Quantcast Mini Guide to Make Good MP3s! - digitalFAQ.com Forums [Archives]
10-03-2003, 03:54 PM
azel azel is offline
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A litle mini guide to make GOOD mp3's

I'm not an expert, but I wana say some few words about Mp3 encoding. (Sorry, my english is terrible)

There are a lot of crapy mp3 files on the internet. Many people use the first mp3 encoder they find on the internet, and use it without change any settings. The results will be OK, but far from the best results they can get.

I have a lot of mp3's, and most of them have 128 kbps CBR. But you can improve the quality from "OK" to "best" by rising the bitrate a litle bit, use ABR or VBR instead of CBR, and use the right encoder.

First of all, which mp3-encoder should I use?
LAME. That's the best encoder for bitrates over 128 kbps, and it's free.
Lame is a command line encoder, and have a lot of options. So if you should use it I'll recomand you to use Audiograbber or Exact Audio Copy (EAC).(Those encoders will use Lame as a internal or extern encoder) I'll recomand EAC, but Audiograbber is much easier to use.

If you use audiograbber you have to place Lame_enc.dll in Audiograbber's directory. After that run audiograbber, select Mp3 settings, and choose Lame as internal encoder. Then choose VBR, and VBR 2 on the scala. Choose "high" in quality option. This option will produce a very good results.

To improve the quality even more use EAC (EAC is much better when it reads audio CD's). Download it and the program will tell you which CD drive you should use ect. and sets up recomanded settings for you. But there are a lot of settings, so it can be hard to use if you are newbe...

Why use VBR/ABR?
-Constant Bitrate (CBR)=Each part of your mp3 file will be using the same number of bits. The musical passage beeing a difficult one to encode or an easy one, the encoder will use the same bitrate, so the quality of your mp3 is variable.
-Average Bitrate (ABR)=In this mode, you choose the encoder will maintain an average bitrate while using higher bitrates for the parts of your music that need more bits. The result will be of higher quality than CBR encoding. The average file size will remain predictible.
-Variable bitrate (VBR)=In this mode, you choose the desired quality on a sqale from 9 (lowest quality/biggest distortion) to 0 (highest quality/lowest distortion).
So VBR/ABR will create better quality at bitrates over 128 kbps.

How high bitrate do I need?
To create a good mp3 you need about 140-170 kbps. If you want a very good mp3 and quality is very important, you'll need 170-210 kbps. If you choose VBR 2 in Audograbber you'll get 170-210 kbps. If you choose vbr 4 you'll get about 140-170 kbps.

There are other codecs like WMA, Mp3pro, and AAC MPEG 4.
Let's take a look at this test:

64kbps public listening test, FINISHED

Here you'll see that LAME is very good. Other good things are that you can play mp3 files in most DVD-players and you can also play them in many car-cd players, Discman ect. Most computers have Mp3 codec installed in the system. PS! Use a good Mp3 decoder like WinAmp 2.7, Lame ect. I've tried to install "Thomsons Mp3Pro decoder for WinAmp", but it seems to make worse quality on standard mp3 files than WinAmp's mp3 decoder does.
Mp3 decoder test
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