
to most people on most music and is already
quite high in quality.
"--alt-preset extreme" If you have extremely good hearing and similar
equipment, this preset will generally provide
slightly higher quality than the "standard"
For CBR 320kbps (highest quality possible from the --alt-preset switches):
"--alt-preset insane" This preset will usually be overkill for most
people and most situations, but if you must
have the absolute highest quality with no
regard to filesize, this is the way to go.
Yeah, mp3 really suxxor for classical music. The cuttoff and artifacts are like the cannons in 1812; they really stand out.
Wma suxxors too, but slightly less than mp3. Classical soundz just a little better, but not by much.
RA is in limbo. I've no doubt it's somewhere between mp3 and wma, but i'm not sure if it suxxs as bad as mp3 or is as good as wma.
Wav is really high quality. Too bad it's *HUGE*.
ACC I've not tried out yet, but I'm about to get around to it. I have a bunch of programs that I found, but haven't played with any of them yet.
I think one uses the command prompt (*shudder*)...
I really think that Tom shouldnt review anything when he talks about sound quality as he obviously doesnt have very good ears... but seriously, saying that WMA is better than mp3 is quite frankly the funniest thing ive heard. They and meny others say that WMA sounds clearer and brighter than mp3, but they dont realise that WMA sugar coats the sound to make it sound better, but this is poor as its not a true representation of the real source. I really have to laugh when microsoft calls 192kbps audiophilie quality when it, to myself and many other audio compression enthusiasts, is worse than a lame encoded mp3. Mp3 is dated, and loses fidelity, but it doesnt change the sound as bad as WMA. Thats why it'll never take over mp3. In order of quality, id say real audio, wma, mp3, ogg/aac (both equal) and finally mpc as the highest quality. mpc is also good at bitrates but most people prefer small files for some reason. Broardband is very much taken over now, even here in the uk, so an extra few seconds download should be worth it for the very high quality that mpc provides. And besides, mpc averages at around 192 anyway, and most release groups encode at 192 anyway! mpc has a great phycoacoustical model and works very well in all frequencys. If filesize is important, for example in portable storage, like in the article, then ogg vorbis would be the best bet! it sounds superior to all lossy formats known at 128kbps and lower. All we need now is support for mpc, aac and ogg to become standard in hardware and software players and mp3 will be out of the window!
edit: Anyone interested in audio compression, head over to http://www.hydrogenaudio.org and join us in our community!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by fireballuk2001 on 08/21/02 03:14 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
If you're saying that WMA and RealAudio are better than MP3... you're completely off the track.
Or you don't use LAME.
Or you like artificially bright sound and boomy sound.
MP3 beat these two formats really easily if you look at fidelity to the WAV source.
Classical will sound bright on WMA... it seem to sound good but it doesn't sound how the musician want it to sound like.
Take CoolEdit and look at it... you'll see.
mpc is a lossy encoder, based on mpeg2 audio, but sounds a lot better. Using the standard profile is said to be transparent to the original source 99.9% of the time and averages around 200kbps. Most believe that its better than ogg and aac and that mpc is the best lossy format to date. Give it a try, you might be impressed! it encodes really fast too, a lot quicker than lame!
If you are looking for free AAC codecs, iTunes and FAAC are your best possible choices. If you prefer a small and uncomplicated download and installation and/or use an older Windows version than Win 2000/XP or use Linux, FAAC is the only available open source codec for iPod-compatible *.m4a files with correct tagging.
A summary of the FAAC project can be found on Freshmeat:
<A HREF="http://freshmeat.net/projects/faac/" target="_new">http://freshmeat.net/projects/faac/</A>
The homepage provides source code packages of the encoder FAAC and decoder FAAD2:
<A HREF="http://www.audiocoding.com/modules/mydownloads/" target="_new">http://www.audiocoding.com/modules/mydownloads/</A>
An user documentation with recommended settings, list of GUI applications using the codec etc. is available in the Knowledge Base:
<A HREF="http://www.audiocoding.com/modules/wiki/?page=FAAC" target="_new">http://www.audiocoding.com/modules/wiki/?page=FAAC</A>
A listening test at 128 kbps with some of these AAC codecs can be found here:
<A HREF="http://www.rjamorim.com/test/aac128v2/results.html" target="_new">http://www.rjamorim.com/test/aac128v2/results.html</A>
Compiled Windows binaries of the FAAC command line version as well as output plugins for Winamp 2.x/5.x and CoolEdit, CDex and winLAME are available on RareWares:
<A HREF="http://www.rarewares.org/aac.html" target="_new">http://www.rarewares.org/aac.html</A>
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen