Public MP3 Listening Test @ 128 kbps - FINISHED
Reply #18 – 2008-11-24 23:43:14
... Could these two arguments qualify Helix for the new recommended MP3 encoder? ... I've never been too happy with recommendations especially when it's about just one encoder. I was especially unhappy with recommending Lame 3.97. There was also a listening test where Lame 3.97 came out great, with a bigger quality difference against the contenders compared to the more or less equal scores in this test as far as average score is concerned. It was after the test that 3.97's 'sandpaper problem' became known. The question is how to weigh it, the question is: how annoying is it for the person who reads the recommendation? It may be negligible, it may be a big issue. The problem is that we can't test encoders on the universe of music. We can get significant experience with encoders, that's why Sebastian's test is important. But we should always take the results with a grain of salt. There's also the question what kind of a result you have in focus. Usually people concentrate on the average result of an encoder averaged over all samples. But is this really the real thing which is most important? That's a very personal question. You can look at worst case behavior which is what I do in the first place. To me it's more important that my favorite encoder has a low number of scores below 4.0, and - at best - there is no sample with a score below 3.0. But this too has to be taken with a grain of salt. A bad score on an (to me) exotic sample doesn't count much to me, but it has a very high impact if it happens with music of my favorite genre. So evaluating an encoder is more than just looking at the average scores of a listening test. Instead of giving a rather strong recommendation as was done so far I'd prefer if we had a weaker suggestion, kind of: When targeting at a quality which can be achieved with ~128 kbps on average the most recent mp3 listening test has shown that the current versions of Lame, Helix, Fraunhofer, iTunes all do an excellent job. Quality differences between them were negligible within this test as far as the average outcome was concerned, with XXX and YYY having the best consistency in high quality (in case it turns out that such a statement can be made).