Originally Posted by JaZZ
That's certainly true, but nothing is better than 320 kbps CBR – by nature, as it's the lowest compression possible all of the time.
That may be true, but the risk of one time owning a Vorbis-incompatible player and having to re-encode the whole music collection makes up for the 20-25% lower file size for the same sound quality. Moreover, MP3 is much less processor demanding, thus easier on the battery.
And isn't MP3 an open-source format, too (as LAME shows with its constant improvements)?
LAME is free, but is mp3? I thought it was a case of lame being free, but mp3 itself, as the format, still being patented/proprietary? I can't say I know the actual legalities currently, and it's also more just a philosophical point right now than practical one. I just thought I'd mention it as something to consider (plus I'm hoping more people will give ogg a try, because for me at least I think it does sound better).
I hear what you're saying about 320kbps, but we have to admit even that's not perfect. So it's possible there could be more artifact generated in parts where it's high bitrate and doesn't need to be, etc. I guess that's just speculative, but I often wonder. Suffice to say that at the same bitrate, VBR will obviously be better sound quality, I think we're all in agreement on that.
But looked at from a logical perspective, the purpose of compression is to get the best ratio of SQ to file size. 320 CBR clearly doesn't do that - it has a much lower size to sq ratio and therefore defeats the purpose. So from a logical point of view, a high bitrate VBR is actually a superior compression strategy, imo, because it has the highest SQ to size ratio, with the SQ arguably being indistinguishable from 320CBR. So if you're going to lose out on the full benefits of compression by going 320, perhaps you might as well just leave it lossless.