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Advanced Audio Coding (.aac)

The AAC file extension, which refers to Advanced Audio Coding, is a cutting-edge audio compression standard that surpasses MP3 in sound quality at comparable bit rates. Endorsed by the ISO and IEC within the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 frameworks, AAC is a testament to the evolution of digital audio technology. AAC's robustness and flexibility have propelled it to the forefront of digital audio applications, particularly in streaming and broadcasting. It accommodates an extensive frequency spectrum, ranging from 8Hz to 96kHz, and has the capability to encode an impressive 48 audio channels. This feature set enables AAC to integrate a diverse array of audio elements such as full-bandwidth channels, low-frequency effects, coupling channels, and data streams, into a singular cohesive stream. For stereo audio, AAC delivers satisfactory quality at 96 kbit/s in joint stereo mode, though higher bit rates like 128 kbit/s are advisable for true high-fidelity sound.

The core of AAC's compression prowess lies in its use of the modified discrete cosine transform (MDCT) algorithm, which outstrips MP3's hybrid MDCT and FFT coding in terms of efficiency. This advanced algorithmic foundation enables AAC to maintain or even reduce file sizes while enhancing audio quality. AAC's universal support extends beyond Apple's suite of products, being the default audio format for its devices and software. It also enjoys broad compatibility with a variety of platforms, including Android and BlackBerry devices, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Nintendo, and a multitude of in-car audio systems. The integration of AAC into digital radio standards such as DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondiale, along with mobile television standards like DVB-H and ATSC-M/H, solidifies its pivotal role in the digital audio sector. AAC's widespread adoption underscores its importance and versatility in the realm of digital audio broadcasting.

AAC Specifications

Name Advanced Audio Coding
File Extension(s) .aac
Category Audio
Use For Encoding and compressing digital audio efficiently, for high-quality sound at reduced bit rates, prevalent in music streaming, digital radio, and broadcasting.
Developer Group of companies including Bell, Fraunhofer, Dolby, Sony, Nokia, LG Electronics, NEC, NTT Docomo, and Panasonic.
MIME Type(s) audio/aac
License open format; but not free.
File Sample(s) N/A
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