Curiosity poll - What format do you use & why?

Just wondering what format you all use & why.  I’m new at this, and I’ve already screwed up my library once not knowing the difference between WMA & WMApro, so I figured I’d ask for some advice.  I heard that WMA is “better” than MP3 for quality & compression, but that they both become “transparent” at 128kb anyways.  What format/bitrate do you use?  Does the Fuze work better with one particular format over another?  I have an 8gb Fuze and about 200 cds (I don’t mind getting a microSD card if needed).  Also, I’d like to use the ReplayGain to even out the sound for shuffle play.  Thanks guys!

Kelly

Battery life is longest using MP3. If you use a different format, battery life could be 20%-30% less. I use 256 kbps mp3. I ripped my CDs a few years ago, and am too lazy to rip them again. If I was starting from scratch now, I would use mp3 variable bitrate averaging around 192 kbps, which probably gives sound quality equal to 256 kbps constant bitrate, but will let you have 1/3 more songs in the same space.

Sounds good!  :smiley:  Anybody else?

Mostly 192 vbr mp3.

I rip my CD’s to FLAC, then I convert the FLACs to either LAME V2 mp3 vbr (for the gapless albums, becuase I think one day my Clip+ will play gapless MP3 ) , or WMA 75% vbr for everything else.

A Mix of 320K MP3, MP3 VBR, and OGG

Wow, it’s all across the board!  Cool.  My Windows Media Player lets me rip WMA cbr, WMA vbr, WMApro, WMA lossless, MP3, & WAV.  I’ve already ripped a bunch in WMApro only to find out Fuze doesn’t support it.  Do you guys know if it supports the others?  What program would you guys suggest for ripping MP3’s with a variable bitrate?  Thanks for the opinions!  :smiley:

KellyR wrote:

Wow, it’s all across the board!  Cool.  My Windows Media Player lets me rip WMA cbr, WMA vbr, WMApro, WMA lossless, MP3, & WAV.  I’ve already ripped a bunch in WMApro only to find out Fuze doesn’t support it.  Do you guys know if it supports the others?  What program would you guys suggest for ripping MP3’s with a variable bitrate?  Thanks for the opinions!  :smiley:

Not WMA Lossless but the others it does. I would also point out that WMP is not a very good ripper. Exact Audio Copy is free and is a much more complete ripper. 

KellyR wrote:

 

Just wondering what format you all use & why. 

 

    

     LAME at –V3, because it is transparent for most listeners and for most music and is compatible with the widest range of digital-audio players: http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Lame_Compiles#High_quality:_HiFi.2C_home_or_quiet_listening.

 

 

 

I heard that WMA is “better” than MP3 for quality & compression, but that they both become “transparent” at 128kb anyways. 

            

              They are both good at c. 128 kbps: http://soundexpert.org/encoders-128-kbps.

 

           


        “What program would you guys suggest for ripping MP3’s with a variable bitrate?”


              Exact Audio Copy.

       

I use mp3 at 256kbps, or 320 if I’m in a good mood.  Mp3 plays everywhere. WMA does not. The difference in quality is minimal if not nonexistent. Mp3 has been consistently improved by the public-spirited geniuses at LAME.

EAC is a good but slow ripper, using LAME. However, for reliable (official, commercial, not user-generated) tag information, you have to go to the big bad guys: WMP or iTunes, both of which have slightly inferior encoders but convenient tagging. I usually try EAC and if the tags aren’t there–it takes a while for new albums–it’s back to iTunes or WMP. But you should also run tags through mp3tag and have it Write (under Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg) to ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1, the Sansa’s favorite snack. Auto-Number them with Leading Zeros (01,02) while you’re at it. 

128 is not “transparent.” That was wishful thinking back when storage was minuscule. Listen to a piano or a live jazz drum kit at 128. Don’t tell me that’s transparent. 

Also, there is an old, old, old “study” claiming that WMA at low bitrates is better than mp3 at low bitrates.  A completely disinterested party named Micro$oft (as in Windows Media Audio) publicized it. It’s irrelevant. No one who cares about music uses low bitrates any more. 

Start with 192kbps mp3, which approaches transparency. Or better yet, do a test: code a song with real acoustic instruments (not electronic ones) at 128, 192, 256 and 320 and see which one is transparent to you.  

Wow.  Thanks guys.  This is getting good.  After just reading a few things my first initial thought was to use MP3 at 192kbps, but I started reading too much & getting confused.  Frankly, when I start hearing all the techno-bable my eyes start glazing over.  It just fly’s over my head.  Do they make an “Idiot’s guide to digital audio”?  :smileyvery-happy:

flac, nothing but flac

Bexicon wrote:
flac, nothing but flac

Problem with flac and the average user is Size and what it does to battery life.

