Old 23rd February 2005, 09:42   #1
Shpongled
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MP3 vs. MP4?

I did some research about a year ago on the differences between MP3 vs. MP4, and most of the research seemed to say MP4 was better.

Lately though, I am thinking elsewise.

I'm wondering if anyone can suggest if I should use MP3 or MP4 for backing up my music collection? I've started backing up about 20 of my current collection as 256kbps M4A, but I've recently read that MP3 sounds better at higher bitrates, and MP4 sounds better at lower bitrates.

Which do you use, and why? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I'd hate to backup 100 CDs as MP4 and then learn that MP3 is better. Will MP3/MP4 last me the next 30 years?

Thanks for your opinions,
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Old 23rd February 2005, 11:58   #2
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If you are backing up the disks, you may want to look into a lossless audio codec (i.e. FLAC). If you just want to listen to the music, I would suggest you rip a CD in both formats, and see which sounds better. Rip the rest of your music in that format.

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Old 23rd February 2005, 12:45   #3
CraigF
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yeah, most people who create mass archives of their cds do so to FLAC, then "transcode" to whatever is the latest and greatest format as and when they need to. that way they dont end up going back to their cd's all the time whenever they decide that <new format x> is better than <old format y>.

Although you end up using a lot more space with the FLAC files, space is getting cheaper and cheaper.

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Old 23rd February 2005, 13:05   #4
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Ha, great excuse to go into lecture mode!

Best choices for archiving (imo):

1st choice: Lossless

Imagine zip for audio files, you don't lose any information, the decompressed files are identical to the source.
To rip with Winamp: enc_flac (and in_flac for playback)
Downside: Bitrates 400-1100kbps depending on source material, average is about 750kbps.


2nd: OptimFROG DualStream/WavPack Hybrid

These two are lossless encoders with an additional lossy option. They need about 400-500kbps to sound like the original but have advantage the over other lossy formats that reencoding doesn't introduce further artifacts, also unlike other formats there are no 'killer samples' that cause annoying artifacts even at highest settings.

At the moment OptimFROG is more advanced, offering a quality mode that reaches transparency at about 50kbps less than WavPack, but it needs more CPU power to encode and decode/play.


3rd: Musepack at quality 5

This lossy codec reaches transparency at 180kbps, has far less known problem samples, allegedly causes less artifacts when transcoding to another format, is usually faster to encode and needs less CPU power to play than other formats.


4th: Ogg Vorbis 1.1 or aoTuV at -q6
4.5th: Lame mp3 --alt-preset standard

These two produce about the same bitrates (about 190-200kbps) with Vorbis usually being a bit lower, mp3 also isn't gapless except with in_mpg123 (or some buffering tricks that affect gaps that are supposed to be there) or foobar2000.
Winamp's CD Ripper uses Lame.
The vorbis 1.1 encoder for Winamp can be found here.

MP4/AAC may produce similar results at the same bitrates but isn't tested enough to say for sure.


WMA standard is completely unsuitable.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 13:05   #5
Shpongled
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OK... I never considered that option. I'm assuming it uses a LOT of disk space, but I guess it's worth it. Personally, I've tried the "listening to MP3 vs. MP4 thing," and I don't notice any differences (probably due to prolonged exposure to rediculously loud music at 8-hour-long parties and serious ear damage)...

I just checked my Winamp program, and I don't see any lossless encoding... Do I need a plugin? (I'm hoping to do it through Winamp, because I'm very bad at encoding with those command-prompt programs)

Thanks for the info guys... Time for me to go out and get an external HD...
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Old 23rd February 2005, 13:21   #6
gaekwad2
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Wo both posted at exactly the same time so in case you missed it:
Quote:
Originally posted by gaekwad2
To rip with Winamp: enc_flac (and in_flac for playback)
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Old 23rd February 2005, 15:01   #7
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Another superb lecture by gaekwad2.
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Old 27th February 2005, 14:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shpongled
OK... I never considered that option. I'm assuming it uses a LOT of disk space, but I guess it's worth it.
i have been using FLAC for a long while now.

i have 200 Cd's on my computer and it uses only 64Gb of space.

when HDD's are as cheap as they are now, my 320Gb's of diskspace is hardly dented by a fairly good size collection.

at about $1 NZD a Gb (probably 50c in the USA) the cost is pretty minimal vs the time i am saving by never needing to re-rip all my cd's.



