Best MP3 Encoder?

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iMan

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I am using a 3G 30GB ipod with a set of Shure e2's ( thanks to the good advice on this board ). I gave the Sony EX71's a try first but was not @ all impressed with the sound, so I went for the Shure's and can confirm that the the difference is phenomenal. I am delighted with the setup. This is my first mp3 player and I must admit that the sound quality is much better than I expected. :)

So far I have been using MMJB to encode / transfer music from my ample CD collection (@ 256kb) and Xplay to boost volume.

I am now wonderring if there is a better encoder than the one in MMJB, I have only filled the ipod with about 100 CD's, so I thought I'd ask before getting to the next 100 ...

Dont get me wrong, I am very pleased with the results so far, but if I could improve it!.......

TIA for your time & advice.

Best Regards.

iMan
 

Macavity

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I have been told on numerous occasions, that the encoder that MMJB uses is pretty bad......everyone seens to agree that the LAME encoder is top notch. MediaCenter 9 uses it, plus there are some free tools you can find.
 

dcx693

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Look in the Digital Formats section of the boards. You'll see lots of discussions. Generally, the LAME encoder is considered best. It's not a program, but an encoder only. You'll need to use a program that incorporates or can use the LAME encoder, such as Exact Audio Copy (EAC) or CDex.
 

YellowCows

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I'm a new forum member myself (I just signed up to post this reply, but been browsing here for a couple of weeks). I can't tell you what a difference it's made already!

If it's sound quality you're after (and I know it is for me), then don't even think about anything other than EAC/LAME! Nothing touches this combo for audio fidelity - not even Lame-based ripper/encoders such as MC9 and the like.

I can't believe I wasted so much time and energy encoding at high bit rates using inferior programs! Believe me, I've tried 'em all! Once I heard the difference (and to make sure I was hearing a difference, I made A/B comparisons of the same tracks I had ripped previously), I deleted all the newly ripped tracks off my ipod, and re-encoded them using EAC/LAME. It took two days, but MAN was it worth it! I know a lot of people on this forum swear by MC9, but I very much prefer using EAC/LAME with Ephpod - it's not the neatest solution, but for me, it's ideal.

EAC/LAME gives the absolute best quality bar none, and it's FREE! Bonus-central!:D
 
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iMan

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Thanks for all your replies, I am pleased to know that I can improve on the already excellent sound achieved so far ( to my ears). However, EAC/LAME seems to be a little complicated to use (settings etc...) I am looking @ Steinberg "myMP3 Pro", can anyone comment on this software?

Many Thanks.

iMan
 

bamoidooki

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dcx693 said:
Look in the Digital Formats section of the boards. You'll see lots of discussions. Generally, the LAME encoder is considered best. It's not a program, but an encoder only. You'll need to use a program that incorporates or can use the LAME encoder, such as Exact Audio Copy (EAC) or CDex.
LAME is a program, and it can be run from the command line in Windows. You probably don't want to do this for more than a file or two, but if you're just curious about the difference between a LAME-encoded file and one from MMJB, you could just fire off "lame <options> inputfile outputfile" and have an mp3 in a minute or two.
 

anthraxx

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iMan said:
I am looking @ Steinberg "myMP3 Pro", can anyone comment on this software?
I can comment...Don't use it.

If EAC with Lame is too complicated and $40 for MC9 is not an option then at least use CDEX. CDEX is an all in one free program for ripping and encoding that also uses LAME. It's not as good of a ripper as EAC but it is a litttle better for ease of use. In the settings just pick VBR for your mp3 encoding.

You should try to use EAC/LAME though. In secure mode EAC produces flawless rips and the LAME 3.90.3 will make excellent MP3s using the --alt-preset standard command.

Here's a little walk through for EAC/LAME:

http://www.gamingforce.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=878
 

iMan

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Thanks to all for the comments, special thanks to "anthraxx" for the very helpful link. :)

I shall download and do some tests. I will post the results here.

iMan
 

iMan

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Well I've done the tests; I downloaded EAC, Lame & MC9. I encoded a number of tracks (Classical, Rock, Jazz etc?) with: EAC/Lame (a) Mc9 (b) & MMJB (c).

Conclusion:

MMJB gives the worst result, Mc9 is slightly better but EAC/Lame is by far the best. The difference is quite subtle an not as pronounced as I anticipated, but on the tracks encoded with EAC/Lame the sound is much richer! The cymbals come to life ? You can almost feel them vibrate on their stand ??.. The voices are so rich and warm you imagine yourself standing next to the singer in a vocal booth ??. You can sense the smell of wood from the instruments of a string section .... Pure delight! :)

:rolleyes: !iS#[email protected]! .... I need to start from scratch again and EAC/Lame takes a very looooooooooooong time to encode ....... but the result are definitely worth the wait.

Thanks to all for the accurate advice. :cool:

iMan
 

ashawley

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Just so you know, MC9 can be configured to use LAME --alt preset standard or any setting you want. Also, it can be configured to use digital secure ripping. So you get the same quality as EAC.

The benefit being that songs are automatically added to your library and analyzed on rip.

