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Encoding AAC with EAC.

Discussion in 'Audio' started by Sudds, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    Hello all, ave made the decision to rip my cd,s to AAC instead of MP3.
    I have alot of stuff already ripped to 320kbps MP3 with EAC and LAME.
    But as of these past few days am having awful trouble trying to encode AAC with EAC.
    Am using the latest neroaacenc command line exe, but its just not working, i used the command line:

    neroaacenc.exe -cbr 320 -if %s -of %d && Neroaactag.exe %d -meta:artist=”%a” -meta:album=”%g” -meta:track=”%n” -meta:title=”%t” -meta:genre=”%m” -meta:year=”%y”

    But all this gave me was a 12kbps! m4a. Useless.

    -profile LC -quality high -cbr 320 -artist "%a" -album "%g" -track "%n" -title "%t" -genre "%m" -year "%y" %s %d

    The WAV file never encoded, but EAC didnt return an error either.
    I have scrawled the net looking for a guide, most out of date, some, ave been doing what they tell me but its just not working, error on my part somwhere.
    I know Lame commands off hand but this has got me stumped, can anyone help at all?

    Cheers, Sudds.
     
  2. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    My question is why would you want to do that????? Your information is wrong.

    It looks like you are using 320 for both? There is no advantage to using AAC at the higher bit rates over any technology theoretical or otherwise. All you are going to do is introduce artifacts into your music.

    LAME VBR mp3s are the highest quality for the least space. If you don't care about space what you were doing was perfect. You can't get better sounding music than that.

    AAC is actually pretty F@CKED-UP. There is no AAC encoder in the top 5 quality encoders. AACs are made for vendors who sell music to download. They are 'store brands' not name brands. They are minimal encoders. AAC is designed to pack what they can into a 128 constant Bit rate file used for down loads. The quality varies inside a tune. They obviously for persons that do not care about quality.

    LAME 320 cbrs and VBRs v0 are the ONLY process certified to sound exactly the same as lossless. If you need me to I can detail why. You are basically trading in a Ferrari for a Corvette. Both look good but the Ferrari is built to much higher standards.

    If you are ripping with LAME VBR use the slow analysis and the extreme quality.

    You complained about m4as. What did you expect? That is Apple's brand of AAC. Microsoft has WMA and real audio has something else. The idea is to limit you to their brand of player.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  3. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    It was the command line given to me was useless, encoded to a 12kbps file, where is was supposed to encode to 320kbps.
    I,am not intending to convert my MP3,s that i have, just rip the rest of my cd,s to AAC which according to some sites (hydrogenaudio) that AAC was the better of the two at any bitrate.
    After doing some rips to wav then to aac i did notice less artifacts in thee AAC file through my surround sound.

    And no, space aint an issue Mez, i just want the best from a lossy format, at the highest quality i can get from it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  4. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Your reply deserves a great reply. This is the best I can do.

    Just because you heard it on hydrogenaudio don’t make it so. That is even truer for AD.

    Hydrogenaudio is my main source of information. That is the only place I know that posts practical opinions of differing technologies. You can read all the technical info of a process but that is like reading a cooking recipe. The proof is in the eating. I do not have what it takes to listen to hundreds of hrs of music to decide for myself this technology sounds better than that. I will have to to check into this AAC wrinkle. I suspect to poster is an 'Apple Zombie' because it APPEARS to conflict with other posts on the same forum that I have read but I will not count on it.

    I respect your quest of the perfect sound. Tell you what, if you post the URL for that thread I will see if the hydrogenaudio thread discussing debugging of the LAME VRB encoder is still up there. I will post that URL on this thread. I do not know how long they keep the threads any more than I know how long this forum keeps threads. That thread is several years old now. Many ‘big dogs’ of the forum put in their 2 cents in that effort. It ended with consensus that there was no hearable difference between a maxed out LAME VBR and a wave file. I am just wondering how you get “more better” than perfect. I do not remember seeing such a process for any AAC product. However I do not frequent hydrogenaudio much anymore so I could have easily lost out. The debugging process is important because psychoacoustic compression is so complex it is bound to create artifacts. LAME’s claim to fame is it is the ONLY encoder to my knowledge, that is void of artifacts throughout the entire range of human hearing. Artifacts in the 'core' of the human hearing range are real problems.

