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Old 10-19-2011, 01:09 PM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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Default LAME -q setting used by foobar2000 to transcode FLAC to mp3

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Last edited by Celestial Being; 10-22-2011 at 03:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2011, 02:09 PM
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As far as I'm concerned there is no -q setting for FLAC or MP3. For FLAC, there's compression levels. And foobar2000 uses level 5 by default I believe (you can change this of course).

For MP3, foobar2000 has the VBR presets, which is -V, not -q. V0 is the highest VBR setting and that's what I use most often for my MP3's. In the conversion menu there is a slider where you can choose between various VBR presets.

Here is a screenshot of my foobar2000 conversion menu for MP3:

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Last edited by McDougal; 10-19-2011 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:26 PM
skip252 skip252 is online now
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No one approves or disapproves of whatever settings you decide to use. No one has to listen to your files but you. It's more that they know that the thought to use 320 CBR files is based on a basic misunderstanding of lossy encoding. The same people that wrote and tuned the LAME encoders are the ones that make the recommendations how to get the best quality encodes. If 320 CBR was better that's what they would recommend. That's how they roll.

You don't see a -q setting on CBR encodes because you have chosen a bitrate, not a quality level.

CBR= Constant bitrate - Variable quality.

VBR= Variable bitrate - Constant quality.

There are mechanisms in place to try to assure the quality doesn't drop in CBR encodes but they are less robust. If you want an assurance of quality you would have to pick a setting that's tuned to assure that.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
No one approves or disapproves of whatever settings you decide to use. No one has to listen to your files but you. It's more that they know that the thought to use 320 CBR files is based on a basic misunderstanding of lossy encoding. The same people that wrote and tuned the LAME encoders are the ones that make the recommendations how to get the best quality encodes. If 320 CBR was better that's what they would recommend. That's how they roll.

You don't see a -q setting on CBR encodes because you have chosen a bitrate, not a quality level.

CBR= Constant bitrate - Variable quality.

VBR= Variable bitrate - Constant quality.

There are mechanisms in place to try to assure the quality doesn't drop in CBR encodes but they are less robust. If you want an assurance of quality you would have to pick a setting that's tuned to assure that.
Technically though 320CBR would assure high quality because it's the highest bitrate, right?
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2011, 04:33 PM
skip252 skip252 is online now
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First, I wasn't clear about the -q setting. There is one but that's determined by LAME not foobar2000. Depending on what bitrate you choose LAME decides what -q setting to use.
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Technically though 320CBR would assure high quality because it's the highest bitrate, right?
More bits doesn't necessarily mean better audio quality. If you are going to encode to CBR, it's the best. But,
Quote:
CBR is only recommended for usage in streaming situations where the upper bitrate must be strictly enforced.
Planning on doing any streaming of your files under those circumstances? When I look at that it seems to say it's better if you want a predictable file size, not the best audio quality.

It seems that a lot of people read that 320 CBR is the "best" and stop reading. When you are deciding which to go with it's best to read the entire page from the Wiki. If you do you'll come across this line
Quote:
VBR is best used to target a specific quality level, instead of a specific bitrate. The final file size of a VBR encode is less predictable than with ABR, but the quality is usually better.
If you are looking for the best quality for the usual setup VBR is the way to go. Given the choice between predictable file size best suited for streaming or quality that's usually better I decided to go with what the developers say is better for my uses.

Considering no lossy encode is considered of true archive quality "Better" stops at what you can ABX. If it makes someone feel better to create files of any type or size that's what they should do. Larger files make some feel better, files that are usually of better quality are what others are looking for. Each person should do what makes them feel best.
EDIT:
Almost forgot to say, if you're interested in which -q setting was used get yourself a copy of MediaInfo. I use the GUI/without installer zip. You can either install it or just run it from the extracted folder. You can have it create a context menu if you care. Really handy for quickly checking media file properties. Like most general purpose tools you may not get the most detailed info but it will supply quite a bit.

Last edited by skip252; 10-19-2011 at 04:46 PM. Reason: add link to Mediainfo
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2011, 03:54 AM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:38 PM
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Thanks guys for the info on lame. I thought that -q was only in ogg.
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2011, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestial Being View Post
As I mentioned, foobar2000 doesn't let you know what -q switch is used when it transcodes FLAC to mp3, it only lets you know the bitrate. However, the LAME -q setting (setting for quality setting algorithm used in encoding) is important in determining the final audio quality.

Thank you everyone for replying to my post.

Hopefully foobar2000 uses -q0 for 320 CBR.
q only really applies to the old VBR code and to CBR, neither of which you should be using. Just use -V2 (or maybe V0 if you really don't care about huge bitrate) and you don't have to care about -q.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:10 AM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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Last edited by Celestial Being; 10-22-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestial Being View Post
There is no right or wrong way to do it, no "should be".
It should be transparent at –V3 for most listeners and most music.
Quote:
For me, I want the highest quality mp3 files on my 98dB SNR PMP.
If it is noise that you do not want introduced in your MP3s, -V3 might still be OK.
Quote:
I can perceive audible differences in some audio tracks at VBR bit rates that Hydrogenaudio proclaims as transparent.
Are you perhaps suggesting that you have ABXed some MP3s at –V0 with LAME 3.99 and can hear the difference? But you cannot hear the difference when you ABX with 320 kbps? ABX as in using, say, foobar2000 with the ABX comparator?

http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx.
Quote:
320 CBR will always sound at least as good and possibly better than any lower bitrate VBR.
So you have tested this theory by ABXing 320 kbps MP3s against uncompressed WAVs and by ABXing -V0 MP3s against uncompressed WAVs?

