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whats the deal with encoding MP3s with VBR?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok so im thinkin of asking for an iPod for xmas. Simplifyin the music thing. iPod + ksc35 (maybe +dt250/er6/cd3000 later when I get lots of nice cds. for now im concentrating on buying tons of music and listening to it, and listening to it, and listening to it. I dont like worrying about equipment). Easy, no nonensence, I can listen to whatever I want, not worry about my crappy basement recordings, carry tons and tons of music around, and have a pimped out new toy. So anyway ive been reading about this variable bit rate recording thing, but im not quite sure how it works. From what im getting it seems like the ultimate way to encode mp3s for max sound quality and minimum space. But im not sure if im getting it right. Please fully explain it to me? Like what it does, how it works, what the best settings are, etc. Thanks a bunch.
post #2 of 10
I think VBR enables you to get the best of both worlds. More simple music is encoded at the lower rate you define and the more complex music is allowed to encode at a higher bitrate.

I'm not sure if this is true - perhaps other could illuminate me:

a VBR from 160 - 256 Stereo will be higher quality all round than say a 192 cbr?

Is my thinking right?
post #3 of 10
It always depends on the encoder. Generally speaking this is true. However there is no advantage setting the low-end that high. I set the low-end to 32 and the high-end to 320.

The *only* encoder worth a crap for encoding VBRs is LAME. Xing is the absolute worst.

Using VBR gives you the benefits of getting the sound quality of the higher bitrate without wasting bets where they aren't needed (according to the psychoacoustic model used).
post #4 of 10
Neezer: Can you tell me why Xing is the worst and where can I get the Lame encoder?
post #5 of 10
The psychoacoustic model the Xing encoder uses is generally regarded as, well, total crap. Plus, Xing takes some shortcuts in order to bill itself as the fastest encoder on the market. These shortcuts take their toll in quality.

LAME can be found here: http://www.mp3dev.org/mp3/

It's psychoacoustic is regarded as one of the best if not the best. The take no shortcuts when it comes to quality. Plus it's open sourced and it's reasonably fast.

Right now only Xing and Lame do VBR well and Xing's psychoacoustic model stinks so that leaves LAME.

You can also get a lot of your questions answered at http://www.r3mix.net

Good luck!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Nice! Exactially what I was thinking.

So I should just set it to 0/320 for quality equal to 320kbps but much (depending on the complexity of the song) smaller file sizes?

Is there any reason not to use VBR? Does it do anything bad?
post #7 of 10
If the encoder sucks, it does all sorts of bad things.

Your best bet is to use LAME as noted above. Play with some other settings until your happy.

Using a quality VBR encoder will give you the benefits of using 320k when needed.

Some would probably say that using CBR at 320 would sound better. I can't hear the difference. Get Lame and EAC and try things out until you find what works for your ears.
post #8 of 10
The best list of recommended Lame settings is here:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...=&threadid=260

My current preference is --alt-preset standard, which has been thoroughly tested by a lot of different people on a lot of different samples.

By the way, FhG VBR, done properly, is better than Xing VBR. The few programs I know of which properly implement FhG VBR include Cool Edit Pro with the MP3 ME plugin and Proteron's EasyMp3. MusicMatch Jukebox 6.1 and later will also, but only if you rip/encode directly from CD (i.e., not using the convert function). I don't know if version 7 fixed this annoying bug.

ff123
post #9 of 10
Hey ff123, when did you come over here?

Welcome to Head-Fi!




----
Old r3mix forum member
post #10 of 10
Hi Joe,

Well, I check here every now and then, although I don't post much. I registered soon after Jude first opened up head-fi (6/21/01).

ff123
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