Old 14th August 2006, 03:16   #1
Magnavex
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Lame vs Fraunhofer (MP3)

In the past, I have ripped most of my CDs using Winamp at 128kbps CBR. I'm not a SUPER Audiophile, so I'm not looking for extreme quality, just CD quality so i don't hear any weird sounds and static like when you go below 96kbps. When I compared against the actually CD, I do notice a little bass loss, but the listening quality is still fine for ME. For the CDs that I know I will listen to a lot, and want a little more quality, I just bump up the rip to 160kbps. I've heard a lot wars between the LAME and Franhaufer encoder and I was wondering if it would be worth my time to make a change to LAME. I was wondering if anybody can direct me to a comparison chart that will show the differences of both, Quality and size wise. I'm also looking into VBR, and wondered how that will help me out.

thanks for your replies
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Old 14th August 2006, 03:38   #2
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The Winamp CD Ripper only uses LAME for ripping to mp3, not Fraunhofer.
It says 'licensed from Fraunhofer & Thomson' because it is they who own the mp3 patent, and for any program to be deemed officially legal you need to obtain said license.

Underneath it says 'MPEG Layer-3 encoding technology by Mp3dev'.
mp3dev.org is the home of LameEnc.
The MP3 Encoder filename is enc_lame.dll (in the Winamp\Plugins folder)
and the actual encoder it uses is lame_enc.dll (in same folder),
current LameEnc version used by default is v3.97b2.

For better/best quality we recommend that you use the --alt-preset Quality settings, eg. --alt-preset fast standard (default setting) or extreme, not cbr.
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Old 14th August 2006, 03:49   #3
Magnavex
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Did you know if i can use with Winamp the Lame version 3.98a6 ?
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Old 14th August 2006, 03:59   #4
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Yeah, you can if you wish.
Just download lame_enc.dll v3.98a6 and copy it to the Winamp\Plugins folder, thus overwriting the current (recommended) 3.97b2 version.

Note, I haven't personally tested v3.98a6, heh.
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Old 14th August 2006, 04:28   #5
Magnavex
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The ringing issues with quiet samples was reported for low -V settings. I often encounter this for -V5; some people reported minor but similar issues with -V4 as well.
Try to compare 3.97b2 -V5 [--vbr-new] with 3.98a6 -V5 [--vbr-new].
From my first tests, 3.98a6 is better than 3.97b2 -V5 --vbr-new --athaa-sensitivity 1
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Old 14th August 2006, 04:40   #6
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Changes in LAME MP3 Encoder 3.98 alpha 6:

• Alexander Leidinger:
- Add TLEN (ID3v2) support (Submitted by: Linus Walleij).
- Add number of total tracks per album (ID3v2) support (Submitted by: Kyle VanderBeek).
- Some seatbelts for overflowing arrays in the ID3v2 support.
- Update the RPM spec (Submitted by: Kyle VanderBeek).
- Fix some mem-leaks in the error case.
- Update to newer autotools versions.
- Update to use a recent libsndfile (submitted by libsndfile author).
• John33:
- Fixed mp2 and mp3 decoding: For mp3 and mp2 decoding, this now yields the same output as foobar2000 but the error checking remains unchanged.
• Robert Hegemann:
- Fixed some console printing problems.
- Fixed: in case of not enough bits the new vbr code incorrectly used old vbr routine.

Changes in LAME MP3 Encoder 3.97 beta 2 Changes in LAME MP3 Encoder 3.98 alpha 6 :

• Gabriel Bouvigne:
- Fixed an initialization error when input is not using a standard sampling frequency
- Fixed a possible assertion failure in very low bitrate encoding
- Slight change regarding ATH adjustment with V5
- Reinstated bit reservoir for 320kbps CBR
- ReplayGain analysis should now be faster when encountering silent parts
• Takehiro Tominaga:
- Fixed a possible link problem of assembly code



Features of LAME MP3 Encoder :

- Many improvements in quality in speed over ISO reference software.
- MPEG1,2 and 2.5 layer III encoding.
- CBR (constant bitrate) and two types of variable bitrate, VBR and ABR.
- Encoding engine can be compiled as a shared library (Linux/UNIX), DLL or ACM codec (Windows).
- Free format encoding and decoding
- GPSYCHO: a GPL'd psycho acoustic and noise shaping model.
- Powerfull and easy to use presets.
- Quality is comparable to FhG encoding engines and substantially better than most other encoders.
- Fast! Encodes faster than real time on a PII 266 at highest quality mode.
- MP3x: a GTK/X-Window MP3 frame analyzer for both .mp3 and unencoded audio files.

Last edited by Magnavex; 14th August 2006 at 05:10.
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Old 14th August 2006, 04:41   #7
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Note that vbr settings (ie. anything vbr except for the --alt-presets) are broken in Winamp 5.1x to 5.24, but fixed in 5.25 public beta.

As I said, I personally only use the --alt-presets.

Also note that we can't include an alpha encoder in the default Winamp distribution.
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Old 14th August 2006, 05:02   #8
Magnavex
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For rookie i recommend 3.97-> Latest LAME version.


3.98 Alphas and ALL future alpha versions -> ALPHA versions are for testing only! These include new code and are not tested or tuned at all. Many things are usually seriously broken or changed! DO NOT USE for anything, except for testing!

