AAC for iPod?
January 14, 2005 6:05 PM   Subscribe

My iPod is full. I used to encode MP3s at 128k, more recently VBR at 80%. Can AAC give me quality around the latter with a file size smaller than the former?
posted by krisjohn to Technology (8 answers total)
Yes. AAC is great.
posted by josh at 6:20 PM on January 14, 2005

Contrary to popular opinion, there was a comprehensive 128k listening test a little while ago, which indicated that LAME's MP3s were of about the same quality as iTunes' AACs at those bitrates.

So, if your 128k AAC files are smaller than your 128K MP3 files, then your answer is yes. If they're larger, then no.
posted by Jairus at 6:21 PM on January 14, 2005

Jaruis is correct, however, if you're using cheap 'phones/'buds (like the white ones), you'll never hear the difference.

Slap a pair of Seinheiser HD-570s, Koss A-250s, or Grado SR-125s on your iPods, and you'll hear exactly how good, or bad, your encoding choice is. The lovely thing about my SR-125s is how incredible they make 80% of the music on my iPod sound. The bad thing is that the other 20% is unlistenable, as I hear every flaw.

(Do *not* listen to Houses of the Holy with good headphones. The squeaky bass drum pedal will drive you nuts.)
posted by eriko at 7:31 PM on January 14, 2005

AAC files are about the same as MP3 for a given bitrate.

Rather than trying to transcode your files or downsample them, you might just want to treat the iPod as a large subset of your music, and make your computer's hard drive the primary, complete repository.
posted by adamrice at 7:35 PM on January 14, 2005

It can come down to personal taste too. I loathe 128kbps AAC. It has a horrible 'softening' quality to it, compared to a well encoded 128kbps VBR (admittedly a 128kbps VBR is going to be bigger..) MP3 is also more useful for transfer and future compatability.

Get a new iPod or work out how to organize your music. Recompressing is not an option unless you're partially deaf.
posted by wackybrit at 8:55 PM on January 14, 2005

(I have no idea how anyone listens to music at 128kbps, to be honest. It makes my ears beg for mercy.)
posted by Jairus at 9:04 PM on January 14, 2005

I'll vote for either getting a new pod...

or using the ability to sync specific playlists rather than the whole thing. First, the transcode will only hurt the music (unless you have every single original.) The using your pod as a subset of your computer makes more sense.

....and most people don't know about
posted by filmgeek at 7:00 AM on January 15, 2005

Ahhh! Don't know about what? Don't know about what???
posted by bDiddy at 2:39 PM on January 15, 2005

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