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Newbie with VBR and ABR MP3's and choosing Bit Rates
halb27
post Apr 28 2013, 20:59
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As the OP is talking about '~245 bit resouviour turned on' (????) there's certainly still some confusion on his side. But as it sounds like he will turn to foobar as the conversion tool things hopefully will be easier to him.


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DigitalMan
post Apr 28 2013, 21:23
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Something we need to explain is that LAME has a number of presets ("V0" to "V10" or so; can't remember for sure). These presets include all of the encoder settings that the developers have determined through extensive listening tests to offer the most transparent (can't distinguish from the original CD) sound for a given target bitrate.

So, it is usually recommended that a user stick to the "v" settings and vary the "v" level to trade off your personal priority of transparency to you on your music vs. file size.

Stop worrying about settings and just choose a V level that works for you.

Personally I use V4 as it works for me 99% of the time transparently and I don't care if I get an occasional audible artifact. I can always revert to my lossless FLAC if I want perfection.

This post has been edited by DigitalMan: Apr 28 2013, 21:26


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ThomasG3rd
post Apr 29 2013, 00:42
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QUOTE (Ouroboros @ Apr 28 2013, 12:38) *
QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 28 2013, 19:21) *
.... where you came up with this as an average.

Possibly the HA Wiki entry for LAME, which shows 245 kbit/s as the "Target" for V 0?

Yes, Thats what I meant for average, of where to set media monkeys settings. Since getting involved with using testers to test where each song should go (I just dont have the time) its easier to just let lame choose it for me. No min or max setting and enable bit res. V0~245 is the VO settign Media Monkey uses. It seems from what I learned (from the information that I have been kindly recieving) is that without testing each song with software that can tell me where to put the average BR once it analyzes a song, it seems to let Lame choose it for me. This way it seems like I get the best of both worlds. Forget wasting time playing with lames setttings, since as one person put it, unless you know what you are doing, dont touch the settings to "tweak." I know that Lame is going to choose my average bit rate at a higher level. Will some of it be overkill, I bet you it will, but as many of you said unless that song is analyzed, there is no way of knowing where the target bit rate should be. I will feel more confortable knowing that higher bit rates will be choosen (mind you at ~VO with no max or min setting and BR on, I am gettting an average of 265 with Metal, and 240-35 will classic rock and jazz. Some songs even hit below 200, thats fine, I am trusting lame. My songs won't be perfect, but they will be better then they have been since I am willing to listen to lame and let it decide, plus I dont have to worry about 320 being a means to an end. I even see some of you like V2 or V3 setttings. If I had better computer knowledge, I could edit the lame software by adding in the command lines that some of you spoke of, because it seems like that is how most of you are able to determine the BR. I have bought songs that were VBR's before and I have some Christmas music that is at like 105. Sounds fine to me, but it never bothered me at that bit rate since 1.It was Christmas music, it will get played 2x a year, or 2.It was Perry Como or Bing Crosbey and I highly doubt that Silver Bells needed a whopping BR. I will download Foobar and use that when I get a chance, since it might be better then mediamonkey for ripping CD's. I wish there was software out there that you could just drag your CD songs on, and it will automatically tell you what setttings of lame to use, but it doesnt seem that exist.

This post has been edited by ThomasG3rd: Apr 29 2013, 00:44
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ThomasG3rd
post Apr 29 2013, 00:52
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QUOTE (halb27 @ Apr 28 2013, 12:59) *
As the OP is talking about '~245 bit resouviour turned on' (????) there's certainly still some confusion on his side. But as it sounds like he will turn to foobar as the conversion tool things hopefully will be easier to him.

Im sorry, I think I confused you by not being clear. When using media monkey, and you choose to use VBR, it gives you a number of setting. VO~245 is the highest setting of VBR. Then there is a little box that says advanced settings. If you check it it lets you choose max and min bitrate. It also has a checkbox for enable bit resouviour and another checkbox for enable iso. Since people said dont tweak unless you know what you are doing with lame, I just choose the VO and check the enable BR, with no max or min settings. I stated below that this still might be overkill, but without a good conversion analyzer or having to analyze every single song, it seems like its better choosing these settings, then me playing with lame like I was before this forum started. I was messing around with it so much, unhappy as a song would dip below 224 because of my OCD when it come to my settings. There still where be times that I choose the higher VBR then needed, but until I get more time and a much better understanding of lame, its a start, so am I confused about lame still. But I know I shouldnt be messing with settings unless they are presets, such as the ones I described to you.
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ThomasG3rd
post Apr 29 2013, 01:29
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QUOTE (halb27 @ Apr 28 2013, 11:59) *
As the OP is talking about '~245 bit resouviour turned on' (????) there's certainly still some confusion on his side. But as it sounds like he will turn to foobar as the conversion tool things hopefully will be easier to him.

