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Poll

Qaac VS FDK vs FGh vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

FDK
[ 1 ] (3.3%)
FhG
[ 1 ] (3.3%)
Qaac
[ 28 ] (93.3%)
Faac
[ 0 ] (0%)
NeroAAC
[ 0 ] (0%)

Total Members Voted: 30

Topic: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021? (Read 1775 times) previous topic - next topic
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Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Which one is better right now? I need to convert 8000 files from FLAC to M4A.

Software I tried to use: Foobar2000 (1.6.5), Switch Plus 9 by NCH, EZ CD Audio Converter 9.2.1, BatchEncoder 5.1 and dbPowerAmp 17.3

I was using EZ CD Audio Converter 8.3.2 which comes with FhG FDK 4.0
Settings I used Q8 (250-340kbps). Which sounds great and completely transparent with FLAC 16bit.
But I don't like the file size anymore. It creates files average size of 8.5mb to 9mb. Sometimes even more.

So I tried EZ CD Audio Converter 9.2.1 (FDK AAC) with Q8 (250-340kbps). This one maybe provides worst VBR. It destroys high frequency.

I know FDK AAC has only VBR 5 which is around 180kbps. But how these people managed VBR Q8 (250-340kbps). I don't know.

Then I tried Switch Plus 9 by NCH. This one is great. I don't know which encoder they're using.
With quality 250%. The music is completely transparent. It creates average file size of 6mb to 6.8mb.

Some people posted Switch Plus 9 by NCH using FAAC.

So then I tried Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) with q250% but the file size from Switch Plus 9 by NCH and Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) is not same.
Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) compresses it even more and sounds worst. It adds white noise to high frequency.

Then how Switch Plus 9 by NCH sounds good?

I've also tried Qaac with VBR 256kbps. It sounds good. But right now I have no time to test 100 songs with Qaac.

I am not a professional audio engineer or music producer. I don't have expensive tools to research it.
All I did is tested all encoders by hearing with two types of headphone.
So can you guys tell me what's the difference between them and which one should I go with?

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #1
QAAC CVBR 512

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #2
if you planned play your collection on PC-fb2k or one of last android/apple you must try the exhale (xhe-aac).

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #3
This is the second thread this week. There was a listening test in 2011 ... but https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Hydrogenaudio_Listening_Tests doesn't seem very updated.

* Have there been subsequent reliable tests?
* Outside the HE-etc realm: have there been any changes that could invalidate that test?

That said, "best" is also a question of compatibility, gaplessness etc.
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #4
QAAC CVBR 512

lol no, 512 kbit/s is overkill.

if you planned play your collection on PC-fb2k or one of last android/apple you must try the exhale (xhe-aac).

lol no, not enough support.

If you don't have enough time for testing, stick with qaac's default settings. TVBR 192 kbit/s.
Everything above 16/44 is scam.
Always download first release, never remastered/HD release.

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #5
QAAC CVBR 512
I think file size will be high. So that I can't go with that settings.

if you planned play your collection on PC-fb2k or one of last android/apple you must try the exhale (xhe-aac).
But I get glitches when I fast forward xHe-AAC files on phone. Is there any solution?

This is the second thread this week. There was a listening test in 2011 ... but https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Hydrogenaudio_Listening_Tests doesn't seem very updated.

* Have there been subsequent reliable tests?
* Outside the HE-etc realm: have there been any changes that could invalidate that test?

That said, "best" is also a question of compatibility, gaplessness etc.
I mean which encoder sounds best at the same file size.


Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #6
QAAC CVBR 512

lol no, 512 kbit/s is overkill.
that's just the preset name. real bitrate is somewhere around 320 kbps

everything lower is pointless. why reduce quality, to save a few megabytes? it's not 1995 anymore, even at lossless music is not big. the reason to use AAC is because you can't use anything better (like flac) on the device in question

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #7
I don't see much point in CDDA -> 320-ish lossy. For portable use - which is when I go lossy - I would choose opus at two-figure bitrates.
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #8
The only reason is if your portable device doesn't support Opus. Or xHE-AAC. Or whatever lower bitrate lossy you may wish to otherwise use to save space.

