Speed Test: Adobe Media Encoder (2016)

Posted on by Larry

workflowLast week, Adobe updated all their media applications to version 2015.3. Because I’ve been testing compression performance for both Adobe Media Encoder and Apple Compressor since 2014, I decided to update my tests to compare the new version to earlier results.

While AME supports a wide variety of codecs and capabilities, my tests have focused on testing the default settings for YouTube compression. First, because this remains a very popular destination for many of the videos we create and, second, because it allows me to use default settings, which removes the possibility that I could slow compression speed by dialing in my own preferences.


For the last three years, I’ve tested compression software using the same four files; consisting of XDCAM, ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 4444 codecs. File durations range from 4 minutes to 48 minutes and encompass a variety of subjects and inter-frame movement.

These tests looked at the difference in both file size and compression speed for 1-pass and 2-pass compression for all four files.

This year, I ran the tests on a Late 2013 27″ iMac, the last two years ran on an 21″ iMac. (I no longer have the 21″ iMac.) The CPU of the 27″ iMac is 12.9% faster that the 21″ system. Adobe’s YouTube compression does not use the GPU, as far as I understand, so CPU speed will impact compression performance. In other word, speed improvements of less than 12% can probably be attributed to the faster CPU.

The default bit rate setting for YouTube is 16 mbps. However, to be able to compare Apple Compressor with Adobe Media Encoder, I altered AME’s bit rate to 10 mbps to match Compressor. This year, I ran tests to see what the performance difference is when compressing at 10 mbps and 16 mbps.

I did not do any testing on Windows. While I would expect similar results, ProRes is not supported as well on Windows as on the Mac. GoPro Cineform would be a better high-end codec to use on Windows.

Durations are the sum of all related compression times. File sizes are the sum of all related compressed file sizes. Percentages are calculated using: ((2016 value – 2015 value)/2015 value)


(Negative numbers indicate faster or smaller. Positive numbers are slower or bigger.)

NOTE: Click here to download a PDF containing both a summary of my findings, along with detailed test results.



Adobe continues to improve performance in the latest version of Adobe Media Encoder. Also, the default setting of 1-pass indicates Adobe’s agreement that, at this bit rate, there’s no advantage to 2-pass.

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