Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

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Christina
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Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by Christina » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:12 pm

What's your opinion on the best VBR settings *of all time* for mp3 - when you don't care about file size? I've looked at a few threads, but it seems most consider file size of importance.. which again, I really don't care about. I'm just trying to find the best mp3 settings.. that will sound closest to my FLAC versions.

I'm converting direct from CD and not from FLAC. I meant that ^^ I've already converted my CD's to FLAC and want the absolute highest quality mp3 versions now.

I've been messing mostly with minimum bitrate and bit reservoir, more than anything.. so far, I can't tell too much difference when I tweak those.

Soooo, what's your opinion? What settings would you use to crank out the highest quality mp3s?

Fwiw, here's the last setting I used:

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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by nohitter151 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:15 pm

Christina wrote:What's your opinion on the best VBR settings *of all time* for mp3 - when you don't care about file size? I've looked at a few threads, but it seems most consider file size of importance.. which again, I really don't care about. I'm just trying to find the best mp3 settings.. that will sound closest to my FLAC versions.
Well, it does seem a little illogical to not care about file size when you convert to mp3s, since lossless files would be much better for serving that purpose. But you seem to have flacs already, so I guess you need mp3 for some compatibility issues or something.

Anyway, hydrogenaudio is a great place to look into file encoding/sound quality, etc.:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php ... chiving.22
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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by Peke » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:14 pm

unless you use $150+ headphone sets to listen on your $400+ player 44khz/V2 ~192/No limits on Min & Max and Using bit and ISO checked. Especially as you have FLAC. But this is my opinion.
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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by s1d » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:24 pm

looks like the settings you have are fine. VBR is mostly for those concerned with filesize, though, hence the variable part. might as well rip to 320 no VBR if you dont care about file size.

as long as you stay 192 or above, there is not often an audible difference. i use settings at about what yours are.

quincydubois

Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by quincydubois » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:42 pm

locked my computer up

MMFrLife
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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by MMFrLife » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:58 pm

VBR actually degrades your files more (2 degradations - size reduction and frequency manipulation) than just the size reduction of CBR.
It is only necessary at around 160 or lower. It is merely a "simulation" of sound dynamics that are lost from low data retention at such low bitrates.
And you'd need exceptional equipment to make it sound really good, anyway.

192 CBR and higher will retain enough of the dynamics. The sizes of 192 are very low relative to the storage capacities of todays drives and devices.

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Aff
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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by Aff » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:05 am

MMFrLife wrote:VBR actually degrades your files more
There is no difference in dynamics or frequency manipulation between VBR and CBR!

VBR does the same as CBR, but at a variable bitrate. So VBR uses high bitrates for more complex parts (e.g. lots of instruments or chorus) and low bitrates for simpler parts (e.g. silence or solo).
So if you compare CBR 192 kbps to VBR with an average of ~190 kbps, VBR will definitely sound better.
(In early times there were some problems with VBR, but these are gone since many years).

As the highest bitrate of the MP3 standard is 320 kbps, you should use this with CBR to get the best quality, when you don't care about file size!
Alternatively you could use VBR with the "extreme" preset (-V0, ~245 kbps), which uses up to 320 kbps only where needed. But using VBR only makes sense if you do care about file size!

Theoretically you could use even higher bitrates with lame up to 640 kbps, but most MP3 players (don't know about MM) wouldn't be able to play them, and it wouldn't make sense as similar rates are achievable with FLAC (~750).

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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by MMFrLife » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:27 am

Aff wrote:There is no difference in dynamics or frequency manipulation between VBR and CBR!
Interesting. Do you have a source article on how it achieves that without actually altering the data further than simple reduction?
Aff wrote:VBR does the same as CBR, but at a variable bitrate. So VBR uses high bitrates for more complex parts (e.g. lots of instruments or chorus) and low bitrates for simpler parts (e.g. silence or solo).
If enough of the data is already still there at a higher CBR what is the point to additionally varying the bitrate (varying the bitrate is itself a manipulation, regardless of whether it betters or worsens it)?
Aff wrote:So if you compare CBR 192 kbps to VBR with an average of ~190 kbps, VBR will definitely sound better.
(In early times there were some problems with VBR, but these are gone since many years).
I believe this to be a matter of perception. Yes, it might actually sound better to some. But is it inherently better, in terms of what's been done to the data, or
just percieved to be better. I've played around with examples similar to yours in the past and don't find the VBR to sound better, maybe at best "around" the same.
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Aff
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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by Aff » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:21 pm

MMFrLife wrote:altering the data further than simple reduction?
Are psychoacoustic models "simple reduction" in your opinion? The reduction mechanisms are basically the same for CBR and VBR.