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #9
So I've tested 30+ songs with QAAC.
I think QAAC performs better than all other encoders.

My thought: QAAC > FhG > FDK > FAAC (I have no idea where I can place NeroAAC)

QAAC handles high frequency much cleaner way.
(Again, It's just my opinion by hearing)
 
The settings I'm going to use Qaac: -V 110
Which is a little more than vbr 256kbps. (because it hits 256kbps on -v 109)


Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #11
I voted for QAAC (i.e. Apple AAC) since it appears that's pretty much the standard around here for standard AAC (AAC-LC) files.

but from what I can tell from listening tests around here is that QAAC and FhG (i.e. 'AAC (Winamp FhG)' preset in Foobar2000) are pretty much the same (although at least on Windows, FhG encodes files a bit faster than QAAC does the last I knew even though playing around with it on Linux through WINE recently, they are about the same encoding speed with QAAC maybe being a bit faster. but this is likely a total non-issue with semi-modern CPU's on a desktop computer). so those two would be the only ones I would personally use as after that I think quality starts to degrade to my knowledge (i.e. I would avoid using any other encoder besides QAAC(Apple AAC) or FhG for making standard AAC files). plus, there has not been any quality improvements in roughly 10-12+ years now on standard QAAC as mentioned at the following link by IgorC (from Nov 2019)... https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=118446.msg977450#msg977450

MiGamer5 ; naturally use the proper encoder for Foobar2000 to get best quality AAC-LC (.m4a) files... Apple AAC or FhG. here is a post that will make it nice and easy for you to make Apple AAC files with Foobar2000... https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=115883.msg962088#msg962088 (I also got the FhG files (three .dll files with a Dec 2013 date on them) if you need em which I doubt since QAAC is what people generally default to around here) ; also, if storage space is any concern I suggest you use 96kbps CVBR and forget about it as that will be easily good enough for most people and still maintains top notch efficiency to. if you are not a fan of 96kbps, then go with 128kbps setting as I figure much beyond 128kbps efficiency starts to take a solid hit and beyond 160kbps or 192kbps is overkill/waste of storage space (this seems to be a pretty good guideline from what I can tell just reading around these forums over the years on listening tests etc). or to put it another way... I am confident that most people would find 96kbps to be good enough when listening to music straight up, especially when not comparing it to the lossless source. or put it this way, while going higher than 96kbps can help clean up the sound a bit, it's not significant and bit rate starts to increase a good amount and eventually you reach a point where gains are very little to non-existent. hence, my general 96/128/160/192 kbps settings as just about everyone will want to use one of those four settings in my opinion(although if someones not that picky and wants to save even more storage space they could probably get by going even lower than 96kbps but I don't suggest it personally to account for people of all ages potentially listening to it), especially anyone who has even a smallest concern with storage space efficiency and on the flip side is not super paranoid about squeezing the last drop of sound quality out of it etc.

NOTE: TVBR vs CVBR... TVBR, which is probably a bit more common, will save you a little storage space over CVBR on average. but CVBR 'might' be a little safer on sound quality across a wide range of music and I think that might be especially true where you find music that drops to bit rates that are unusually low as CVBR helps force the bit rate to stay closer to around your selected bit rate and I think using CVBR would probably be more beneficial when your already using the lowest bitrate that's considered pretty good on standard AAC-LC which is 96kbps as while some people can probably get away with say 80kbps etc, it's probably not worth the risk to gamble with sound quality.

everything lower [then about 320kbps] is pointless. why reduce quality, to save a few megabytes? it's not 1995 anymore, even at lossless music is not big. the reason to use AAC is because you can't use anything better (like flac) on the device in question

While I can see your point/reasoning, while I agree with on some level, I tend to see things a bit differently overall as while I agree storage space can be very cheap nowadays (i.e. 128GB MicroSD for around $20) it sort of defeats the point of using lossy in the first place which is to get the smallest file size while maintaining a high enough level of sound quality. in that regard, even for people with storage space to burn, it seems more than around 192kbps on standard AAC (AAC-LC) is largely a waste of storage space and I would even argue to use 96kbps (CVBR) or maybe 128kbps since that's likely the sweet spot for most people and is quite efficient at those bit rates to as I tend to think unless someone is really picky/paranoid, 160kbps or 192kbps settings are the high end of what people should even consider using in my opinion as beyond that point it's pretty much a total waste of space.

