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I took @Gsuberland's comments to heart, and tried encoding Aerials at different bitrates. Upon careful listening, I could pick out the 128kbps version. CBR 192, ABR 160, ABR 192, and CBR 320 sound exactly the same as the FLAC to me. Casually, I can only tell whether it is 56kbps and below, or "good enough". 64-128 CBR sound good enough to me. That said, I always use ABR 192 to encode. I wrote a simple PHP script to do the double-blind encoding, just generates X random numbers in an array, writes that array to a file, and then encodes using the value at each array index as the filename. Random enough for me.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2012 on The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment at Coding Horror
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Jun 21, 2012