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Guide to Ripping & Encoding High Quality MP3s
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LiquidAcid
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 12:25 PM Local time: Apr 7, 2008, 06:25 PM #76 of 108
I remember playing a lot of these SCUMM interpreter games from LucasArts when I was younger (Larry, Space Quest, etc.). All of these older games were "commandline" interpreter based (except the mouse which could be used to walk around). You typed in the things you wanted the character to do.
My english was terrible back then and I was always sitting with a dictionary in front of my father's desktop computer (Intel 286). But I managed to master these games, despite all the difficulties.

Now these were games, and today I have a bit more experience with the english language. Using the commandline (oh yes, the commandline is NOT DOS - that's just plain wrong) is the same as telling Roger Wilco to stuff a ladder into his pocket (I'm still wondering how he did that...) - only much more advanced.

I don't see the problem with commandline, I'm seeing a problem with a mega colorful dumbed down interface with just one big button "DO IT" and no way to tell the app how to do it (in fact you would not see the other buttons even if there were any because of the overflowing usage of visual effects).

And I wasn't quite PC savvy back then, my primary problem was the language.

I'm not saying that everyone should go back to the commandline and abandon all graphical interfaces, but it's just wrong to think (or tell people) that using cmdline is deprecated. And it's not only for the computer expert but for everyone who can read and understand the english language (or you're lucky and ther app was multi-lang support). Everyone can open a commandline on his system and roam around his system using "cd" and "dir", that's no rocket science. And if you're lost you can always type "help" (at least on the windows cmdline).

The problem here is that most people don't even understand the concept of a directory or a file, even if the concept is based on our reality (and is quite simple). We're not going to solve this with even more eye candy...

As already said. There are a few basic concepts you need to know, everything else you have to look up (docs, google, etc.). So one of the basic concepts is how to look up information, including the use of a search engine.

I am a dolphin, do you want me on your body?

Last edited by LiquidAcid; Apr 7, 2008 at 05:35 PM.
Spikey
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 05:19 PM Local time: Apr 8, 2008, 08:49 AM #77 of 108
I'm fine with DOS commands- obviously, I played plenty of Sierra games and had to learn DOS.

What I don't understand is particular command-line program code, individual to each program (as opposed to cd and dir and so forth). There's plenty of command-line DVD-Audio rippers whose command-line programs are near-impossible to use because of all the commands and switches you have to configure.


And I don't think I said using command-line programs is going to result in worse quality because of the program- it's because of users being bombarded with terms they don't know, that the worse quality results. I personally find MP3 switch terminology confusing and I have a good understanding of encoding and am an audio enthusiast. I just don't feel the need to know it, when I can use a GUI which does the same thing.

I'm pretty good with Google, too.

BTW, I didn't even realise English was your second language- you speak near-perfectly.

- Spike

I was speaking idiomatically.
LiquidAcid
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 06:09 PM Local time: Apr 8, 2008, 12:09 AM #78 of 108
I'm fine with DOS commands- obviously, I played plenty of Sierra games and had to learn DOS.
Great :-)
Another user who spend countless hours on editing config.sys and autoexec.bat to squeeze out another 2KB to run a particular game! *g*

What I don't understand is particular command-line program code, individual to each program (as opposed to cd and dir and so forth). There's plenty of command-line DVD-Audio rippers whose command-line programs are near-impossible to use because of all the commands and switches you have to configure.
That's probably a problem originating from the Windows world. On the *nix side you have rather standardized commandline tools. Means the syntax and calling conventions are very similar. And most of the time the app supports a call with "--help" or "--longhelp" to get a brief intro (or the long one) on the usage. Manual pages are almost always included with a software package explaining what which option and flag does.
However one should not forget the topic "sane defaults", that's what you mention above. The author of the application should set some standard options which work for the majority of the people, sometimes that's possible but sometimes not.
The best thing with these apps is to create a wrapper script supplying "your" sane defaults to the app (plus the parameters from outside of the script). I have 7zip installed on my gentoo box and 7zip doesn't have GUI yet, so I always use the commandline to compress/decompress. Because the standard parameters don't fit my needs I have written two small scripts, one for normal compression and one for password encryted compression. Like the FLAC-MP3-transcoding script this one is integrated into my context menu.
Even better is getting in contact with the author of the app and discuss changes with him. Especially open-source projects are very interested what the user thinks about their work. And they are even more approachable when they notice that you've put a lot of effort into your ideas. The ne plus ultra situation is someone supplying sourcecode patches implementing his ideas to the project (I'm currently doing this for the pcsx-df PSX emulator project, but it's only a source cleanup in a plugin).