 There are basically two schools of digital listeners.

One is in love with the numbers and readouts. These are the people who use losssless codecs only: FLAC or WAV. Hello total digital accuracy, bye-bye capacity and battery life.

The other is pragmatic.Most people use portable audio players in places other than the quiet of home: subways, offices, streets, planes. They listen through basic earbuds or portable phones. Lossy mp3 at a pretty good bitrate sounds good enough in these situations.

To  archive music, I would use lossless if possible. To put it on the Fuze, I use mp3.  I can easily hear the deficiencies of 128 kbps,so I go to a higher bitrate. But at the gym or on the subway, I don’t need FLAC.

I am happy with wma at 160kbps and mp3 at 192kbps for most listening.  The two codecs are pretty close at these two data rates.  Complex classical recordings will reveal the sonic differences as the bit rate drops.

If you want a quick listening experiment, try ripping at 64kbps and 160, and listen to the two tracks in succession.  At a larger difference in bit rate, dipping into the 64 region, you’ll hear the difference.  A higher rates, you reach a point of diminishing returns.

The Sansa can decode mp3 or wma, either constant- or variable-bit formats, generated by Windows Media Player.  The “pro” or “lossless” formats (Windows Media) are not supported.

Th fun part of digital is that rips are fast, and you can build a new track at will.  Try some different rates, and you’ll find a suitable compromise between file size and accuracy.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Black-Rectangle wrote:

  Mp3 plays everywhere. WMA does not.

A bit of an exaggeration…almost every player that’s not an iPod plays WMA.:wink:

@black_rectangle wrote:

 There are basically two schools of digital listeners.

 

One is in love with the numbers and readouts. These are the people who use losssless codecs only: FLAC or WAV. Hello total digital accuracy, bye-bye capacity and battery life.

 

The other is pragmatic.Most people use portable audio players in places other than the quiet of home: subways, offices, streets, planes. They listen through basic earbuds or portable phones. Lossy mp3 at a pretty good bitrate sounds good enough in these situations.

 

To  archive music, I would use lossless if possible. To put it on the Fuze, I use mp3.  I can easily hear the deficiencies of 128 kbps,so I go to a higher bitrate. But at the gym or on the subway, I don’t need FLAC.

 

Oh great, a ‘two kinds of people in the world’ mentality. Seriously you don’t think it’s a wee bit pompous and small-minded to say people who use lossless codecs aren’t pragmatic?

 

Years ago when storage was more expensive and I had dialup it made sense to me to trade music quality for small size. I agree with you in a lot of situations the quality of mp3s at low bitrates isn’t an issue.

 

But no way I would bother to collect music in anything but a lossless format nowadays, not with storage so cheap and more devices every day being able to handle more formats. I’m all about convenience, not converting music between different formats and bitrates depending on whether I expect to be on the subway or the living room sofa. I chose flac for reasons that go beyond the lossless aspect (though I wouldn’t include “being in love with readouts” since I don’t even know what you mean.) That’s just what I have, and the Fuze is only one system I use to listen to it. The Fuze’s ability to play flacs was a main reason I got it as I was finding it tedious having to convert everything to put it on my previous mp3 player, so when that crapped out I wanted a flac player to replace it. I like to drag drop and go, and I like to change the music a lot on the player, and I absolutely love how much easier it is now. Sounds almost pragmatic now doesn’t it?

 

I have neither run out of room on the Fuze nor have I had issues with battery life. I’m sure some people do though.

 

edited for clarity (I hope)

Message Edited by Bexicon on 02-20-2010 12:28 AM

@marvin_martian wrote:


@black_rectangle wrote:

  Mp3 plays everywhere. WMA does not.


A bit of an exaggeration…almost every player that’s not an iPod plays WMA.:wink:

The almost kinda proves his point there lol.  Almost everywhere is not everywhere.

What I should probably have written was I usually rip in FLAC and convert to 192kbps VBR MP3 for the clip and fuze.  I originally had some FLAC on the sd card but have deleted it because it was very rarely used.

To have everything I listen to on a regular basis in FLAC I would needa lot more storage.  I think there must be a huge difference in the size of poster’s collections or that they listen to the same things a lot more often than I do. I’m certainly not prepared to constantly remove and reload tracks, this would be much much more annoying than the conversion. 

There’s a long running argument about whether or not people can really tell FLAC from a well encoded MP3 on a portable player.  I’m leaving it at that.

summerlove wrote:

There’s a long running argument about whether or not people can really tell FLAC from a well encoded MP3 on a portable player. 

Those listeners who keep on insisting that they can hear the difference have probably never ABXed it.