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RazorLame help, Trying to convert FLAC to MP3
CGC
post Feb 2 2010, 14:26
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Hi,

I am new to this forum and to the use of these software programs. I need some guidance.

My intent is to convert my CD collection, first to FLAC then to MP3. I have read a lot on the subject, maybe too much as it is starting to confuse me, but my goal is to create the best possible MP3 files I can. I am not concerned about file size.

I believe I have successfully setup EAC andhave converted a couple of test CDs to FLAC. I then installed RazorLame and the latest version of LAME within the same folder.

Not real confident at the RazorLame settings but I believe I have it set to the best VBR (320) settings. However, When I attempt to add the FLAC files to RazorLame, nothing appears within the program. I used the program's 'Add File' procedure and also tried to drag and drop the FLAC files into RazorLame to no avail. Nothing appears in the program.

Probably something obvious but the reason is escaping me. Thanks in advance for any help which can be provided to this novice.

Chris
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.halverhahn
post Feb 2 2010, 14:50
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Razorlame... good old time. I'm using today foobar for all types of converting.


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lvqcl
post Feb 2 2010, 17:03
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QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
my goal is to create the best possible MP3 files I can. I am not concerned about file size.

Then just use FLAC, not MP3.

QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
Not real confident at the RazorLame settings but I believe I have it set to the best VBR (320) settings.

But 320 kbps files cannot be VBR.


QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
Probably something obvious but the reason is escaping me.

RazorLame doesn't support FLAC. And your LAME encoder doesn't support FLAC, too.
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CGC
post Feb 2 2010, 18:32
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QUOTE (lvqcl @ Feb 2 2010, 11:03) *
QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
my goal is to create the best possible MP3 files I can. I am not concerned about file size.

Then just use FLAC, not MP3.

QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
Not real confident at the RazorLame settings but I believe I have it set to the best VBR (320) settings.

But 320 kbps files cannot be VBR.


QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 16:26) *
Probably something obvious but the reason is escaping me.

RazorLame doesn't support FLAC. And your LAME encoder doesn't support FLAC, too.


If it does not support FLAC, that would explain a lot. I do not understand the VBR settings. I need the MP3 conversion as I like to make MP3 CDs to play in the car.
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DVDdoug
post Feb 2 2010, 19:07
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For converting FLAC to MP3, try:
XRECODE*
LameDropXPd

Another option would be to rip with EAC twice, once to FLAC, and once to MP3. Or, you can probably use REACT along with EAC to rip to FLAC & MP3 at the same time. (I don't use REACT, and I know how to do that.)



*this is the older free version of XRECODE. XRECODE II is $15 USD.


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trout
post Feb 2 2010, 19:11
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For a simple and easy to use conversion tool, try LameDropXPd

It supports FLAC input and tag copying. Right-click on the program to set options.

- Encoding Options -
use the [Quality] section for VBR encoding, or the [Bitrate] section for CBR

- Tagging Setup -
check "Copy oggvorbis/FLAC comments"
check the id3 option you prefer
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lvqcl
post Feb 2 2010, 19:11
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Vote for foobar2000.
Just install it in portable mode and use as a converter.
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CGC
post Feb 2 2010, 19:50
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QUOTE (lvqcl @ Feb 2 2010, 13:11) *
Vote for foobar2000.
Just install it in portable mode and use as a converter.



Thanks for the info. I guess I will be looking into these options and scratch the Razorlame idea. I have read that EAC is great for ripping to FLAC but not so hot for making MP3 files. Yet, I have also read that it is best to use the two step process; rip to FLAC, then convert to MP3.

I just want to create the best MP3 file I can and from my research, the VBR approach will do just that. Yes? I am not well versed when it comes to the command line settings for achieving the best bitrate.

CGC
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pdq
post Feb 2 2010, 19:55
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Best bitrate or best quality? If you mean highest bitrate then what you want is not vbr, but cbr, at 320 kbits/second.

If on the other hand you want vbr then the bitrate is not fixed but will vary with the source material. The highest quality vbr setting is -V 0. This will save significant file size over cbr 320 but should nearly always give results that are audibly identical.

This post has been edited by pdq: Feb 2 2010, 19:56
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CGC
post Feb 2 2010, 20:07
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QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 2 2010, 13:55) *
Best bitrate or best quality? If you mean highest bitrate then what you want is not vbr, but cbr, at 320 kbits/second.

If on the other hand you want vbr then the bitrate is not fixed but will vary with the source material. The highest quality vbr setting is -V 0. This will save significant file size over cbr 320 but should nearly always give results that are audibly identical.



