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320 vs. VBR and CBR.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by chimecho, Feb 2, 2013.
  1. Chimecho
    I've ran around the forum trying to look for an answer to my question exactly, but the results didn't really turn up well. That or I'm just really bad at doing research. Anyways, here are my questions:
    1) If you have a music file at a bit rate of 320, does it matter how it's encoded? Sometimes I get files encoded with LAME and sometimes the source is unknown. Does this affect sound quality to an audible degree?
    2) If you have a music file at a bit rate of just simply 320 kbps, in comparison to a file at 192 kbps CBR, which is better? What if it's compared to 192 kbps VBR instead? 
    I know that the answer will partly do with saving space on the hard drive, but let's say that that's not too much of a problem what with external portables these days.
    I really appreciate any helpful comments so, thanks.
  2. goodvibes
    I'll probably be in the minority here but for me, 320 CBR is the best standard lossy. I tend to prefer AAC but Lame is universal. The tech brigade will likely tell you abr or vbr is better but that hasn't been my experience in use. Lame is an improved version of MP3. the higher the bit rate (larger #), the lower the compression (better). VBR is a variable compression that should give more significant bits at the same bit rate but I tend to prefer the tempo of CBR at the highest bit rates. Try for yourself as I suspect most would disagree about the VBR thing.
  3. nick_charles Contributor
    Do you really mean this, are you really suggesting that the use of VBR or CBR or ABR can alter the tempo of the music ?
    All MP3 methods slice the original signal up into equal time-based (1152 samples) frames in the same way afaik 
  4. BlindInOneEar
    I ripped much of my CD collection back when I had a Core 2 Duo processor.  Now I'm running a much faster Quad Core i7 processor.  The bad news is those tracks now sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks in a helium environment.  On the other hand, the extra speed the new processor has lets me get through an entire evening's worth of music in only a half hour or so!  [​IMG]
  5. Achmedisdead
    VBR LAME all the way. CBR is just wasting space. 
  6. goodvibes
    [​IMG] perceived. I prefer aac as well because even lame sounds like it gain rides more and it's the sense I get for VBR even though I understand that's not the process. Tempo was probably the wrong word since things still happen when they are supposed to but we know how much the word PRAT is hated in these parts.[​IMG] Actually I just don't use lossy anymore but whatever. I knew I'd get grief over my perspective. Why I told him what the settings meant and to run his own test instead of preach as many do.
  7. MusicalChillies
    I presume that is sarcasm.
  8. bigshot
    You should always use VBR at bitrates below 320, no matter what codec you choose. It can only help and can't hurt at all. At 320 VBR really doesn't do much.
  9. weirddub
    I avoid MP3's like the plague
  10. Chimecho
    So I'm not sure what to gather from the responses so far, but after some additional reading, it seems that VBR provides better quality? I also noticed that often even though two files are listed at 320 kbps, the quality varies (one sounds pushed back, distant almost), despite being CBR files (I'm assuming). Is there a reason behind this?
  11. goodvibes
    Too much reading and not enough listening. Get a cd, rip it to wav or FLAC and convert the same file at different algorithms. Compare for yourself and let us know what you think.[​IMG]
    No one can tell you which will be the best combo of efficiency and sound for you.
  12. bigshot
    320 files sould all sound pretty much the same as the original. However some codecs lower the volume to avoid clipping. Just turn the volume up a bit and it will sound the same.
    VBR can raise and lower the bitrate as needed up to a maximum of 320. So it can help at lower bitrates, but it doesn't do much for 320 because that's already maxed out.

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