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Converting & Upsampling music files mp3, AAC, 256kbs, 320kbs


Convel

Question

Hi everyone I am a not skilled in the knowledge of Audio Quality fine details.
So please excuse my¬†lack of technical ability.¬†ūüėĄ

I have a music file that is downloaded in 256kbs AAC that I can play with-in its host software platform.
I would like to convert it from that application, and make it an independent file on my hard drive.

I understand that 256kbs AAC is lossy and roughly equivalent to 320kbs mp3.

To obtain the best quality copy of the original 256kbs AAC file, should i convert it to 320kbs AAC or 320kbs mp3?

I understand that I am not generating higher quality audio than the original 256kbs AAC file.
I just wish to create/convert a new file that i will have a copy of that i can use outside of its host platform.

So i can play the music file on other media player devices.

My media converter software allows me to convert media to (128,192,320 kbs AAC) or (128,192,256,320 kbs MP3)
*Note: the converter program does not have a 256kbs AAC setting ^^^.

^^ Which file type and bitrate would you guys choose when converting a 256 kbs AAC file?

Will there be any quality issues to the audio file when upsampling from 256 kbs AAC to 320 kbs AAC or mp3?

Thanks everyone in advanced.

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10 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

There’s no need to convert to a different bit rate. 
 

Which app is the file in now?

The song that i downloaded can only be played while using the host software.
I want to play the song on different media players and devices.
So my only option is to create a converted file, using 3rd party conversion software to obtain the independent song file.

Out of the available conversion settings in my first post, I am leaning towards converting the original 256kbs AAC file to a new 320kbs AAC file... which will hopefully give me an independent copy of the song, as close as possible to the original quality.
Am I on the right track choosing that bit rate?

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19 minutes ago, Convel said:

The song that i downloaded can only be played while using the host software.
I want to play the song on different media players and devices.
So my only option is to create a converted file, using 3rd party conversion software to obtain the independent song file.

Out of the available conversion settings in my first post, I am leaning towards converting the original 256kbs AAC file to a new 320kbs AAC file... which will hopefully give me an independent copy of the song, as close as possible to the original quality.
Am I on the right track choosing that bit rate?

320 is fine. 
 

The problem may be getting it out of the host app. 

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Yeh the 3rd party software works and i recorded a new music file of the song.
I saved it as 320kbs AAC.
My speakers are currently not good enough for me to tell the difference between 128kbs mp3 and 320kbs AAC¬†ūüėĄ...

I am going to upgrade my speakers and headphones in a few weeks.

I was just uncertain if creating a new 320kbs recording from an original 256kbs music file would cause issues.

I was concerned that it would fill in missing details to the new 320kbs recording that just isn't available from the original 256kbs file... maybe making it sound weird.

I want to keep the file in AAC format. And My software does not have an option to save as 256AAC, but i can select 320AAC.
So I am just hoping all that means is it will re-create a near perfect copy of the original AAC file. ūüėč

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You want to save the recording in exactly the same form that you received it for your own archival/backup purposes.

 

If you want to play on an app that doesn't support the format, then do a conversion from the ORIGINAL file, and, if possible, use a format with a quality/bitrate combination that is theoretically better than the original format.

 

If wanting to use a lossy format, and need to convert, then use the best bitrate/quality of that lossy format:   if I must, I use mp3/320k, opus/384k (but 256k is good enough), aac/256k or better.   When you swap formats, sometimes you end up the worst of both -- that is the reason on the NEW copy, use the highest quality of the lossy format.   As a tradeoff, where you want to save a little space, then mp3/256k, opus/256k, aac/256k.   192k is a good second level for high quality (mp3 might be a little worse -- but nothing to worry about.)  No format is 'perfect' at 128k, but opus can sometimes do a great, but not high fidelity  job at 96k -- I have heard 64-80k (I forget which one)  and it is suprisingly good, but not high fidelity.   Don't convert down below 192k if you want to keep great copies of your material. 192k is on the 'edge' for a long term copy.

 

If you want to archive your original at essentially full quality, willing to spend space, but don't want to waste it, then a lossless 16bit format like flac at the SAME rate or higher is great.   Depending on your software 44.1k -> 48k conversion to a flac might cause a slight loss, I'd just keep the native rate or substantially higher.   If you want to be 'careful' and keep with maximum resolution, then 24bit flac or equivalent gives some wiggle room.   Mostly, those extra bits will record the errors more accurately -- but once in a long while, might help.

 

Once a sampling has been done, the only thing that a sample rate increase does is to make certain kinds of processing easier to do.  Frankly, if I started with lossy, I'd always keep the original lossy file, and do conversions as needed (with the above guidance.)   If I really needed to downconvert to 96k for a certain device, I wouldn't be embarassed -- but ALWAYS keep your original highest quality copy.   Every additional copy layer, where a layer of lossy conversion is done, will cause SOME loss.   After the first conversion to lossless 16, there will be no loss until you convert back to lossy.   When converting to 24bit lossless, you'll forever have a pristine copy of the original lossy  file, but in a lossless form.  (Of course, this all assumes that the software is as good as it should be.)   It is midly questionable that a first conversion from certain lossy formats to 16bit lossless might cause a low, bit-level kind of error,beyond that -- all in lossless format, not changing numbers of bits/sample rate -- will be very clean.

 

John

 

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Thanks for the info.
I said I was green, I am now going down a rabbit hole and learning a lot this weekend.
I am considering storing songs using FLAC after reading into more formats.

I am pretty sure you said that saving/converting a new copy of a Lossy music file is best recorded using FLAC 24/44.1
Where CD quality FLAC 16/44.1 may convert the original lossy file with the potential for a very small sound error.