Just tried Foobar..much easier..no BS settings to tweak around with, but had to download a version of lame..choose version3.99.5 Doesnt have ten million things to do, i just choose vo vbr and thats it, even though Foobar says 320CBR is highest quality, hmmmm, not from what I read from here. There are no options for max or min br, bit resouviour, stereo or joint stereo, and the songs are comiing out great
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greynol
post Apr 29 2013, 06:15
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It would serve you well to empower yourself by conducting your own ABX tests. I bring this up because of the discussion you bumped on the bit reservoir. Instead of relying on information that may or may not be reliable, you could easily test the quality of your encodes for yourself.


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shadowking
post Apr 29 2013, 09:25
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I think mp3 isn't a good choice if your very OCD prone even though the high bitrates have been more tuned in recent releases and its expected to produce acceptable results even in bad cases. Other options are MPC Q6..7 , Vorbis Q7..8, & AAC. Consider even moving to lossless. Get a player (its not hard there are much more options like android devices) that plays flac / wavpack etc and stop transcoding .

This post has been edited by shadowking: Apr 29 2013, 09:25


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probedb
post Apr 29 2013, 10:05
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 01:29) *
Just tried Foobar..much easier..no BS settings to tweak around with, but had to download a version of lame..choose version3.99.5 Doesnt have ten million things to do, i just choose vo vbr and thats it, even though Foobar says 320CBR is highest quality, hmmmm, not from what I read from here. There are no options for max or min br, bit resouviour, stereo or joint stereo, and the songs are comiing out great


I still don't think you've understood what people have told you.

Why do you think you need to play with the default settings? How is foobar much easier? It only became complicated once you decided to start messing with the advanced options. Foobar's slider is a general slider over a range of settings, the lowest option doesn't even mention quality, just "Smallest file".

As you've been repeatedly asked to do, go do some ABXing, you might find they will "come out great" at a lower setting.
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halb27
post Apr 29 2013, 12:04
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I think it's a bit unlucky that now that the OP has found his way which is very much what was suggested to him and now that he his happy with the results more suggestions come up which are able to rise doubts to his new way of doing things.

It's all valid opinion, but just that. Let's be happy that he found his way which I think all of us beleive to be a good one.

@ThomasG3rd:
Sounds like you still are a bit worried about bitrate. You shouldn't. Think of a track which contains large parts of very low volume (silence for instance). Few bits are needed for a perfect quality here. Average bitrate will go down very much when using VBR, for exactly this very good reason.
Also don't worry too much about having read 'CBR320 is best'. It's more of a traditional saying which was true in earlier years of mp3. Today it's a very doubtful statement, and has already been proven wrong at least for some tracks.
You chose the best quality VBR level -V0, and you'll get great quality.


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greynol
post Apr 29 2013, 12:11
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QUOTE (halb27 @ Apr 29 2013, 04:04) *
more suggestions come up which are able to rise doubts to his new way of doing things.

Would you mind being more specific as to what these suggestions are?


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Kohlrabi
post Apr 29 2013, 12:22
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My impression is that most of the confusion comes from the fact that the OP has/had the impression that a high bitrate is desirable, when really the opposite is true.


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halb27
post Apr 29 2013, 13:29
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QUOTE (greynol @ Apr 29 2013, 13:11) *
QUOTE (halb27 @ Apr 29 2013, 04:04) *
more suggestions come up which are able to rise doubts to his new way of doing things.

Would you mind being more specific as to what these suggestions are?

shadowking's remarks in the first place. But I didn't want to be so specific. I just wanted to say that it would be good for a new member who has found his way (and still has some trouble finding peace of mind with it) not to be further confused.


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greynol
post Apr 29 2013, 15:40
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With all due respect, based on your last two posts, it seems that you're the one who is on a mission.

