MP3 vs. AAC, or what is the best lossy formatMP3 is a well-known standard of lossy audio. It was agressively promoted and almost everybody knows about it. To be fair MP3 is good enough, but it was introduced 10 years(!) ago. Since then many other audio formats have come to live.
MP3 gave a good start to other codecs. Many companies stated that they would develop a codec to deliver same quality as MP3 at half the bitrates. But so far none of them succeeded. This listening test proves that. By very rough estimates the same bitrates deliver the best quality in LAME. Then goes AAC and MP3 Pro, followed by OGG Vorbis and WMA. Commom MP3 is the last one. So it's evident that MP3 is not the best choice to compress audio. MP3 pro is a good codec but unfortunately it is not popular. AAC is good at compressing and is well-known. The reason is probably the fact that there are some large companies behind it - Sony and Dolby. Besides all music at iTunes Music Store, the largest on-line music store, is offered in AAC format.
So the main competitor of MP3 today is AAC (Advanced Audio Codec). Like MP3 AAC is a lossy format which means that it suppresses some information to compress the file. It claims to produce the same audio quality at 128kbps as MP3 at 192kbps. This means that average AAC file will be less in size than an MP3 file of the same quality. MP3 and AAC have something in common. They both are based on MPEG technology (MPEG-1 layer3 for MP3 and MPEG-2 for AAC). AAC is in fact successor to MP3. To a non-professional ear AAC is near uncompressed CD quality.
There is a simple way to learn what majority of people think:) Google Trends show that when one group of people is searching for ACC to MP3 conversion, the other is typing MP3 to AAC query. And surprisingly these groups are almost equal!
tips and tricks: It is possible to get AAC out of my MP3s? Yes! Convert MP3 to AAC. How to convert AAC to MP3?
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Wit of the dayI worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.