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Topic: Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC? (Read 36676 times) previous topic - next topic
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Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Is there any differences between NERO AAC encoder and FAAC in quality base? Which of them is currently better?

Also, I have problems using foobar to encode music through FAAC. I've read FAAC Knowledge Base

but it seems not working.

This is what I put on the customize FAAC parameter

Code: [Select]
-w -q 100 -c 16000 - %d


However, I went the whole way through and showed
Code: [Select]
Error flushing file (Object not found) : file://C:\...........

output: mp4,aac,m4a are all not working for me.

Any problems in my setting, or I need to install?
By the way, I am using foobar2000 0.9.4.1, FAAC 1.24
Thanks for helping.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #1
FAAC officially sounds terrible. Nero sounds pretty good. This is a TOS8 violation, but there are numbers on here somewhere that back me up...

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #2
FAAC officially sounds terrible. Nero sounds pretty good. This is a TOS8 violation, but there are numbers on here somewhere that back me up...

Sorry but I don't agree. 

FAAC seemed OK to me at q=100, last time I tried it. Right now I am using it at q=150.

AFAIK one of the developers who worked on FAAC is now working for Nero on their AAC encoder. FAAC is still under development (as is, in fact, Nero's encoder), but it's quite usable.

My complete command line (using KAudioCreator in Linux) is:
faac -o %o -q 150 -c 22000 -w --artist %{artist} --title %{title} --year %{year} --album %{albumtitle} --track %{number} %f

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #3
Of course FAAC is usable, but I think most people here would agree, that Nero AAC is far superior.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #4
Listening tests here at HA have shown the NeroAAC encoder to be better qualitywise than the FAAC encoder. So, it makes more sense to go with the NeroAAC encoder as of now.

audiomars

edit: spelling
Reason is immortal, all else mortal
- Pythagoras

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #5
Listening tests here at HA have shown the NeroAAC encoder to be better qualitywise than the FAAC encoder.

Can you precisely point me to web pages with results from these listening tests "here at HA" and the versions of NeroAAC and FAAC that were used, and at what bitrates?

If you are thinking about Roberto's "AAC at 128kbps v2" listening tests (http://www.rjamorim.com/test/) dating back from february 2004 - which is the only reliable data I know of concerning the matter at hand, and I thank Roberto a lot for it - then will you agree that a lot has changed since then for all the encoders concerned, since they were all being actively developed at the time?

Since we don't have any recent data to support the choice of NeroAAC over FAAC, I cannot recommend any AAC encoder over the other. All I can say is that having tried FAAC 1.24 at q=100 and q=150, I found it free of obvious artifacts. But that's just me, of course, YMMV... (BTW I can't hear anything above 16kHz) 

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #6
Nero AAC has improved quite a bit since that test, whereas FAAC has not.

edit: spelling
//From the barren lands of the Northsmen

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #7
Nero AAC has improved quite a bit since that test, whereas FAAC has not.

Facts, please.

Here is an extract from the FAAC 1.25 Changelog since Feb 2004:
Code: [Select]
2005-02-02  sur
    * libfaac:
        Directory kiss_fft added to the repository
    
    * libfaac/kiss_fft/README.kiss_fft:
        Instructions how to download and install kiss_fft library.
    
    * libfaac/coder.h:
        Added DRM-compatible FRAMLE_LEN, BLOCK_LEN_LONG, BLOCK_LEN_SHORT definitions.

    * libfaac/fft.c:
        Added interface to kiss_fft library to implement FFT for 960 transform length.
    
    * libfaac/fft.h:
        Added interface to kiss_fft library to implement FFT for 960 transform length.

    * libfaac/filtbank.c:
        960 transform length implemented.
    
    * libfaac/filtbank.h:
        NFLAT_LS definition changed to be 1024/960 transform length compatible.
    
    * libfaac/huffman.c:
        Fixed bug in Huffman_End.
        
    * libfaac/libfaac_dll_drm.sln:
        Win32 Visual Studio solution file to build DRM-compatible libfaac.
        This is experimental code, please do not use this project to build 'ordinary' libfaac.
    
