Quote from: guruboolez on 16 August, 2006, 06:37:10 AM... On the other side, didn't Fastenc joint-stereo suffer from another kind of bug (stereo collapse or something like that)?This bug is just in the Fastencc from rarewares, it is not present in the newer (WMP) fastenc.
... On the other side, didn't Fastenc joint-stereo suffer from another kind of bug (stereo collapse or something like that)?
WMP's MP3 encoder on the other hand is CBR only. There is no VBR option provided. Using MMJB or AA is an option, but just like for WMP and its CBR encoder, the encoders are not only FhG, but FhG + company tunings.
An alternative choice would be "112 kbps + VBR" which would correspond to a bitrate higher than 112 kbps and --who knows-- maybe as close to 128 kbps than the previous setting. But as Roberto explained it this choice would handicap iTunes encoder (as it handicap it in 2004).
So assuming that iTunes 112@VBR is lower quality than 128@CBR, we still don't know how iTunes 128@VBR would perform against CBR@128. As I said, VBR@128 won't go below 128 kbps. Therefore it's hard to imaging this setting performing poorer than 128@CBR! So what we really need to know is the average bitrate of iTunes VBR at "128 kbps". If the average bitrate isn't too far from 128 kbps then iTunes VBR would easily be include in the test. If the bitrate is a bit too high (138...140 kbps) then we could easily increase a bit the setting for HELIX, FHG (and also GOGO). Then we would perform a listening test at ~135...140 kbps instead of a ~128...132 kbps one. Not a big issue in my opinion.
Why sould this handicap the iTunes encoder? If this is the best setting you can set to get files with average bitrate ~130kbps, then it is their faul the didn't implement a better VBR. Or use 128 CBR if it will produce better results.
If people are interested to see how various MP3 encoders perform compared to LAME, I'd tend to say that it wouldn't be a bad idea to test them all with similar settings: VBR against VBR, CBR against CBR. VBR is per default supposed to offer a better quality (or efficiency) than CBR, especially on hard-to-encode samples (precisely what we're used to include in listening tests). HELIX, Apple, Fraunhofer... have all put energy and money to develop a VBR mode; this mode is offered to the public; there is no contraindication nor warning against VBR in the manual telling to users that VBR isn't tuned enough. And as far as I can remember, we didn't mail to Apple developers neither the Microsoft ones to see if we had to prefer CBR over VBR with iTunes AAC or WMAPro (last 130 kbps multiformat listening test). I'm not against the idea of questionning developers themselves, but as you said, answer may take a long time. I'm not against making a pre-test, but it looks like filling ourselves a hole in the encoder/software's manual (and I'm very sceptical about the success of such pre-tests -- which are requiring as energy as the final test: we can't count on a pre-test to help us and spoil it by a lack of samples/testers). The idea of having two distinct tests (one for CBR, another for VBR) is also a good one, but again I'm not sure that many people are interested to spend free time to test twice what is often considered as an outdated format (MP3), including what is often perceived as outdated encoders (Fhg, iTunes), with one test dedicated to what is considered with right as a wrong coding method (CBR).
Regarding Apple, if there are specific questions I could direct them to the right persons.
Quote from: Sebastian Mares on 16 August, 2006, 06:44:32 AMWMP's MP3 encoder on the other hand is CBR only. There is no VBR option provided. Using MMJB or AA is an option, but just like for WMP and its CBR encoder, the encoders are not only FhG, but FhG + company tunings.Are you sure that these encoders are also tuned by these companies?Anyway, if the Fhg "generic" encoder really benefits from external tuning, the question isn't only to see which mode (VBR or CBR) is better but also which companie is providing the best Fhg-mod encoder. In this case, we don't have the choice : we can't mail to the developer (hello, is your encoder better than your direct competitor?... guess the answer! ) and we're forced to perform intensive pre-tests... and just for Fhg encoder! Then iTunes, then Helix...Now you can see the problem with pre-test: it's a neverending task.
If you look at it now, deciding which codec to use based on popularity is not a bad idea for this specific case.
...But correct me if I'm wrong: to access to the MP3 encoder within WMP (at 128 kbps), you have either to pay or to manually change the name of one .dll, right? In this case, could we consider WMP encoder as a popular one?
I didn't edit anything and I got it with WMP 10.
File Name : Garbage - Bleed Like Me.mp3File Path : D:\test\iTunes_VBR128\Garbage - Bleed Like Me.mp3Subsong Index : 0File Size : 4 135 339 bytesLast Modified : 2006-08-16 16:10:26Duration : 4:01.934 (10669295 samples)Sample Rate : 44100 HzChannels : 2Bitrate : 137 kbpsCodec : MP3Encoding : lossyTag Type : id3v2|id3v1Track Gain : -9.61 dBTrack Peak : 1.642079<ENC_DELAY> : 0<ENC_PADDING> : 0<EXTRAINFO> : VBR<MP3_ACCURATE_LENGTH> : yes<MP3_STEREO_MODE> : joint stereo
File Name : Garbage - Bleed Like Me.apeFile Path : E:\test\Convert\LL\Garbage - Bleed Like Me.apeSubsong Index : 0File Size : 27 576 655 bytesLast Modified : 2006-03-23 18:37:42Duration : 4:01.867 (10666320 samples)Sample Rate : 44100 HzChannels : 2Bits Per Sample : 16Bitrate : 912 kbpsCodec : Monkey's Audio (Normal)Encoding : losslessTag Type : apev2Embedded Cuesheet : noAudio MD5 : C7D86603166482C328E9BF0015A27C79Track Gain : -9.78 dBTrack Peak : 0.999969<FLAGS> : 32<VERSION> : 3.99
[...] FHG finely tunable VBR mode, I believe that we should be able to start a VBR-only listening test with very limited bitrate discrepencies between all competitors (if people agree with this idea).
Quote from: guruboolez on 16 August, 2006, 09:48:06 AM[...] FHG finely tunable VBR mode, I believe that we should be able to start a VBR-only listening test with very limited bitrate discrepencies between all competitors (if people agree with this idea).I believe that FhG "CBR Joint Stereo" would perform better than FHG "VBR Stereo" in the planned bitrate range.
Believing and thinking do not count here.Tests?
Quote from: Alex B on 16 August, 2006, 10:30:41 AMBelieving and thinking do not count here.Tests?What kind of tests do you need? I can easily (10/10) ABX FhG 18.104.22.168 128k from the original with pop music, but I don't have FhG VBR encoder to compare. If I had one, how would I compare then? (BTW, there may be another satisfactory explanation why JS@128 will be better than Stereo@128 ).
(This is not my personal "rule" - you know what I mean.)