And I don't think I said using command-line programs is going to result in worse quality because of the program- it's because of users being bombarded with terms they don't know, that the worse quality results. I personally find MP3 switch terminology confusing and I have a good understanding of encoding and am an audio enthusiast. I just don't feel the need to know it, when I can use a GUI which does the same thing.
Ultimately it boils down to CBR / VBR encoding mode and which quality I want. I would already appreciate it if people would stop using CBR mode if they are intending to playback the audio on a recent system or portable and instead use the superior VBR modes.
There are still a lot of other options, concerning input audio format, ID3 tags, replaygain, joint stereo options, filter options, psychoacoustic model tuning, etc. - but LAME does pretty good with sane defaults and when doing your regular encodings from WAVE files with header you don't have to change anything there.

I'm pretty good with Google, too.
See, and it helps a lot, doesn't it? :-)

BTW, I didn't even realise English was your second language- you speak near-perfectly.
Thanks, I always though it was terrible. :-)

Cheers,
liquidAcid

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?
Spikey
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Old Apr 9, 2008, 11:02 AM Local time: Apr 10, 2008, 02:32 AM #79 of 108
Hey man,

Quote:
Great :-)
Another user who spend countless hours on editing config.sys and autoexec.bat to squeeze out another 2KB to run a particular game! *g*
In case you didn't know, I run a Sierra game music website- Sierra Music Central

Yeah, I spent way too much time editing those guys, not just for memory, but for Sound Blaster settings- damn SETBLASTER variable.

Quote:
Manual pages are almost always included with a software package explaining what which option and flag does.
However one should not forget the topic "sane defaults", that's what you mention above. The author of the application should set some standard options which work for the majority of the people, sometimes that's possible but sometimes not.
MP3 has no sane defaults. People still think CBR is the way to go, or that any VBR settings are fine as long as it's VBR. You shouldn't need to be choosing complex options, you should have only CBR or VBR, and if one, then which quality. That's why I like these drag and drop encoders, that's all you can do.

It's definitely possible with MP3. LameDrop isn't perfect but it's a lot better than recommending command-line to everyone, IMHO.

Quote:
The best thing with these apps is to create a wrapper script supplying "your" sane defaults to the app (plus the parameters from outside of the script). I have 7zip installed on my gentoo box and 7zip doesn't have GUI yet, so I always use the commandline to compress/decompress. Because the standard parameters don't fit my needs I have written two small scripts, one for normal compression and one for password encryted compression. Like the FLAC-MP3-transcoding script this one is integrated into my context menu.
Do you mean a batch file (or equiv. in Linux), or programming something?

Quote:
Even better is getting in contact with the author of the app and discuss changes with him. Especially open-source projects are very interested what the user thinks about their work. And they are even more approachable when they notice that you've put a lot of effort into your ideas. The ne plus ultra situation is someone supplying sourcecode patches implementing his ideas to the project (I'm currently doing this for the pcsx-df PSX emulator project, but it's only a source cleanup in a plugin).
that's fine, but I'm of the opinion that a program should be able to be used. If there's no manual or a poorly written one, then that's the maker's/dev's fault(s) and will put people off.

But we're digressing- we're not talking about users like us, we're talking about the mass public, who don't know what CBR or VBR is- do you think they're asking LAME dev's what -v means, or much else? They don't even post here much about that stuff.

