MP3 at 128kbps public listening test Reply #125 – 2003-12-22 15:55:10 Hello.Some last points before I go on a trip (I'll only visit the boards seldomly until Jan 10th).About VBR vs. CBR:There are good reasons for either method. They are:CBR is what newbies use once they start playing with MP3. Only later some of them come to know about VBR and ABR. Also, it's the default mode in most MP3 encoders: Lame, FhG, Xing... (or the only mode in some cases: Radium, Audioactive, iTunes)Also, CBR is best to avoid criticism on test fairness, since there is no bitrate deviation.VBR/ABR is what should be used to take the most out of each codec at the chosen bitrate. Lame is known for performing quite better at ABR than CBR, and I believe the same applies to FhG. In this case, Lame, FhG and Xing would use VBR encoding, and Audioactive/Radium and iTunes would use CBR.No-CBR for Lame only is definitely out of the question. The test would look scandalously biased if Lame was tested at ABR and everything else at CBR.IMO, the bottom point is if we want the test results to appeal to newbies or enlightened HA users. If we go for newbies, the test should be CBR. If we go for veterans, the test should be ABR.Any thoughts?About Lame version:I think it's closely related to the newbies vs. veterans issue. If the test is done for veterans, Lame 3.90.3 should be featured. If it is for newbies, Lame 3.93.1, since this is the version you'll find in CDex, Winamp, and at Mitiok's site. I think that actually the only popular Lame binary distribution point featuring 3.90.3 is RareWares.About Audioactive vs. RadiumIt is said that both use similar encoding routines, so I would definitely test only one of them. The appeal of Radium is that it is very widely used in DivX rips. The appeal of Audioactive is that it seems to be based on more recent - and therefore more tweaked - libraries, so quality is probably better.About FhG version:I'm inclined to test FhG Current and Legacy Fast from Adobe Audition, both at some VBR mode that comes close to 128kbps (in case we decide to go for VBR). Legacy Slow is - as the name implies - too slow and, from what it is said, fast is actually better (!).If only one FhG codec is featured (that would be Audition Current), I might as well replace the other with Gogo 3.xSo, the codec list would be as follows:Lame 3.90.3 or 3.93.1FhG Current in AuditionFhG Legacy Fast or Gogo 3.xiTunes 4.2Audioactive 2.04j or RadiumRealOne MP3 encoder (Xing)And the settings would depend on the choice for VBR or CBR.Please post your comments and suggestions.Best regards;Roberto.