3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 29, 2007 9:15 PM by petemtb
petemtb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Which file format retains fidelity closest to the original recording, AAC or MP3? I've given up on Apple Lossless because of the large file size and huge conversion time when I move music from iTunes to my shuffle.

G4   Mac OS X (10.4.3)   iPod 30GB

G4, Mac OS X (10.4.3), iPod 30GB
  • Zevoneer Level 9 Level 9 (52,705 points)
    Have a look at these articles, you'll get an extensive comparison of the two formats:
    Record Store Review - Quality of AAC v MP3 Part 1
    Record Store Review - Quality of AAC v MP3 Part 2
  • Jeff Bryan Level 9 Level 9 (61,785 points)
    This is what I did before I decided what to use.

    Start by encoding a piece of music you are familiar with, in either mp3 or aac at something like 192kbps, listen to it, then try again at different bit rates, both lower and higher, to see if you can hear a difference in sound quality.

    If you can’t hear the difference in sound quality between various bitrates, then the lower one will suffice, and you can store more songs on your iPod. Try this in both encoding formats. You could encode the same song several times in iTunes under a slightly different name (just edit the song in iTunes and add the bitrate after the song title), transfer these songs to your iPod and do some comparative listening. Then you can make an informed decision about which format/bitrate is best for you.

    Yes it’s time consuming, but much better to rip your cds at decent sound quality now, rather than decide much later that you are not satisfied, and have to rip them again.

    And incidentally, a song of the same length, encoded at the same bitrate, gives an almost identical file size whether it be encoded in aac or mp3. 

Where the space saving issue comes in is because many people say that if you encode a song at 128kbps in aac format, then the sound quality is as good as the same song encoded at 160 or 192kbps in mp3 format, therefor using the aac version gives a smaller file size and allows you to store more songs on your iPod. 

It's very subjective and you shouldn't let anyone tell you what to use. 

Let your ears be your guide.
  • petemtb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the help!