Originally Posted by OnlinePredator
But aren't files on a CD mp3 files?
So which is better, variable or constant?
Nope. Typical modern CD has wav (lossless) files in the root directory, then subdirectories containing .cda, .flac, .mp3, and .ogg + often a directory with full whole CD continuous files in each of the aformentioned formats.
When you're playing the CD - you're playing the uncompressed lossless files in the root directory.
When you burn a CD from MP3 files, they don't magically regain the info they've already lost from their original lossy conversion. Once the info is gone, it's gone.
Best is to rip lossless (for PC listening or for archiving), and convert to lossy if space needed on your portable.
I rip everything to FLAC, then convert to 256aac for my ipod. I've tried blind ab testing using foobar, and I can't reliably tell the difference between 256aac (which I believe is roughly equivalent to 320mp3 quality-wise) and flac - so this gives me best mix of quality and space for portable listening.
As far as variable and constant bitrate goes, variable will give you better size - just make sure you transcode with reasonably good quality (V0-V2) should be fine.
Hope this helps.