AAC vs Ogg: Which is Better?

Posted by Dave Henry on Jun 29,2020 5:06 PM.
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aac vs ogg

With unceasing revolutions in the music industry, music streaming services, as well, are taking advantages of the trend to optimize their online streaming strategies for bigger markets. Apple Music and Spotify are the two of them.

For better music streaming quality, Apple Music applies AAC format as the successor of MP3 in its service. And Spotify uses open-source Ogg Vorbis format for streaming. This might have been a cliché, but today we’re going to do a comparison of AAC vs Ogg Vorbis in order to help you choose the one that suits you better.

What is AAC?

AAC is the abbreviation of Advanced Audio Coding, which is an audio coding standard designed to replace MP3. It’s lossy and compressed, but it’s been proven to sound better than MP3 at the same bit rate. AAC is the default audio format for iTunes and Apple Music. Its file extension is .m4a.

What is Ogg?

Ogg is a free open-source lossy format. It’s unrestricted by patents and created to provide high quality and efficient streaming. The .ogg is used as the filename extension for Ogg Vorbis and this format is used in Spotify music streaming.

What’re the Differences between AAC and Ogg?

Patents

AAC is part of the MPEG-4 specification, and a patent license is required for AAC codec developers. That means free use of this format is nixed. While Ogg is open-source and it is free from software patents which makes it easier to use.

Compatibility

AAC is the standard audio format for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 3DS, iTunes, DivX Plus Web Player, PlayStation 3 and various Nokia Series 40 phones.

And since the Ogg Vorbis is free, it’s been utilized in a number of both commercial and non-commercial media players, along with portable media players and multiple GPS receivers. Besides, it’s been applied to Spotify songs with DRM protection.

Quality

Before we define the quality of these two types of audio formats, here is a brief comparison of audio quality at different bit rate.

Bit Rate Results
64k AAC > OGG
96k AAC > OGG
128k OGG > AAC
192k OGG > AAC
224k OGG > AAC
256k OGG > AAC
320k OGG = AAC
>320k Both OGG and AAC are almost lossless

Both AAC and Ogg are lossy and compressed, while at different bit rates, their performances vary a lot and to sloppily say this one is better than the other one solely from bit rate performance is flimsy. So it’d be more convincing to compare AAC and Ogg in real context, which is to rank them based on the most popular platform they’re respectively applied to---Apple Music and Spotify.

256kbs AAC vs 320kbs Ogg

256kbs aac vs 320kbs ogg

Apple Music streams its songs at highest bit rate of 256kbs AAC, and Spotify does it at highest bit rate of 320kbs Ogg. We’ve tested songs ranging from classical, jazz, rock to R&B and electronic music, the results might be objective, but there’s a slightly perceivable cleanliness you can feel from each song played on Spotify. And since Spotify normalizes the volume, you can notice there’d be more detail from Apple Music simply because it’s louder.

But the thing is, we’re testing the same songs from different online streaming services and for better comparison, the less variables are required. And so these songs should be better played on the same music player. To do so, you can download and decrypt Apple Music songs and Spotify songs in advance. Play them under one media player, and then judge them by your own listening.

Final Thoughts

As an ordinary user, you may not be able to figure out how AAC and Ogg work. But when it comes to which one is better for listening to, that depends on your listening habits and how much you can discover the texture of timbre from different audio formats. So the advice would always be, feel it by yourself.

author

is a long-time TunesKiter who loves all technological things. In his free time, he likes reading about science and technology, writing for his blog, watching sci-fi films, and meditating.

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