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Topic: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better? (Read 2052 times) previous topic - next topic
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AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Which of these two encoders do you think would produce a better sounding and more transparent audio file
when encoding a song from WAV format: Fraunhofer FhG AAC encoder at 130 to 145 kbps, or Musepack encoder at 170 to 190 kbps?

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #1
Which of these two encoders do you think would produce a better sounding and more transparent audio file
when encoding a song from WAV format: Fraunhofer FhG AAC encoder at 130 to 145 kbps, or Musepack encoder at 170 to 190 kbps?

Any reason why you'd want to use Fraunhofer AAC and not the far more superior Apple AAC?

 

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #2
There's one similar almost 20 years old listening test:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,36465.0.html

Graphics are lost probably due to some forum migration, but from archive.org copies it seems that MPC fared somewhat better (statistically there might be a tie) than FAAC which tended to be worse quality than other AAC encoders. AFAIR there were no quality-wise updates of MPC since then so it's quite possible that there would be at least a tie with such AAC encoders today, but it's always best to test for yourself!
I'd go with AAC due to compatibility reasons alone.


EDIT: I corrected the link, first it was to some other listening test

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #3
Any reason why you'd want to use Fraunhofer AAC and not the far more superior Apple AAC?

I don't think Apple AAC encoder is far more superior than Fraunhofer FhG AAC at 130 to 145 kbps.

From what I've read, Fraunhofer FhG AAC encoder is considered an excellent encoder that is optimized for encoding music on desktop processors:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=AAC_encoders

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #4
There's one similar almost 20 years old listening test:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,36465.0.html

Graphics are lost probably due to some forum migration, but from archive.org copies it seems that MPC fared somewhat better (statistically there might be a tie) than FAAC which tended to be worse quality than other AAC encoders. AFAIR there were no quality-wise updates of MPC since then so it's quite possible that there would be at least a tie with such AAC encoders today, but it's always best to test for yourself!
I'd go with AAC due to compatibility reasons alone.


EDIT: I corrected the link, first it was to some other listening test

I found the latest listening tests from 2020 that included the Musepack encoder.

Musepack encoder came out in second place, just after Opus:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,120007.0.html

Also, Musepack received praise from some users on hydrogenaudio:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,102429.0.html

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #5
What you see on that graph, is a tie (maybe except of Opus which wins). I do have most of my collection in MPC but I was ripping it 20 years ago. Not much point encoding to MPC today.

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #6
Any reason why you'd want to use Fraunhofer AAC and not the far more superior Apple AAC?

I don't think Apple AAC encoder is far more superior than Fraunhofer FhG AAC at 130 to 145 kbps.

From what I've read, Fraunhofer FhG AAC encoder is considered an excellent encoder that is optimized for encoding music on desktop processors:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=AAC_encoders

Apple doesn't encode their stuff on phones either, Apple's AAC encoder is best in exactly those ranges, that's not me, but the public tests conducted several times here. iTunes AAC wins hands down.

FHg is a deprecated encoder as well. You have to find an obsolete version of winamp to get the required files, then run it with another third party tool praying to god, you don't get issues due to the latest architecture of Windows 11, which makes those old applications written in 2000s a pain to use properly.

Apple's encoder is used up to this day, iTunes and Apple Music use the exact software to serve their customers. Apple's free, better, durable and stable. Sounds better. Fhg for instance cannot do AACs in VBR over 200kbps, after that it's all CBR. AAC's VBR is where it shines.

In the link you shared, as well, I see Apple AAC at the top, than Fhg. Idk what's your point. If you're saying that Fhg is usable as well, sure it is, but it's simply a trade off, if you can use a newer tool and get a better result, why not use it? what's the point of using a second rank product when you can get the first one for free, and more easily?

that's why I asked the op if there's any reason for their winamp choice, if not they should consider Apple.

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #7
I would give it to MPC for the following reasons:

1.  The bitrate is much higher
2.  That MPC is not just a bitrate number but a set-and-forget optimized
quality profile . Not sure what FHG ( Or QAAC) 130..145 would be in comparison.
3. The sub-band property of MPC overcomes some limitations that other codecs will
struggle with to some extent like time/pre-echo.

I found the 128k QAAC is not hard to pick out on my standard problem samples.
But I failed @ 160k vbr/cvbr .  I didn't spend much time or effort and I didn't test
the 144k preset yet.    AAC looks promising at 160 k and possibly
144, to match or maybe exceed? MPC standard.

Pros for (Q)AAC, Compatibility and robust quality at bitrates not far from 130..145 k
wavpack -b320hhcs.5
lame --preset cd -f --lowpass 17

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #8
Quote
1.  The bitrate is much higher
A higher bitrate doesn't necessarily mean better quality.  ;)  The whole point of compression is to get a lower bitrate (smaller files).  A better codec will give the same or better quality at a lower bitrate.    

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #9
The whole point of compression is to get a lower bitrate (smaller files).  A better codec will give the same or better quality at a lower bitrate.    
Newbie question:
Does higher compression achieve better audio transparency?

Re: AAC vs. Musepack: which encoder do you think is better?

Reply #10
Newbie question:
Does higher compression achieve better audio transparency?
Since you tag it with "Newbie question", let's clean out one basic part of the question first: What do you mean by "higher compression"?
Usually we would mean - given the input signal - "lower bitrate" and/or "higher computational effort". The first without the last does not achieve better transparency, everything else equal - rather the other way around. (How codecs developed with 2000s knowledge might differ from older codecs, easily violates "everything else equal".) But given a bitrate in a certain range, it might - depending on circumstances - be possible to get better results by spending more computational effort on it.

("better" transparency is kinda a fishy phrase too, but it is easy to argue that it is "better" when fewer signals are intransparent to more people. But even when it isn't transparent, "perceptible but not annoying" is better than "sounds bad".)