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What is AAC Audio Format

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates. AAC has been standardized by ISO and IEC, as part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 specifications. Part of the AAC known as High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC) which is part of MPEG-4 Audio is also adopted into digital radio standards like DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondiale, as well as mobile television standards DVB-H and ATSC-M/H.

AAC supports inclusion of 48 full-bandwidth (up to 96 kHz) audio channels in one stream plus 16 low frequency effects (LFE, limited to 120 Hz) channels, up to 16 “coupling” or dialog channels, and up to 16 data streams. The quality for stereo is satisfactory to modest requirements at 96 kbit/s in joint stereo mode; however, hi-fi transparency demands data rates of at least 128 kbit/s (VBR). The MPEG-2 audio tests showed that AAC meets the requirements referred to as “transparent” for the ITU at 128 kbit/s for stereo, and 320 kbit/s for 5.1 audio.

AAC is also the default or standard audio format for YouTube, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS, iTunes, DivX Plus Web Player and PlayStation 3. It is supported on PlayStation Vita, Wii (with the Photo Channel 1.1 update installed), Sony Walkman MP3 series and later, Sony Ericsson; Nokia, Android, BlackBerry, and webOS-based mobile phones, with the use of a converter. AAC has also seen some adoption on in-dash car audio, especially on high-end units such as the Pioneer AVIC series.

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