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audio experts - MP3 encoding question


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In case of VBR, you define a minimum bit rate; if necessary, the encoder will use a higher bit rate, depending on the quality setting. If you use VBR and a high quality level, the encoder will use higher bit rates most of the time, so there is about no audible difference to encoding with a fixed higher bit rate. The file size will still be lower as the encoder won't use a high bit rate all the time. I think VBR is always a good choice. Some very, very old decoders might not accept VBR, but I think this concerns equipment that you don't really want to use anymore.
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Definitely VBR and a high quality setting.

But what do you need the file for? If anybody or any device refuses to accept VBR, go to CBR... After all, there is no guarantee you will be satisfied with what the encoder does. Listen and decide.

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You can upload (uncompressed) PCM (WAV or AIFF) to Soundcloud, actually. No need for MP3 or AAC.

 

Ahh yes. Perhaps I should do that.

 

I think so. I uploaded all newer stuff uncompressed. They "transcode" the file, which means they compress it again. In case you sent a compressed file they might leave it untouched, but more likely they first decode it and then compress it again, causing an additional quality loss.

The only thing is depending on your connection uploading an uncompressed file can take a long time.

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If you decide to upload an MP3 you'll also have to live with transcoding, which can get really ugly. It's not just one more layer of processing, the artifacts become very audible.

 

I recommend using 320 kbit/s CBR, not VBR, if space is not an issue. In my tests (LAME and standard Fraunhofer), CBR yields the closest match with the source.

 

VBR makes sense whenever space is important. VBR playback rarely causes problems today (but I've heard some really bad results with VBR on obsolete players), but some encoders have problems with encoding simplistic signals with VBR and it can be problematic with streaming if the bitrate exceeds the pipeline. I don't think that's an issue with SoundCloud which has plenty of buffering.

 

But won't that be a bit of an issue then? My bounced WAV files are 100mb+ each!

16 bit, 44.1 kHz? Unless there's some solution for providing a separate file for the download version (which I doubt), you'll have to live with transcoding.

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Lagerfeldt. Thanks!

 

I use MP3's to post samples of my music on my website, I also send examples to partners and clients for approval. So sound quality is the bigger concern. I'm surprised people are concerned with file size with HD space being so inexpensive and the streaming capability most of us seem to have these days. Seems the difference in an MP3 with CBR vs VBR can amount to maybe 1MB most times. nothing significant anyway IMP.

 

Thanks again.

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I'm surprised people are concerned with file size with HD space being so inexpensive and the streaming capability most of us seem to have these days. Seems the difference in an MP3 with CBR vs VBR can amount to maybe 1MB most times.

 

Speak for yourself, I have a 2Mbps connection that has a 10GB fair use limit. Every 15 days it drops down to 256kbps.

People don't look at the amount of space they have either; it's something to do about it being 100MB for just a song. I"m sure I'd freak out my friends if I handed them 3 songs weighing 300MB.

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