    * libfaac/libfaac_dll_drm.vcproj:
        Win32 Visual Studio project file to build DRM-compatible libfaac.
        This is experimental code, please do not use this project to build 'ordinary' libfaac.
    
    * libfaac/libfaacdrm.def:
        Win32 module definition file for libfaac_dll_drm project.

    * libfaac/util.c:
        Minor changes to make code 1024/960 transform length compatible.
            
2004-08-19  menno
    * frontend/main.c:
        Removed stupid comment in help of FAAC. RAW AAC files are USELESS,
        it seems that already some people encoded their collection using
        the -r option.
        typo, it's not bad to have this option, but people should be warned
        that they can get severe playback problems with RAW AAC files (anything
        other then 44100 will not be decoded properly unless you know that it
        has that samplerate). Seeking is also not possible on these files.

2004-08-06  danchr
    * frontend/main.c:
        TNS is no longer enabled by default (reported by guruboolez)
        documentation fixes in frontend
        default to mp4 for *.m4b as well

2004-08-02  danchr
    * configure.in, common/mp4v2/Makefile.am:
        linux portability fixes

    * frontend/main.c:
        NetBSD portability fix + fixing metadata bugs w/ sscanf().
        *BSD portability fix.
        fix --shortctl documentation.

2004-07-28  danchr
    * Makefile.am, bootstrap, configure.in,
    frontend/: Makefile.am, main.c,
    common/Makefile.am, common/mp4v2/Makefile.am:
        Darwin portability fixes, should help on Linux too

2004-07-27  menno
    * common/mp4v2:
        Directory /cvsroot/faac/faac/common/mp4v2 added to the repository

    * common/mp4v2/:
    3gp.cpp API_CHANGES INTERNALS Makefile.am README TODO
    atom_bitr.cpp atom_co64.cpp atom_cprt.cpp atom_ctts.cpp
    atom_d263.cpp atom_damr.cpp atom_dimm.cpp atom_dinf.cpp
    atom_dmax.cpp atom_dmed.cpp atom_dref.cpp atom_drep.cpp
    atom_edts.cpp atom_elst.cpp atom_enca.cpp atom_encv.cpp
    atom_esds.cpp atom_free.cpp atom_frma.cpp atom_ftyp.cpp
    atom_hdlr.cpp atom_hinf.cpp atom_hmhd.cpp atom_hnti.cpp
    atom_iKMS.cpp atom_iSFM.cpp atom_iods.cpp atom_maxr.cpp
    atom_mdat.cpp atom_mdhd.cpp atom_mdia.cpp atom_meta.cpp
    atom_mfhd.cpp atom_minf.cpp atom_moof.cpp atom_moov.cpp
    atom_mp4a.cpp atom_mp4s.cpp atom_mp4v.cpp atom_mvex.cpp
    atom_mvhd.cpp atom_nmhd.cpp atom_nump.cpp atom_payt.cpp
    atom_pmax.cpp atom_root.cpp atom_rtp.cpp atom_s263.cpp
    atom_samr.cpp atom_sawb.cpp atom_schi.cpp atom_schm.cpp
    atom_sdp.cpp atom_sinf.cpp atom_smhd.cpp atom_snro.cpp
    atom_stbl.cpp atom_stco.cpp atom_stdp.cpp atom_stsc.cpp
    atom_stsd.cpp atom_stsh.cpp atom_stss.cpp atom_stsz.cpp
    atom_stts.cpp atom_tfhd.cpp atom_tims.cpp atom_tkhd.cpp
    atom_tmax.cpp atom_tmin.cpp atom_tpyl.cpp atom_traf.cpp
    atom_trak.cpp atom_tref.cpp atom_treftype.cpp atom_trex.cpp
    atom_trpy.cpp atom_trun.cpp atom_tsro.cpp atom_udta.cpp
    atom_url.cpp atom_urn.cpp atom_vmhd.cpp atoms.h
    descriptors.cpp descriptors.h isma.cpp libmp4v260.dsp
    libmp4v2_st60.dsp mp4.cpp mp4.h mp4array.h mp4atom.cpp
    mp4atom.h mp4common.h mp4container.cpp mp4container.h
    mp4descriptor.cpp mp4descriptor.h mp4file.cpp mp4file.h
    mp4file_io.cpp mp4info.cpp mp4meta.cpp mp4property.cpp
    mp4property.h mp4track.cpp mp4track.h mp4util.cpp mp4util.h
    mpeg4ip.h mpeg4ip_version.h need_for_win32.c
    ocidescriptors.cpp ocidescriptors.h odcommands.cpp
    odcommands.h qosqualifiers.cpp qosqualifiers.h rtphint.cpp
    rtphint.h,
    frontend/: faac.dsw, faac.dsp, libfaac/libfaac.dsp,
    plugins/cooledit/: Cfaac.h, FAAC.dsp, FAAC.dsw,
    plugins/winamp/: Cfaac.h, out_FAAC.dsp, out_FAAC.dsw:
        Moved mp4v2 library to faac module and updated to newest version
        Will require some changes for linux makefiles I guess

