Difference between revisions of "Recommended LAME"

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==Introduction==
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#REDIRECT [[LAME]]
 
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This article is meant to explain to the users what are the [[Hydrogenaudio]] recommended settings to be used with [[LAME]] for highest quality [[MP3]] encoding.
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These settings require Lame 3.94 or later. Lame 3.97beta found on this website is the recommended version ([[Lame Compiles|check here to download]]).
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Avoid using alpha (a) versions of LAME. More often than not those are exclusively for testing purposes, if you want to help developers with feedback.
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Note: At a given bitrate range, the quality scale is following: VBR is higher quality than ABR which is higher quality than CBR (VBR > ABR > CBR in terms of quality). The exception to this is when you choose the highest possible CBR bitrate, which is 320 kbps (-b 320 = --alt-preset insane).
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''Note: all modes and settings mentioned in this topic belong to the specifications of the MP3 standard, and the resulting MP3s should be played by every standard-conform MP3-Decoder. If this shouldn't be the case, blame the manufacturer or developer of your MP3-Decoder/device. ''
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==VBR (Variable bitrate) settings==
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'''[[VBR]]:''' ''variable bitrate mode, the goal is to keep a constant quality and saving bits where possible without lowering the quality.''
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[[VBR]] can be useful to get good quality from a specific quality level. Size is less predictable than with [[ABR]], but the quality is usually better.
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-V(number) where number is 0-9, 0 being highest quality, 9 being the lowest.
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{| align=center border="1" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0"
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|+'''List of recommended settings'''
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| '''Switch''' || '''Preset''' || '''Target Kbit/s''' || '''Bitrate range kbit/s'''
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|-
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| -b 320 || --preset insane || 320CBR || 320
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|-
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| -V 0 --vbr-new || --preset fast extreme ||  245 || 220...260
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|-
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| -V 0 || --preset extreme || 245 || 220...260
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|-
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| -V 1 --vbr-new || || 225 || 200...250
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|-
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| -V 1 || || 225 || 200...250
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|-
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| -V 2 --vbr-new || --preset fast standard || 190 || 170...210
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|-
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| -V 2 || --preset standard || 190 || 170...210
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|-
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| -V 3 --vbr-new || || 175 || 155...195
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|-
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| -V 3 || || 175 || 155...195
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|-
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| -V 4 --vbr-new || --preset fast medium || 165 || 145...185
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|-
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| -V 4 || --preset medium  || 165 || 145...185
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|-
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| -V 5 --vbr-new || || 130 || 110...150
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|-
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| -V 5 || || 130 || 110...150
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|-
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| -V 6 --vbr-new || || 115 || 95...135
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|-
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| -V 6 || || 150 || 95...135
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|-
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| -V 7 --vbr-new || || 100 || 80...120
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|-
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| -V 7 || || 100 || 80...120
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|-
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| -V 8 --vbr-new || || 85 || 65...105
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|-
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| -V 8 || || 85 || 65...105
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|-
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| -V 9 --vbr-new || || 65 || 45...85
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|-
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| -V 9 || || 65 || 45...85
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|}
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See also [[Technical data for recommended LAME settings]]
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If the target is eg. streaming, where you need MP3 in ABR or even CBR mode, there are still the ABR and CBR modes.
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==ABR (average bitrate) settings==
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'''[[ABR]]:''' ''average bitrate mode varies bits around a specified target bitrate''
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''(128 kbit/s ABR: roughly the same filesize as 128 kbit/s CBR)''
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* '''[[ABR]] Setting tuned from 320 kbit/s down to 80 kbit/s'''
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** --preset <bitrate>
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<bitrate> (desired averaged bitrate in kbit/s) can be any value between 8 - 320 , like eg. 9, 17, 80, 128, 133, 200 etc.
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::  Example: --preset 200
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==CBR (constant bitrate) settings==
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'''[[CBR]]:''' ''constant bitrate mode is not efficient regarding distributing bitrate to more complex music parts and saving bits where it would be possible without lowering the quality of those music parts. Only recommended for usage in streaming situations where the upper bitrate margin must be strictly enforced.''