But it's not free....

Adam
 

iMan

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I would be prepared to pay for Mc9 if I could achieve the same result as EAC. :)

Could you give more details on how to configure mc9 to attain these results please ashawley?


Many thanks.

iMan

PS: in Mc9 I chose:

Encoder: MP3 Encoder VBR
Quality: High
 

YellowCows

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iMan,

So glad you've been converted, M8!

The MC9 setting you're looking for is in Tools>Options>Device Settings>Advanced Ripping Settings>CD Drive Settings, then just set 'Copy mode' to 'Digital Secure'.

But I've tried it (I told you I've tried everything), and it's not bad, but EAC still trounces it for quality. As I said, I can easily see why MC9 fans are so hardcore about it, but quality is the name of the game for me, and it just so happens EAC/Lame are free, and so is Ephpod, so the extra convenience of MC9 is redundant in my view.

Trust me, you're already (finally) using the best ripper there is. ENJOY!!

Moory
 

Nuncio

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I would be prepared to pay for Mc9 if I could achieve the same result as EAC.
To Enable LAME high quality in MC9:
1) Go to the "Tools" menu.
2) Choose "Options".
3) Choose the "Encoding" Icon of the left.
4) In the "Encoder" dropdown choose "MP3 Encoder VBR".
5) Click the "Advanced" button to the right of the box.
6) In the command line box you can put in a few different things. I use the following "--alt-preset extreme" it uses a bit more space but gives really good quality. If you want to make the files a bit smaller try "--alt-preset standard". Note don't put the quotation marks around it :p.

To Enable Digital Secure Ripping
1) Use the same directions from above to get to the "Options" window.
2) Choose the "Device Settings" Icon at the left.
3) Click the "Advanced Ripping Settings" button in the second group.
4) Under the "CD Drive Settings" heading there is a drop down called "Copy Mode". Choose the "Digital Secure" option.

Now you have the best of both worlds :p, the ease of use of MC with the quality of EAC/LAME.

Nun
 

RhinoBHS

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yeah.. if u r looking to ripp cd's use CDEX it has lame imbedded and it tags the tracks perfectly via RemoteDbb or w/e... Easy to use and free!

-Ryan
 

iMan

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Following the comments by Adam ( "ashawley" ), I decided to set MC9 to --alt-preset standard, Digital Secure and run some more tests ...

I can confirm Moory's ( "YellowCows" ) findings: the EAC/LAME combo gives the best results, the difference is subtle as mentioned earlier but once heard .... Shame really as I liked the convenience of MC9, but quality ( for me ) has to prevail.

Thanks again for your help & comments guys. :)

iMan
 

anthraxx

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iMan said:
.....but on the tracks encoded with EAC/Lame the sound is much richer! The cymbals come to life ? You can almost feel them vibrate on their stand ??.. The voices are so rich and warm you imagine yourself standing next to the singer in a vocal booth ??. You can sense the smell of wood from the instruments of a string section .... Pure delight! :)
LOL Nice exageration. If you use the same version of Lame with MC9 and EAC (and APS on both) the sound will only be different if the CD had some errors that MC9 did not pick up in it's "secure mode". This can happen because it looks as though MC9 doesn't disable the cache that's part of newer CD-ROM & CD-RW drives. That's why I still use EAC for ripping. I knew something was off a bit with the MC9 ripper because in secure mode I was ripping at 13X! That shouldn't happen with the cache disabled. I may be the only PC user ever who thinks anything could be too fast! hehehe

Anyway, like I said if your using the same version of LAME on both programs and there are no errors on the CD you rip the MP3s should sound the same. Try a blind listening test. Once MC9 includes options to disable cache and C2 error correction I'll trust it's ripper for all my ripping needs. For now I rip & encode with EAC/LAME and then import & analyze with MC9 for my Jukebox and my iPod. Works great. It may be overkill but I'd rather not have to re-encode any CD. Do it right once is the rule. :)
 

stasyna

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for mp3?
Lame 3.90.2.
Do not use 3.90.3 since its a pos.

3.90.2 is optimised for the alt presets, and produces less error prone encodes than 3.90.3.

i know the majority of people on this board claim --alt-preset standard is the way to go, i care to differ. use --alt-preset (fast) extreme for awesome results.



an0therdumbsn:
On-The-Fly encoding does not store a wav. This is horrible way to do it though, but its up to you.
 
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Delroy666

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!iS#[email protected]! .... I need to start from scratch again and EAC/Lame takes a very looooooooooooong time to encode ....... but the result are definitely worth the wait.
I usually rip a bunch of CDs to WAV files using EAC, and leave the encoding until later. Since I have to sit there feeding in CDs to be ripped, I don't want to wait for them to encode too. After I have a folder full of WAV files, I run RazorLAME (a GUI for LAME) overnight to encode the whole batch at once. The only problem with this is that you have to set the ID3 tags, which is where software like ID3-TagIt comes in handy. I just tell ID3-TagIt to get the tag information from the filenames ( which are named according to the convention: <artist> <album> <track #> <song> by EAC) and do all the files at once.

Delroy666
 
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