    * configure.in:
        small linux patch

2004-07-18  corrados
    * libfaac/frame.c:
        New bandwidth settings for DRM, improved quantization
        quality adaptation (almost constant bit-rate now).

2004-07-13  corrados
    * libfaac/frame.c bitstream.c:
        bug fix with new object type definitions

2004-07-12  corrados
    * libfaac/: huffman.h, huffman.c, aacquant.c:
        VCB11 fixes

2004-07-08  corrados
    * libfaac/: psychkni.c, frame.c, bitstream.c:
        New scalefactorband table for 960 transform length,
        bug fix in HCR

2004-07-08  menno
    * plugins/winamp/: .cvsignore, CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, Cfaac.cpp,
    Cfaac.h, FAAC.rc, Out_faac.cpp, RESOURCE.H, defines.h, mpeg4ip-v.bmp,
    out_FAAC.sln, out_FAAC.vcproj, CTag.cpp, CTag.h, EncDialog.cpp,
    EncDialog.h, id3v2.ico:
        Updated plugins for FAAC

    * plugins/cooledit/: .cvsignore, CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, Cfaac.cpp,
    Cfaac.h, Cfaad.cpp, Cfaad.h, FAAC.rc, FAAC.sln, FAAC.vcproj,
    Faac.cpp, Faad.cpp, Main.cpp, aacInfoLib.dsp, aacInfoLib.vcproj,
    defines.h, mpeg4ip-v.bmp, resource.h, CTag.cpp, CTag.h, DecDialog.cpp,
    DecDialog.h, EncDialog.cpp, EncDialog.h, id3v2.ico:
        Updated plugins for FAAC

2004-07-04  corrados
    * libfaac/: huffman.c, frame.c, coder.h, bitstream.h, bitstream.c, aacquant.c,
    include/: faaccfg.h, faac.h:
        made faac compliant with Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) (DRM macro must be set).
        implemented HCR tool, VCB11, CRC, scalable bitstream order.
        note: VCB11 only uses codebook 11! TODO: implement codebooks 16-32.
        960 transform length is not yet implemented (TODO)! Use 1024 for
        encoding and 960 for decoding, resulting in a lot of artefacts.

2004-05-13  menno
    * plugins/winamp/: CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, Cfaac.cpp, Cfaac.h,
    FAAC.rc, Open.bmp, Out_faac.cpp, RESOURCE.H, ReadMe.txt, defines.h,
    out_FAAC.sln, out_FAAC.vcproj:
        New plugins for FAAC with tagging

    * plugins/cooledit/: CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, Cfaac.cpp, Cfaac.h,
    Cfaad.cpp, FAAC.rc, FAAC.sln, FAAC.vcproj, Faac.cpp, Main.cpp,
    Readme.txt, defines.h, resource.h, Open.bmp:
        New plugins for FAAC with tagging

