Author Topic: Auto selecting file coversion settings based on Source Bitrate  (Read 443 times)

hiccup

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2. convert flacs that are less than 320 to the nearest matching bitrate possible mp3

Ah, ok. I thought you meant using two sequential steps, but you meant two different possible steps.
So is it now cleared up that however low the reported flac bit-rate is, the 'nearest matching' mp3 bit rate will always be the highest possible available mp3 bit-rate?

johnmillsjr

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hiccup

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yeah, probably the highest vbr profile nearest the source bitrate

Nope.
The highest possible mp3 profile will be closest to the flac.
Even the highest possible lossy profile will always be less than the lossless source.

I'll retreat now, it seems I am inadequate in explaining this good enough.
Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 12:40:19 AM by hiccup

psychoadept

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Personally, I'd take advantage of the ability to choose a profile based on source format, although I suppose bitrate would work, too.

FLAC I always convert to 320 CBR. M4A I convert to VBR 0, but I think they're always 256 VBR to start out with (from iTunes). I know M4A to MP3 is lossy to lossy, but tagging support for M4A is so crap that it's worth it to me.
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hiccup

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Personally, I'd take advantage of the ability to choose a profile based on source format, although I suppose bitrate would work, too.

FLAC I always convert to 320 CBR. M4A I convert to VBR 0, but I think they're always 256 VBR to start out with (from iTunes). I know M4A to MP3 is lossy to lossy, but tagging support for M4A is so crap that it's worth it to me.

Since we are freewheeling now:
I struggled a while about what to do with formats other than flac or mp3. (which are my two preferred formats by far)
If it was only for tagging purposes I don't like to have formats such as m4a, wma etc. in my library.
That gave me two options:

1. Preserve the sound quality and encode them to flac. But then I would have flac files that would give the impression they were of lossless quality witch would be false. So that was a no.

2. Re-encode them to mp3. But that would result in an additional loss in quality. Not something to lose too much sleep about, but still not very desirable. (and I might loose my audiophile badge ;-)

Then a light bulb appeared above my head.
Any lossy format other than mp3 gets converted to ape.
Ape will contain the original audio without additional loss, and it presents no problems related to tagging.

So now my library contains only three formats that each present a clear purpose to me:

Lossless: flac
Lossy: mp3
Lossy that was converted from some other format: ape

Easy to remember, and no tagging challenges anymore.

johnmillsjr

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Personally, I'd take advantage of the ability to choose a profile based on source format, although I suppose bitrate would work, too.

FLAC I always convert to 320 CBR. M4A I convert to VBR 0, but I think they're always 256 VBR to start out with (from iTunes). I know M4A to MP3 is lossy to lossy, but tagging support for M4A is so crap that it's worth it to me.

Since we are freewheeling now:
I struggled a while about what to do with formats other than flac or mp3. (which are my two preferred formats by far)
If it was only for tagging purposes I don't like to have formats such as m4a, wma etc. in my library.
That gave me two options:

1. Preserve the sound quality and encode them to flac. But then I would have flac files that would give the impression they were of lossless quality witch would be false. So that was a no.

2. Re-encode them to mp3. But that would result in an additional loss in quality. Not something to lose too much sleep about, but still not very desirable. (and I might loose my audiophile badge ;-)

Then a light bulb appeared above my head.
Any lossy format other than mp3 gets converted to ape.
Ape will contain the original audio without additional loss, and it presents no problems related to tagging.

So now my library contains only three formats that each present a clear purpose to me:

Lossless: flac
Lossy: mp3
Lossy that was converted from some other format: ape

Easy to remember, and no tagging challenges anymore.

In my case, I have a crazy/sohpisticated cataloging system for my music via id3tags- hence my mp3 conversions (coverting flac to mp3)

johnmillsjr

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yeah, probably the highest vbr profile nearest the source bitrate

Nope.
The highest possible mp3 profile will be closest to the flac.
Even the highest possible lossy profile will always be less than the lossless source.

I'll retreat now, it seems I am inadequate in explaining this good enough.

I meant for the rare occasions when the flac is lower than 320- which is rare- but it happens

hiccup

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In my case, I have a crazy/sohpisticated cataloging system for my music via id3tags- hence my mp3 conversions (coverting flac to mp3)

Do you mean that flac files pose problems in your tagging system?
Can you tell what problems exactly?

hiccup

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I'll retreat now, it seems I am inadequate in explaining this good enough.

