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Newbie
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-11-2009

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@Marvin_Martian wrote:

Actually, the Zune players do support AAC. Sansa would have to pay a licensing fee to support AAC, which a Sansa employee here said they would not do.


Good point about the Zune. Microsoft would still have a motive for deterring others from supporting AAC, since it gives the Zune an advantage.

 

As to the licensing fee, evidently they must pay it for the View, since that supports AAC. Perhaps then the reasoning behind lack of AAC on the Fuze is a marketing ploy to get people to spend the extra for a View?

Newbie
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-11-2009

Re: any chance of AAC support?

[ Edited ]

@Marvin_Martian wrote:

 

The newest version of the LAME "mp3" codec is transparent (indistinguishable from lossless) at its highest quality setting for the vast majority of people. The older mp3 encoders, as you stated, did not sound so hot. I will agree with you that the newer WMA VBR on Windows Media Player 11 can produce good quality sound. And yeah, I understand there is some music you can't find anywhere else but iTunes...I'd like that to change, but there's nothing I can do about it....I'm just one poor music fan.


Not transparent to me though. I find it quite amusing when people talk about codecs reaching CD quality. For one thing, most CD's to me sound pretty awful - there are very few really good recordings. Secondly none of the codecs sound as good as CD's to me - the term "transparent" in this context says more about the limitations of the people used in the tests than the quality of the sound. 

 

I have yet to hear any lossy codec, no matter how high the bitrate, that I cannot easily tell from the lossless version, even on relatively poor (by hi-fi standards) MP3 players with cheap headphones. MP3 does something to the sound that I can detect at any bitrate. I have on one occasion put an mp3 encoded MicroSD into my player by accident, rather than the AAC encoded card I had intended, while shopping. Even though my attention was not on the music as I wandered around the shopping centre, I began to notice that I was not enjoying the music very much. It was when I got home I discovered the error. This was not an A-B comparison situation, comparing the sound with the original. There were no placebo effects in operation in this case. I could tell the music was somehow "strangulated" and unsatisfying even when not giving it my full attention.

 

If i play AAC or WMA files, I enjoy the music, whearas using MP3 the music fails to hold my attention, and my mind immediately wanders from the music onto other things. Something about MP3 comes accross to me as unfocussed - like looking at a picture through dirty glasses.

 

Similarly I enjoy the music more with WMA than AAC - the music has more bite, more detail and more articulation, which I believe is because WMA handles transients better than other codecs.

 

IF I were to list the codecs I have listended to in order of sound quality, the list would be WMA, (MP2, Musepack, roughly even), (AAC, Vorbis, roughly even), then finally way way at the botttom, MP3.

 

But I appreciate that this is all unusual. People will probably label me as someone with "golden ears" - actually its all down to experience. As someone who has from his teens listened to expensive hi-fi systems, I have become accustomed to high quality sound reproduction. This is why I bought the Fuze and my Cowon D2 - because they had good reputations for sound quality, and why I did not buy the View, which does not, even though it supports AAC.

Message Edited by tempusfuzit on 08-01-2009 06:51 PM
Message Edited by tempusfuzit on 08-01-2009 06:53 PM
SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@tempusfuzit wrote:

@Marvin_Martian wrote:

Actually, the Zune players do support AAC. Sansa would have to pay a licensing fee to support AAC, which a Sansa employee here said they would not do.


Good point about the Zune. Microsoft would still have a motive for deterring others from supporting AAC, since it gives the Zune an advantage.

 

As to the licensing fee, evidently they must pay it for the View, since that supports AAC. Perhaps then the reasoning behind lack of AAC on the Fuze is a marketing ploy to get people to spend the extra for a View?

 

The Zune and View both support MPEG4 video+audio, and thus have MPEG4 AAC licenses from the video decoder.  AAC audio files (which are really just MPEG4 video files with no video track) are therefore "free".  The Fuze does MPEG4 video, but only using MPEG1 Audio, presumably to avoid the expense of having to pay for both MPEG1 and MPEG4 licenses.  