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Old 27th February 2005, 19:57   #9
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I'll Tell you my story...I'm pretty tidy, and pretty lazy so...I still use mp3 because i think that my mp3 are just fine and because I'm used to it, and if Ihave some songs in mp3, and some in mp4 it will see like "a disorder" to me hehe...anyway now I rippe my CDs into mp3 with a quality of 192kbps ...just because of the size that's all for me...
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Old 13th March 2007, 20:16   #10
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FLAC

I ran into this post recently, but my question is with regards to FLAC. Sure it makes my lossless copy but then what? I can't put it on my Sandisk Sansa and play it. Is there anything we can do with the .flac files other than play them in Winamp?
Although I appreciate the lossless ripping, half the time I just ISO the CD and bang out copies as I need them (for the rare occasion I use a CD). This way I get all the content if the CD has other data on it.
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Old 13th March 2007, 21:01   #11
gaekwad2
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There are other portables that support flac. Or you can convert it to mp3 at a quality that's sufficient for portable listening but maybe not for playing at home (VBR Quality 5-7, ABR 128 and below) and get more music on your flash player.
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Old 15th March 2007, 23:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by gaekwad2
ABR 128 and below
IMHO VBR wins at any ~bitrate. Especially below ~128kbps

and.. there is lots of software that can play and transcode from flac to just about anything else (and that includes winamp), just take your pick.
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Old 11th July 2014, 15:13   #13
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Now in 2014 it's funny to see yours comments.
I think everybody has started with mp3 at 192kb/s, then 320 kb/s, and when the HDD was cheap enaugh and you like to listen music at full quality of a cd, everybody keeps music in FLAC format.
Nowadays if you have a walkman, a phone, a home cinema, all read the FLAC format, which it's very good .
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Old 15th July 2014, 18:30   #14
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my usage:

mp3: 256kbps
ALAC m4a: lossless (mainly for the masterpiece albums)

I used to use FLAC, which is a great format, but switched to ALAC so the files would work natively with istuff.

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Old 16th July 2014, 00:22   #15
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I rip my CDs to FLAC exclusively anymore. I used to also do 320kbps mp3 and eventually AAC, but nowadays I have no use for them since I mostly use Pandora radio when listening to music away from home.
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Old 17th July 2014, 04:59   #16
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I started with 128kbps, then moved to 192 (then for a few months tried vqf before going back to 192 mp3) and then moved to 320, and finally to FLAC.

I still kick myself for thinking that 320 was "good enough" for archiving back in the day, but thus is life.

I try to buy (used) CDs when I can primarily to rip them into FLAC and keep them as backups. I still religiously listen to my collection at home directly (winamp), at work on google music, or in my car via ipod (transferred via winamp w/ ml_ipod)
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Old 17th July 2014, 07:59   #17
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in most situations, most people can't tell a 256/320kbps mp3 from a FLAC/ALAC.

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Old 17th July 2014, 15:47   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSinatra View Post
in most situations, most people can't tell a 256/320kbps mp3 from a FLAC/ALAC.
true, very true, though multiple compression lowers quality of the file, I just ripped a few tapes to mp3 and wish I ripped them to flac instead since those tapes are on the verge of dying.
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Old 18th July 2014, 20:32   #19
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Frank's and my own music are also as WAV on my PC, on C, ripped directly from the CD-Rs. On D I have the MP3 Versions in 320 kbps, incl. album art.

I myself think, WAV has the best quality. Fortunately it's possible now to export new songs with a musician software as WAV also in 48000 khz...

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Old 18th July 2014, 20:44   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabine Klare View Post
ripped directly from the CD-Rs.
If you're ripping from CD-R's then wouldn't that mean the music originally burned to the CD-R might have been a lossy format like MP3, so ripping them to wav would be kind of a waste of space (I would have ripped them to mp3, regardless of the extra loss)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabine Klare View Post
I myself think, WAV has the best quality. Fortunately it's possible now to export new songs with a musician software as WAV also in 48000 khz...
It's been possible to export music to 48/24 for a long time from DAWs, but you can't export that quality from regular CDs. I believe nowadays a lot of producers are uploading better quality wav of their tracks, which is awesome. Personally I try to work in and export to 96/24. I wouldn't really say WAV is the best quality, but that's preference. imo, it's only benefits is that it's raw audio data, universal usage, and low memory usage for decoding, but you lose compression and the ability to tag efficiently. You should really check out FLAC sometime
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Old 18th July 2014, 20:57   #21
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I have some .flac-files from some artist-colleagues, as single tracks and in albums. At least I can edit .flac-files with Winamp or Mp3tag.

I got also 2 albums as WAV, and the artist-colleagues had named their .wav-files in their albums very well. They had used 2 different methods. Both methods are very good. I have learned from them.

I have our own music in album subfolders incl. the right "cover.jpg". The subfolders have the album names.

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Old 18th July 2014, 21:03   #22
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I tried to love using just wav, mostly because my denons only accept wav as the lossless format, but tagging and sorting the files was such a pain I gave up. tbh, I don't understand what flac is more universally used, i'd be so happy if flac, or SOME lossless compression was used in majority of devices.
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Old 18th July 2014, 21:06   #23
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Did You ever listen to the different file formats as test with very good headphones, for example with Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro? I say, there is a power in the .wav-files, which I cannot hear in .mp3-files...

