I'm preparing to revamp my digital music library, including re-encoding a lot of high-bitrate OGG tracks as MP3 to increase portability and cut down on file size. What are the best
to maximize appreciable quality for the future without taking up too much space?
Most of my tracks are 320 kbps OGG Vorbis, but I'd like to switch to a more efficient MP3 encoding, both to make the files more interoperable with other programs and to save storage space on my SSD and various iDevices. I'm no audiophile rocking a $10,000 soundsystem here -- I listen to most of my music either on my laptop's JBL speakers, my iPhone (while driving), or through a pair of midrange Sony earbuds. And I suspect it's physically impossible to distinguish quality above a certain bitrate threshold, anyway. But I'd like to retain as much quality as is reasonable
in the event I do acquire a decent pair of higher-end headphones in the future.
So, my main question:
Using this standard LAME encoder interface
, what are the best settings to maximize quality without going beyond what's possible to hear on decent-but-not-ridiculous equipment? Specifically:
- Encoding engine quality: Fast? Standard? High? I don't care if it takes longer to encode, I just don't want the output to be excessively big.
- Should the "Target" be Quality, or Bitrate? I'm thinking Quality = VBR = better/more efficient -- but can unchecking that "restrict encoder to..." box let you target an average/variable bitrate to shoot for without locking in CBR?
- For Bitrate: what's the highest that would still be noticebly improved on decent pair of headphones? 128 kbps? 192? 256? 320? When do diminishing returns really kick in?
- And if Quality is the better option: Same deal -- 75%? 90%? 100%?
(If it makes any difference, the music I'm dealing with is mostly layered, electronic-tinged modern alt/rock -- Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Explosions in the Sky, etc. Not a lot of classical/jazz/opera/spoken word.)