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AAC vs MP3: AAC MP3 Full Comparison to Make it Clear Which One Is Better

Some of my music on iTunes was converted to AAC, others are just left as MP3, which has the more clear sound and best sound quality? - From Yahoo Answer

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AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) are two mainstream music audio formats. AAC is written as file extension type .m4a, .m4b, .m4p, .m4v, .m4r, .3gp, .mp4, .aac, widely used in iTunes while MP3, written as .mp3, is so much employed on digital audio players that MP3 player is now the synonym of portable media player.

But AAC vs. MP3, which is better? What's the difference between those two music formats? Is it really true as many people often allege that AAC sounds better and owns smaller file size than MP3 of the same song? It's time to weigh in. This article will give you an overall AAC MP3 comparison to let you get the answer.

aac vs mp3

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Comparison between AAC and MP3

Firstly, you should make it clear that both AAC and MP3 are audio coding standards for . AAC was released for public on 1997, 3 years later than the release date of MP3, to be the heres of MP3 format. Compared to MP3, AAC generally performs better than MP3 just at the same or similar bit rates. This difference in quality is more obvious at lower bitrates. >> See How to Download YouTube to AAC

Note: WAV Losseless and AIFF are two high-quality, uncompressed file types used for CD burning, much larger than other formats. If you call for music formats, Apple Lossless, FLAC and APE are recommended.

AAC VS MP3 Quality Comparison

1. AAC vs. MP3 Sound Quality Comparison

An engineer once did a music quality summary of AAC and MP3 on iTunes and iPhone. It's clear that AAC file sounds much better than MP3 at the same bitrate, and until now, no MP3 file can surpass the AAC file at 256 Kbs.

What's more, also comes to a conclusion through tests:

① Experts said it's not easy to tell the difference between 128Kbps stereophonic sound AAC music and the uncompressed audio;

② AAC file at 96Kbs sounds better than MP3 file at 128Kbs;

③ AAC file at 128Kbs sounds much better than MP3 file at 128 Kbs;

④ AAC is the only network broadcast audio format that can get "Excellent" at all EBU listening test project.

2. AAC vs. MP3 File Size Comparison

Here we'll convert the original WAV music file - Butterfly from Jason Mraz(62.38M) to MP3 and AAC with one of the most popular audio converter software - Freemake Audio Converter, and compare their file size. In order to keep the converting test as accurate as possible, we only change the bitrate parameter from 96 to 256, no audio channel or sample rate(default 4.41 kHZ) change.

AAC VS MP3 Quality Comparison

From the table above, it's obvious to see that AAC and MP3 own the similar size at lower bitrate while AAC is much smaller in size at higher bitrate.

3. AAC vs. MP3 Compatibility Comparison (Why AAC is not So Popular as MP3?)

AAC is less compatible: available on iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Microsoft's Zune, Sony PS3/PSP, and some mobile phones.

MP3 is more compatible: actually works with every cellphones, pads and audio players.

AAC is less widely supported than MP3, partly because it's relatively newer and Windows Media has risen constantly. Although AAC was developed by Nokia, Sony, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Dolby Laboratories, Apple takes is as "Apple's baby" - a standard audio format for iPhone, iPod, iTunes, and iPad. Maybe AAC can be used with a wide variety of non-Apple devices in near future.

AAC vs MP3

Summary: Objectively speaking, taking all the factors into consideration, AAC does have higher quality sound and smaller size than MP3 at the same or similar high bitrate. But MP3 is much more compatible than AAC. Since different file formats have different merit and demerit, different users have different preference and needs, neither AAC nor MP3 can rank the first. One word to tell, the best format is the one that is compatible with your device and meets your needs!

Update 1: Recently, The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, the founder of MP3, has officially terminated his licensing program for "certain MP3-related patents and software" after almost two decades. And Fraunhofer IIS also says more advanced, effecitent AAC is supposed to supersede MP3 despite MP3 is still the NO.1 widely-used audio codec right now. >> See the

Convert AAC to MP3 with Format Factory

Tool 1 - Audio Converter Format Factory to Convert AAC to MP3 and Vice Versa

If you plan to stand on iTunes and iPod for a long time, go with AAC. You can convert AAC to MP3 or MP3 to AAC by iTunes as you like. But if you'd like to switch to a device that doesn't support AAC. Multifunctional media converter Format Factory is a good choice. Check the step-by-step guide of transferring AAC to MP3.

Step 1. Click "-> MP3 file" icon to open the converting setting profile;

Step 2. Click "Add File" to add AAC file into the converting list and hit "OK" to get back to main profile. Here you can do some output settings like quality, bitrate, sample rate etc. and select output folder;

Step 3. Hit "Start" button to begin AAC to MP3 shifting.

Still have question on AAC vs. MP3 and audio conversion, please feel free to Mail Us >>

iTunes DRM Audio to MP3/AAC

Tool 2 - Transfer AAC/MP3 Music between iOS and PC without iTunes

WinX MediaTrans: Best iTunes alternative helps two-way sync AAC/MP3 music between iPhone iPad iPod and computer fast. What makes it out of the ordinary is that any iTunes purchased DRM-locked audio files can regain the freedom for playable on more non-iOS devices after transferring into AAC/MP3 with this iOS manager.

Please feel free to share this tutorial if you think it is helpful!

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