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MP3 encoders listening tests (10 Jan 2012), Moderation: not TOS #8 compliant
zmejce
post Jan 10 2012, 20:54
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From: Rome
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Hello,
Ive tested mp3 encoders today and I like to share my results.
I havent done spectrum analisys, only listening tests.

Programs used for encoding:
1. dbpoweramp 14.2 (with fraunhofer 4.0.3-latest)
2. iTunes 10.5.2.11 (uses fraunhofer mp3)
3. Easy CD-DA 15 (uses some version of lame 3.98)
4. foobar 1.07 (with Lame 3.98.4)
5. Nero 11 (uses fraunhofer mp3 encoder)

*note: even if there are few fraunhofer encoders, they are not exactly the same, also I've tested only 2 tracks of hard/glam rock genre (band name: Extreme). Also i wanted to test WMP12's mp3 encoder, but i didnt found a way to encode a flac file to mp3 with it, also Ive found out that the flac decoder filter for wmp is with lower quality than other players (ex. winamp, foobar).

The settings used:
CBR 320kbps Joint Stereo, on itunes 10 i checked "filter frequencies below" & "smart optimization".


Filesize results:
Filesize was different (which is strange-because the settings used were same). The biggest filesize were the mp3s encoded with Easy CD-DA. Smallest filesize were the files encoded with dbPoweramp. Nero 11 is somewhere between them.
The difference between Easy CD-DA and dbpower is somewhere ~5%. If a file encoded with dbpoweramp was 8.35mb, Easy CD-DA's was 8.69mb.
Winner: dbpoweramp

Encoding speed results:
Speed results were minimal in difference, the fastest was itunes, dbpoweramp was same or almost same as itunes, while the other encoders were few seconds late.
Winners: iTunes & dbPoweramp


Quality Results:
Sound quality was almost same on all encoders, however there were slight differences.
dbPoweramp gives best sound quality. iTunes makes the mp3s slightly bass boosted, easy cd-da's mp3s: vocals appeared a bit worse- but overall sound appeared more powerful, lame encoded files same as the easy cd-da's just a bit quieter (i mean not so powerful sound), and nero even if it uses fraunhofer it gives worst quality- files sounded like older recording.
Winner: dbPoweramp with fraunhofer, alternative: iTunes for folks that use Mac OS X or want their bass boosted a bit :-)

*note: itunes mp3 encoder might be "optimized" for listening in itunes- i mean about its equalizer, enhancer and similar settings.

For the test ive used:
Core 2 Quad 2.5ghz, audigy platinum ex, audio system: panasonic sa-ak27 2x100W with superwoofer (its 8yrs old but it has quite good quality for home usage)
Ive used Windows Media Player 12 and iTunes 10.5.2 for listening -- files from both players sounded same.


Conclusion:

dbpoweramp with fraunhofer makes the mp3s smallest in size and best in quality-also its fastest or next to itunes, itunes is also excelent, while easy cd-da (with lame) is very good in quality-vocals appeared a bit worse- but overall sound appeared more powerful, and gives ~5% bigger filesize than dbpower (acctually the biggest mp3 size of all encoders ive tested), lame is ok too, and nero even if it uses fraunhofer it gives worst quality and is somewhere between dbpower and cd-da in filesize.
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