Best quality. Does this VBR setting apply to any particular program? Foobar2000; LameDropXPd?
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DVDdoug
post Feb 2 2010, 20:34
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QUOTE
Best quality. Does this VBR setting apply to any particular program? Foobar2000; LameDropXPd?
Almost all of these programs use the same underlying LAME encoder.

320kbps CBR is the "absolute best". It uses the least compression, gives you the biggest files, and therefore "throws-away" less data.

At lower bitrates, VBR is better... For a given average bitrate, VBR gives you better quality. It's "smarter" and it will use high bitrates for complex music, and lower bitrates for simple sounds and silence.

With VBR=0 (the best VBR setting) your average bitrate will be lower than 320... It will only use 320 when needed. Does that make sense??? The only way to get 320kbps all of the time is to use CBR...




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greynol
post Feb 2 2010, 20:39
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Different programs might present different interfaces. The best programs are the ones either give you full control or will present you with the simplest options that correspond exactly to the guidelines set forth in our wiki without adding extra things without your knowledge.

I don't know where you read that EAC isn't great for creating mp3s. It can be a bit complicated if you want to encode flac and mp3 at the same time and do other things like grab artwork and do replaygain but many people seem to manage ok with applications like REACT. When it comes to just doing mp3s, EAC works very well all by itself.

This post has been edited by greynol: Feb 2 2010, 20:40


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CGC
post Feb 2 2010, 21:23
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QUOTE (greynol @ Feb 2 2010, 14:39) *
Different programs might present different interfaces. The best programs are the ones either give you full control or will present you with the simplest options that correspond exactly to the guidelines set forth in our wiki without adding extra things without your knowledge.

I don't know where you read that EAC isn't great for creating mp3s. It can be a bit complicated if you want to encode flac and mp3 at the same time and do other things like grab artwork and do replaygain but many people seem to manage ok with applications like REACT. When it comes to just doing mp3s, EAC works very well all by itself.


I believe I got that info from the Radified Guide to Ripping... Maybe it is dated but I got the impression that it is most beneficial to first rip to a lossless format such as FLAC. Then convert to MP3 using LAME and an accompanying program such as Foobar200 or RazorLame. I would then burn the result to either a CD to play in the car or to a DVD for extended play in the house. I had not heard of these other programs but will certainly look into them. I need to learn and I have not grasped it all yet.

Can you suggest a good start-to-finish process?
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greynol
post Feb 2 2010, 21:27
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For EAC look through these:
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...gory:EAC_Guides

There are certainly other games in town besides EAC, however (foobar2000, dbpoweramp), though it has pretty much been the de facto standard for a long while now.


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CGC
post Feb 4 2010, 03:38
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QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 2 2010, 13:55) *
Best bitrate or best quality? If you mean highest bitrate then what you want is not vbr, but cbr, at 320 kbits/second.

If on the other hand you want vbr then the bitrate is not fixed but will vary with the source material. The highest quality vbr setting is -V 0. This will save significant file size over cbr 320 but should nearly always give results that are audibly identical.


Testing LameDropXPd3 and it seems to work well. Is there a way to select Joint Stereo with this program? Seems 2 channel stereo and 44.1 KHz is the only option.

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trout
post Feb 4 2010, 04:25
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It should output with joint stereo by default. Are you sure you are getting discrete stereo? If so, what encoding setting did you use?

You don't want 44.1 kHz? By default, LAME will only resample at lower bit rates. AFAIK LamedropXPd offers no sampling rate override.
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johnsonlam
post Feb 4 2010, 05:14
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QUOTE (CGC @ Feb 2 2010, 21:26) *
Not real confident at the RazorLame settings but I believe I have it set to the best VBR (320) settings.


Chris,

You may fallen into a trap of "higher bitrate better sound".

Most important of MP3 is the psychoacoustic model, up to now LAME developers did an excellent job, so we can enjoy good sound quality even the bitrate is not set to maximum, VBR means LAME will decide which part of the music need higher bitrate, so maximum bitrate is not really necessary, otherwise you should stick to FLAC.

And most important is your own preference, only you can make up the decision, try LAMEXP since it's GUI have a very clear picture of bitrate vs quality, and it did have a multithreading support.

Foobar2000 is good but the conversion still not very friendly, RazorLAME was outdated, I stop using it long time ago.


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CGC
post Feb 4 2010, 14:31
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QUOTE (trout @ Feb 3 2010, 22:25) *
It should output with joint stereo by default. Are you sure you are getting discrete stereo? If so, what encoding setting did you use?

You don't want 44.1 kHz? By default, LAME will only resample at lower bit rates. AFAIK LamedropXPd offers no sampling rate override.



