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Topic: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality? (Read 1146 times) previous topic - next topic
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When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Which version of LAME made the biggest improvements in audio quality/transparency, after which no major improvements had been made?

What do you think was the most popular/used version of LAME?

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #1
Every new version is supposed to be better, but 3.8-3.9 versions from beginning of 2000s were surely major strides.

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #2
Which version of LAME made the biggest improvements in audio quality/transparency

The LAME changelog is formatted to answer questions such as these:
Quote
red = features and bug fixes which affect quality
With a quick skim, versions with a seemingly exceptionally high level of quality patches are:
  • LAME 3.88beta  March 25 2001
  • LAME 3.90  December 21 2001
  • LAME 3.94 beta December 15 2003
  • LAME 3.97 beta 1  September 12 2005
  • LAME 3.98 beta 1  May 16 2007
But it's difficult to estimate how much each individual patch affected quality in general. For example, this one from LAME 3.99 beta 0 may be worth more than several others:
Quote
  • All encoding modes use the PSY model from new VBR code, addresses Bugtracker item [ 3187397 ] Strange compression behavior

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #3
Given what doccolinni said, and from what little I can tell looking over that 'LAME changelog' for me personally...

as long as your MP3's are encoded no earlier than LAME 3.98 (July 4th 2008) your good since it appears a very high percentage of improvements were in by that point. but if someone wants to be extra safe then I might say as recent as LAME 3.99.5 (Feb 2012) since that's 'almost' the newest we currently have.

so with that in mind... one could basically say as long as you were using the newest LAME encoder available over the last 9 years, maybe as far back as 13 years, to encode your MP3's you probably ain't going to need to re-encode your MP3 collection.

so I think by the OP's wording strictly in the topic (i.e. "When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?") ; I would probably lean towards LAME v3.99.5 (Feb 2012), or maybe as early as LAME v3.99 (Oct 2011).

as for the most popular/used version... who knows. but I would imagine just about any software still in use for encoding MP3's probably has at least LAME v3.98 or newer and would not be surprised if a fair amount were still using v3.99.5
For music I suggest (using Foobar2000)...
1)Opus @ 64kbps or 96kbps. NOTE: using 64kbps on Samsung J3 /w Foobar2k.
2)AAC (Apple or FhG(Winamp)) @ 96kbps.
3)MP3 (LAME) @ V5 (130kbps). NOTE: using on AGPTEK-U3 as of Mar 18th 2021. I use 'fatsort' (on Linux) so MP3's are listed in order on AGPTEK-U3.

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #4
The last quality change was done in LAME 3.99  October 15 2011.

It will be difficult to answer which version of LAME made the biggest improvements. During development of 3.96-3.99 important changes were made to VBR.

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #5
The last quality change was done in LAME 3.99  October 15 2011.

Or not, depending on whether you count this one from 3.99.5 (February 28 2012) which affects decoding:
Quote
  • Bug fix for tracker item [ 3486753 ] Artifacts at the beginning of decoded file

It also looks like we'll be getting some further quality improvements with the currently in development 3.101 version.

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #6
Valid.
The thing is that it's a bugfix. Yes, it fixes an issue and can have impact on quality. Though it's a not a new development or improvement of algorithms. So there is no a big  change in the end.
The same story is here for 3.101.  As of quality it's all bugfixes. There is no plan (and there won't be) to improve quality, i.e. PSY model.

It's not like MP3 LAME is the only encoder who is considered as done by developers. Same goes for Vorbis, AAC, Opus encoders. No active development.
The only audio formats that are in phase of active development are xHE-AAC, MPEH-H (3DA) and new generation ML/AI based ones.

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #7
Done or not it keeps getting faster (v3.100.1).  You couldn't do anything like -V3 -f in the
past and get quality with blazing speed.
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #8
I have couple of questions.

1. Do we have any proper 3.97 vs. 3.99+ test?

2. New VBR is much faster. I do understand that optimizing the code can give us better performance,
but difference here is just massive. Did we sacrifice quality for encoding speed? Is this the reason why
V0 files on 3.97 are around 250 kbit/s, while V0 files on 3.99+ are around 280 kbit/s?
Is this bitrate bump used to compensate for higher speed?

3. Why is lowpass disabled? Is this again some trick to bump the bitrate?
I cannot find any logical explanation for this. Even Opus, one of the most advanced formats out there,
has 20 kHz lowpass at highest settings.
gold plated toslink fan

 

Re: When did LAME's development reached its peak in terms of audio quality?

Reply #9
Upto 3.97 or 3.98, there was a gap between V0 and 320.  For vbr-new on
v3.99 to 3.100  - V1 is like V0 of 3.97 and3.98 and V0 is like an extra step.
Vbr-old retains the classic behaviour of 250k and lowpass.
wavpack hybrid 320k -hx4s.5c