lame: less compression, better quality

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lame: less compression, better quality

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:37 am

Monkey's audio is great for my long term archiving but for my digital jukebox I need mp3s.

Most discussion of mp3s seems to concentrate on getting smaller and smaller files at an "acceptable" quality.

I have a 60GB hard disk in my jukebox and I don't mind having larger files to get better audio quality, although using uncompressed wav files is just too much. (And I don't want to venture into wma format).

I find encoding with vbr somewhere between 200 and 320 kbps gives me files of about 1/5 the size of a wav file that when using my portable equipment sound as good as CD to my ears. (I'm over 50 so I haven't got perfect hearing anyway).

I'm happy with the parameters I use with Wave Corrector and lame 3.96.1 but I wonder if I could get better or similar quality with smaller files.

Detailed arguments about lame parameters make my head explode and I end up thoroughly confused, but what parameters do other people use? Does everyone just stick to the alt-presets or has someone found the magic combination for excellent audio quality and moderate filesize?

My parameters: -v -q 0 -V0 -b256 -ms

This isn't for archiving so lossy compression is acceptable.
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Postby Glenn » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:07 pm

deadpoirotsketch wrote:
I don't want to venture into wma format

Why is this? I find wma at 160kbs to give audio quality similar to 256kbs lame. Even ogg is considered to be better, but my portable player doesn't support it. A comparison of different codecs can be be found at
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Postby deadpoirotsketch » Tue Nov 15, 2005 2:15 am


In all these things you eventually pays your money and makes your choice, or you get stuck in an endless cycle of reassessment. There are plenty of comparison articles around the internet and in various magazines, and practically all are contradictory to some extent. A number I have read suggest that those comparisons originating from Microsoft are somewhat selective in their data chosen, but then again, in their position with a desire to reach a monopolistic position in practically anything [hmm-somewhat contentious remark!] and on the bottom line a desire to make money, I would not be that suprised if they did. It isn't unknown in the commercial world to big up on your own products! LAME developers will similarly big up their own work.

I have enough enough of an open mind to accept that if Microsoft really decided to throw resources at it they could well produce very advanced codecs that no one else could afford to try to equal - perhaps they have already done so. But as long as development continues the posibility of one codec leapfrogging another, and back again, will keep things interesting.

When it comes down to it, when I did my listening test I plumped for LAME over wma because it sounded better to my ears - at that time- and I needed to make a decision so I could get on with my project of archiving my LPs to ape and a lossy format for use with portable players.

I admit to some degree of prejudice in that I would rather use an open source format for idealogical reasons, plus I have an objective of switching to Linux - probably at the next major Windows OS upgrade. I haven't done it yet as I use a lot of music/sound applications that as yet are not portable to Linux and I don't yet want to lose that investment.

So the short answer as to why I use LAME is - no reason that you would probably consider a good one!

I am interested that you say Ogg is considered better than LAME. That is not something I've seen anyplace, but then I haven't scoured the boards for comparison for some months. Perhaps I should give Ogg another listen; but as I have said elsewhere I don't have "pro" ears, so in the end any improvements will not be detectable to my ears, and I can't get excited enough to argue with anyone if I am happy enough with what I hear.

If I were to make a jump to another lossy format then I would want it to be a big "quantum" to make the effort of conversion worthwhile. Perhaps a format supporting surround sound, little or no increase in file sizes, wonderful tagging facilities, support for high sample rate and bit-depth formats, cross-platform support, open-source, and support in hardware/firmware in portable and audio-visual hardware - plus fantastic sound. And if that isn't enough - it must make my music files sound better than the original source material too (grin).

As I am in my middle-fifties and not in particularly good health, I will probably only be worried about my music collection for the next ten years or so before I become too decrepit to be able to appreciate further improvements, or to afford the investment in upgrading all my audio equipment. I can't keep up with the development in PC hardware even now, and future shock is a condition I am beginning to sympathise with!

So I guess I'll try any parameter tweaks or upgrades to LAME that come my way, but I'll pass on wma for now, especially as I object to DRM on principle (although I am happy to pay for CDs). I wouldn't be at all suprised if M$ doesn't make it impossible to play any wma file in Windows without a DRM licence, just as soon as it ties up its OS so that only M$ approved software can run on it. And there is a project for embedded Windows in hardware as well. The critical question is whether Microsoft and allies can tie up enough content in secure copy-protected format and secure hardware for playback that there is no practical alternative for the typical consumer to buy. I don't object to paying for entertainment but to my mind the content providers are becoming greedy and are seeking to become far more restrictive than hithertoo.

Being a Brit I can remember when a limit on needle-time on the BBC radio broadcasting monopoly held back the development of the music industry in the UK for years, and the listener could only hear what the powers-that-be decided was suitable for us to hear. I personally think the music and software industry will suffer if it tries to turn the clock back and impose greater access control on product at inflated prices instead of seeking to produce better product. I better stop this rant here.

Please forgive these last paranoid ravings unless replacing this sentence with an "I told you so" becomes appropriate (grin).

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Don't bother compressing

Postby Sandy Fairservice » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:10 pm

When I have done processing LPs (mostly) I just leave them as WAV. They take up huge space, but these days (2011) you can get huge storage for small money. The files sound fabulous. I also convert them to 320 kb/s MP3 for my portable player.
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