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New CD-RW.ORG article: The Quintessential Guide to Creating High Quality MP3s by Chris Myden

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 11 Nov 2002 14:25 User comments (9)

New CD-RW.ORG article: The Quintessential Guide to Creating High Quality MP3s by Chris Myden This latest CD-RW.ORG/ article guest stars Chris Myden - a long time promoter of high quality MP3s. We have the pleasure to publish his Exact Audio Copy and LAME encoder for guide to all of our readers.
This article guides you in configuring EAC and LAME for maximum quality, and includes downloadable pre-configured EAC configuration files to make the process easy - even for the newbies.

My name is Chris Myden and for the past 5 years or so I have operated a website called Elite DAE which is a community dedicated to helping people create high quality audio extractions. Our experience with extracting audio from CDs and audio compression techniques led us to creating a high quality MP3 guide. We wanted the guide to be easy to understand, even for newbies, so we could help rid the world of low quality MP3s

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9 user comments

112.11.2002 2:23

The configuration files 'Adapter 2' and 'Adapter 3' are listed for download as the same file. (Adapter 2). Each at 11,458 bytes. Are they the same file? Adapter 0 clocks-in at 11,458 bytes as well, with only Adapter 1 differing at 14,712 bytes. Just an observation. -- Klingy --

212.11.2002 3:48

Thanks Klingy! The Adapter 3 link was incorrectly pointing to Adapter 2 file - *fixed*. In case you wonder about the size difference, then open a .CFG file with Notepad and see for your self what's causing it ;). Is everything else ok? Chris would love to see some feedback. And be sure to drop by at / audio forum ->

The old school is back. All hail the new !

312.11.2002 22:25

>> Thanks Klingy! << You're welcome. :) Is this Lasse? >> Is everything else ok? << Oh sure. The car's repaired and working fine now, and I'm almost over my cold. (Oh! You meant, in regards to the article). Ummm........ >> Chris would love to see some feedback. << Ummm....(stand closer to the speakers while you speak into the mic.?) [Oh, I'm being utterly _terrible_.] Please forgive me Lasse & Chris, but I haven't attempted the article. (Forgive?) I simply read *all* the a/D articles as a matter of course, and I noticed the simple link error quite by accident. Right now I have ifoedit and dvd-decrypter coming out of my ears. Have recently met with my first *major* success in creating my own, customized DVDs. I really haven't had time to install EAC or like-programs yet. Chris, if I can tear myself away from the vobs for a bit, I'll give your article a twirl, but I'm sure it works fine. Sorry, but I fear I've been an ass [again] <ggg> Warmest Regards to all the crew. -- Klingy --

413.11.2002 7:16

Well KlingKong - I trust that you were not the only one who has read it.

The old school is back. All hail the new !

