Re: best aac encoder
Reply #5 – 2021-03-28 09:11:14
Apple AAC encoder seems to be considered the best around here for standard AAC (i.e. AAC-LC) that we had for many years now. I suggest using QAAC (which is installed with 'Foobar2000 encoder pack' if your using Foobar2000) paired with Foobar2000 for making your AAC (.m4a) files since it's nice and easy (one still needs the 'QTfiles' folder into the following directory though... "Program Files (x86)\foobar2000\encoders" ).
some additional comments... while the 256kbps CVBR option (like mentioned in this topic that Apple themselves uses for iTunes) will offer strong sound quality, it clearly lacks efficiency. like off the top of my head... even for people who are fairly picky on sound quality, but still want some level of efficiency, I can't see why someone would use 256kbps over 192kbps (maybe even 160kbps) for example. I noticed people talked about AAC-HE... I would generally avoid it since it's not as standardized as regular AAC (i.e. AAC-LC) which anything that works with AAC will work with the usual AAC-LC we have had for a long time now. plus, from what I can tell it seems AAC-HE (and the like) is for getting better sound quality at the low bit rates (Foobar2000 with 'AAC (Apple)' profile (which uses QAAC) in CVBR mode shows "Use HE-AAC - recommended for bitrates below 80kbps"), which unless one is really hard up for storage space, it's not likely someone would really need to use it since I would say as a general guideline with AAC (AAC-LC) is to use a minimum of 96kbps (TVBR or CVBR) as if you stick to this standard you won't be disappointed. going lower than 96kbps, while one can do it and it might be 'good enough' for some people, your starting to gamble on sound quality. I see people mentioning 'q91' above (which is TVBR @ 192kbps setting)... I figure this would be the high end of the bit rates I would even consider using. or to put it another way, damn near everyone will probably want to use between 96kbps to 192kbps (i.e. 96/128/160/192) with AAC (AAC-LC). even for people who's hearing is a bit suspect, while they could probably go below 96kbps, I would still avoid it just to account for others potentially listening and you would not save much storage space either at that point which makes it even more useless to do since with 96kbps it guarantee's a good level of all-around sound quality. when it comes to TVBR vs CVBR, I think one can sum it up like this (assuming same bitrate settings for each)... -TVBR (say q45(96kbps) or q64(128kbps) etc) = a more efficient use of storage space as these are typically smaller in file size vs CVBR on average. -CVBR = potentially slightly better sound quality (although these cases will likely be quite limited) but have a bigger file size on average vs TVBR. this could be beneficial in certain cases where the music your encoding, which I would imagine would be more likely to apply at lower bit rates(say 96kbps and the like) than higher bit rates, drops a little too low on kbps since this mode seems to force the bit rate to stay closer to your selected setting without it varying too much either way of it and can potentially clean up sound quality a bit once in a while. but you can't really lose either way given the listening tests around here and considering one can get a rather massive amount of storage space nowadays for minimal $ (for example... 128GB MicroSD card for $20 or so), I would easily understand if someone wanted to use higher bit rates since they got storage space to burn and one could reason out why even risk having a drop in sound quality. but to me the whole point in using a lossy encoder in the first place is to find that balance of sound quality/file size and in this regard I feel either 96kbps or 128kbps is the sweet spot for most people (beyond 160kbps or 192kbps is a straight up waste of storage space if you ask me). or another way to look at it... if you took some random music and encoded it at say 96kbps and had a bunch of random people listening to the music playing straight up, I doubt someone is going to complain about lack of sound quality. because in my estimations with the common person is... as long as the sound quality does not become obviously bad to the average person they will think it's pretty much perfect and in this regard it seems pretty safe for me to say 96kbps passes that standard easily. but with all of that said... I think it's safe to say most people will probably want to use 96kbps or 128kbps as your getting strong efficiency at these bit rates to (i.e. meaning lowest amount of kbps while still maintaining strong enough sound quality overall). p.s. hell, if one can use the Opus format... I think using 64kbps is a option as I am confident it will be satisfactory for many people (since it still easily passes that standard to where the sound quality is no where near obviously bad), especially if your a bit tight on storage space, otherwise I would default to the 96kbps option to play it safe.