If you can truly detect lossy artifacts then it's a good thing to consider trying more modern codecs which are not hindered with the same limitations as mp3; limitations which can't always be solved by bloating the bitrate.

The suggestion to use lossless also holds merit regarding the circumstances (operating on fear; refusing to perform personal listening tests).

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 29 2013, 17:15


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benski
post Apr 29 2013, 16:51
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Thomas, the problem that you are having is that you are confusing bitrate with quality. They are not the same thing! Some passages of music are difficult to encode, and some are easy. When the bitrate drops temporarily within a song, it is not a drop in quality. It simply happens that it took less space to meet the quality threshold (e.g. V2) that you specified. As an obvious example, digital silence can be encoded at extremely low bitrates (32kbps) without any loss of quality, subjective or objective!

The fact that a "song would dip below 224" (your words) is a byproduct of that passage of the song being simpler in terms of harmonic content. It is the exact same audio quality as the rest of the song.
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ThomasG3rd
post Apr 29 2013, 17:14
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I have done some listening test and yes I have found some songs that dont need a high bitrate. I figured out why the Animals "House of the Rising sun" wouldnt go into VBR mode as I had the wrong settings orginally when using media monkey. The average BR for House was 165 when using foobar and 144 when using mediamonkey both at V0. No audiable difference from my orginal 320CBR version. Funny, that song must not use a BR higher then the 160's. I played it in Foobar and the results were 160's to the 130's for the BR. As for bit resouviour, I can't tell any difference. There is no option to enable or disable it in Foobar and when I ripped Steely Dan's "Black Cow" @V0 came out at 265 and in mediamonkey with bit resouviour enabled it came at 245. I cannot tell a difference between the two. Both songs sound great, the highs are nice and smooth with no harshness and the bass parts of the song hit acuruately and deeply. So the listening test are going good, as if I am using the best settings, well the from my ear standpoint, yes, as for a scientific standpoint I have no idea since I dont have software to determine this. But I am glad that I got responses to this post. My whole point was trying to get sound that was as true to the souce (cd or lossless audio file) as possible in mp3 form, without having to use riducuolous bit rates. I had no idea what VBR was about and I have gained more knowledge. I know that I might be over or under the BR, but I feel much better that I dont have to spend hours tweaking setting just because a song feel below 220br. Thats the habit I was trying to break and even though almost everything here posted are peoples views or opinions, that is fine, since I know that all of you have been using the VBR a lot longer then I have. I am sure some of you are audiophiles or picky about your music. Some of you might care less, but the point was an overview of what people were using. I never mentined anything about the equipment that I was listening my music through since this can be dangerous topic. I dont think the audio quality changes just because of your reciever or computer speakers, well at least not scientifically. Some have mentioned that unless you use high end equipement its pointless to use high bit rates (and I have seen many including Graynol rip them and prove it with evidence that equipment changes the file) One pair of speakers might be good for some and others could think it sounds like a tin can. I will post more as I learn more, and any other ideas on the subject I would love to hear.
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greynol
post Apr 29 2013, 17:26
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So you're using the ABX utility within foobar2000 to determine if you can tell the difference between two versions of the same song? If so then that's great. My only other comment is that you should probably test the lossy encode against the lossless source used to create that encode. If you can demonstrate that you can differentiate between two lossy encodes it doesn't tell you which one, if either (or possibly both, though I doubt it), is transparent to the lossless source.


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ThomasG3rd
post Apr 29 2013, 17:32
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QUOTE (probedb @ Apr 29 2013, 01:05) *
QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 01:29) *
Just tried Foobar..much easier..no BS settings to tweak around with, but had to download a version of lame..choose version3.99.5 Doesnt have ten million things to do, i just choose vo vbr and thats it, even though Foobar says 320CBR is highest quality, hmmmm, not from what I read from here. There are no options for max or min br, bit resouviour, stereo or joint stereo, and the songs are comiing out great


I still don't think you've understood what people have told you.

Why do you think you need to play with the default settings? How is foobar much easier? It only became complicated once you decided to start messing with the advanced options. Foobar's slider is a general slider over a range of settings, the lowest option doesn't even mention quality, just "Smallest file".

As you've been repeatedly asked to do, go do some ABXing, you might find they will "come out great" at a lower setting.