Quote:
Ultimately it boils down to CBR / VBR encoding mode and which quality I want. I would already appreciate it if people would stop using CBR mode if they are intending to playback the audio on a recent system or portable and instead use the superior VBR modes.
There are still a lot of other options, concerning input audio format, ID3 tags, replaygain, joint stereo options, filter options, psychoacoustic model tuning, etc. - but LAME does pretty good with sane defaults and when doing your regular encodings from WAVE files with header you don't have to change anything there.
Well, exactly- that's why these GUI's have VBR at the top and CBR is always listed second.

LAMEDrop supports tagging and decoding, so it's a pretty sweet deal. I don't think many people are concerned with tuning or filtering (if you are, go become a LAME dev, you sound more than qualified!).

The point being, we're talking about acceptable gamerips. Really, 192 CBR would be acceptable to most, but when we're talking about recommending an encoder, we should be ditching the command-line confusion and saying "Hey, there's this great little program called LameDropXPd. Easy to configure to get great quality MP3 files. Blah blah blah.." and so forth.


And your English is extremely good. Most Europeans speak better English than most native speakers, to be honest! (Assuming you're European, but it seems the most likely.)

- Spike

How ya doing, buddy?
LiquidAcid
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Old Apr 9, 2008, 01:35 PM Local time: Apr 9, 2008, 07:35 PM #80 of 108
In case you didn't know, I run a Sierra game music website- Sierra Music Central
Will take a look, didn't know about that.

Yeah, I spent way too much time editing those guys, not just for memory, but for Sound Blaster settings- damn SETBLASTER variable.
I started very late with soundcards so I used the PC speaker for most of my DOS games. Made it very easy to setup the game but the sound quality... we shouldn't talk about that :-)

MP3 has no sane defaults. People still think CBR is the way to go, or that any VBR settings are fine as long as it's VBR.
Sure, concerning quality there can't be sane defaults because everyone has to decide for themself how much quality they want. But I was more referring to your DVD-audio rippers.

You shouldn't need to be choosing complex options, you should have only CBR or VBR, and if one, then which quality. That's why I like these drag and drop encoders, that's all you can do.
That's also what the commandline encoder does. If you simply call it with
Code:
lame -V2 yourfile.wav
it produces a good quality MP3 file. No need to set any more options. But if you want you can modify a lot more options. That's what most drag and drop encoder frontends lack. If I wanna do something more sophisticated they all fail.
Of course you can argue if choosing a GUI over cmdline is a matter of taste (in the simple setup, where you don't wanna change any more options except the encoding quality). You may already have noticed, I'm quite retro when it comes to this

It's definitely possible with MP3. LameDrop isn't perfect but it's a lot better than recommending command-line to everyone, IMHO.
The problem is that most people hate the keyboard. They want to reach to every far end of the system with a simple click. If people were more accustomed to using the keyboard I suspect using cmdline would not be such a big problem for them. That's probably again a matter of taste. I also use both keyboard and mouse, but personally I find it far more intuitive to use commandline.

Do you mean a batch file (or equiv. in Linux), or programming something?
Just a simple batch/bash script. No need to fire up your development environment.

that's fine, but I'm of the opinion that a program should be able to be used. If there's no manual or a poorly written one, then that's the maker's/dev's fault(s) and will put people off.
I totally agree. The thing is that I'm using a lot of free software here (free is open-source for me). There is quite a bunch of tools and applications that are really good, even surpassing anything commercial I have seen in the windows world. But I'm not paying anything to the developers, who put their own free time into their projects.
To give these projects something back I give the authors feedback about bugs or feature requests in their code. That's the least I can do. And it pays off. If someone uses 5 minutes of his time to write a decent bugreport for the problem it's sometimes fixed within a couple of days. Try that with a commercial program. Likely you're totally ignored by the support and when the new version comes out you have already switched to another app (or the new version costs additional money). Or the bugs wasn't fixed at all.
Plus you have the community. That's very different when working on Windows. I rarely see people posting bugreports for closed-source software. The whole mindset differs. Like you said e.g. the people expect the software to work, if not they blame the programmer/author.
I can't blame the programmers and I can't demand anything.