I have read that Joint Stereo is the best option. It appears LameDropXPd defaults to 44.1 which may be fine. I am just trying to get the best possible result. My current home and car players will not play .FLAC so this is why I am converting to MP3.

However, while testing LameDropXPd last night, I successfully converted Disc 1 of the Beatles White album from FLAC to MP3. However, after ripping the second disc (using EAC and same settings), LameDropXPd would not accept any of the ripped files. Whether I tried to drag a single file or the whole disc, LameDropXPd immediately closed and the error log returned that they were in an unrecognizable format.

Doing something wrong.
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trout
post Feb 6 2010, 19:55
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QUOTE
... I got the impression that it is most beneficial to first rip to a lossless format such as FLAC.

If you are going to keep the FLACs as a backup of your CDs, then yes. If it is only a stepping stone to MP3, then it is a complete waste of time.

QUOTE
an unrecognizable format

Did you attempt to verify that the FLACs are valid files? Are they playable? Can flac.exe decode the file(s) without errors?
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CGC
post Feb 6 2010, 20:13
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QUOTE (trout @ Feb 6 2010, 13:55) *
QUOTE
... I got the impression that it is most beneficial to first rip to a lossless format such as FLAC.

If you are going to keep the FLACs as a backup of your CDs, then yes. If it is only a stepping stone to MP3, then it is a complete waste of time.

QUOTE
an unrecognizable format

Did you attempt to verify that the FLACs are valid files? Are they playable? Can flac.exe decode the file(s) without errors?



Yes, they are playable. Being so new to EAC and LameDropXPd I haven't a clue what I may have done differently. Any idea what the LameDropXPd error 'Unrecognized format error is: Invalid argument (22)' means?

Thanks
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trout
post Feb 6 2010, 21:22
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Yes, they are playable.

That's good, but only as a quick test. Some software is more error tolerant than others, so I would also run a more thorough test. Either run a decode with flac.exe on the command line, or if that is unfamiliar territory, just use a tool like AudioTester.

If the files check out as good, then I don't know what the problem could be. Maybe just a quirk with LameDrop. Is the problem just with this one disc, or others too? If it's just this one disc, I'd work around it and move on.
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CGC
post Feb 6 2010, 21:31
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QUOTE (trout @ Feb 6 2010, 15:22) *
QUOTE
Yes, they are playable.

That's good, but only as a quick test. Some software is more error tolerant than others, so I would also run a more thorough test. Either run a decode with flac.exe on the command line, or if that is unfamiliar territory, just use a tool like AudioTester.

If the files check out as good, then I don't know what the problem could be. Maybe just a quirk with LameDrop. Is the problem just with this one disc, or others too? If it's just this one disc, I'd work around it and move on.



Not that I understand any of this, but I used MediaMonkey to decode a FLAC file back to WAV and it worked properly. As far as LameDrop, it is happening with multiple discs including the disc that worked just the other night so I am assuming it has something to do with the EAC settings.

I tried using xrecodeII to convert the files to MP3 and that worked but I have no idea how to set that program up. They all came out at 128. My head is starting to hurt.

Thanks for the help, though.
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evereux
post Feb 6 2010, 21:58
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Some pointers on using Foobar2000 if you wish to convert FLAC to MP3.

Install Foobar2000.
Download Lame Bundle 3.98.2 and put Lame.exe in the Foobar2000 folder (or C:/Windows).
Add your files to Foobar2000.
Select / Highlight all the files you wish to convert.
Right click > Convert > ... (first time only, if you're happy with your set-up select last used) >
Output format MP3 Lame
Select Output path
Choose name formatting (ask for examples if required)

Job done, hopefully. smile.gif


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CGC
post Feb 6 2010, 22:34
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QUOTE (evereux @ Feb 6 2010, 15:58) *
Some pointers on using Foobar2000 if you wish to convert FLAC to MP3.

Install Foobar2000.
Download Lame Bundle 3.98.2 and put Lame.exe in the Foobar2000 folder (or C:/Windows).
Add your files to Foobar2000.
Select / Highlight all the files you wish to convert.
Right click > Convert > ... (first time only, if you're happy with your set-up select last used) >
Output format MP3 Lame
Select Output path
Choose name formatting (ask for examples if required)

Job done, hopefully. smile.gif


I am trying. Seems the best or extreme setting is restricted to 245. Is that correct? Again, I am looking for the best possible output, VBR 320+, Joint Stereo, etc. I do not see where these settings are available in Foobar2000.

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lvqcl
post Feb 6 2010, 23:05
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QUOTE
Seems the best or extreme setting is restricted to 245. Is that correct?

No. It is approximate average bitrate.

QUOTE
Again, I am looking for the best possible output, VBR 320+

Not possible. Either VBR or 320 kbps.
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