Because Foobar doesnt have any advanced settings. It was complicated because in the beginning I mentioned newbie at VBR. When you never used a format and there are options such as advanced settings (such as MEdiamonkey, Goldwave), they can be confusing. As I stated, I understand what people are telling me which is a number of things:
1.Bit rate at high levels dont always mean quaility.
2.Dont play with advanced settings let lame choose the quality for you
3.Bit resoviour seems to be the overwhelmiing choice, BUT I cannot tell the difference by listening test, but I leave it enabled if Im using mediamonkey.
4.VBR seems to be favored over CBR even if the CBR is higher, VBR such have a better quailty as close to the orginal source at a lower bit rate.
5.One thing that I stilll dont understand is that some say BR doesnt mean quality (at any level.)There had to be a reason that there are "choices for this" Otherwise wouldnt it just be easier to have a standard default BR in lame lets say at 64 and it would all sound the same, thats where my confusion lies, so if you can help me in this area please post.

This post has been edited by ThomasG3rd: Apr 29 2013, 17:34
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2Bdecided
post Apr 29 2013, 17:43
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Has anyone mentioned the FAQ?

Has anyone read the FAQ (or the wiki it leads to on this subject)?

It's quite clear...

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...ncoder_settings

btw, your "Animals" track is probably mono, which dramatically reduces the bitrate required, hence the VBR modes use a lower bitrate.

Of course, on a given track, a higher bitrate means better quality - but that quality may be beyond what you can actually hear, and different tracks needs different bitrates to reach the same perceived quality - hence VBR.

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greynol
post Apr 29 2013, 17:54
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 09:32) *
even if the CBR is higher, VBR such have a better quailty as close to the orginal source at a lower bit rate.

I would not go so far as to imply that it impossible for CBR to give better quality than VBR.

By quality, I mean audible sound quality. Better quality past the point of transparency is meaningless from the standpoint of audibility (which is the name of the game, is it not?).

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 29 2013, 17:59


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Nessuno
post Apr 29 2013, 18:40
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 18:32) *
5.One thing that I stilll dont understand is that some say BR doesnt mean quality (at any level.)There had to be a reason that there are "choices for this" Otherwise wouldnt it just be easier to have a standard default BR in lame lets say at 64 and it would all sound the same, thats where my confusion lies, so if you can help me in this area please post.

A main misconception here is to consider bitrate a target, when aiming for transparency. What a lossy perceptually codec in a VBR mode target for is quality, not bitrate, the latter being a "side effect" of the first AND of the complexity of the source signal AND of implementation optimizations.
Quality is "qualitatively" defined as how much the encoder is allowed to degrade the original signal with respect to the perceptual model implemented. In other words, a quality switch fixes the amount of information the perceptual model allows to throw away to reach a desired level of "closeness" to the source. If, again, a listener aims to subjective transparency, he has to find his own quality level sweet spot for the selected codec and let the encoder do his job, forgetting about all this bitrate stuff.


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benski
post Apr 29 2013, 19:57
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 11:32) *
5.One thing that I stilll dont understand is that some say BR doesnt mean quality (at any level.)There had to be a reason that there are "choices for this" Otherwise wouldnt it just be easier to have a standard default BR in lame lets say at 64 and it would all sound the same, thats where my confusion lies, so if you can help me in this area please post.


There are three basic factors that determine quality in MP3 encoding
1) The scientific sophistication of the encoder. LAME is very mature and has been worked on for a long time. It's fair to say that it is "as good as it gets" for MP3, barring some scientific breakthrough. Older encoders can be worse. A notable example is the "Blade" encoder. It was really, really bad. On the same song, 256kbps CBR Blade will sound worse than 128kbps CBR LAME.
2) How difficult the song is to encode, and this varies not only among songs but also varies within the song itself. Crash cymbals are a lot harder than violins, for example. It is difficult to quantify complexity in terms that make sense to a person.
3) The bitrate. Higher bitrates allow for more quality, but the bitrate itself is only a partial indication of the audio quality. In the case of VBR, you need to be careful about comparing quality based solely on bitrate because the bitrate fluctuates throughout the song. In VBR mode, encoders try to maintain a constant audio quality, and the bitrate can fluctuate. In CBR mode, the encoder maintains a constant bitrate and the quality can fluctuate. CBR only makes sense for fixed-bandwidth applications like streaming internet radio, satellite radio and cable TV. VBR mode is sometimes called "constant quality" to better explain the difference between it and "constant bitrate".

