RazorLame is a brilliant freeware program which lets you create super high quality MP3 files from your WAV tracks. The advantage is you get all the quality of an uncompressed track in a much smaller file size. Win!
The site is also clearly a call to arms against those who diss MP3 as an inferior sounding format, and judging by my tests, they’re right. I converted a few tracks from huge WAV files and managed to shrink them dramatically (in one case down from 100 MB to a mere 14MB) with absolutely no appreciable loss in quality.
The secret is in the use of Variable Bit Rate and the custom settings you can input. I went with the settings at:
-V1 –vbr-new -b112 –lowpass 21 -q0
and the results were awesome. The site also advises on optimum settings for podcasting and streaming and what you need to optimise your OGG recordings and encoding. Awesome resource and a superb software tool.
Since audio is being compressed, and the compression schemes are lossy, people think MP3 is inferior to what they call ‘CD-quality’. That is complete nonsense; Let’s check out the CD-audio format, it can only run 16 bit audio at 44.1 kHz samplerate, while one can create MP3 out of 96 kHz samplerate audio-files with 24 bit resolution. Also, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio inside MP3 are determined by the source-audio and can in theory be infinite, while that of an audio-CD can only be as high as the quality of the DA converter you use, which these days is usually of lower quality than when played directly from MP3 using a pro or semi-pro soundcard in a PC.