AAC better than MP3? Think again!

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The aim of compression is having the same quality of your audio or video file, but a reduced size and a higher transfer speed.

The AAC and MP3 formats provide different types of compression. The MP3 compression is the lossless type – the compression process doesn’t eliminate parts of the file to make it smaller, so that the original can be exactly restored. The AAC compression is a lossy one – bits of data are removed as the file is compressed, the compression is greater but it’s impossible to restore the original file. Even so, there is no difference in terms of audio fidelity, at least not one that the human ear could notice.

The Advanced Audio Coding is meant to compress files at a smaller size than an MP3, but at the same time to offer a better quality. How is that? Well, even though at high bitrates (256 kbps) there is no significant difference between the quality of an MP3 file and an AAC one, when going down to 128 kbps you will notice an improved quality for the AAC file compared to the MP3. When it comes to file size, on the other hand, MP3 has a slight advantage. For the higher bitrates, mp3 presents significantly diminished sizes but AAC seems to rely especially on higher quality for lower bit rate – which means that an AAC file of a smaller bit rate (smaller size) will have the same or better quality that a higher bit rate (larger) MP3 file.

For professionals, AAC presents a series of new features that might make a bigger difference from the old MP3:

  • More sample frequencies than MP3(8 kHz to 96 kHz for AAC versus the 16 kHz to 48 kHz  for MP3).
  • Up to 48 channels, while MP3 uses up to 5.1 channels maximum.
  • Higher efficiency for coding stationary signals and transient signals.
  • More tools to increase compression efficiency than the MP3 standard.
  • Better handling audio frequencies above 16 kHz than the MP3 format.

Overall, the AAC format allows developers more flexibility to design codecs, providing a good environment for competition in the area that leads to discovering better compression metods. However, in terms of whether AAC is better than MP3, the advantages of AAC are not entirely decisive.

At Primcast, we provide SHOUTcast hosting Servers that can stream both AAC and MP3 formats. You can find out more at www.primcast.com ! Don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 technical support team for more information and guidance!

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