One example: My friend was having boot problems after he updated his linux kernel the last time. Downgrading was no options because he needed the new functionality. The problem was a lengthy delay when scanning for harddrives. Didn't happen with prior versions, so something was wrong. Now his laptop is rather old, something around 5 years, or even more. There is definitely no support for it.
I encouraged him to post his problem in the kernel bugtracker. He did and a developer did take a look at the problem, wrote some additional debug code which my friend tested on his system. I took only 2 days to solve the problem. The patch to the problem is now included in the stable gentoo kernel sources.
Try this on windows, you won't get far when encountering such kind of problems. People are forced to update hardware because support runs out, even if it's only five lines of code to change (code they don't have access to).
See... different mindset :-)

But we're digressing- we're not talking about users like us, we're talking about the mass public, who don't know what CBR or VBR is- do you think they're asking LAME dev's what -v means, or much else? They don't even post here much about that stuff.
I expect people to read the manual which comes with their hardware. I do the same for software. If you blame the programmer that you can't use a particular piece of software and you haven't even read the docs... you're just stupid. Software is sophisticated... nobody does expect to drive a car if he hasn't used one in his whole life... so why does anyone make such assumptions for software?

Well, exactly- that's why these GUI's have VBR at the top and CBR is always listed second.

LAMEDrop supports tagging and decoding, so it's a pretty sweet deal. I don't think many people are concerned with tuning or filtering (if you are, go become a LAME dev, you sound more than qualified!).
I think the LAME project is doing very fine without me :-)
However I was thinking to apply to the Google Summer of Code in the next year. Maybe helping the wine project or so... (so I can finally play Blood 2: The Chosen on linux )

The point being, we're talking about acceptable gamerips. Really, 192 CBR would be acceptable to most, but when we're talking about recommending an encoder, we should be ditching the command-line confusion and saying "Hey, there's this great little program called LameDropXPd. Easy to configure to get great quality MP3 files. Blah blah blah.." and so forth.
I agree, but I would replace the "Blah blah blah.." with "And if you need more options take a look at LAME itself". Give people the opportunity to use a software to their full extent.

And your English is extremely good. Most Europeans speak better English than most native speakers, to be honest! (Assuming you're European, but it seems the most likely.)
European is right, german to be exact. However I had a terrible english teacher. I made some improvement through english movies and literature though. My sister is far better when it comes to languages. Something that will always stay beyond my grasp (but that's fine with me *g*).

Greets from Germany,
liquid

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joshuak
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Old Oct 27, 2008, 06:34 PM Local time: Oct 27, 2008, 04:34 PM #81 of 108
Thanks very much! I was looking for a way to get better quality from CDs I have!

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Janice1423
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 04:50 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 11:50 AM #82 of 108
Hello eveyone,

i've got a problem with foobar2000.
does anyone know why the bitrate is not constant if you convert several
ape/flac-tracks to mp3?
i chose MP3-LAME V4, 165kBit/s. but sometimes the botrate is 192, sometimes 160, sometimes 224.
it always varies. what do i have to do to make it constant?

thanks in advance, janice1423

There's nowhere I can't reach.

Last edited by Janice1423; Dec 17, 2008 at 03:25 AM.
LiquidAcid
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 04:54 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 10:54 AM #83 of 108
The question is: Why do you want a constant bitrate?

VBR stands for variable bit rate, so you can expect different average bitrates when encoding multiple files.

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.
Janice1423
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 05:01 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 12:01 PM #84 of 108
i just like constant bitrate!
"VBR stands for variable bit rate". i was not aware of that, sorry.

is it impossible to make the bitrate constant (with foobar2000)?

How ya doing, buddy?