I meant for the rare occasions when the flac is lower than 320- which is rare- but it happens

I'll retreat now, it seems I am inadequate in explaining this good enough. ;-)

johnmillsjr

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I'm sorry if i'm missing something

All i'm trying to say is: if a lossless source file is 1000kbps I covert the file to mp3 CBR 320

If it's 255 (which is rare for a lossless file- but it' happens) I make it vbr 220-260

Lower than, I match it with the next mating vbr setting and so on.


All I'm suggesting is a function that selects the conversion settings based on that for each file- so you dont have to set up multiple conversion 'sessions' of doing the 320+ to 320cbr first, then the next set of files and so on.

Or I'm completely wrong about the optimum way to convert to mp3- and I'm missing something you're saying to that effect- if so I'm sorry

hiccup

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I'm sorry if i'm missing something

Never apologize for not understanding something. It's a sign that you want to learn.

Maybe somebody else can explain the technicalities about bit rates and how they relate between lossy and lossless audio in an understandable manner.

The best way that I can explain it:
As soon as you use an mp3 encoder to convert from lossless to lossy, the codec will change the original audio data. Always.
It will use a very smart algorithm to 'listen' to the audio data, it will try to maintain what human ears are sensitive to, and throw away as much as possible data that human ears (and brains) are less sensitive to.
It will not look at the reported bit rate of the source file and then say, ah well, that's o.k., let's leave that just as it is.
It will always write a new and altered audio file.
And that will always result in some sort of degradation.

frankz

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The bit rate of a flac file is irrelevant. It's like dividing the file size of a Word document by its character count and calling it the bit rate of your Word document.

Conversion to flac rearranges the data, like a zip file would to a text document. Conversion to lossy alters the audio. Comparing between the two is a non sequitur. Using the measure of one process to decide how to handle the other is faulty logic.

johnmillsjr

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I'm sorry if i'm missing something

Never apologize for not understanding something. It's a sign that you want to learn.

Maybe somebody else can explain the technicalities about bit rates and how they relate between lossy and lossless audio in an understandable manner.

The best way that I can explain it:
As soon as you use an mp3 encoder to convert from lossless to lossy, the codec will change the original audio data. Always.
It will use a very smart algorithm to 'listen' to the audio data, it will try to maintain what human ears are sensitive to, and throw away as much as possible data that human ears (and brains) are less sensitive to.
It will not look at the reported bit rate of the source file and then say, ah well, that's o.k., let's leave that just as it is.
It will always write a new and altered audio file.
And that will always result in some sort of degradation.

I understand that, but at the end of the day, something has to choose the bitrate setttings, to covert to a mp3 based on what you select in the converter? The highest bit rate gives the converter more bandwidth to work with doesn't it?

could you elaborate more? because all I'm able to draw from that is that it doesnt matter what bitrate you choose- and I don't think that's quite true

sveakul

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What hiccup is saying is that any conversion from a lossless FLAC to a lossy mp3 (or any other lossy format) involves audio degradation.  That said, by adjusting the bitrate of the mp3 converter, in this case Lame.exe, you can reduce the AMOUNT of the degradation, at least in an audible sense.  So the bitrate set for the conversion process DOES matter.

You can set the MusicBee encoding presets to any custom value you choose in Prefs/File Converters.  Currently the max preset for mp3 in my setup uses the parameters "--vbr-new -V 0 --noreplaygain - [outputfile]" .  You can change that to a constant 320k bitrate if you like (see https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=LAME#Understanding_the_bitrate_settings for starters).  However, I find the V0 setting produces audibly identical results to CBR 320 at a significant size savings.

BTW, the "--vbr-new" part is no longer needed in new Lame versions as it is now the default when the "V" switch is used.   Doesn't hurt to leave it in though.

Zak

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Converting a <320 kbps FLAC file to CBR 320 kbps MP3 will make a larger file that (theoretically) sounds worse. So unless it's for compatibility reasons, I'm not sure you'd want to convert them anyway.

I'll also throw in that you shouldn't get too hung about the numbers.
I know a lot of us here have varying degrees of obsessiveness about consistent tags etc. but you can waste days of your life worrying about this stuff and it's not worth it.
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