Author Topic: Auto selecting file coversion settings based on Source Bitrate  (Read 442 times)

johnmillsjr

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I've been thinking about this for quite a while, and I've wondered why file converters don't do this.

I convert all my lossless files to mp3 at the highest bitrate.

On occasion, I come across flac files that are less than 320.

When this happens, I have to go through the process multiple times, first doing the 320+ at 320CBR and then converting anything lower at the highest matching VBR setting.

Could a setting be added to auto select the best setting automatically?
Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 11:54:02 PM by johnmillsjr

hiccup

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On occasion, I come across flac files that are >320.
When this happens, I have to go through the process multiple times, first doing the 320+ at 320CBR and then converting anything lower at the highest matching VBR setting.

I don't understand what your thought- and work process is.
Flac is lossless, and except for some mono recordings, the bitrate will be much higher than 320kbps, and more importantly, it is by no means any indication of sound quality. (contrary to any lossy format)

You can convert a flac file to an mp3 file with the encoding quality of your choice in one step.
I don't understand what makes you perform any additional steps.

psychoadept

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Aren't all FLAC files > 320? If not, I would suspect a problem with the source.
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hiccup

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Aren't all FLAC files > 320? If not, I would suspect a problem with the source.

Not sure, in my library I found a flac mono track that by MusicBee is reported to be exactly 320kbps.
dBpoweramp will report it as 1.411kbps though. (the original lossless bit rate)

johnmillsjr

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On occasion, I come across flac files that are >320.
When this happens, I have to go through the process multiple times, first doing the 320+ at 320CBR and then converting anything lower at the highest matching VBR setting.

I don't understand what your thought- and work process is.
Flac is lossless, and except for some mono recordings, the bitrate will be much higher than 320kbps, and more importantly, it is by no means any indication of sound quality. (contrary to any lossy format)

You can convert a flac file to an mp3 file with the encoding quality of your choice in one step.
I don't understand what makes you perform any additional steps.


Aren't all FLAC files > 320? If not, I would suspect a problem with the source.

Not sure, in my library I found a flac mono track that by MusicBee is reported to be exactly 320kbps.
dBpoweramp will report it as 1.411kbps though. (the original lossless bit rate)





Because I want to get the highest quality mp3 file I can from the lossless files. You never convert to a bitrate higher than the source. an auto select setting would mean you wouldn't have to change settings for loseless files is 320<

hiccup

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flac is lossless by definition.
The bit rate indication you refer to has nothing to do with sound quality. It's only some indication of the data compression and the burden on processing and transfer speed.
It's about data compression, not about audio compression.

MP3 is lossy by definition.
Whatever mp3 setting you use for encoding flac to mp3, you will always lose audio information.

So, doing it once will always reduce the sound quality, and doing it twice will reduce the sound quality twice.

Another way to explain it in case you work with image files sometimes:
It's similar to converting a png or a bmp to a jpg.
There is no setting for encoding to jpg that is so high that no information from the original picture is altered or degraded. It will always be of an objective lower quality.

(o.k. a 1 pixel image with a web table colour would probably be an exception)
Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 07:33:57 PM by hiccup

smann

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Aren't all FLAC files > 320? If not, I would suspect a problem with the source.

Technically it all depends on what is contained within a track, since the bitrate is just an average overall for the whole song. I have a couple of short songs that have huuuugggeeee silent gaps after them with a short hidden track or instrumental at the end of an album. Overall they come out to less than 320kbps when in FLAC. Then there are a couple of silent tracks or tracks that are simply muffled recordings of speeches or so for "theatrical" effect for the album. But yeah, all normal songs are well above 320kbps for FLAC.


To answer the initial question...

I think the OP meant to say <320kbps FLAC files in the original post, not >320kbps, which is where the confusion is coming from.

I would just convert straight to 320kbps CBR MP3 for all the files as this will be extremely rare. Technically you're throwing information out for all of the other tracks when converting anyways, it would still throw out information and be around the same overall quality as the rest of the tracks. The whole reason you don't upconvert is because you're making the size larger without gaining anything, and upconverting to another lossy format would just throw out more information and actually reduce quality while being a larger size. For a couple of songs, this won't really cause any issues or hinder their quality noticeably when going from <320kbps FLAC to 320kbps CBR MP3.

Plus one single track on an album being VBR while everything else is CBR would annoy the heck out of me haha.
Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 09:30:32 PM by smann

hiccup

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Technically it all depends on what is contained within a track, since the bitrate is just an average overall for the whole song.

All interesting for sure, but the main issue here is that the OP seems to assume that when a flac file is reported to be 300kbps, it would be overkill to encode it to 320kbps mp3.
It isn't, since the flac is lossless, and converting it to mp3 will by design degrade it. Always.
This isn't about actual technical bit rates, it is about a misconception that bit rates of lossless and lossy codecs are to be considered equal and comparable. They are not.

On a side note, not relevant to the actual q and a here, I am curious about the <320kbps flac files the OP seems to have in his library.
Are they mono recordings, audiobooks, what?
Or as psychoadept suggested, possibly defective files?

johnmillsjr

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Yes I put my side ways triangles wrong. I want flac files less than 320 to go to the closest vbr setting of the source bitrate

they were rare occasions of 1920s recordings.

I convert my music to mp3 so i can use id3tags and keep a flac archive.

I'm well aware that mp3s are all degraded, I just like to choose the best quality settings I can reach without exceeding the source- and not making the file any bigger than my already over kill 320 life-choices already does so.

Just let me convert my mp3s  :'(  :'(  :'(  :-*  :-*  :-*  :-X  :P  8)

phred

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The only thing I'll add here to the OP is that one should never (never, NEVER) re-encode an mp3 file. Neither up nor down. You'll be taking a lossy file and making it even more lossy.

I've heard of people who download the audio from a YouTube video and then re-encode it to 320 thinking it's going to improve the quality. Nope. Doesn't happen.
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johnmillsjr

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I'm not re-encoding mp3s!!

I'm talking about converting lossless to mp3

phred

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I understand that. I just felt it was worth pointing out for anyone not aware of the pitfalls of re-encoding mp3s.
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hiccup

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I'm not re-encoding mp3s!!

You originally mentioned converting lossless to lossy in two steps. The second step would be re-encoding wouldn't it?
If you want to encode flac to mp3, forget about what bit-rate is reported for the flac file, it is completely irrelevant here.
Just choose an mp3 encoding quality that you are happy with and convert the flac to that.
No matter what bit-rate you saw reported for the flac, the sound quality will always degrade when converting to mp3.

johnmillsjr

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no,

I said

1. convert flac files of 320+ to 320cbr mp3
2. convert flacs that are less than 320 to the nearest matching bitrate possible mp3

And have mb choose the settings automatically.

I know it degrades no matter what, but i just want to get the best qaulity mp3 I can get under it's parameters.

johnmillsjr

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I understand that. I just felt it was worth pointing out for anyone not aware of the pitfalls of re-encoding mp3s.

Ah ok :)