Step 5: Back in the day, Roel's site [r3mix.net] was the authority for MP3 quality, since he was the only one basing his assertions on technical [rather than subject] analysis.
Sadly, the original site has shutdown, but I've found a mirror .. nevermind, it's gone too. Nevertheless, r3mix has been made obsolete by Dibrom's ALT presets. But r3mix was where it all began.
As I've discovered myself, it is difficult to keep a site
updated with the latest info regarding audio encoding. Things change
fast. This is why Dibrom's HydrogenAudio
forums have become so popular: they operate in real-time.
Much debate revolves around the issue of MP3 quality vs bit-rates. Folks get worked up over the subject. This is because everybody comes to these discussions with different ears [hearing ability] and equipment. Any everyone likes to listen to different music.
So it shouldn't surprise you that consensus over the "perfect
bit-rate" is impossible to arrive at. But things in this area have
become much less complicated. Most gurus agree that the -V 2 --vbr-new preset setting produces the best bit-rate.
If you don't mind sparing the extra bits, -V 0 --vbr-new will give you an extra added measure of quality .. that you may, or may not, be able to hear.
FastForward (now ff123) is another site where you can quickly learn a lot about MP3 encoding lore.
SatCP & Elite DAE
Step 6. Install EAC. Now to configure it. There are two guides. Chris Myden's [Best MP3 guide, Calgary, Canada] is quick-n-dirty. SatCP's [The Coaster Factory, Belgium] explains in detail what the different settings do. You decide which one you want to use. They each come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Copy the LAME encoder to the RazorLame directory. It's it's not there, Razorlame will ask you to navigate to it. RazorLAME is simple to set up. The most important part are configuring the encoding settings.
Options: 1 or 2 steps
Step 8: There are two basic ways to encode MP3s. You can either configure EAC to automatically call and launch the LAME encoder [using the appropriate settings] options, or rip first and encode later, in a separate step. I prefer the second option. But this is merely personal preference.
I rip my songs first, and use RazorLAME to batch encode overnight, while sleeping. I wake up with a bunch of new MP3s on my hard drive. You can even configure RazorLAME to delete the original *.wav file when it's done encoding.
Note that when you rip & encode at the same time, it still occurs in two separate steps, even tho it may appear as one. In other words, EAC will still rip to a *.wav file, then call and launch the LAME encoder, and finally delete the *.wav file it ripped [if EAC is configured to do that, or course].
Some people think EAC rips straight to MP3. But, if you think about it, you'll see that this is not possible. If EAC didn't first rip to *.wav, LAME would have nothing [no *.wav file] to encode. Whether the *.wav file goes to your hard drive, or simply remains in memory, while LAME is encoding, I don't know. [It doesn't really matter.]
Done Ripping & Encoding CD Audio
Step 9: We're done. Have at it .. knowing you'll have the highest quality ripping & MP3-encoding set-ups on the planet .. and you didn't have to pay a penny for it .. thanks to many generous people .. from various countries.
The Internet has brought together some of the world's finest coders and their software programs right into your living room. Welcome to the 21st century. Next, let's take a look at some alternative [non-MP3] lossy encoders.
Return to beginning: [Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD audio with EAC & the LAME MP3 encoder (codec)]