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EAC / Lame Settings, Maybe this could be sticky?
Demon Dan
post Apr 1 2003, 21:16
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Hi - can anyone tell me cos I'm a little confised...

1) In EAC which parameter passing scheme should you use?
Lame MP3 Encoder or User Defined Encoder?

2) Which additional command line options should you use?
just --alt-preset extreme
or --alt-preset extreme %s %d
or %l--alt-preset 128%l%h--alt-preset extreme%h %s %d

3) Do most people use standard or extreme for portable listening. I know the answer is to try it - but I don't have my portable MP3 player yet and through my mediocre PC speakers both sound the same. I want to be able to play MP3s through a hi-fi when I travel so more interested in quality than absolute minimum file size.

Thanks!

Dan.

This post has been edited by Demon Dan: Apr 1 2003, 22:40
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AndyIEG
post Apr 1 2003, 22:02
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1) i just use EAC in Lame MP3 setting (cause i dont have to think about %Variables for teh ID3 Tag)

2) atm i use "--abr 128 -h --nspsytune --athtype 2 --lowpass 16 --ns-bass -8 -b32 -Y" (notice i had to add b32 cause if i dont do it eac seems to give some other stuff to LAME and just use a -b96 setting)

3) i use the setting under 2) standard or extreme is something for the hardcore MP3 gurus im personal did live 20 yeahrs with audio cassets and bugged Dolby code and crappy headphones and never did care much about, i just was happy to have something little in my pocket wich can play music :9

If u own a 12cm CD portable MP3 player wich uses normal "big" CDs than the standard settings are fine, for myself i dont like standard/medium or the new portable/1 settings just simple the files are to large. So i use the upper settings atm, but even 128kbit ABR produce very large files for memory card or small 80mm MP3 Disc player. My dream would be to get around 8 normal CDs at one 80mm CD (200MB) or 1 256MB memory stick.

For portable useage no "perfect" settings exist atm, but since in the new Beta the portable/portable1 settings are implemted its seems the LAME Dev team is aware of this problem. But those settings still produce very large files in my eyes.

I played around with variuos settings in the last 2 days and all depends on how many music u want on a Disc/Stick.

some settings for portable usage:
--preset 112/128/140 (just the nice build in abr settings)
--abr 128 -h --nspsytune --athtype 2 --lowpass 16 --ns-bass -8 -b32 -Y (my actual setting mainly got from http://ff123.net/)
--preset portable
--preset medium
--preset standard -V 4 -Y (VBR encoding at lower rate)

seems the target rate for "good" portable usage is 128 (after some tests even my crappy ears could hear the diff. compared to 96/112) but i still would like a 96kbit like file size with 128kbit overall sound quality...

I just can hope that the LAME Dev team find a preset wich produce a 128kbit file but is noticable smaler than the actual.

This post has been edited by AndyIEG: Apr 1 2003, 22:03
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DickD
post Apr 2 2003, 16:08
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Most of the artifacts with MP3 can be heard with crappy equipment, and are often more obvious with headphones or earbuds than loudspeakers. Unlike good or bad CD or vinyl hardware, it's not noise levels, frequency response or harmonic distortion that is usually the problem with bad MP3 encodings. A noisy environment will hide some but not all artifacts, so personally I'd go for the best quality for a portable player.

Once you've spotted an artifact you will probably spot it every time you listen (and gradually educate yourself to what to listen for), so to avoid reencoding as you start to recognise them and get dis-satisfied with the quality, wouldn't it be best ot encode in high quality to start with?

Sure, ABR around 128 is better than CBR 128, but it can still lack lustre or suffer poor stereo imaging compared to --alt-preset standard. If you get a good portable, you may appreciate the difference.

So, I'd suggest, stick to Lame v3.90.2 (dibrom compile - see FAQ/sticky for location and why it's recommended here even though there are later versions)
Set it as a User Defined Encoder and use --alt-preset standard in EAC (set the bitrate to about 192 kb/s only to give an estimate of file sizes - it doesn't change the commandline)

I think the %s and so on makes no difference for lame, but it doesn't do any harm either.

Dibrom said recently that --alt-preset standard aims to be completely transparent in all respects for music. It does have some audible artifacts (i.e. usually slight perceivable differences to the CD).
Where it fails on these rare artifacts, there is either a flaw in its psychoacoustic model of human hearing or a limitation of the MP3 format.

Thus, extreme, which uses the same psymodel and format, tends to be hardly any improvement over standard in any of these situations, so it doesn't fix the problem or sound better and just uses more bits to encode a little more sound that you can't perceive.

Dibrom recently said it was mainly there to satisfy some people's need to have a psychological feeling of a margin of safety. If extra bits are wasted, it must be safer, better quality, in their minds. This is almost entirely placebo effect - human nature for feeling that something is better because you believe it ought to be better. If he didn't provide Extreme, people would start tinkering with the Standard commandline and risk making quality worse to satisfy this need. At least with Extreme, people still had virtually transparent sound, even if some bits are wasted.

There are some rare artifacts in subtle problem samples that weren't known about during the extensive tuning process of 3.90.2, and there are some suggestions that adding -Z can fix these. Then again it might make other samples worse, causing different artifacts (it hasn't been widely tested)

So, stick to lame --alt-preset standard and enjoy.

If you need to save bits, the most effective way is to add a -Y to the commandline. This reduces the use of the very highest frequency band, which the MP3 format forces to be inefficient in use of bits for most of the time (the lack of sfb21 scalefactor). This may take away a fraction of the sparkle and presence, but is the biggest bang-for-buck in saving bits within the MP3 format. Very little quality loss for a worthwhile bitrate saving.

Also, if you encode stuff that's mostly mono or has very little stereo image (CDs only contain stereo, but vintage recordings often have the same on left & right channels), you may find bitrates all very close to 128 kbps on --alt-preset standard. For these near-mono recordings it might be worth using --alt-preset standard -b 32 to squeeze more onto your portable at very high quality.

I personally don't have a portable to stay compatible with, so I now use MusePack (.MPC) instead, which is just as good in --standard, better for artifacts, smaller files, gapless and supports ReplayGain tags. My only portable music player is a MiniDisc Recording Walkman which is very good, but not as good as lame --alt-preset standard nor as bitrate-efficient.
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Amadablam
post Apr 2 2003, 17:47
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I don't use mp3 all that often, but here's my answer:

If you want total control over lame, tell EAC to use an external program for compression, set the drop-down box to "User Defined Encoder", and set your path to point to lame.exe (wherever it is on your machine). Here's what I use this for the "Additional command line options":

CODE
--alt-preset standard --add-id3v2 --tt "%t" --ta "%a" --tl "%g" --tn "%n" --ty "%y" --tg "%m" %s %d


You can change the alt-preset to fit your needs, and surely you can get rid of "--add-id3v2" if you do not wish to use id3v2 tags. All the "--t*" parameters are there to automatically tag your files (title, artist, album, tracknumber, year, and genre), and the %s and %d parameters specify your input and output files, respectively. Since you are telling lame to tag the file, make sure you uncheck the "Add ID3 tag" option in EAC.
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