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*'''[[CBR]] Setting tuned from 320 kbit/s down to 80 kbit/s'''
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** -b <bitrate>
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<bitrate> (bitrate in kbit/s) can be only: 8 , 16 , 24 , 32 , 40 , 48 , 64 , 80 , 96 , 112 , 128 , 160 , 192 , 256 or 320.
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==Remarks==
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The '''--vbr-new''' switch enables the new VBR mode. Lame will encode much faster compared to old/default vbr mode. Current knowledge qualitywise comparing vbr with --vbr-new is, that --vbr-new might even be better qualitywise than the default vbr mode, but there are also reports about artefact, which is worse in --vbr-new compared to default. Though the general impression is, that --vbr-new should be recommended over vbr-default.
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--vbr-new can be faster and at equal/better quality at same time, because it uses a different algorithm than old/default vbr mode.
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===Quick Start===
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'''Best Quality : 'archiving''''
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<font style="color:red">--cbr 320</font>. This is the strongest setting for MP3, with the lowest risk of [[artifact]]s.
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With the exception of a few situations, quality is rarely better than the highest [[VBR]] profiles described below.
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Alternative: [[Lossless]] formats like [[WavPack]], [[Flac]] etc. allow true archiving bit for bit like on original CD.
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'''High Quality : HiFi, home or quiet listening'''
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<font style="color:green">-V3 --vbr-new</font> (~175 kbps), <font style="color:green">-V2 --vbr-new</font> (~190 kbps), <font style="color:green">-V1 --vbr-new</font> (~210 kbps) or <font style="color:green">-V0 --vbr-new</font> (~230 kbps) are recommended.
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These settings will produce [[transparent]] encoding (transparent = most people cannot distinguish the mp3 from the original in an ABX blindtest).
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Audible differences between these presets exist, but are extremely marginal.
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'''Portable : background noise and low bitrate requirement, small sizes'''
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<font style="color:purple">-V6 --vbr-new</font> (~115 kbps), <font style="color:purple">-V5 --vbr-new</font> (~130 kbps) or <font style="color:purple">-V4 --vbr-new</font> (~160 kbps) are recommended for this use.
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-V6 --vbr-new produces an acceptable quality, while -V4--vbr-new should be close to perceptual [[transparency]].
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'''Very low bitrate, small sizes:''' eg. for voice, radio, [[mono]] encoding etc.
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For very low bitrates, up to 100kbps, [[ABR]] is most often the best solution.
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Use '''--abr xx''' (e.g. --abr 80).
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[[Image:Lame-chart-2.png|frame|center|Here a trial to get a view, how the <font style="color:red">perceived listening quality</font> improves with settings/<font style="color:blue">averaged filesize</font>:]]
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The revolutionary --alt-preset system introduced in lame 3.90, is replaced nowadays by the preset system, which is already substituted by the above explained settings -V x system.
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<font style="color:blue">You don't need to worry</font> anymore about quality, settings, switches, presets, if you stick to the recommendations of this topic, all will be fine and even optimized.
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If you select nowadays in lame 3.97 either --alt-preset xy , preset xy or corresponding switch xy, you will always get the same, simply stick to one of the recommended switches of the table or described here in the text.
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E.G.: --alt-preset cbr 320 is the exact same thing as --alt-preset insane etc.:
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--alt-preset insane = --preset insane = -b 320 = --preset 320 = --preset cbr 320
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==Setting up EAC for lame.exe with tagging==
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{{:EAC and Lame}}
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==Additional reading==
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* [[LAME|More information on LAME]]
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* [http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=16&t=32288 Forum discussion of the recommended settings]
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* [http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=15&t=203 Forum discussion of the recommended settings (older)]
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* [[Recommended LAME credits|Credits for the recommended settings]]
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* [http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=32288&view=findpost&p=327262 Previous recommendations (outdated)]
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* [[MP3]]
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* [[LAME]]
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* [[Exact_Audio_Copy|Exact Audio Copy]]
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Latest revision as of 00:56, 15 September 2006