 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@tempusfuzit wrote:

@Marvin_Martian wrote:

 

The newest version of the LAME "mp3" codec is transparent (indistinguishable from lossless) at its highest quality setting for the vast majority of people. The older mp3 encoders, as you stated, did not sound so hot. I will agree with you that the newer WMA VBR on Windows Media Player 11 can produce good quality sound. And yeah, I understand there is some music you can't find anywhere else but iTunes...I'd like that to change, but there's nothing I can do about it....I'm just one poor music fan.


Not transparent to me though. I find it quite amusing when people talk about codecs reaching CD quality. For one thing, most CD's to me sound pretty awful - there are very few really good recordings. Secondly none of the codecs sound as good as CD's to me - the term "transparent" in this context says more about the limitations of the people used in the tests than the quality of the sound. 

 

I have yet to hear any lossy codec, no matter how high the bitrate, that I cannot easily tell from the lossless version, even on relatively poor (by hi-fi standards) MP3 players with cheap headphones. MP3 does something to the sound that I can detect at any bitrate. I have on one occasion put an mp3 encoded MicroSD into my player by accident, rather than the AAC encoded card I had intended, while shopping. Even though my attention was not on the music as I wandered around the shopping centre, I began to notice that I was not enjoying the music very much. It was when I got home I discovered the error. This was not an A-B comparison situation, comparing the sound with the original. There were no placebo effects in operation in this case. I could tell the music was somehow "strangulated" and unsatisfying even when not giving it my full attention.


  

This is a classic example of the placebo effect.   You should do proper ABX tests to see if you can tell the difference.  I really doubt you can.  Very, very few people can on real music (artifical test samples are another thing entirely though).  Of course everyone think they can until they try . . .

 

 
 

tempusfuzit wrote: 
But I appreciate that this is all unusual. People will probably label me as someone with "golden ears" - actually its all down to experience. As someone who has from his teens listened to expensive hi-fi systems, I have become accustomed to high quality sound reproduction. This is why I bought the Fuze and my Cowon D2 - because they had good reputations for sound quality, and why I did not buy the View, which does not, even though it supports AAC.

  
Theres nothing unusal about this at all, and I doubt you have much better hearing then anyone else here.  I've heard hundreds and hundreds of people say things like this.   Everyone does when they're first getting into digital audio.  Then they sit down, actually do a proper test, and find out that its all in their head.  Then either they duck out never to be heard from again, or they come back more knowledgeable about audio.
 
 
 

 

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 5,822
Registered: ‎12-26-2007

Re: any chance of AAC support?

I find that my ears are pleased with wma at moderate bit rate (160) for a great combination of file size and quality.  WMA is quite pleasant compared against bare bones MP3.  To match the quality, I need to run higher bit rates.

 

For the critical stuff, there's FLAC, and this is great as the archival copy too.

 

Different codecs impart their own respective sound signature, much like repositioning your headphone does.  In fact, the differences made in the physical realm, on the reproduction end, make a larger net difference than a new codec ever will.

 

I am far more concerned over marketing weenies reaching over the engineer's shoulder, pushing that master gain slider up to "11".  Somewhere in the food chain, folks have forgotten about digital's strongest attributes, namely, signal-to-noise ratio.  I can turn up the volume myself, thank you.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 4,898
Registered: ‎11-17-2008

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@neutron_bob wrote:

I am far more concerned over marketing weenies reaching over the engineer's shoulder, pushing that master gain slider up to "11".  Somewhere in the food chain, folks have forgotten about digital's strongest attributes, namely, signal-to-noise ratio.  I can turn up the volume myself, thank you.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy


I could not agree with you more....down with the loudness war! Smiley Tongue

iPod Touch 5G 32GB, Touch 4G 32GB, Clip Sport 8GB.
Rockbox-> Clip Zip 4GB, iPod Nano 2G 4GB, iPod 5.5G 80GB
2012 Nexus 7 32GB, Asus MeMoPad 8 16+64GB, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia Lumia 520

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,581
Registered: ‎11-26-2008

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@neutron_bob wrote:

I find that my ears are pleased with wma at moderate bit rate (160) for a great combination of file size and quality.  WMA is quite pleasant compared against bare bones MP3.  To match the quality, I need to run higher bit rates.