    The problem with spouting crap on that forum is you might get the attention of a real expert.

    The mp3 CBR process uses a lossless compression then adds a primitive lossy compression to provide the desired bit rate. That lossy compression “throws away” the highest pitched tones to meet the desired bit rate. At 320 CBR is only throwing away tones that are beyond the limit of perfect human hearing. That is why you rarely see mp3s above 320. You start losing the ability to hear the high end in your teens. It is suspected by the time you have become an audiophile, you really can’t hear any quality improvements above 190 CBR. Women who usually do not listen to loud music lose their hearing slower. Again if 320 is perfect how is AAC ‘more better’?
    At my level of understanding, the biggest difference between AAC and CBR mp3s is AAC uses psychoacoustic modeling and compression. The difference between CBR and VBR is modeling and compression. This compression varies with the music. VBRs maintain a specified quality throughout the tune so the bit rate fluctuates throughout the tune. AAC uses lossless and psychoacoustic compression first than makes up the difference with lossy compression. For this reason AAC has variable quality. My own opinion is, this process is flawed. The psychoacoustic compression of silence is massive. No one is going to hear a quality difference because you eliminated the lossy compression during silence. It is far better to let the bit rate drop to near 0.
    I will be the first to admit my audio expertise is limited. I will want to ‘talk’ with this ‘expert’. I will try to find my hydrogenaudio ID and password. I haven’t been on in a very long time. I frequented that and another audiophile board long enough to get bored. Once I identified the best tools to use I lost interest. I am not into arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
     
  5. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    Your reply has me dumbstruck... for someone who describes himself as 'limited' in audio expertise, certainly raised my eyebrows on the subject.
    I cant find that post where i came across this information, but am now thinking it was my own misjudging on the subject.
    Apparently, aac was better at lower bitrates than mp3, say an aac file of 160kbps was the eqvialent of an mp3 at 190kbps, which i think in turn set alarm bells ringing in my head (why encode to cbr320 mp3 if cbr320 aac is 'better')
    Think ave wasted enough of your time on this subject Mez...
     
  6. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    The guy may have been refering to cbr mp3s and you may not have noticed. With AAC the lower the bitrate the the higher the difference between CBR MP3s.

    However if you want max quality and don't mind saving disk space do VRB mp3s. They are what many picky listeners use. Why, they can be ultra high quality but small. More importantly, you know what the quality is. The quality setting is in the tag data. The problem with ACC is you only have a fague idea of what the quality is. For this reason they are a bear to convert. You set the quality it compresses it as much as it can and still foolow your specification. I have seen V0 (the max quality) compress from 190 to 320. The 320 was some very fancy classical guitar with a symphonic back up. That is cool in its self. The music was too complex for the compressor to do anything. Heavy rock compresses easily. You can often get below 200 for tat same quality setting. V0 is over kill, but the files are plenty small so why not. LAME does VBR. The problem with AAC is the compression is hidden and the quality varies in the tune. No real audiophyle will stand for that!

    My pet peeve is you can't convert AAC well. You either under convert and lose quality or over convert. For instance, you over convert a 128 to a 160 BR file that sounds like 140. I will not do that. AAC are written for a specific player so you can't play it on all players like the VBR mp3. You pick up lots of small baggage with AAC.

    The only drawback for the VBRs is again the compression is inconsistant so the bit rate varies through out the tune. If you try to use the time index to start at a certain place it will not be exactly correct like AACs or CBR mp3s. I can live with that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  7. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    You might also want to try the 30 day free trial for Poweramp Converter. It is the top of the line but it is pricy at 25 USD/year. I may drop it after 3 years for EAC now that it uses Accurip. I am not ripping much any more. I am too lazy to use EAC while ripping large qualities of CDs. Now that I will be ripping less than a dozen a year the 25 dollars is too much.

     
  8. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    Cheers Mez will stick with Lame an mp3.
    If your referring to dBpoweramp i had that but it really hogged my machine to an extent that when finished ripping (always second last song) then paused and hung there till either i ended the process or restarted the comp.
    For software to be that riddled with bugs its not worth 25 cents.
     
  9. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Yes, my mistake, BDpoweramp.

