You might have heard about popular audio codecs SBC and AAC.
But how are they different, and which one is better? Is AAC better than SBC?
To test it, we used TWS earbuds that support both AAC and SBC audio codecs. And then, we got two smartphones, out of which one supports AAC and the other SBC.
So based on the audio output we got, we can tell if AAC is better than SBC.
How did we test?
We own multiple earbuds but have chosen the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 (Check Full Review) for this test.
- It’s obvious that expensive earbuds sound better in both SBC and AAC codecs, but how about mid-range earbuds? Because Nord Buds 2 is a mid-range TWS, more users can afford it, and we thought it would be wise to test with these earbuds.
- Generally, only expensive earbuds have HD audio codecs, but Nord Buds 2, which is a mid-range TWS, also have one. So it was the right time to test how these codecs perform on inexpensive earbuds.
Note that we won’t go too technical by sharing the bitrates and sampling rates in both codecs, but we will share the real-life audio experience we got in these audio codecs.
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Is AAC better than SBC?
SBC Audio Codec:
When listening to music with the SBC codec, we immediately felt that the audio lacks open sound stages.
Although the overall sound quality feels good, it’s not anything special.
The trebles remain on the muted side, and you will miss the crisp high frequencies. In simple words, treble remains flat and quiet in the SBC codec.
On the positive side, the vocals remain clear, even if you listen to music at a high volume.
What’s even better is the bass. Yes, it varies from earbud to earbud, but we were impressed with the bass on Nord Buds 2 with the SBC codec. It was deep and punchy.
Did we like the audio output in the SBC codec?
Yes, we did. The sound quality was really good, but it was not anything special. It felt like just another good-quality earbud.
AAC Audio Codec:
We switched to our second phone that supports AAC codec. The moment we played the first song, we immediately noticed that the earbuds got louder.
We noticed a significant bump in the audio loudness.
What about the sound?
The sound clarity got improved a lot in the AAC codec. Now we were able to hear a much clearer sound.
Those hidden details were born, and the treble had become crispy. The bass and vocals were more or less the same as on the SBC, but other frequencies were improved for sure.
We also noticed better instrumental separation and wider sound stages.
In simple words, we saw a significant improvement in AAC codec.
So, Is AAC better than SBC?
Based on our personal experience, we can say, yes, AAC is noticeably better than the standard SBC.
As AAC is a High-Quality audio codec, you get extra details and clarity, which enhance the music experience for sure.
Is AAC good audio quality?
Yes, AAC is a good audio-quality codec, no matter if you have an Android phone or iPhone.
Yes, AAC works better on iPhones, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work on Android phones.
We have used AAC on Android phones, and it made a difference in audio quality.
However, audio codecs like LDAC and LHDC are even better than AAC.
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Is AAC louder than SBC?
After testing both, we noticed a significant difference in loudness. The audio played in the AAC codec was significantly louder than SBC.
If we compare both, then 65% volume in the AAC = 80% in the SBC.
Does AAC use more battery than SBC?
Because AAC is a High-Quality codec, a lot of data needs to be processed. The codec processes more frequencies to produce richer audio output.
More processing means more power consumption. So AAC consumes more power than SBC.
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Which is better for Android SBC or AAC?
The hardware encoders on iOS devices process AAC more efficiently than on Android devices.
So the audio output you get out of AAC on iOS devices is better than the output you get on Android devices.
But still, AAC codec offers noticeably better audio quality than the SBC, even on Android devices.
Which is better for iOS SBC or AAC?
AAC is the highest-quality audio codec on Apple devices. Hence, it’s obvious that AAC is better than SBC on Apple devices.
However, if you have a non-Apple audio device, then make sure it supports the AAC codec, otherwise, the signals will transmit in the default SBC codec, and you will miss out on HD sound quality.
What are the disadvantages of using AAC?
There is no major disadvantage of AAC codec, but if we have to point out a few, then there would be some, like:
- AAC consumes slightly more battery.
- AAC is a high-quality codec, so you won’t find it on budget earbuds.
- Both your smartphone and earbuds must support the AAC to work. It won’t work if either one doesn’t have AAC.
These are some disadvantages of AAC, but we believe that none of these is a deal breaker.
If your smartphone and audio device support AAC, then you will experience a better audio output.
It’s a worthy feature that enhances the audio quality noticeably, and all audio devices should have it.
You can’t find it on cheap earbuds, but if you are spending around 3000 on earbuds, then make sure it supports the AAC codec.
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So, Is AAC better than SBC? We are sure you know the answer now.
If you still have any doubts, feel free to ask us in the comment section.
Do you agree or disagree with the points mentioned above? Do share your thoughts.