The Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) filetype stands as a significant milestone in the history of digital audio. Developed to succeed the MP3 format, AAC offers improved sound quality at similar bit rates, laying the groundwork for modern audio compression techniques. Introduced in the late 1990s, it was designed by a consortium of companies including Dolby, Sony, Nokia, and Fraunhofer, the same group that brought MP3 to the world. AAC soon became the standard for high-fidelity audio, supported by a plethora of media players and devices.
How AAC Works
AAC operates on the principle of perceptual audio coding, using psychoacoustic models to discard sound data that is less audible to human ears. This allows for efficient compression without a significant loss in quality. It employs a variety of coding strategies tailored to different types of audio signals, thereby achieving higher audio fidelity at lower bitrates.
Software and Device Support
Various software and devices have embraced AAC due to its efficiency and quality. Programs like iTunes, VLC Media Player, and Adobe Audition offer native AAC support, while portable devices such as iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones include AAC as a standard audio format.
Alternatives to AAC
Though AAC is widely used, there are various other audio codecs that serve different needs. Opus is favored for low-latency applications like video conferencing, while FLAC provides lossless audio compression for audiophiles. MP3, despite being older, remains ubiquitous due to its universal compatibility and lower computing requirements for encoding and decoding.