2004-05-03  danchr
    * libfaac/:frame.c, version.h:
        bump version to unstable 1.24+

    * frontend/main.c:
        fix documentation bugs (per Hans-J├╝rgen's suggestions)
        enable (preliminary) multiple output file support

2004-04-23  danchr
    * libfaac/version.h:
        removing beta status

2004-04-22  danchr
    * frontend/main.c:
        set copyright notice to my full name

2004-04-16  menno
    * plugins/winamp/: CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, FAAC.rc, Open.bmp,
    Out_faac.cpp, RESOURCE.H, ReadMe.txt, defines.h, out_FAAC.dsp,
    out_FAAC.dsw, AudioCoding.bmp, Cfaac.h, Email.bmp, mpeg4ip-v.bmp,
    Cfaac.cpp:
        New out_faac Winamp output filter code

    * plugins/cooledit/: CRegistry.cpp, CRegistry.h, FAAC.dsp,
    FAAC.dsw, FAAC.rc, Faac.cpp, Faad.cpp, Main.cpp, Readme.txt,
    TypeDef.h, aacInfoLib.dsp, defines.h, resource.h, Cfaac.cpp,
    Cfaac.h, Cfaad.cpp, Cfaad.h:
        New cooledit filter code

2004-04-16  danchr
    * configure.in, frontend/: getopt.c, main.c:
        change -a <kbps/channel> to -b <kbps>
        Darwin portability fixes
        Make LTP imply MPEG-4 AAC
        silence a few warnings

    * frontend/main.c:
        don't use stderr on Windows

2004-04-13  danchr
    * frontend/main.c:
        compilation and composer patch by Jordan Breeding
        undocumented single-letter switches removed
        numerous bug-fixes

    * libfaac/:frame.c, version.h:
        clarify release <> unstable status

2004-04-03  danchr
    * frontend/main.c:
        non-backwards compatible revamp of the FAAC command line
        interface.
        cover art metadata support based on patch by Jordan Breeding
        make TNS default
        fix typo + add GIF support


I don't know how to quantify "quite a bit" without another listening test. 

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #8
Here is an extract from the FAAC 1.25 Changelog since Feb 2004:

I do not see many quality changes in this log. Mainly frontends stuff and addition of DRM modes.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #9
Quote
I don't know how to quantify "quite a bit" without another listening test.


There were couple of more listening tests featuring newer versions of Nero AAC encoder and there is a constant quality improvement trend.

Latest Nero AAC encoder (one that is free of charge and available in command line form) is a result of the complete encoder rewrite in late 2005 - it has nothing to do with the old encoders used in Roberto's tests.

And, yes, I do believe its quality is way above FAAC at any bit rate where AAC usage seems reasonable.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #10
Nero AAC Encoder = the best AAC encoder

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #11
...
Latest Nero AAC encoder (one that is free of charge and available in command line form) is a result of the complete encoder rewrite in late 2005 - it has nothing to do with the old encoders used in Roberto's tests.

Has it been ABX'd against a recent version of FAAC, and other AAC encoders, with a proper anchor?
Quote
And, yes, I do believe its quality is way above FAAC at any bit rate where AAC usage seems reasonable.

"Belief" is not fact. In fact, "belief" is exactly the reason we have to use ABX.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #12
Well I did a FAAC vs Nero AAC test in Late 2005 and the difference was so easy to spot that ABXing was not needed.

However, you are free to do ABX test by yourself - and see how it looks like nowdays.

Quote
Here is an extract from the FAAC 1.25 Changelog since Feb 2004:


Except some changes in TNS use, there are no quality improvements in that changelog - and I see no way how can any improvement in TNS have such an impact on overall quality to make results significantly different.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #13
...
I do not see many quality changes in this log. Mainly frontends stuff and addition of DRM modes.

