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dBpoweramp Codec Central: m4a (Apple Lossless & AAC)


Successor to mp3, m4a was championed by iTunes, .m4a is used for audio, whilst .mp4 is for video. Internally m4a can store many sub-formats:
  • Apples Lossless (know also as ALAC or ALE) this format is like Zip for audio, no audio quality is lost, audio decompresses identical to the source.

  • Advanced Audio Compression (AAC), is a lossy compression like mp3, audio quality is sacrificed to gain smaller file sizes. There are many types of AAC: LC (low complexity), HE (high efficiency), m4p (Apples encrypted).

Currently audio purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store is lossy AAC.


dBpoweramp comes with a m4a decoder as standard, able to decode Apple Lossless and every AAC type (excluding iTunes m4p protected).

Apple Lossless Encoder

Included as standard in dBpoweramp.

AAC Encoder

Included as standard in dBpoweramp.

Download m4a QAAC Encoder (requires iTunes)

m4a QAAC (iTunes) Encoder Release
2    3.8MB       32 & 64 bit codecs included

   ** requires iTunes installed (not through app store) **

Encodes .m4a (AAC: LC, HE)