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Can someone explain Bit reservoir for me?
post Jan 29 2013, 17:04
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I try to struggle to understand what this does. I am relatively new on this area


What does it do really? Does FLAC have Bit reservoir too?

Thanks in advance!
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post Apr 29 2013, 05:26
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Here's a simpler way (maybe) to explain the Bit Reservoir. MP3 was originally designed for things like internet radio rather than for storing files on disk. In order to be able to "tune in" to an MP3 radio stream, the encoder sends periodic data called a sync word that players look for. The 4-byte sync words are transmitted in intervals that match the well-known bitrates. The Bit Reservoir allows for the audio bitrate and the sync word bitrate to differ from each other slightly. This allows encoders to have finer control over the bitrate on an instantaneous basis, rather than requiring each audio packet to be one of 14 sizes.

I've glossed over some of the details, but this might help.

Some older decoders (early 90's) would not handle MP3 files encoded using the bit reservoir. This is the only reason that encoders even allow you to turn it off. From a technical perspective, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from turning it off. I suspect that most encoders even do bad things when you turn it off, as the bitrate-choosing algorithms were designed with finer control in mind.

This post has been edited by benski: Apr 29 2013, 05:31
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