Last edited by Janice1423; Nov 7, 2008 at 05:06 AM.
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 05:13 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 04:13 AM #85 of 108
i just like constant bitrate!
"VBR stands for variable bit rate". i was not aware of that, sorry.

is it impossible to make the bitrate constant (with foobar2000)?
Constant bitrate is pointless. VBR v0 is really second only to lossless for sound quality. It uses the bitrate when its needed and lowers it when it isn't. it's the best quality in the least space. If you're not running in .flac or apple lossless, you should be running v0.

I was speaking idiomatically.


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Janice1423
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 05:18 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 12:18 PM #86 of 108
thanks for all your responses

my question was: is it impossible to make the bitrate constant (with foobar2000)?
a simple "yes" would do. if the answer is "no" (if it IS possible) please explain me how to do it constant.

thx in advance

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?

Last edited by Janice1423; Nov 7, 2008 at 09:10 AM.
Bloggs
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 06:30 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 11:30 AM #87 of 108
Quote:
i chose MP3-LAME V4, 165kBit/s
I've never used foobar but can't you just choose a constant bitrate instead of a variable one?

FELIPE NO
LiquidAcid
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 07:22 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 01:22 PM #88 of 108
Sure, you can use LAME in CBR (constant bitrate) mode and just select the bitrate.

I think what fb2k does is to let the user select sort of a "target bitrate". Of course such a thing doesn't really exist and is probably based on a bunch of selected encodes.

@Janice: So yes, it's possible. Read the LAME docs how to do it. Maybe fb2k doesn't expose the functionality, but LAME is completly capable of generating CBR encodes.
Keep in mind though that CBR rate is obsolete. If you wanna max out quality/filesize ratio then use VBR modes.

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Janice1423
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Old Nov 7, 2008, 09:14 AM Local time: Nov 7, 2008, 04:14 PM #89 of 108
Sure, you can use LAME in CBR (constant bitrate) mode and just select the bitrate.

I think what fb2k does is to let the user select sort of a "target bitrate". Of course such a thing doesn't really exist and is probably based on a bunch of selected encodes.

@Janice: So yes, it's possible. Read the LAME docs how to do it. Maybe fb2k doesn't expose the functionality, but LAME is completly capable of generating CBR encodes.
Keep in mind though that CBR rate is obsolete. If you wanna max out quality/filesize ratio then use VBR modes.
thank you

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Lousy
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 04:05 PM Local time: Nov 11, 2008, 11:05 PM #90 of 108
i just like constant bitrate!
"VBR stands for variable bit rate". i was not aware of that, sorry.

is it impossible to make the bitrate constant (with foobar2000)?
Hi Janice, yes it is possible with foobar2000 to make the bitrate constant. I've tried to figure it out how (by reading .. etc. .. ) but i dont know how (step-by-step procedure). Indeed, foobar2000 has no exposure for LAME constant bitrate settings (and the manipulation of its settings/options/configuration is pretty hairy). Foobar's GUI is optimized for LAME VBR, no doubt on that. (otherwise we would have found out WITHOUT READING ANY MANUALS *RTFM* how to set it to CBR).

And i use LAME V0.

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Janice1423
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Old Nov 13, 2008, 02:59 PM Local time: Nov 13, 2008, 09:59 PM #91 of 108
thanks for the information, lousy. sorry i didn't say "thank you" earlier. but i'm really rarely in this "Guide to Ripping & Encoding High Quality MP3s " thread.

i appreciate your help

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Rimo
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Old Feb 1, 2009, 07:03 PM #92 of 108
Hey Moguta, it seems like LAME 3.98 (3.98.2?) is the current stable release. I haven't noticed anyone using it yet, but I guess it is safe to go with it, right?

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Moguta
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Old Feb 2, 2009, 06:18 PM #93 of 108
Hey Moguta, it seems like LAME 3.98 (3.98.2?) is the current stable release. I haven't noticed anyone using it yet, but I guess it is safe to go with it, right?
Indeed. I've certainly been using it recently. 3.98 has some minor quality and speed enhancements. And you can now specify very granular VBR quality settings, like -V 2.24 for example, rather than being constrained to whole integers.

Guess that means I have to update the guide for the new version, huh?