    Obviously, I never saw that bug. I am a programmer and get beat up for any small bug I make so my tollerance for bugs in software is about 0. You are correct about the hogging of resources. I will say the amount of hogging that takes place depends on the encoder. I also think I remember that you are asked if you want the encoding process to run in the backround during the installation process. I use the Helix encoder for format conversions because it is 50x faster and hoggs less resources. The LAME encoder will suck the life out of even a fairly fast dual core processor during conversions. Ripping is I/O bound so the draining of computer resources is less and you are only dealing with a max of a 500 Megs.

    I have used BDpoweramp for so long I just accept its short commings as natural. I do have EAC installed on my computer but have not gotten around to actually using it. I have ripped all my CDs and I do not buy many in a year so my quanity of ripping does not warrent $25/year.
     
  10. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    It has to be dBpoweramp, using EAC with lame on my comp which is a dual core, doesnt hogg at all.
    Why use Helix Mez? Am i not right in saying that lame (while slower) is a better encoder?
     
  11. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    I use the Helix because it is very fast and does not hog the CPU. I still rip with LAME it only takes 15 min to rip so I can live with that. Ripping with Helix does not speed the process up much.
    Helix is a very fast good enough encoder. It is extremely valuable for FLAC to VBR conversions. Conversions are CPU bound not I/O bound. Helix is 20-30 times faster than LAME using the slow analysis. If I use LAME, I go for top quality. I have stopped making lossless archives for ripped CDs. I go straight to VBR. The Helix VRBs are throw-aways. Why waste time if you can’t hear the difference?

    There are not many artifacts compared to most encoders that use psychoacoustics for compression. These artifacts are in where a 30+ year old can still "hear" them but we really can't when listening to music. This is one of the helpful tips I got from hydrogenaudio forum. If you were to look at the information you would think to avoid the encoder. However, there was a thread on these artifacts and none in that group could hear them. I thought that was rather courageous of them. They could see the artifact graphically and they knew they should be able to hear it but they couldn't make it out. I have no problem using that encoder and I have not heard any problems. I am certain my ears are worse than most. However, I will note I can hear quality differences in the below 160 BR range my teenage son can not, even though he can hear mosquito ring tones (kids use in HS so the teachers can’t hear the rings).

    Even though we over kill with our audio formats it is important to realize it is over kill and not necessary. I will not speak my mind about persons that insist in putting lossless on their mp3 players.
     
  12. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    My thoughts exactly, why do they insist on using lossless compression, when as you stated, we cant tell the difference.
    When i first started on this scene i was using a minidisc player and encoding to atrac3 96kbps (shame on me i know) and i could clearly hear the artifacts.
    I started then encoding to 192kbps, couldnt really tell of the artifacts with my mp3 player but it was at a party here in my home, someone turned round and said that the music sounded 'glassy' through my surround sound, i stopped and listened and sure enough i heard it, so thats why i now insist on cbr320kbps stereo not joint, with extenal or internal harddrives so cheap these days, i find trying to save space just isnt an issue.
    I may try the helix encoder if you could provide a link that would be great, is it a command line encoder?
     
  13. Mez

    Mez Active member

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  14. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    Thanks again Mez.
     
  15. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    I finally got around to searching the Hydrogenaudio forum.

    I found a public opinion listening poll. They are still finding bugs in the AAC encoder. Plus I added a LAME artifact posting I thought I posted this before but I can't find it now. I never did find the theread I was looking for but this is actually the 'official' place to post LAME artifacts. None have been posted in over 2 years.

    I could not find any blanket statement stating AAC was better than mp3s. I did find AAC has better quality than a CBR mp3 at lower BRs. I can't argue with that.

    --listening tests for different encoders and AAC bugs found in the listening tests
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t55239.html

    -- AAC vs LAME (I do enjoy the diplomacy of one of the authors. He dosen't convert his AAC either. The diplomacy could be due to that you must prove your 'dis' on that forum.)
    http://forums.ilounge.com/archive/index.php/t-164640.html

    --LAME artifact posting
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=39313
     
  16. Sudds

    Sudds Active member

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    Many thanks Mez for your digging, but the url.s are invalid?
     
  17. Mez

    Mez Active member

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    Yes, I checked them out for some reason they don't work for me either. They did work for me if I cut and paste into a browser.
     

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