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iTunes tops AAC listening tests

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2004
News Categories: iTunes

“Over the past two weeks, a second round of AAC listening tests was carried out across five different AAC codecs at Rarewares. This test has been carried out due tosignificant quality improvementacross most the codecs. The AAC codecs tested were Nero AACenc v.2.6.2.0, Compact! 1.2beta3, FAAC 1.23.5 (all three in 128kbps VBR), Apple iTunes 4.2 and Real Producer 10 beta (both in 128kbps CBR). The test closed on February 29th.

In 12 songs tested, iTunes had the best score on average with Nero close behind. The remainingthree are closely tied in second place (or third place if Nero is considered second place). The scores did not vary as much as in the original AAC listening test which means that any recent AAC codec will produce a good quality encoding.”

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Comments

1

I wouldn’t expect any different.

Nero makes CD burning software, they don’t focus on AAC that much let alone run thousands of ads worldwide about where its going to be used.

I’d like to see a money spent vs. quality graph, that would tell a real story.

Posted by Adam on March 2, 2004 at 11:30 PM (PDT)

2

Strangely enough, I don’t seem to remember seeing anyone post on here when the same people at Hydrogen Audio did their MP3 listening tests in January, with iTunes having the WORST showing, of all the encoders.

This is not an argument on which is the superior format, or which you would rather use. Some people prefer one format over the other. While iTunes does a terrific job on encoding AAC, it’s MP3 output leaves much to be desired.

Posted by eric on March 3, 2004 at 5:39 AM (PDT)

3

If you look at this data, you will see that none of the results exceed the confidence limits set by the data. Therefore, there is no meaningful way to say that any of these encoders “scored” higher than any other - basically it’s a dead heat within the measurable limits of the test.

The earlier poster, however, has a point - in comparitive tests, Lame results exceed iTunes by a margin greater than the confidence interval.

Posted by bogus data on March 3, 2004 at 7:13 AM (PDT)

4

This is the second AAC test. In the first one about a year ago, iTunes was the clear winner in AAC encoding at 128. The new test reflects the continuing development and improvement in the AAC codec in general, by a variety of parties.

Lame is still regarded as the winner among MP3 encoders.

Later this month, a new multi-format test will be conducted which puts iTunes AAC up against LAME, as well as WMA and some other popular codecs.  This will be really interesting.

Adam, it may surprise you but Nero is very focused on AAC codec development to ensure they offer top quality encoding in their software.  In fact, Nero made a large improvement between this test and the previous AAC test, while iTunes remained at the same level. 

Posted by Paul on March 3, 2004 at 7:27 AM (PDT)

5

Dead heat dude, all the AAC encoders are equivalent. Maybe they are all using exactly the same algorithm these days?

Posted by dead heat on March 3, 2004 at 7:35 AM (PDT)

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