A commercial implementation of both LC AAC and HE AAC, Nero AAC is distributed with Nero 6 which incorporates Nero Digital. Generally accepted to have the highest quality VBR LC AAC implementation (although QuickTime beat it in CBR at 128kbps). The codec also features the HE AAC standard for extremely low bitrates. The codec also allows for multi-channel surround sound encoding. Unfortunately, unlike iTunes, it's not freeware, and requires the acquisition of the entire Nero 6 suite for usage of the AAC encoder alone.
Recomended Nero AAC Presets
NOTE: Once a preset has been selected, the "Encoding Quality" option should be changed to the "Fast" mode. Despite the name implying worse quality then high, a test undertaken by guruboolez shows that the "Fast" mode offers significant quality advantages over the "High" (see the test here). In the forthcoming release of Nero AAC 3.0 (or a release soon afterwards), the "Fast" mode will become the default and the high quality mode will be removed.
- - VBR/Stereo - Streaming, 100-120 Kb/s (LC AAC) / Actual bitrate ~150kbps
- - VBR/Stereo - Internet, 90-100 Kb/s (LC AAC) / Actual bitrate ~128kbps
- - VBR/Stereo - Portable, 50-70 Kb/s (HE AAC) / Actual bitrate ~90kbps
The High Quality preset is for the archival of music, while the Small Filesize preset is for internet/streaming purposes.