516.11.2002 7:58

Hi Chris, Hi Lasse - sorry for the delay in getting back to this - I had some "burning" issues which had to be worked out and that were taking up a huge amount of testing time. I've now had a chance to test out most of this article. (You want the whole thing or just my findings?). I'll start at the beginning I guess, and you can read the results w-a-a-y down below. (No peeking). Most of my experiences in ripping/encoding music cds comes from the use of both DAC (Digital Audio Copy), and AudioGrabber 1.70, two programs I bought quite a while ago, and this new one (for me), Exact Audio Copy, looks and seems *every bit* as capable as those other two. The EAC installation screen overrode the main EAC display window (which did appear in the background), so I couldn't use it until the original install/setup was complete. EAC said it recognized both my drives, in each case reporting...."EAC has found this drive in it's drive feature database...", which tells me that EAC's drivers are modern and up to date. :) I showed my drives as [ ] Pioneer DVD-ROM DVD-115 [ ] Ricoh DVD+RW RW5120 ... and after EAC tested them (I used a music cd), it told me that my best bet for ripping would be the Ricoh burner. But because you can't tell a Klingon anything, and I am already accustomed to doing all my dvd ripping on the Pioneer, I chose that one instead. The Burner, if I had chosen it for ripping, would have used another of the Adapters you kindly provided (I forget which one), but EAC chose [Adapter 0] for my Pioneer. So that is the one I put into c:Program FilesExact Audio CopyProfiles folder. (Would it hurt to put all 4 Adapters in here just to keep 'em all together, or would it cause confusion?) The lower left-hand of the EAC screen showed the correct Adapter anyway. I noticed that a lame .dll comes with the lame.exe ZIP archive. I wasn't sure if I should include it or not, but to be safe, I put both it and the lame.exe into the c:Program FilesExact Audio Copy main directory. You indicated that only the .exe was needed. WheW! I was all set to go. For the test cd I chose Joni Mitchell's "Hits" disc, and track 04, "Woodstock" for several reasons: a) The disc is quite old and a bit scuffed/scratched up. I wanted to see how EAC coped with a less than ideal surface. b) The track uses soft mellotron keyboarding which produces a wide range of rich harmonics that can cripple a lesser codec. c) The disc is encoded with Pacific Microsonic's "HDCD" system (High Definition Compatible Disc), a slightly-better than average red book cd format which can produce stunning sound. d) I had already encoded the disc months ago with Ogg Vorbis, using a very high quality setting (7.5), and was anxious to compare it with LAME, and Chris's chosen settings. e) Fellow-Canadian Joni Mitchell is a hot babe whom no self-respecting Klingon would ever kick out of bed for eating crackers. :) ----------- I wasn't connected to the internet when I was testing. Generally, I always used to make my mp3s or oggs in seperate steps, but this time I let the EAC/LAME combo do it. Choosing the track and 'MP3-ing' it was a snap - child's play. In fact, it was *so* easy it was misleading! I watched the progress menu-screen carefully as it did the combo ripping/encoding. It told me, momentarily, that the process was complete, and so I exited EAC, ready to play the track with WinAmp. Well to my surprise, after the EAC screen had collapsed, I noticed a dos-window had popped up in the background, and was showing the LAME encoder going hard-at-it! (It was still encoding!) There were all sorts of stats being displayed, like, "44.1 KHz VBR (q-2) j-stereo ..... (ca. 7.3x) qual=2", presumably, Chris's chosen settings. I let the file encode to completion. I have never really understood all the Alt-Preset settings; like a lot of people I find them confusing, and so I was more than happy to let Chris do all the hard work for me. :) -------- Listening Tests ------------ I used WinAmp to pipe the sound card's line-out to my main stereo's integrated amp (an Onkyo) with a pair of Sony MDR-V600 headphones to cozy up close to the sound. Gosh...... I've been a staunch .ogg supporter for a long time. Not just for the great sound quality, but for the whole philosophy behind the .ogg format in general. In this case, on a one-to-one comparison.... LAME CREAMED OGG VORBIS. Although I have been quite pleased with .ogg overall (I have encoded some 120 full cd's with it), I cannot ignore the fact that, even using a _very_ high ogg quality value (7.5), I could still hear the unmistakable 'swishing' effects (artefacts) when listening to Joni's mellotron. With most, louder tracks, these effects are not noticeable, but with LAME (and Chris's chosen settings), there were NO discernible annoyances _at all_. The sound was natural and wonderful - and I don't think, barring a direct A-B test, I would be able to reliably discern a difference between these mp3s and the original cd tracks. I should also point out, that this scuffed, scratch-more-than-average cd, produced NO clicks, or pops - the rips were squeaky-clean with EAC. (no, they didn't 'squeak') :-) This has been a remarkable experience. I am not going to toss my oggs away (no-no-no), but I will be using this new system from now on to create mp3s. For a few good reasons. I have missed terribly the ability to play mp3s on my Sony standalone dvd player. I have been waiting for .ogg vorbis to be incorporated into a reasonably-priced dvd player, but as yet, have never really found any. There's no comparison to the ease and convenience of listening to music through a home stereo using a hand-held remote control, rather than listening to WinAmp hunched over the keyboard. Not to mention, WinAmps's default internal equalizer leaves a bit to be desired. I'll have to burn an mp3 data disc soon. Also, these lame filesizes are smaller. For this particular track, .ogg = 9,289,673 bytes .mp3 = 7,441,499 bytes Which translates to more tracks per-burned-cd. I noticed that the LAME/EAC combo produced both an .m3u playlist file and a .log file along with the .mp3. I deleted those. Chris, *thank you* for the .cfg files. I will not be touching the settings within them. (no need) And thanks Lasse, ( for writing this article!! And now.................... (it's back to those damned .VOB files again). Ahhrgghhhhhh !!!!! Best Regards, -- Klingy --

