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general iTunes encoding question
torndownunits
post Sep 9 2004, 13:59
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I know that Lame is the best quality option for encoding, but I am just too impatient to wait for it to encode. If I am using iTunes, what are the recommended settings to get the best quality vs. file size mp3's from it? Including all the checkboxes like "Smart endoing ajustments etc). I have been ripping at 192 kbps, but I don't know what other settings I should be using.

I read the reports on here about iTunes encoding being poor quality at 128 kbps, but I never rip files at that low of a bitrate. Are there studies for higher bitrate encoding, and how does iTunes compare in those?
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ChangFest
post Sep 9 2004, 16:31
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QUOTE (torndownunits @ Sep 9 2004, 04:59 AM)
I read the reports on here about iTunes encoding being poor quality at 128 kbps, but I never rip files at that low of a bitrate. Are there studies for higher bitrate encoding, and how does iTunes compare in those?
*



I'd suggest testing the quality of the iTunes mp3 codec for yourself. If you find it to be acceptable at whatever bitrate you encode to, then there shouldn't be a problem. If you find that you can ABX all bitrates, then there is a problem.
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kwanbis
post Sep 9 2004, 16:56
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if you want speed ... try LAME 3.96.1 first ... if it is still slow ... use gogo-no-coda


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torndownunits
post Sep 9 2004, 22:06
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P.S., I am on a Mac. I haven't read good things about speed with any of the lame options for Mac. I know any I have tried, I get 1.5x encoding at the best...usually even a little slower....
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kwanbis
post Sep 9 2004, 22:28
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iTunes was the worst MP3 encoder on a recent test ... i would try a xing/fhg encoder instead ...



This post has been edited by kwanbis: Sep 9 2004, 22:34


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twostar
post Sep 9 2004, 22:28
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why use mp3 with itunes and not aac?
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torndownunits
post Sep 11 2004, 23:36
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aren't those tests done at 128 kbps though? I never rip mp3's below 192 kbps.

I don't use ACC because I have an mp3 cd player in my car. That is the main reason I am looking for a suggestion for a good quality vs. file size ratio. I know ACC seems to be the best choice for that, but I can't use it.

I know Lame is the best mp3 option, but iTunes rips mp3's almost 3 times faster than any lame option I have tried on my machine. I can deal with a slight quality decrease for faster ripping time.

So ya, I was looking for the best options within iTunes. It has dialogs for VBR, check boxes for "Smart Encoding Adjustments" and other stuff and I don't know what most of them do. So I thought I would check what other people's experiences are.
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Sebastian Mares
post Sep 11 2004, 23:42
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I would choose a FhG encoder over iTunes. wink.gif


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Cygnus X1
post Sep 12 2004, 00:43
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If you insist on using iTunes for MP3 encoding (not recommended, but even I do it in a pinch when I need something fast 'n crappy for the car, etc), I've found out several things of interest:

1) Turn off "smart encoding options." It forces full stereo on anything higher than 160kbps, which as we know is very stupid. Turning it off allows joint stereo at any bitrate, which may result in an audible improvement at 192kbps and higher.

2) Don't use iTunes VBR mode; it sucks.

3) Don't use anything less than 192kbps CBR.

4) As a general rule of thumb, iTunes MP3 encoder is so bad that you can safely figure on an encoding at x bitrate to sound similar to a LAME encoding at a step lower. In other words, iTunes 160kbps CBR is probably similar to LAME 128kbps, IMO. That's why I wouldn't suggest going lower than 192kbps, ever.

If you follow these steps, you'll get a 192kbps+ CBR encoding that is more than good enough for a car, etc. Not LAME quality, but then again, I would never use iTunes MP3 encoder for serious encoding, even at 320kbps. The point is, iTunes is fast on a Mac when one needs a quick disc for the road, whereas LAME is slow; it's the difference between 3x and 13x! Again, only do this if you are in a pinch , and proceed at your own risk laugh.gif
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ChangFest
post Sep 13 2004, 14:30
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QUOTE (Cygnus X1 @ Sep 11 2004, 03:43 PM)
If you insist on using iTunes for MP3 encoding (not recommended, but even I do it in a pinch when I need something fast 'n crappy for the car, etc), I've found out several things of interest:

1) Turn off "smart encoding options." It forces full stereo on anything higher than 160kbps, which as we know is very stupid. Turning it off allows joint stereo at any bitrate, which may result in an audible improvement at 192kbps and higher.