I know you can choose even higher sample rates than 44.1, though I am trying to keep file sizes down where possible.
Apparently FLAC 16/44.1 is 5mb per minute. Would going to 24/44.1 increase file size by 50%?

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3 hours ago, Convel said:

Thanks for the info.
I said I was green, I am now going down a rabbit hole and learning a lot this weekend.
I am considering storing songs using FLAC after reading into more formats.

I am pretty sure you said that saving/converting a new copy of a Lossy music file is best recorded using FLAC 24/44.1
Where CD quality FLAC 16/44.1 may convert the original lossy file with the potential for a very small sound error.

I know you can choose even higher sample rates than 44.1, though I am trying to keep file sizes down where possible.
Apparently FLAC 16/44.1 is 5mb per minute. Would going to 24/44.1 increase file size by 50%?

 

There is no reason to convert lossy format file into FLAC it will not turn the file into lossless. If you optained file in lossy, keep it in lossy. If you care about lossless, get it in lossless.

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16 hours ago, AnotherSpin said:

There is no reason to convert lossy format file into FLAC it will not turn the file into lossless. If you optained file in lossy, keep it in lossy. If you care about lossless, get it in lossless.

Do you have a preference for the audio of one of these videos?
The ONLY difference is that the YouTube 127kb/s .aac  LOSSY audio was converted to 16/48kHz LPCM 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTP2RUD_cL0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/czzdk7xaicyzjsf/Dire Straits - Money For Nothing.m2t?dl=0

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I read an article hear today about Amazon HD high bit depth and sample rates being up-sampled and not true original ultra HD re-masters.
That sent me down a rabbit hole. I have a library of songs that I have been collecting for 20 years. Some of them were rips from CD's, burnt CD's, USB sticks or downloads etc going back 20 years ago.
I'm searching around to buy some software that can analyse my old collection to see which music files are distorted/upsampled/hard digital clipping etc that are not true file format bit rates as the file data proclaims it to be.

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9 minutes ago, Convel said:

I have a library of songs that I have been collecting for 20 years. Some of them were rips from CD's, burnt CD's, USB sticks or downloads etc going back 20 years ago.
I'm searching around to buy some software that can analyse my old collection to see which music files are distorted/upsampled/hard digital clipping etc that are not true file format bit rates as the file data proclaims it to be.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/       FREE S/W 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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On 10/24/2020 at 1:59 AM, AnotherSpin said:

 

There is no reason to convert lossy format file into FLAC it will not turn the file into lossless. If you optained file in lossy, keep it in lossy. If you care about lossless, get it in lossless.

The reason is for consistency of an archive.   The single conversion to flac will do no damage (well, maybe bit level at 16bits), but after that the  entire achive can always be flac.   I don't like messy 'is this mp3 or opus or aac or flac' or whatever.   What about the crazy m4t or whatever formats also?  Resolve it all to one format, at least IMO.

 

The negative of keeping everything in flac is space.

The positive of keeping everything in flac is everything is the same.

 

If you prefer .wav, that is the same as .flac, but takes more space.  Also have the option of 32 bit or FP, but who cares about those?

 

Additionally, no real additional loss.

Certainly, converting to a lossless format will not make the file lossless, but storage space tends to be cheep cheep cheep (or is it cheap :-)).

 

John

 

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1 hour ago, John Dyson said:

The reason is for consistency of an archive.   The single conversion to flac will do no damage (well, maybe bit level at 16bits), but after that the  entire achive can always be flac.   I don't like messy 'is this mp3 or opus or aac or flac' or whatever.   What about the crazy m4t or whatever formats also?  Resolve it all to one format, at least IMO.

 

The negative of keeping everything in flac is space.

The positive of keeping everything in flac is everything is the same.

 

If you prefer .wav, that is the same as .flac, but takes more space.  Also have the option of 32 bit or FP, but who cares about those?

 

Additionally, no real additional loss.

Certainly, converting to a lossless format will not make the file lossless, but storage space tends to be cheep cheep cheep (or is it cheap :-)).

 

John

 

 

The uniformity of an archive can be attractive in certain cases, there is no doubt. However, the day will come when the question arises whether certain files have been obtained in lossless initially or up converted from lossy? It is possible to find out, with the help of certain additional procedures. But do we seem to be talking about simplicity and convenience here?

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1 minute ago, AnotherSpin said:

 

The uniformity of an archive can be attractive in certain cases, there is no doubt. However, the day will come when the question arises whether certain files have been obtained in lossless initially or up converted from lossy? It is possible to find out, with the help of certain additional procedures. But do we seem to be talking about simplicity and convenience here?

I am only talking about simplicity, uniformity and convenience -- no technical merit other than an almost 100% guarantee of no new loss -- esp if choosing 24 bit or 16 bit depending on quality, while archiving the material in a consistent format.   Theoretically the higher than 16 bit capable resolution lossy formats MIGHT lose something when converting to 16bit flac, but probably much less than any conversion to another lossy format.

 

Trying to move to a different lossy format for consistency will cause loss.

 

If starting with a lossy form, it might be nice to log the original format into the flac (or otherwise) metadata.

Keeping important information in the per-file metadata is also a nice standard practice.

 

Knowing what I know now, I would have been much better organized in creating my library archive...

1)  Consider a single format (or a limited set of formats)

2)  Log origination information into the metadata, including CD ID, etc.

3)  Log original data form.

4)  Log aquisition date.

 

Trying to keep the data in parallel is frought with troubles.  if it is all in the same .wav, .flac, etc file, then

life is easier later on.

John

 

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