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Successor to mp3, m4a (and mp4) made popular by iTunes and iPods. mp4 is a container that can store many sub-formats:
-Advanced Audio Compression (AAC), of which are different types: LC (low complexity), HE (high efficiency) to name a few. To encode your audio to be compatible with most audio players, use the LC compression type (used as default by this encoder). High Efficiency (HE AAC) uses SBR technology (not too different as mp3PRO) if the player knows about HE the extra frequency information can be decoded, otherwise half the audio quality will be missing on playback. A newer standard again for ultra low bitrates is AAC or AAC HE v2, this uses parametric stereo for even lower bitrates, dBpoweramp is able to decode every AAC type (excluding iTunes m4p protected).
- Apples Lossless (ALAC or ALE) this format is like Zip for audio, no audio quality is lost (audio tracks purchased from Apples iMS store are lossy aac).