hell, even on MP3 it seems beyond v2 (190kbps) is pretty much a waste of space to and that's generally considered the worst lossy format simply because it takes more bit rate to achieve a certain standard of audio quality. but as you probably already know, AAC (and other lossy formats) tends to pull ahead of MP3 mainly around the 128kbps and lower as even a recent test by IgorC (which I think was sometime last year) on the 192kbps range with lossy encoders basically shows that while MP3 was the worst (so it's best to use another lossy encoder if possible), it's not by much and MP3 @ v2 (190kbps) is pretty much guaranteed to be good enough for darn near everyone.

also, another reason in my favor to use a decent bit rate is someone with a average smart phone, while they got a fair amount of storage space, it's not like they have a boatload of it either by default. just off the top of my head... there are probably many people who still have 16GB or 32GB smart phones (or thereabouts) and if someone was storing their music collection in there, it's still going to be overall better to want efficient lossy files. hell, it appears quite a few smart phones may work with Opus at which point I would dump AAC and switch to that if possible since you can even further lower the bit rates and still get pretty good all-around sound from it (i.e. Opus @ 64kbps (or keep Opus @ 96kbps and enjoy further improved sound over AAC @ 96kbps)).

p.s. or another thing I could say... AAC vs Opus, with both at 96kbps, the average person might not even notice a difference between the two (even though given listening tests around here, Opus is the winner) where as with MP3 at a similar bit rate, say v7 (100kbps) it's more possible they will notice the difference. like it won't be as difficult for them to ABX the MP3 as it would be the AAC/Opus files.

I don't see much point in CDDA -> 320-ish lossy. For portable use - which is when I go lossy - I would choose opus at two-figure bitrates.

Exactly. because with lossy in general, even though some people have storage space to burn, it's all about efficiency. so in that regard when it comes to Opus, 96kbps is probably a pretty good default choice. hell, I would not even mind using 64kbps with the Opus format, especially if storage space is of any concern and just going from 96kbps back to 64kbps that's files that are roughly 1/3rd smaller which can be a decent storage space savings on a smart phone for example if you got plenty of music as, off the top of my head, there are probably still quite a few smart phones that don't have storage space to burn (even though I realize some can add a MicroSD card and all which would give it plenty of storage space).
For music I suggest (using Foobar2000)...
1)Opus @ 64kbps or 96kbps. NOTE: using 64kbps on Samsung J3 /w Foobar2k.
2)AAC (Apple or FhG(Winamp)) @ 96kbps.
3)MP3 (LAME) @ V5 (130kbps). NOTE: using on AGPTEK-U3 as of Mar 18th 2021. I use 'fatsort' (on Linux) so MP3's are listed in order on AGPTEK-U3.

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #12
Which one is better right now? I need to convert 8000 files from FLAC to M4A.

Software I tried to use: Foobar2000 (1.6.5), Switch Plus 9 by NCH, EZ CD Audio Converter 9.2.1, BatchEncoder 5.1 and dbPowerAmp 17.3

I was using EZ CD Audio Converter 8.3.2 which comes with FhG FDK 4.0
Settings I used Q8 (250-340kbps). Which sounds great and completely transparent with FLAC 16bit.
But I don't like the file size anymore. It creates files average size of 8.5mb to 9mb. Sometimes even more.

So I tried EZ CD Audio Converter 9.2.1 (FDK AAC) with Q8 (250-340kbps). This one maybe provides worst VBR. It destroys high frequency.

I know FDK AAC has only VBR 5 which is around 180kbps. But how these people managed VBR Q8 (250-340kbps). I don't know.

Then I tried Switch Plus 9 by NCH. This one is great. I don't know which encoder they're using.
With quality 250%. The music is completely transparent. It creates average file size of 6mb to 6.8mb.

Some people posted Switch Plus 9 by NCH using FAAC.

So then I tried Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) with q250% but the file size from Switch Plus 9 by NCH and Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) is not same.
Foobar2000 (FAAC 1.30) compresses it even more and sounds worst. It adds white noise to high frequency.