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Old 18th July 2014, 21:17   #24
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of course wav files are generally going to be better than mp3 versions as you've got more of the audio data in the wav file (since the reason mp3 files are small is due to a lot of the audio data which is discarded in their creation).
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Old 3rd August 2014, 10:28   #25
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MP4 is for video. Or unless he meant AAC.
If then I tend to go for AAC, Because of the iTunes Store and because it is a lot smaller when you download it from Bandcamp.

Hey User! Are you using the latest update w/ The latest patches?
Just check, It won't take too long!

Download v5.666 build 3516
Download JTFE and in_mp3.dll Updates
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Old 3rd August 2014, 10:49   #26
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nope... MP4 is just the container to hold the audio / video data and is commonly seen as containing h.264 video and aac audio (though other video and audio formats are able to be included in the MP4 container).
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Old 3rd August 2014, 11:15   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrO View Post
though other video and audio formats are able to be included in the MP4 container).
I read somewhere (I think Lifehacker) That MP4 can only contain AAC while MKV can contain many formats

Hey User! Are you using the latest update w/ The latest patches?
Just check, It won't take too long!

Download v5.666 build 3516
Download JTFE and in_mp3.dll Updates
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Old 3rd August 2014, 12:18   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satuim View Post
I read somewhere (I think Lifehacker) That MP4 can only contain AAC while MKV can contain many formats
You can put an MP3 stream into an MP4 container as well.
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Old 3rd August 2014, 13:56   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koopa View Post
You can put an MP3 stream into an MP4 container as well.
http://forums.winamp.com/showthread....d=315355#video

Supported Formats:

in_mp4 supports:
video: h.264 (avc), mp4v2 (simple/advanced), jpeg (slideshow)
audio: mp3, aac (lc/he), 3gp, pcm/u-law, ac3, alac
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Old 3rd August 2014, 15:36   #30
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Being roughly the same file size as Compact Disc Audio, there's no compression done with WAV files, hence the sound quality is comparable to the source, assuming it wasn't burned from (highly) compressed files, e,g, MP3 in 1st place.

Many MP3's I listen[ed) to have about the same sound quality as FM radio. Unsure about FLAC as I haven't given that format a good side-by-side listen yet
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Old 3rd August 2014, 16:01   #31
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FLAC/ ALAC > WAV files, anyday, any time. Unless if for some reason youre stuck in a 90''s thought process.

I cringe when people say they like keeping their files as WAV. Managing those in a media player is a nightmare. Why even have a media player with advanced features like Winamp if you wont let your files have the privilege of metadata to sort them? You might as well use a media player that uses nothing but a basic playlist window since the only meatada WAVs can hold is... well nothing, youd be just using the file name.

FLAC (and ALAC for those times youre limited to apple products) are king when it comes to lossless bit for bit archival copies. You can even losslessly reduce the file size, as opposed to a WAV where the file size will never change. And if for some reason that bugs you, you can even have FLAC files that dont reduce the file size.




As for MP4 files for audio, usually those have the extension .M4A extension to distinguish them from video MP4 files, albeit theyre exactly the same as MP4.

M4A files are even referred to most of the time as AAC files, even though they dont have that extension, due to the fact that within that .m4a file you have an AAC stream. (in .mp4 video files, theres both an H264 stream and an AAC stream)

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Old 3rd August 2014, 20:12   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiggyChiggy View Post
As for MP4 files for audio, usually those have the extension .M4A extension to distinguish them from video MP4 files, albeit theyre exactly the same as MP4.
M4A came later, too late, they made a lot of bad design decisions, a mp4 container with an audio stream only and an mp4 extension is sadly valid.

So if you get an mp4 file, you never know what's inside.
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Old 3rd August 2014, 20:31   #33
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tbh for the most part AAC for the mainstream as a rival for mp3 is dead, and has been since almost... the start. If it werent for the fact iTunes makes them available alongside mp3 stuff, itd have faded away and be forgotten and only get mentioned as a relic of the past on wikipedia alongside names like Musepack, True Audio, Optim, Shorten, and ofcourse, VQF.


Now in video encoding however.... thats a whole different story lol, it dominates there now and eclipsed stuff of the past in that regard.

Therell be flying cars, teleportation, and 128kbps mp3s will still be the standard for music files even then ლ(;_;ლ)


Assuming free streaming coupled with high speed unlimited internet doesnt become available worldwide and eclipses it that is.

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Old 3rd August 2014, 20:50   #34
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i wouldn't say AAC is dead, far from it and as far as the mobile / broadcasting world goes, with improvements in client / hardware support, based on what i've seen, AAC is growing. sure MP3 is more adopted (and with most of the MP3 spec patents almost expired), it will likely remain that way, but as streaming increases (as it has been doing), AAC is a far better option for saving bandwidth and thus money for people broadcasting that it's a far better option (once you sort out the client playback issues).
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