Tags always blank in AAC files


  • 2014-04-26

    I can't get any tags of any kind to show up in AAC files. The filenames are fine (artist, album, track, title) and tagging works fine for mp3s.

    Win 7 Pro 64 bit

    (Otherwise Freac is terrific!)

    Last edit: 2014-04-26
  • Robert Kausch
    Robert Kausch

    Hi, are you encoding to raw AAC files? If so, you need to enable ID3v2 tags for AAC explicitly in the AAC encoder settings (see the attached screenshot for where to find that option).

    The reason for this is that many players have problems recognizing AAC files with ID3v2 tags prepended.

    Thank you for using fre:ac!


    • 2014-04-27

      you need to enable ID3v2 tags for AAC

      I've tried that. Sometimes tags show up in my tagging program (Mp3Tag) or sometimes in my music player (Media Monkey), but not both. Each program has many tag-related settings and I am completely overwhelmed. A person would have to try out thousands of permutations to figure out what works (ISO, UTF, ASCII, APE, 16LE, 16BE, 8859, v1, 2.3, 2.4...)

      Can you help me make sure I have all the Freac settings right, at least? What about General Settings > Info Tags?

      For your reference, screenshots of the other programs are attached.

      are you encoding to raw AAC files?

      I don't know. How do I find out?

      Last edit: 2014-07-17
  • Robert Kausch
    Robert Kausch

    Raw AAC files have an .aac extension. The other variant are MP4 files with an AAC audio stream. They usually come with an .m4a extension.

    fre:ac outputs .m4a files by default and you should leave it like that unless you specifically need raw AAC for your use case (e.g. to play the files on an old hardware player that does not support MP4). You can set the output format in the AAC encoder configuration dialog in fre:ac.

    The two file formats also support different tag formats. Raw AAC files can have ID3v1 or ID3v2 tags attached, while MP4 has its own proprietary tagging format.

    I played around with Mp3tag and MediaMonkey and found that neither one supports raw AAC files with ID3v2 tags. They seem to support ID3v1 tags on AAC, but fre:ac does not write those.

    I didn't find any problems when working with MP4 files, though. So you should probably just configure fre:ac to output MP4 and the issue should be gone.


  • 2014-04-28

    Wow, thank you so much for all this help. I had no idea about the AAC / MP4 distinction so I am hugely appreciative for your explanation.

    I did indeed have Freac's encoder set to encode as AAC and not MP4 (probably because someone once told me AACs have better sound quality for a given file size than mp3 - but they didn't say anything about mp4.)

    I do have an iPod Classic, about 5(???) years old so I need to test this out on it.