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db1989
post Apr 29 2013, 20:44
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 17:14) *
As for bit resouviour, I can't tell any difference. There is no option to enable or disable it in Foobar and when I ripped Steely Dan's "Black Cow" @V0 came out at 265 and in mediamonkey with bit resouviour enabled it came at 245.
The bit reservoir is enabled by default and should not be disabled without a valid technical reason. Myself and at least one other member have already explained why the feature exists and why disabling it is inadvisable, so I’m not sure why you’re still concerned about it. foobar2000 will also leave it enabled; the different bitrates that you report probably arise from the two programs using different versions of LAME, not any change in the behaviour of the bit reservoir.

QUOTE
I cannot tell a difference between the two. Both songs sound great, the highs are nice and smooth with no harshness and the bass parts of the song hit acuruately and deeply. So the listening test are going good, as if I am using the best settings, well the from my ear standpoint, yes, as for a scientific standpoint I have no idea since I dont have software to determine this.
Do you mean your listening tests weren’t double-blind? Your less than scientific descriptions of the tracks suggest that they might not have been. tongue.gif To be fair, we’re not really going to quibble very much if your tests were sighted and you aren’t reporting a difference, other than mentioning that they’re not very reliable. When people start claiming differences from sighted tests, often with similar language, it’s a different story.

QUOTE
But I am glad that I got responses to this post. My whole point was trying to get sound that was as true to the souce (cd or lossless audio file) as possible in mp3 form, without having to use riducuolous bit rates. I had no idea what VBR was about and I have gained more knowledge.
Good to hear. smile.gif

QUOTE
Some have mentioned that unless you use high end equipement its pointless to use high bit rates (and I have seen many including Graynol rip them and prove it with evidence that equipment changes the file)
I’m not sure what exactly the statement in parentheses is referring to, but since you mention it, I recall a recent allegation that the likelihood of identifying audible degradation increases with more advanced equipment… and I recall greynol responding that some users have observed exactly the opposite and that such such things should not be claimed as general trends when they are far from universally applicable.
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halb27
post Apr 30 2013, 08:10
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QUOTE (ThomasG3rd @ Apr 29 2013, 18:32) *
5.One thing that I stilll dont understand is that some say BR doesnt mean quality (at any level.)

I think best is a demonstration:
I encoded Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' using Lame 3.99.5 -V0 and
a) keeping bitreservoir on (which should be done!) -> Wake_br_on.mp3 (266 kbps)
b) switching bitreservoir off (nonsense of course) -> Wake_br_off.mp3 (284 kbps). Don't expect that the higher bitrate means a higher quality! The higher bitrate is solely due to unused bits.
c) I squeezed the unused bits out of Wake_br_off.mp3 using Omion's great fast and lossless mp3packer tool -> wake_br_off_mp3packer.mp3 (260 kbps !!!). So even with the wrong focus on bitrate you see that Wake_br_on.mp3 is best!

Probably you doubt that the audio data of Wake_br_off.mp3 and wake_br_off_mp3packer.mp3 are identical. But this can easily be verified using foobar:



This post has been edited by halb27: Apr 30 2013, 08:26


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ThomasG3rd
post May 1 2013, 01:43
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Thats really cool, I hardly got a chance to mess around with foobar, but I would love to test some of my tracks, of course when Im done going through the painful labor of re-ripping my cds and flaqs (well converting my flaqs.)

This post has been edited by db1989: May 1 2013, 12:30
Reason for edit: deleting pointless full quote of above post
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ThomasG3rd
post May 1 2013, 02:11
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Since I am cannot re-rip my whole collection, (some of my files were ripped from cd's i dont own anymore) anyone have suggestions if it would be OK to change a wma over to a mp3. My wma collections ranges in 256 to 320cbr mode, non-protected. Since this is a VBR topic, would it be OK to convert the 320's over to MP3 in VBR mode, or is the going to screw up the final result. (and use V1 or V2 for the 256's) The only problem with this would be the ones at 256. I would have to set the encoder to a 256bit rate max, because 320 doesnt exist on a 256. I know im cutting down on the orginal quaility, (well i have to assume i am considering going lossy to lossy) and Im not sure if the final result will result in a messy mp3 or I could go with a ABR? NOt sure so ANy input would be great

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