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index....22archiving.22:
Quote:
-b 320. This is the strongest setting for MP3, with the lowest risk of artifacts. With the exception of a few situations, quality is rarely better than the highest VBR profiles described below.
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  #11  
Old 10-21-2011, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestial Being View Post
For me, I want the highest quality mp3 files on my 98dB SNR PMP.
98dB SNR is some fantasy marketing exaggeration. 16 bit audio has a theoretical/mathematical SNR of about 96dB. This is generally impossible to reach in real hardware, and very good devices have about 90-92dB SNR in reality. This doesn't mean that the microphones used for recording the music might have more than 70-80dB SNR. None of this matters for MP3 encoding, though - high quality VBR vs. CBR won't change the SNR in any perceptible way.
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  #12  
Old 10-21-2011, 01:15 PM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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Last edited by Celestial Being; 10-22-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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  #13  
Old 10-21-2011, 01:29 PM
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16bit digital audio cannot have more than 96dB SNR, and that only in theory. It doesn't matter what the hardware specs claim. Since the CDs you ripped are 16bit (not 24 or 32bit), you're getting a standard 90-92dB dynamic range under ideal conditions.
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  #14  
Old 10-21-2011, 01:58 PM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2011, 03:15 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestial Being View Post
I posted (for me) in BOLD in my previous post, just to prevent this.
Yes, we all know you like to have larger files that probably do not have an increase in sound quality compared to an encode made at a quality setting.
Quote:
I already told you that I have perceived difference(s) in VBR, in lower bitrates that Hydrogenaudio deems "transparent" in "some" audio tracks.
Yes, I know you have already claimed to have perceived differences. What I wanted to know is if this was from unbiased listening or from biased listening. Even at –V0, there might be some tracks that still have compression artefacts. Even at 320 kbps, there might be some tracks that still have compression artefacts.
Quote:
Unless you are the developer of the psycho-acoustical model that LAME uses for VBR, please refrain from your accusation(s).
Which accusations?
Quote:
LAME uses a psycho-acoustical model in VBR. The psycho-acoustical model will have weaknesses. Did you ever stop to think that maybe I have come across those weaknesses?
Yes, I know that no matter how good a lossy encoder gets, there might still be compression artefacts. Did you come across those weaknesses from unbiased listening or from biased listening?
Quote:
If I find one music track that I perceive an audible difference in audio quality when listening to a lower VBR deemed "transparent" by Hydrogenaudio, then it's over for me.
No matter how good LAME gets, there might, one day, be some music that has compression artefacts—at –V0 or 320 kbps.
Quote:
I don't need to test anymore. I'm the one listening to the music.
With an ABX test, you are listening to the music.
Quote:
If the source is very good, my listening experience benefits.
Quality settings from –V3 to –V0 produce high-quality MP3s. The source is better than very good. The source is outstanding.
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Trading file space for audio quality is not worthwhile for me.
You are probably not trading file space for audio quality. You are probably getting the same audio quality but with larger files. And, yes, I know there might be a few exceptions.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:22 PM
Celestial Being Celestial Being is offline
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  #17  
Old 10-21-2011, 03:39 PM
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Slightly off-topic, but I just encoded an album to -V0 from FLAC using the new 3.99, via foobar2000.

For some reason my encode came out with ID3v1 tags (along with the standard ID3v2.3). Is it supposed to do this? When I used older versions of LAME to encode, this never happened. My preferred tag writing scheme in foobar2000 is set to only ID3v2.3. Is there a way to prevent it?
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestial Being View Post
You just admitted there are exceptions.
I do not think I have ever denied that there are exceptions.
Quote:
I just explained to you that NO psycho-acoustical model can ever be perfect, just by the nature of what it's trying to accomplish.
And I believe that I have agreed that all lossy encoders, no matter how much improvements are made to them, might still produce files that might have compression artefacts.
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Are you really that "dense" or do you enjoy being a troll???
I do not think I am dense. I have received praise for the high quality of my posts from The DarkSide, Marvin the Martian, and dfkt. And, no, I do not think I have been a troll.
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2011, 04:11 PM
skip252 skip252 is online now
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You need to update to the latest version of LAME 3.99 McDougal. There was a bug that caused the first one issued to write tags when it shouldn't have. The one that's up now on Rarewares still has the version number 3.99 but it will have the date 2011-10-18. I haven't tested the fixed version personally but the same people that reported the bug say everything's OK.

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
You need to update to the latest version of LAME 3.99 McDougal. There was a bug that caused the first one issued to write tags when it shouldn't have. The one that's up now on Rarewares still has the version number 3.99 but it will have the date 2011-10-18. I haven't tested the fixed version personally but the same people that reported the bug say everything's OK.

Thanks for the info. I thought I already had the latest, guess I didn't.
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