Additional Spam:
Cleaned up a few other things too.
  • Updated 'Encoding from Files' section to reflect changes in Foobar2000 v0.9.6
  • Removed all mention of the rare, long-stagnated Musepack codec
  • Updated LAME to version 3.98.2 and Ogg Vorbis to aoTuV 5.61
  • Changed recommended Error Recovery read-attempts to Medium


I was speaking idiomatically.


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Last edited by Moguta; Feb 2, 2009 at 09:05 PM. Reason: This member got a little too post happy.
Basil
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 10:44 PM Local time: Mar 22, 2009, 09:44 PM #94 of 108
So I decided I'm going to stop using LAME 3.97 and instead use either LAME 3.98 or LAME 3.98.2. I don't upgrade mp3 encoders often (I prefer lossless over mp3) and to me it seems like 3.98.2 has just a very minor fix.

Would it be just as reasonable to use 3.98 instead of 3.98.2, at least until the next version of LAME (ie 3.99) gets released?

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?
Moguta
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 06:57 PM #95 of 108
Might as well use 3.98.2 since it doesn't really make sense not to get those bugfixes.

FELIPE NO


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neothe0ne
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 10:23 PM #96 of 108
Hi Janice, yes it is possible with foobar2000 to make the bitrate constant. I've tried to figure it out how (by reading .. etc. .. ) but i dont know how (step-by-step procedure). Indeed, foobar2000 has no exposure for LAME constant bitrate settings (and the manipulation of its settings/options/configuration is pretty hairy). Foobar's GUI is optimized for LAME VBR, no doubt on that. (otherwise we would have found out WITHOUT READING ANY MANUALS *RTFM* how to set it to CBR).

And i use LAME V0.
God knows why you'd need cbr mp3, but all you do is select LAME, go to custom, and replace "-V 2 --vbr-new" with "-b 192" or w.e it is you want.

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Basil
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 11:02 PM Local time: Mar 23, 2009, 10:02 PM #97 of 108
Might as well use 3.98.2 since it doesn't really make sense not to get those bugfixes.
Well, the fact that #gamemp3s seems to have upgraded to 3.98.2 seals the deal for me, I will start using that then. Thanks.

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Moguta
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Old Mar 25, 2009, 06:52 PM #98 of 108
God knows why you'd need cbr mp3, but all you do is select LAME, go to custom, and replace "-V 2 --vbr-new" with "-b 192" or w.e it is you want.
(I hope you realize you're responding to a post nearly 5 months old. o.o)

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Frolov
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Old Mar 28, 2009, 05:08 AM Local time: Mar 28, 2009, 02:08 PM #99 of 108
Question

Guys, what's the difference between the modes "new VBR" and "old VBR" on Lame encoder?
I am kinda new in ripping my CDs using VBR. Previously I ripped'em using CBR.
I use the following settings in Easy CD-DA Audio Extractor
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/8054/settings1u.jpg


Should I be using Min bitrate limit when I am ripping with VBR V0?

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LiquidAcid
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Old Mar 28, 2009, 07:02 AM Local time: Mar 28, 2009, 01:02 PM #100 of 108
You should disable min and max bitrate, since the VBR algorithm should figure out this itself. It's generally only needed if your playback device can handle VBR. but not fully (some very old portables can handle VBR if the bitrate per frame doesn't exceed like 192kbit/s - a friend of mine still owns such a device, so he needs this options).

Concerning the VBR mode. You probably should read the LAME docs (and the mailing list) about this topic. Some time ago the LAME project became dissatisfied with their VBR implementation, so they did an entire rewrite of the thing.
However they left the old VBR implementation inside the code, so the user could switch back and forth between them. This was necessary in the beginning since the new implementation was doing some things better but a lot things he did worse than the old impl. However this is long ago and the new VBR mode is now considered more efficient and smarter than the old one. Since the new LAME release the new VBR mode is the default one. So you probably never want to go back to the old mode.

I wouldn't the surprised if some time in the future the old code is completly removed.

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