Gabriel, you can check the entire changelog if you want; that was just an extract. My point is FAAC has changed since the version that was used by Roberto for his listening tests in Feb 2004. So has NeroAAC. And Roberto's test were performed at a single quality setting (that is no criticism on Roberto's test, which again I salute as a very worthy effort).
So imho it is incorrect to generalize and extend the results of Roberto's testing to the AAC encoders we have now, at all quality settings.
Again, from my personal experience I have found version 1.24 of FAAC to be quite usable and free of any obvious artifacts. If somebody would point me to audio samples that prove otherwise I would be happy to reconsider (for example,  "difficult" samples that LAME does OK with).

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #14
Again, from my personal experience I have found version 1.24 of FAAC to be quite usable and free of any obvious artifacts.

That's not what we're debating here. This thread is about comparing the quality of Nero AAC versus FAAC. And all data we have suggests that the Nero encoder is the superior one.

Since you seem to disagree with everybody here, why don't you perform some ABX tests and show us the results?
Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #15
Well I did a FAAC vs Nero AAC test in Late 2005 and the difference was so easy to spot that ABXing was not needed.
However, you are free to do ABX test by yourself - and see how it looks like nowdays.

Sure, why not make those samples that you used for your test available for download? Since the difference is so obvious it would dispell any skepticism on my part regarding NeroAAC's superiority... 

...This thread is about comparing the quality of Nero AAC versus FAAC. And all data we have suggests that the Nero encoder is the superior one.

You certainly have access to more data than I do, but could you please refer to it exactly, apart from Roberto's?
Quote
Since you seem to disagree with everybody here, why don't you perform some ABX tests and show us the results?

Yes, it's always a difficult position to disagree with the majority. However all I am pointing out is that there is no reliable data to assert that NeroAAC is "superior" to FAAC (present versions compared). And certainly I refute the assertion that got me into this thread that "FAAC officially sounds terrible".

If you want to assert that NeroAAC is "superior" to FAAC, then it is you that should have the burden of ABXing them, no? Because just stating that this is the belief of the majority doesn't cut it with me...

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #16
Sorry I am travelling at the moment, but I'll surely upload something on Sunday.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #17
Sorry I am travelling at the moment, but I'll surely upload something on Sunday.

Well, I went ahead, downloaded NeroAAC and set it up under wine, and encoded one of my absolute favourite pieces: a recording of Chopin's Nocturne no. 14 interpreted by Claudio Arrau from 1977 (ADD).
Bitrates as reported by Amarok:
1 - Encoded with Nero at default setting of q=0,5 (173kbps)
2 - FAAC 1.24 at q=150 (175kbps)
3 - Lame 3.96.1 with --resample 48 --preset extreme (223kbps)
4 - the original wav (1411kbps)

And I am sorry to report that I don't hear any difference between the encoded pieces and the wav file, or between the different encoded versions; none of the encoded files shows any obvious artifacts of any kind that I am aware of or can hear. I am using Sennheiser PX-100 cans directly connected to the output of my ALC882 codec (which is supposed to be one of the best HDA codecs around).

A completely non-partisan person could not tell the difference either, but said she preferred "the third" (the LAME-encoded file) for no particular reason... even over the original wav file!

Of course that kind of testing does not settle the matter, I am quite aware of that, and anyways I am not trying to settle anything. All I am saying is that the superiority of NeroAAC vs. FAAC at all bit rates is not obvious at all.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #18
Sure 175kbps (and 225kbps for MP3) is well above the range of transparency.  Try comparing them at 128kbps.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #19
I did a big test last year including faac with -q 82 setting. Quality was far worse than Nero AAC and iTunes AAC.
http://forum.hardware.fr/hfr/VideoSon/Trai...0_1.htm#t921999

A quick listening test between 1.24.1 and 1.25 shows me that no audible improvement could be heard with latest faac version.

faac is not bad for my taste but is far less stable and suffers from much more problems (ringing, pre-echo, warbling) than any of the three main AAC encoders available on the mass market.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #20
Sure 175kbps (and 225kbps for MP3) is well above the range of transparency.  Try comparing them at 128kbps.


