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mp3 encoding...joint stereo

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have been experimenting with encoding some of my .wav files into .mp3 Right now, I'm using LAME 3.89b, but help me out here...

First, what is joint stereo and how does it differ from regular stereo? Second, which of the two is better for headphone listening? And third, which one is the true one (exactly like the CD)?
post #2 of 17
First of all.. None of them are going to sound like a CD.

Joint stereo is a bit less accurate then stereo. With stereo, each channel allocates half of the bitstream. Joint-stereo takes advantage of the fact that theres usually only small differences between the two channels, thus encodes only the common signal and the different signal and allows the player to basically re-assemble them.

In other words, if both L/R channels are identicle, it only stores one channel, then grabs whatever piece of what channel is different, ignoring the rest because it's the same as the other channel.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
None of them are going to sound like a CD.
Yeah, I know I'm not going to get CD sound from mp3...I just want to get as close to it as possible.

Does anyone here notice an audible difference between stereo and joint stereo?

Because based on your description, it seems that using stereo instead of joint stereo is the way to encode if you want to get as close to the CD's sound.. It looks like, however, most mp3's (at least in my collection) are encoded using joint stereo...including the Telarc ones...
post #4 of 17
Joint stereo is significantly inferior, in my listening experiences. I have a friend who jokingly refers to it as "mono+"
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally posted by MacDEF
Joint stereo is significantly inferior, in my listening experiences. I have a friend who jokingly refers to it as "mono+"
haha, mono+. That's great.

- kerykeion

Joint-Stereo to me definatly makes for a fuzzy soundstage and poor sound overall. It sucks. Use stereo. Joint stereo makes for a significantly smaller file size, as well.. Boo.. Hisss...
post #6 of 17
What command line or preset are you using? Which encoder?

You could try MPC instead. I've been testing it lately, and it's good and it's also pretty fast. It's considered to be better than Mp3, quality-wise.
post #7 of 17
"joint stereo is no good"

This just isn't true. As I write this I am sitting in front of the computer desk setup - Paradigm mini-monitors, Sennheiser HD600s, Arcam FMJ CD23, Sony D-777 and Arcam A22 amp. The sound card is a Terratec Sixpack. (not very available in the USA but worth hunting down if you want to play games as well as good sound - otherwise stick to an "audiophile" card)

I've just encoded a few albums and I was listening to "Losing My Religion" by REM on the "new" D-777. Sounds great. Then I read that joint stereo is crap, and I've just encoded a few CDs with the --r3mix LAME option - joint stereo. How disturbing, maybe I need to redo them!

Instant A-B comparison. I leave the CD playing, and tee up the MP3. The Arcam amp has multiple inputs, so I can switch between the CD and the MP3 versions. Just for good measure I swap the inputs on the amp and try it again.

Verdict? The MP3 is almost indistinguishable through either the headphones or the speakers. The CD is marginally clearer and more defined, but not much. If you think the sound stage of the joint stereo encoding is missing in comparison to normal stereo mode, maybe your encoder is artificially expanding it.

Final words - encode all your MP3s yourself and listen to a few different options before discarding the format as second rate. Chances are what you hear is more due to the crappy sound card or a bad encoder, or a bad choice of encoding options.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
What command line or preset are you using? Which encoder?
pigmode,
I have winlame prebeta 4 and razorlame .. and I have been using EAC for ripping. I used to just rip music directly from my CD into mp3 using real jukebox, etc... but I also didn't care about quality..until now (I have a larger hard drive now )

Command line.. just expirmenting around. But I have been using VBR and most of my mp3s encode at around 200kbps. I'm not sure what the exact codes are because I'm using winlame and razor as frontends...


So far, it seems as though joint stereo has a slightly "fake" sounding soundstage..and emphasizes at seperating the right/left channels.
post #9 of 17
kerykeion, I'm using the Win32LAME version of RazorLame for encoding, and EAC for ripping. Win32LAME is just RazorLame with a few (command line) presets included. The presets (R3mix, Standard, Xtreme etc.)are all VBR/ Joint Stereo and are fairly well refined. They sound good and are wholly adequate for computer use. I recommmend that you give it a try.

Again, if you don't need the compatibility of Mp3s, try MPC.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
The presets (R3mix, Standard, Xtreme etc.)are all VBR/ Joint Stereo and are fairly well refined. They sound good and are wholly adequate for computer use
Actually the dm-preset standard, xtreme, insane presets use a
more conservative joint-stereo mode called nssafejoint. Joint stereo allows the encoder to decide whether to use simple stereo
(L/R) or mid-side stereo (m/s), The dm-presets use much fewer
m/s frames because of the nssafejoint mode than settings using normal joint stereo. I think it only uses m/s frames when the signal is perceptually mono.

This means there is much less chance of having joint stereo screw up. Generally, its a good idea to use joint stereo at 192 Kbs
and less the extra bits it gives the encoder usually does a lot more good at these mid to lower bitrates than the small chance of having joint stereo "mess up". nssafejoint tries to make a tradeoff between the two cases.

btw I highly recommend using the --dm-preset presets. If you want great (you probably can't do much better for mp3) quality at an avg. bitrate of 230-256 Kbps
try using --dm-preset xtreme and the latest 3.90 alpha. (the insane mode is still being tweaked and makes bigger but not nessecarily better files than xtreme)
post #11 of 17
Which seems to be the most accurate? Lame? Fraunhoffer? Xing?
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info pigmode and AtEase ... I'll mess around with those presets and try using lame 3.90 alpha

Quote:
Which seems to be the most accurate? Lame? Fraunhoffer? Xing?
xing isn't good
post #13 of 17
www.r3mix.net
All about high quality mp3. Their forum is really great.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally posted by Nugen
Which seems to be the most accurate? Lame? Fraunhoffer? Xing?
Lameby a nose. FhG next and Xing about 5 miles behind.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally posted by carlosgp
www.r3mix.net
All about high quality mp3. Their forum is really great.
Maybe the forum is great, but the web site itself is full of so many inaccuracies and bs that I can't even read it
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