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AAC

(Advanced Audio Coding) An audio compression technology that is part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 standards. AAC, especially MPEG-4 AAC, provides greater compression and better sound quality than MP3, which also came out of the MPEG standard.

Popularized by the iPod
AAC is the default format for Apple's iPod. It was chosen because it improved sound quality and also supported copy protection, which was administered through Apple's iTunes software. AAC song files purchased from the iTunes online store were sold with copy protection, but Apple dropped it in 2009 (see FairPlay). With iTunes, users may also choose to rip their CDs to AAC instead of MP3.

Profiles
AAC is available in profiles, which determine how the algorithms work to encode the audio data. Main offers the highest quality. Low Complexity (LC) is lower quality, but uses less CPU processing. Scalable Sampling Rate (SSR) is a variation of LC. Long Term Prediction was added in MPEG-4 to improve the Main profile. See aacPlus, Apple Lossless, MP3 and iPod. Following are the file extensions used for AAC:


  AAC File
  Extension   Type of AAC File

     MP4   Standard MPEG-4 video & audio

     M4A   Unprotected AAC
     M4A   Apple Lossless

     M4P   Protected AAC
     M4B   Protected AAC audiobook





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