ARG! Gimmie a straight answer - is LAME significantly better than iTunes MP3 encoder?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by motulist, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #1
    I was looking for info about the best MP3 encoding methods and it seems like everyone has contradictory advice. Lots of people on the net say that iTunes' built in MP3 encoder is crappy, and that LAME is much better. But then other people say that that was true several years ago but iTunes has since upgraded its encoder and is now on par with LAME.

    Basically I want to keep my songs sounding as awesome as possible but also as compatible as possible. So I want to keep my library in high quality and high bitrate MP3 format only, not AAC or Apple Lossless. I know I can do test encodings and make a judgment of which encoder sounds best to me, but I don't have audiophile equipment here, so I may not be able to hear problems now which may be glaringly obvious on better equipment later.

    Someone who is well informed on the matter, please give me a straight answer -

    Which MP3 encoder is the best sounding at high bitrates, and what settings should I use with that encoder?
     
  2. chrisgeleven macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    #3
    LAME is definitely the most tested and tuned MP3 encoder out there. iTunes' MP3 encoder is ok, but definitely not the same quality as LAME's.

    However, LAME and AAC are about equal in terms of quality above 192kbps. You could use either one and be very happy with it. Personally, I use AAC.
     
  3. Mr. Amiga500 macrumors regular

    Mr. Amiga500

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Hey, that's good to know. LAME runs on my 1987 Amiga 500. iTunes doesn't.
     
  4. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #5
    Awesome, thanks for the advice, now I just need to know what's the best way to encode a few hundred CDs into LAME MP3 at V0? Itunes makes it really easy to import CDs with its batch import setting and auto CDDB track name look up. Is there a way to add the LAME encoder to iTunes?

    Also, google didn't have a good answer, what does V0 mean? Is it VBR? If not, should I use VBR? Joint stereo or simple stereo? Filter out sub 10 hz frequencies?

    ARG! Why did they make this so complicated!

    ----------------------------------

    EDIT: I found this program, but it doesn't seem to allow me to specify the specific LAME V0 encoder that you're advising and it has no ability to specify bitrate. Plus, this doesn't let me use the batch import function of itunes, so it'll make encoding several hundred CDs very tiresome. I need an automated CD to LAME import program.

    http://blacktree.com/apps/iTunes-LAME/
     
  5. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #6
    I found this program called lame brain which would otherwise be acceptably good, but it only uses the 4 years out of date LAME 3.95 instead of the current 3.97, which includes some very significant changes according to LAME's history log. Which program do you guys use to encode your LAME MP3s?
     
  6. torid110 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    #7

    You should be able to specify bitrate, etc. In the box that says -alt-preset-standard, you can change that to any switches that you can pass onto the lame encoder. so you can delete what it says and put "-V 0" Also, check out this page for more LAME settings:

    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=28124

    I forgot to add, you can update the LAME binary included in this program. Just look for the newest LAME release that is compiled for your specific system and replace the one in this program. To do that, right click iTunes-LAME and go to "show package contents" in one of the folders there is "lame", just replace it with the one you download.

    Check here for the LAME binary: http://www.rarewares.org/mp3-lame-bundle.php
     
  7. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #8
    Wow, that couldn't have been any more non-intuitive. And the app didn't come with any info files and there is nothing listed on the web for how to use it. Wow. Anyway, your instructions worked, thanks for the help! Is it too much to ask for a way to do LAME batch imports?
     
  8. ham_man macrumors 68020

    ham_man

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    #9
    3.90.3
     
  9. chrisgeleven macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Location:
    Manchester, NH
    #10
    The newest version of LAME is 3.97. That is what Hydrogenaudio recommends. 3.90.3 is old and not a recommendation anymore.

    A great converter program is Max (which can also be used to rip CD's)
    http://sbooth.org
     
  10. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #11

    Thanks, that's exactly the type of program I was looking for. Now I just need to upgrade to OS 10.4 in order to use it. DOH! :)
     
  11. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #12
    You do realize that most high quality codecs are all pretty much the same right? People who do these listening tests can't tell the difference and its really mostly about the hardware you're reproducing the sound on that matters most. There's a lot of ********ting about the differences cause they are so miniscule. Its all quite subjective.
     
  12. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #13
    Ahh sorry if there was any confusion. V0 is the new alt preset extreme.
     
  13. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #14
    No need to apologize, everybody's advice taken altogether has been very helpful. The end result is I'm using itunes-Lame front end software (because I'm on OS 10.3 and most other front end software requires OS 10.4), updated to use the LAME 3.97 encoder, and using the preset -b 320 for absolute highest quality assurance.

    Thanks all!
     
  14. drugs! macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    #15
    like i just wrote in a previous thread... when you're dealing with extremely data reduced files, you will not hear the difference... especially if you are using basic consumer headphones
     

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