MP3 losing to AAC and WMA | iLounge News


MP3 losing to AAC and WMA

MacMinute reports “The MP3 music format is losing ground to rival technologies backed by Apple and Microsoft, according to researchers at the NPD Group’s MusicWatch Digital who track the contents of people’s hard drives. The researchers said that the percentage of MP3s in digital music collections has steadily declined in recent months, down to 72 percent of collections from 82 percent a year ago. The AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) format, which Apple’s iTunes Music Store uses, and Microsoft’s WMA (Windows Media Audio) format has each gained about 5 percent of the ‘hard-drive share’ in the past year.”

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I use Lame—alt-preset standard which, to me, is indistinguishable from the original CD. (Or DVD, as I’ve been doing recently) and it’s also compatible with any mp3 player out there. Might be a little bigger than a comparable AAC of OGG file, but with a 40 gig iPod, I don’t thin kI need to worry about that right now.

Posted by shaun3000 on October 17, 2004 at 10:26 PM (CDT)


stick with mp3. use lame and—alt preset or—r3mix. mp3 can’t be controlled by coporations. do buy into the propaganda that mp3s are in decline. if you’re going with a lossless encoder, stick with something open like flac.

Posted by anonymous on October 17, 2004 at 10:43 PM (CDT)


Everyone is screaming “Don’t do it! (rip to AAC)” as if you intended to shoot heroin. If you have the CD, it is best to treat these rips as disposable, like taped cassettes. I think AAC sounds better until 224, so that’s my advice. I’ll generally rip the whole album at 192 and then re-rip the best tracks at 224. If you have another portable player, such as a flash player, you’ll have to re-rip everything again anyway, because the ideal file size differs.

Posted by Questioner on October 18, 2004 at 12:34 AM (CDT)


“If you have another portable player, such as a flash player, you’ll have to re-rip everything again anyway, because the ideal file size differs.”

Not if you rip into a lossless format and do on-demand transcoding.

Why do people seem to love making extra work for themselves? Get it right first time.

Posted by extra work not needed on October 18, 2004 at 6:38 AM (CDT)


By Landon:

“MP3 is the JPEG of the sound file world.”

This is so true. I would agree that there might be some better codec’s in the world, but MP3 will be what everyone will support by default.

Other file formats are fine, they have good and bad points, but that is up for the user to decide based on there needs. -MY- needs are good sound reproduction with cross platform support. Face it, MP3 has the best support for that.

If I was looking for the best sound reproduction, MP3 would not be my choose nor any lossy for that matter.

Posted by Zardoz on October 18, 2004 at 9:44 AM (CDT)


I agree with the poster who said to treat your ripped files as disposable; if you have the original CD source, then use the format that is convenient for you. If things change, you may have to redo some things, but given the volatility why bother worrying?

I personally use 128K AAC for general purpose ripping. Why? To my reasonably good ears, it beats MP3 handily until one gets past 192K. I use a 15GB iPod, and it is important to me that I get a lot of different material on it. 128K files are 67% the size of 192K, and so that means that with AAC I can get 50% more music on my iPod than with acceptable MP3. That is a real value to me, and for that reason I am not using lossless codecs.

If I am concerned with capturing archival quality, that is a different matter altogether and is flat-out unrelated to my mobile listening habits. Then I can use lossless codecs or just do a straight copy of a CD if needed.

I am frequently given high bitrate MP3s. I keep the originals and resample them to AAC for iPod use. Like most of you, I have loads of HD space at home, but not on my mobile device.

I am sure that the future will bring all sorts of changes, but I can’t get too bent about it now. Heck, there are still boxes of audio cassettes in my house - talk about a crappy format! But, who knew? Yes, this might make for more work sometime down the road, but that is probably best addressed at the time, not now when there are so many changes.

Besides, it will be fun :-)

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on October 18, 2004 at 11:28 AM (CDT)


The world is changing so fast, but one thing is staying the same—MP3.  It’s the only choice for an arena as fast-changing as the digital music business.

Posted by Talking Madness on October 18, 2004 at 12:11 PM (CDT)


“Who would want anything but an iPod?” Our house is 2 iPods, 2 Dell DJs…everything gets ripped at MP3.

Posted by kaio on October 19, 2004 at 1:56 AM (CDT)



Advantages: Compatible with 100% of DAP, small file sizes, average sound quality. Not limited (DRMed)
Disadvantages: Not very good sound quality in my opinion

Advantages: None that I can thing of, I hate it
Disadvantages: Microsoft own it and they’re a control freak company who want to be the leading company for everything, what next? a Microsoft Supermarket. They’re normally harshly DRMed and limited.


Advantages: Unfair but, Apple made it and I love Apple, classy company. Compatiable with iPods, great sound quality in my opinion and has a lossless codec
Disadvantages: Only iPod,iTunes support

Personally I swear by .AAC. I accept noting less then 320Kbps, 48KHz in .AAC, I have a soundblaster Audigy 2ZS, and it really brings out the horrible bits in MP3 (Trust me you can tell). The sounds grainy, even at 320KBps. AAC at 320Kbps is still a tiny bit grainy in a couple of songs for some parts. .MP3 I believe is still the best format, it’s highly supported and sound quality can be good is encoded right. I was recently looking at my DVD of P2P .MP3 (128kbps, 192Kbps) and was outraged by the quality and how I used to not notice, Probaly because I was used to it and I use CD-Ripped 320Kbps 48Khz now and i’m used to nothing lower. If you can’t hear the difference between compressed etc, Use .MP3. If you want good quality, and average file size use VBR and a bit rate between 200 and 320Kbps. If your very fussy use Losless.

Posted by WhiteKnight in London on January 25, 2005 at 3:41 PM (CST)


I accept noting less then 320Kbps, 48KHz in .AAC

At 320Kbps pretty much every lossy codec will sound similar, given a sufficiently non-crappy encoder.,

A larger question is… why bother? If you are going to consume your disk space and battery (if on a portable) at such a high rate with 320 Kbps, then why not just go for one of the lossless formats? Their average bitrate runs around 625 Kbps, so for just a similar proportional step up from 160 Kpbs->320Kbps you are getting “true” pristine playback, not settling for any lossy compromises.

Posted by Demosthenes on January 25, 2005 at 4:46 PM (CST)


This is what it boils down to folks….Should you decide to ‘archive’ your music library in a lossy format, you lose! I understand you must compress files to make them compatable with your portable media players, that’s ok as long as you have the original wav’s to go back to! I would just recommend encoding to FLAC format for archival purposes first, that way you are ready for whatever the tech market throws us next.

Posted by Taper Tim on June 29, 2007 at 4:47 PM (CDT)


I did a lot of testing with different conversions and bitrates.  I finally ended up converting my entire mp3 library (192+ kbps) to 96 or 128 kbps wma.  The sound to was exactly the same, over a high end home stereo, laptop speakers, or DAP to car or headphones.  I cut my library from 9.8gb to 5.6gb.

The software I used was NBFree mp3 to wma converter.  Easy to use and fast.

Posted by Usman on September 25, 2007 at 1:52 AM (CDT)


“LAME MP3 VBR represents nearly 15 years of mp3 development. It’s best of breed and equal to or superior to AAC at low (128-192 Kbps) bitrates.”

Utter bullshit. AAC wins hands down, regardless of bitrate. If you have good equipment and good ears you will hear it.

Posted by Holsner Bruul on December 22, 2009 at 5:50 AM (CST)

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