 

For the critical stuff, there's FLAC, and this is great as the archival copy too.

 

Different codecs impart their own respective sound signature, much like repositioning your headphone does.  In fact, the differences made in the physical realm, on the reproduction end, make a larger net difference than a new codec ever will.

 

I am far more concerned over marketing weenies reaching over the engineer's shoulder, pushing that master gain slider up to "11".  Somewhere in the food chain, folks have forgotten about digital's strongest attributes, namely, signal-to-noise ratio.  I can turn up the volume myself, thank you.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy


Yeah, Bob....I used to be one of those audio snobs that held my nose in disgust when someone mentioned .wma.  I'm finding that it's quite musical and use it quite often now.  Just like anything in multiple flavors there will always be arguments and debates.....  

 

I just make my ears happy, and don't care what others may think...Smiley Wink

"Before I sink into the big sleep...I want to hear the scream of the Butterfly"
SanDisk Guru
Posts: 4,898
Registered: ‎11-17-2008

Re: any chance of AAC support?


@fuze_owner-GB wrote:

@neutron_bob wrote:

I find that my ears are pleased with wma at moderate bit rate (160) for a great combination of file size and quality.  WMA is quite pleasant compared against bare bones MP3.  To match the quality, I need to run higher bit rates.

 

For the critical stuff, there's FLAC, and this is great as the archival copy too.

 

Different codecs impart their own respective sound signature, much like repositioning your headphone does.  In fact, the differences made in the physical realm, on the reproduction end, make a larger net difference than a new codec ever will.

 

I am far more concerned over marketing weenies reaching over the engineer's shoulder, pushing that master gain slider up to "11".  Somewhere in the food chain, folks have forgotten about digital's strongest attributes, namely, signal-to-noise ratio.  I can turn up the volume myself, thank you.

 

Bob  Smiley Very Happy


Yeah, Bob....I used to be one of those audio snobs that held my nose in disgust when someone mentioned .wma.  I'm finding that it's quite musical and use it quite often now.  Just like anything in multiple flavors there will always be arguments and debates.....  

 

I just make my ears happy, and don't care what others may think...Smiley Wink


The 135-215 target range VBR setting works surprisingly well, I found.....assuming that your CD's aren't scratched. Good sound and not excessively sized files. Smiley Wink

iPod Touch 5G 32GB, Touch 4G 32GB, Clip Sport 8GB.
Rockbox-> Clip Zip 4GB, iPod Nano 2G 4GB, iPod 5.5G 80GB
2012 Nexus 7 32GB, Asus MeMoPad 8 16+64GB, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia Lumia 520

SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: any chance of AAC support?

WMA is a modern compression format thats relatively similar to AAC-LC, so I'd expect it to sound pretty good.  Of course the quality of the encoder always matters at least as much as the design of the format.
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SanDisk Professor
Posts: 434
Registered: ‎04-24-2008

Re: any chance of AAC support?

I originally encoded nearly everything at WMA, then moved away from it. It seemed to lack a "sharpness", particularly with steel-string acoustic guitars. I'll admit, that was some time ago (codecs may have improved), and I never did ABX tests.

 

I agree with saratoga; LAME MP3 is really at the top of its game right now, and multiple participants in ABX tests score it equal to AAC at bitrates above 192kbps. I've seen many people who thought they had "golden ears" humbled by ABX

 

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ogg Vorbis. I had never really used it until the Fuze started supporting it, and I was pleasantly surprised.