MP3 is encoded in many small pieces, called frames. CBR means each frame has a (nearly) constant bitrate. VBR means, each frame can have a quite different bitrate.

Imagine a very simplistic example: one frame is silence, another one is a complex signal.
With CBR in both cases 192 kbps would be used, even if it is not needed to encode silence and may not be enough for the complex signal.
With VBR 32 kbps would be good for silence, so 320 kbps can be used for the complex signal to achieve the highest possible quality, resulting in an average bitrate of only 176 kbps.

With CBR you get a constant file size, but varying sound quality (if below 320 kbps).
With VBR you get a varying file size, but should get a constant sound quality.

You may start with the Lame help as a source, or just read the internet :wink: . What source do you have for your statements?
MMFrLife wrote:If enough of the data is already still there at a higher CBR what is the point to additionally varying the bitrate (varying the bitrate is itself a manipulation, regardless of whether it betters or worsens it)?
Well, if 192 is always enough for your ears and music, you could simply use VBR to reduce the file size.
MMFrLife wrote:is it inherently better, in terms of what's been done to the data, or just percieved to be better. I've played around with examples similar to yours in the past and don't find the VBR to sound better, maybe at best "around" the same.
As explained above, it should be better in both ways. MP3 is always lossy data manipulation. The difference with VBR is, that the loss is smaller where it is more audible and bigger where it is less audible, so the perceived quality should be better.
But as human beings have individual perceptions and physics, maybe it could happen, that VBR doesn't make the perfect decision on each frame. I haven't done intensive comparisons between VBR and CBR myself, but just compared a few tracks now (ABX blind test). And indeed I've found a track where VBR is worse than CBR. Though the differenc is minimal (you couldn't notice it in a normal hearing environment) I'd like to further investigate on this.

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Re: Your Opinion? All Time Best VBR MP3 Advanced Settings?

Post by MMFrLife » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:52 pm

Aff wrote:You may start with the Lame help as a source, or just read the internet
I've read much of that and you are good at representing it :wink:

But taking the variation in size out of the equation, since the V in VBR refers to bitrate not size, even though that is also an effect,
I certainly believe that what all the info says is theoretically true. But for higher bitrate encoding, I just don't hear that adding a few more bits to louder,
more complex parts and less to silent or quieter/less complex parts improves the quality (in practice). The quality naturally improves
the higher the bitrate, either way. The higher and higher you get with bitrate, the closer you get to lossless. With lossless there is no need to artificially
vary the vbitrate. So, as you go higher and higher, varying the bitrate, at some point along the way (like say, 192), becomes negligible (even though,
"theoretically" it should still make a noticeable difference).

If you keep the bitrate the same across all passages (at around 192 or higher CBR), the lower, less complex parts are still represented lower and with
less complexity (well enough) and the higher parts are still represented higher and with greater complexity (well enough).
Does VBR allocate bits properly, necessarily or by some mathematical aproximation of what it thinks will best duplicate the
original sound? So, what truly wins out? The imperfections of evening everything out or variable guessing?

"I" don't pick up enough of a difference at 192 or higher CBR vs VBR.
I mean, yes, I can hear a bit of a difference between the two, but I don't translate it as being better, just a bit different. And I do consider myself to have
audiophile ears. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-VBR. And I guess I could retract the word "hurts" that I used in my op; replacing it with "messes with more", maybe.
I've just only experienced it making much of a difference back when I encoded my files at 128Kps (which is also a point made around the net, although,
it seems moreso nowadays in forums rather than site articles).

Nowadays, to balance between size and quality (because I also house music movie/video related content on my music drive), I use FLAC for what is most important to me and mp3 cbr/192-320 for stuff I like but is less important, as indicated in degree by range of bitrate.

Ultimately, one should use what is liked. The sound that makes one happy is the only one that matters! 8)
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