What bitrate should MP3s be encoded at to prevent loss of sound quality? I guess it depends on the individual person and ear, but I’m just wondering if there’s a general idea out there about at what point the MP3 becomes indistinguishable from the WAV file. I feel like 192 sounds just like the WAV, maybe even 160…what do people think? Thanks.
Well, a MP3, even at CBR 320kbps will lose quality, as it is not a lossless format. For my own ears 256kbps CBR sounds just as good as the original CD. However it is just down to opinion, many people can’t tell the difference between 128kbps MP3 and a CD. There is no such thing as “CD quality” in a lossless format, I think it was in Windows Media Player 8 that Microsoft decided to declare 64kbps WMA “CD Quality”, it sounded awful, hollow, and nowhere near CD quality. I think since they claim 128kbps is “CD Quality”, but to me I can still hear a difference. I am sure that this thread will just have a lot of replies saying what people think sounds good to them, but in reality, it is down to you, do some tests, see if you can spot the difference yourself.
For most 192kbps is considered “CD Quality” so 192kbps and up depending on preference as most cannot hear any discernable difference.
Anything below 192kbps is usually discernable to most people.
I use EAC to rip my CD’s. I rip @ 192K (soild) 44.1 Hz. I dont hear any diff to wavs.
Words of wisdom
Personally I hear the difference from a .wav with ANY bitrate used, no MP3 sounds good to my ears (unless the original .wav didn’t have much high frequencies and a Frenhaufer encoder is used at max bitrate - then I can’t always tell the difference from the original :o ). But it’s all down to each person as bcn_246 rightly states. Most people consider 192kbps as quite sufficient.
Make your own opinion!
–alt-preset standard was designed to be transparent. Use it. Love it.
I use 192 but apparently using VBR say between 128 and 320 is a good idea, this means thruout the track the quality changes depending on wether there is lots of detailed sound or not. So if there a gap in the song that part would be at 128 but if there is an intense part with lots of instruments it would be at 320 so it doesnt sound so bad. This way you get quality + space. (thats the way i look at it) I was gonna do this but i dont have to time to rip all my music to 128-320 VBR.
VBR (variable bit rate) over CBR or ABR (constant or average) hands down, use LAME either 3.90.3 or 3.96.1 (maybe with a nice GUI like RazorLAME or WinLAME), and go APS (alt preset standard, transparent for most), more info here “www.hydrogenaudio.org”.
I use EAC and LAME to encode at 192VBR. These sound pretty darn good, but I’m under no illusions as to the “CD Quality” of them. There’s no such thing. It’s all a matter of what sounds ‘good enough’ to you.
Ive always used CDEX and encoded at 192kbps CBR, its simple and i personally cant tell any difference from the original.
Thanks for the info and input everyone.
Question for Francksoy: What is a Frenhaufer encoder?
Oh man, that is a pet peeve up there with calling Maxell “Maxwell”… IT CAN’T BE 192, IF IT’S VBR!
It’s VBR centered around 192. How hard is that to understand? The LAME options allow you to specify a central bitrate. I center it at 192. If I centered it at 128, I’d call it 128VBR. It’s easier than saying “minimum 32, maximum 360, weighted towards 192”. Jesus.
That is called ABR (Average Bit rate). ABR is a type of VBR. When people say “128Kbps VBR” they probably mean “128kbps ABR”. ABR is just a type of VBR that allows users to predict the output size better.
how does the itunes format fit in …128 aac or acc or whatever…
bcn_246 has got it. No one says the range of the VBR, either, just the switch they used, like --alt-preset standard, --alt-preset extreme, etc.
Personal backups are alt preset insane - lame. Alt preset extreme is fine as is also 192, 224, 256, 320 cbr imo. I just pick the best solution in case i misplace a cd and since i have many cds to back up 320 js is a fine compromise. For ipod jogging i use standart vbr or 192 cbr
I prefer VBR for better quality, 192K+