2) Don't use iTunes VBR mode; it sucks.

3) Don't use anything less than 192kbps CBR.

4) As a general rule of thumb, iTunes MP3 encoder is so bad that you can safely figure on an encoding at x bitrate to sound similar to a LAME encoding at a step lower. In other words, iTunes 160kbps CBR is probably similar to LAME 128kbps, IMO. That's why I wouldn't suggest going lower than 192kbps, ever.

If you follow these steps, you'll get a 192kbps+ CBR encoding that is more than good enough for a car, etc. Not LAME quality, but then again, I would never use iTunes MP3 encoder for serious encoding, even at 320kbps. The point is, iTunes is fast on a Mac when one needs a quick disc for the road, whereas LAME is slow; it's the difference between 3x and 13x! Again, only do this if you are in a pinch , and proceed at your own risk laugh.gif
*


torndownunits:

Once again. I suggest actually testing the various bitrates to see whether or not they are acceptable (ie transparent). No matter what anybody says, if you find Itunes transparent at 192 or even below, use it. Just because others say it's bad doesn't mean it's bad for you.
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rantanplan
post Sep 21 2004, 14:55
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There is a lame Encoder Script for iTunes. Just look at www.versiontracker.com. It comes with lame 3.9.3, but you can compile a newer version (I'm working with 3.9.6), which will be detected by the script automaticly.

Lame encodes here at 3x speed. My mac is a 1GHz iBook.

I'm curious:
Does lame support Altivec? This could enhance speed a lot.

This post has been edited by rantanplan: Sep 21 2004, 14:57
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kotrtim
post Sep 21 2004, 15:57
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QUOTE (rantanplan @ Sep 21 2004, 05:55 AM)
Lame encodes here at 3x speed. My mac is a 1GHz iBook.


LAME's encoding speed is faster if you don't use all the preset settings
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Busemann
post Oct 6 2004, 16:04
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QUOTE (Cygnus X1 @ Sep 11 2004, 03:43 PM)
1) Turn off "smart encoding options." It forces full stereo on anything higher than 160kbps, which as we know is very stupid. Turning it off allows joint stereo at any bitrate, which may result in an audible improvement at 192kbps and higher.


That is not true. The smart encoding options have NOTHING to do with stereo/joint stereo at all

QUOTE
2) Don't use iTunes VBR mode; it sucks.


Do you have any tests to back that up? An iTunes developer said VBR in iTunes @ 256kbps would produce files thats almost as good as LAME at the same bit rate. (I don't have the link at hand though)

QUOTE
4) As a general rule of thumb, iTunes MP3 encoder is so bad that you can safely figure on an encoding at x bitrate to sound similar to a LAME encoding at a step lower. In other words, iTunes 160kbps CBR is probably similar to LAME 128kbps, IMO. That's why I wouldn't suggest going lower than 192kbps, ever.


I agree that LAME is better in most cases, especially at lower bit rates. To say that iTunes is so much worse at 192+ is baseless though.
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InnocenceMyth
post Oct 6 2004, 16:49
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QUOTE (Busemann @ Oct 6 2004, 07:04 AM)
That is not true. The smart encoding options have NOTHING to do with stereo/joint stereo at all


I haven't tried this in recent versions of iTunes, but it was definitely the case in earlier versions that if "smart encoding options" was checked, it would ignore a joint stereo preference at higher bitrates.
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Busemann
post Oct 6 2004, 17:45
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QUOTE (InnocenceMyth @ Oct 6 2004, 07:49 AM)
I haven't tried this in recent versions of iTunes, but it was definitely the case in earlier versions that if "smart encoding options" was checked, it would ignore a joint stereo preference at higher bitrates.
*


You're right, one of the things it does is to deselect joint stereo (the joint stereo implementation is quite awful in iTunes so that must be why...).

oh well smile.gif

This post has been edited by Busemann: Oct 6 2004, 19:34
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