616.11.2002 13:36

"Most of my experiences in ripping/encoding music cds comes from the use of both DAC (Digital Audio Copy), and AudioGrabber 1.70" EAC is a powerhouse of features. It rips, encodes, decodes, burns, copies to an image file..Where EAC is *different* from these is the security: Everything is read TWICE and is those two reads don't match, then a crapload of more rereads occur until EAC can find a match. And it also reports suspicious file positions, if there are unrecovered errors and you can even listen to those positions in order to verify if they sound ok. LAME.EXE and LAME.DLL are independent and do the same tricks. Some programs use LAME.DLL (like CDEx - also very good and free btw), some programs use LAME.EXE. LAME.EXE allows more configuration. Chris has used standard LAME.EXE --alt-preset standard parameter scheme, which returns very high quality to around 160-220kbps. OGG is only tuned for low bitrates at the moment. That was and is their highest priority. The real Hi-Fi demand is so low -- unfortunately :( . I beleive what you are hearing is the pre-echo. I am a bad listener my self, but pre-echo is considered the worst problem of OGG. LAME on the other hand has been tuned for Hi-Fi for years, and this is the result. ..And LAME will again improve in not so distant future. New release and new tuned settings coming up. Chris did all the work here. The aim is to simplify the setup - after that EAC is easy to use.

The old school is back. All hail the new !

716.11.2002 18:29

Yes, and I was impressed again tonight when I got away from WinAmp for a bit. These files, when burned to a cdr sounded phenominal on my Sony standalone. I won't be tinkering with Chris's settings, because they work *great*, and yep - the mp3s were easy to produce. EAC does look impressive. I have archived DAC and audiograbber on disc for backup purposes, but I imagine they'll be staying there. This turnabout (for me) from ogg to mp3 again is quite remarkable - I remember about a year ago, all the threads we exchanged on the subject. You guys haven't wavered in your opinions rom then - to - now, and you were right. (I was wrong - I was caught up in the ogg wave), but the proof is in the listening. I was a bit worried that mp3 was going to be superceded by *something*, and ogg looked like IT. Lack of ogg-capable hardware though has taken it's enevitable toll on me. It's *nice* to be able to relax again when listening to the dvd player. Some supposedly "advanced" and expensive standalone dvd players can't handle VBR mp3s at all, but my (inexpensive) Sony DVP-NS315 player is *quite* LAME compatible. Music is an *emotional* experience, and Lame is capable of delivering the message. And I am SO glad, that there are those who are still involved in mp3s future - development continues, but honstly - how much better can .mp3 *get*? I'm satisfied _now_. I don't need mp3 pro. (Now...) if only I could fool my player into thinking a *dvd* mp3-data disc was a *cdr* data disc!!!) I could get a whole_music_library on a single platter. Any ideas? The Sony refuses to recognize dvds as mp3 data discs. Thanks everyone. -- Mike --

817.11.2002 1:48

MP3Pro is a *downgrade* from MP3. It's a method for delivering some extra high freq. on low bitrates (<96kbps), but it's not at all suitable for Hi-Fi. How much better MP3 can get? Well, it can - even though it's totally transparent for me atm., but some things are discussed: - 2-pass encoding (this is already experimented) - If MusePack goes open-source, could LAME benefit from MPC's code? Some say that MPC's psycho acoustic models could indeed be improted to LAME And finally, if a player can't play VBR then it is not an MP3 player. VBR is in the MP3 specs.

The old school is back. All hail the new !

917.11.2002 3:26

Funny you should mention that. Here's one for ya: In a semi-recent issue of "Sound & Vision" magazine, they review a dvd-player. The INTEGRA DPS-7.2 DVD-Audio/Video Player. This overpriced, overblown machine can't play VBR mp3 files. "...there are some restrictions as to what it can play. The MP3 files must be recorded at a fixed bit rate....." It's a non-vbr unit that costs $800.00 US dollars. What a rip-off eh? Makes me wonder how they ever manage (legally) to get the "MP3" logo on the front panel. -- Mike --

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