Hi Benski,
Well, that sounds like a reasonable suggestion, except I usually don't encode music at 128kbps; on some rare occasions I used LAME for that and encoded in MP3 format. So I don't really care if NeroAAC sounds better than FAAC at 128kbps.

OT note: since an 80GB (20,000 songs according to Apple!) iPod costs $350, imho and as it applies to my personal music listening habits, the debate about encoding at 128kbps or 175kbps is moot.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #21
Quote
Of course that kind of testing does not settle the matter, I am quite aware of that, and anyways I am not trying to settle anything. All I am saying is that the superiority of NeroAAC vs. FAAC at all bit rates is not obvious at all.


if you carefully read my post, you would notice this small little part:

Quote
Ivan Dimkovic
And, yes, I do believe its quality is way above FAAC at any bit rate where AAC usage seems reasonable.


At 175 kbps, you would prolly end up with MP3 sounding as good as AAC for many audio items, except on very hard to encode pieces where MP3 has algorithmic problems that can't be solved with the particular encoding strategy (e.g. Fatboy.wav)

Same goes with FAAC - I would assume that difference between FAAC and Nero AAC at 175 kbps is much smaller than at e.g. 96 or 128 kbps, just because of the fact there is much more psychoacoustic headroom so FAAC can affort to miss - it won't be heard.

However, if you pick some extreme samples, you would figure out that FAAC has problems with them even at such bit rate, and it is much safer to use Nero AAC (or any other well-tuned AAC encoder) because they are tuned extremely well. 

It is mainly for your own safety - I would not like having few of my samples having nasty artifacts in them - and both FAAC and Nero AAC are free nowdays

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #22
I did a big test last year including faac with -q 82 setting. Quality was far worse than Nero AAC and iTunes AAC.
...

Hi Guruboolez,
Yes, I have read your tests with much interest, and I thank you very much as they provide a lot of information.

However, I don't use FAAC at -q 82, I use it at -q 150. Imho one should not expect miracles out of any codec, and -q 82 (which results in bitrates around 96kbps) is a tall order for FAAC. 

But if NeroAAC and iTunes both sound better at the same bitrates below 100kbps, hey, good for them, and cheers for their developers. 

We can now put 25,000 songs (with quality way below transparency level) instead of 12,500 (with quality at or above transparency level) on a 60GB iPod. Life is good again! 

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #23
...
if you carefully read my post, you would notice this small little part:
Quote
Ivan Dimkovic
And, yes, I do believe its quality is way above FAAC at any bit rate where AAC usage seems reasonable.


At 175 kbps, you would prolly end up with MP3 sounding as good as AAC for many audio items, except on very hard to encode pieces where MP3 has algorithmic problems that can't be solved with the particular encoding strategy (e.g. Fatboy.wav)

Ivan,
175kbps is NeroAAC's default setting, so do you consider it reasonable or unreasonable?

Quote
...
However, if you pick some extreme samples, you would figure out that FAAC has problems with them even at such bit rate, and it is much safer to use Nero AAC (or any other well-tuned AAC encoder) because they are tuned extremely well.

I would very, very much appreciate it if you could make these extreme samples available. BTW I am going to try Fatboy.wav, just for fun. Thanks.

Quote
It is mainly for your own safety - I would not like having few of my samples having nasty artifacts in them - and both FAAC and Nero AAC are free nowdays


You are starting to sound like a Microsoft salesman... Hey, are you trying to sell me on NeroAAC? 
Just kidding... 
I am sure the developers at Nero have done a good job, and that NeroAAC is an excellent AAC codec implementation, at all bitrates.
But let me just correct you on your phrase above: NeroAAC is free as in free beer, FAAC is free as in freedom. For some people it does mean a big deal.

Any Quality difference between NERO AAC and FAAC?

Reply #24
We can now put 25,000 songs (with quality way below transparency level) instead of 12,500 (with quality at or above transparency level) on a 60GB iPod. Life is good again! 


That sounds to me like an unfounded quality statement. Are you saying you can abx itunes or Nero AAC at ~128 with regularity, hence they are "way below transparency"?

 
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