Then how Switch Plus 9 by NCH sounds good?

I've also tried Qaac with VBR 256kbps. It sounds good. But right now I have no time to test 100 songs with Qaac.

I am not a professional audio engineer or music producer. I don't have expensive tools to research it.
All I did is tested all encoders by hearing with two types of headphone.
So can you guys tell me what's the difference between them and which one should I go with?

Please note that in EZ CD Audio Converter 9.2.1 the Q8 mode targets for 128kbps. Whereas Q11 targets for 256kbps and Q12 for 320kbps both with full bandwidth. See https://www.poikosoft.com/ezcd-fraunhofer-fdk-aac-encoder

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #13
AAC (LC) is a codec that practically reached its maturity, the main encoders have not updated since 2018, I also think that there is not much more to improve, QAAC is the main AAC codec nowadays, it occupied the position of Nero years ago , I use it for its ease, variety of configuration and transparency for me from 128kpbs onwards, it is an excellent codec, but I don't see any future improvements, just like the MP3 that had the last improvement update in 2011, the AAC LC practically reached its limit.

FDK is also a great codec, however it is more complicated to handle, had problems initially, in addition to less configurability than AAC. I tried to use FDK, but I always went back to QAAC, because it is more comfortable and very fast even on slower computers.
The future of audio is now in two hands, xHE-AAC and Opus, the first is the next generation of AAC, the second is the successor to Vorbis, both very efficient, I would like Opus to thrive more, as it is free codec.

I use QAAC in both configurations, VBR Q64 (128kbps) to listen on the cell phone, and VBR Q109 (256kpbs) as a '' replacement '' for FLAC on my SSD, I'm starting to like Opus, impressive results in low bitrates, the xHE-AAC I already have a little difficulty using it, besides being slow to code and the adoption is lower than Opus today, however, the future is in these two codecs.

AAC reached maturity faster than MP3 due to the advancement of technology, however, it is the current standard codec for everything, I will still use AAC for a long time, MP3 I already abandoned in 2013

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #14
I made a listening test six months ago to give some leads about quality for different AAC's implementations. It was around 130 kbps which makes results more significant (at 190…250 kbps everything is close to transparency and testing this bitrate is not really useful outside critical samples).

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php?topic=120062.0



At this bitrate Apple is clearly superior (to my ears). It's also close to transparency. Which means that increasing the bitrate should only ponctually increase the audible quality. If your purpose is to replace your FLAC library by an AAC one, you can play the safety card and go for 190…250 kbps. If you plan to keep your FLAC library for future conversion, then 120…140 kbps should bring you an excellent audio quality and much more comfort with disk space.

For information, EZ CD Audio has recently removed their FDK "tuned" encoder. Poikosoft is now using the last Fraunhofer FhG (not FDK) AAC release. There are few VBR presets and I made a bitrate table for them:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18lGNoBB0ZB2A4SGAw3_z-5L7gzl54MG3D_V7tf2jII8/edit?usp=sharing
I summary, VBR Q4 ≈ 133 kbps ; VBR Q5 ≈ 201 kbps and VBR Q6 ≈ 254 kbps.

I don't know how this encoder does perform compared to QAAC. My own listening test above includes an older release of FhG (from Winamp and it was updated in 2013 if I remember correctly).

QAAC is still the safest choice.

Re: Qaac vs FDK vs FhG vs FAAC ? Which one is better now in 2021?

Reply #15
I think Apple will no longer make any improvements to its encoder, it made sense when iTunes and direct music sales were the standard, it was she who instituted AAC 128kpbs as the '' standard '' for transparency, only years later it passed selling music at 256kpbs as high quality. As Apple's focus is now on streaming, it no longer matters to Apple to update the encoder for external use.

MP3 charge royalties for streaming, which does not exist for AAC, so its immense popularity in all environments, this was beneficial to all of us, AAC helped us make the transition to streaming and at the same time maintain the quality for offline music. I think that Opus, which is made for low latency and high quality, can occupy the space of LC AAC, xHE AAC seems to be '' technological '' too much for ordinary people, who just want to rip their CDs / LPs.

 
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