For expert user you gonna like 3.98
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Old 14th August 2006, 06:32   #9
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also, technically lame doesn't have to obtain licensing from fraunhoffer whatsover afaik, because they wrote all the old code out completely.

Request: A little SmartView Query Language love.
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Old 14th August 2006, 10:50   #10
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Yes, but Fraunhofer/Thomson own the mp3 patent, so it doesn't matter what mp3 encoder you use (whether LAME, FhG, Gogo, Blade, Xing, etc), you still need a license from them for your app to be deemed legal.
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Old 14th August 2006, 20:28   #11
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Quote:
also, technically lame doesn't have to obtain licensing from fraunhoffer whatsover afaik, because they wrote all the old code out completely.
Wrong, they compile no software, which can convert files to MP3. They just publish a library, the library alone isn't able to create MP3 files, this is the reason why they need no licence.
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Old 14th August 2006, 21:14   #12
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About LAME

Following the great history of GNU naming, LAME originally stood for LAME Ain't an Mp3 Encoder. LAME started life as a GPL'd patch against the dist10 ISO demonstration source, and thus was incapable of producing an mp3 stream or even being compiled by itself. But in May 2000, the last remnants of the ISO source code were replaced, and now LAME is the source code for a fully LGPL'd MP3 encoder, with speed and quality to rival all commercial competitors.

LAME is an educational tool to be used for learning about MP3 encoding. The goal of the LAME project is to use the open source model to improve the psycho acoustics, noise shaping and speed of MP3. LAME is not for everyone - it is distributed as source code only and requires the ability to use a C compiler. However, many popular ripping and encoding programs include the LAME encoding engine.

Using the LAME encoding engine (or other mp3 encoding technology) in your software may require a patent license in some countries.
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Old 14th August 2006, 21:30   #13
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Fraunhofer Frequently Answered Questions on MP3

I'd like to license / to buy the Fraunhofer MP3 software.

End Users: Fraunhofer IIS is a research institute. Although MP3 was developed here, we do not sell any MP3 products to end users. MP3 encoders are available from various companies. They are integrated, for example, in Apple iTunes, Windows Media 10, and MusicMatch Jukebox.

Companies: Thomson (http://www.mp3licensing.com/) is our software and patent licensing partner for MP3. Please direct your enquiry to them. On the web site, you find the current MP3 royalty rates and the contact details of Thomson.

I'd like to update my MP3 software.

End Users: Fraunhofer IIS is a research institution. Although MP3 was developed here, we do not provide any end user support. Please look for updates of the software in which MP3 is integrated.

Companies: Thomson (http://www.mp3licensing.com/) provides MP3 updates to all Fraunhofer MP3 software licensees.

Please help, my MP3 player doesn't work right!

Fraunhofer IIS is a research institution. Although MP3 was developed here, we neither sell any MP3 products to end users nor provide support for your product. Please direct your enquiry to the vendor or provider of your player.

How do I achieve perfect audio quality using MP3?

For "perfect" stereo MP3, you need two requisites:

1) A good MP3 encoder. The Fraunhofer IIS encoder is available with many current software applications, for example, the MusicMatch Jukebox, Windows Media 10, and the Magix MP3 Maker.

2) High bitrate. For the highest quality, do not use bitrates lower than 192 kbit/s. You may even consider using 256 kbit/s or even 320 kbit/s, although the difference between the last two is rarely even conceivable. If you are using a variable bitrate setting, choose the maximum quality setting available in the encoder interface.
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Old 15th August 2006, 00:50   #14
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Legal issues

LAME endured some legal difficulties regarding Fraunhofer's patent on certain key algorithms involved in MP3 encoding, including U.S. Patent 5,579,430 and foreign counterparts. These patents were intended to prevent anyone from being able to create an MP3 encoder without paying licensing fees to Fraunhofer — something that is difficult to enforce on an open source project whose contributors and users live in dozens of countries, many of which do not recognize patents on algorithms.

LAME developers state that since their code is only released in source form, "source code is considered as speech, which may contain descriptions of patented technology. Descriptions of patents are in the public domain.

The LAME software is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). In November, 2005 there were reports that the Extended Copy Protection software included on some SONY Compact Discs includes portions of the LAME library without complying with the terms of the LGPL.
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Old 15th August 2006, 00:58   #15
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This is the downside of being a large & popular media player. We have to pay for codec patent licenses (because there's someone to prosecute if we don't), while many open source and small freeware programs can slip under the radar.
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Old 24th January 2008, 18:05   #16
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If you ask me, i do not recognize license fee for creating my own mp3 algorythm. I would Recognize it IF i want to modify someone else's code, that is not opensource. otherwise i fully support free codec development. Free codec development is the only way to fully use the potential of a format. Competition makes perfect.

If you ask me, fraunhofer and mostly thomsom multimedia want to sell mediocre quality and mediocre speed rubbish, that follows ISO standarts for speed and quality, and their fear is that someone can make better encoder for free as lame did, because now we download fast and high quality encoder for free - lame mp3 encoder, and we use mp3 encoder, but we do not give our money t othem. If they want to sell - let them invest more money into talented developers, out of the box thinking approach to the problem, in more research and development, and to ignore ISO standarts for speed and quality, and to start working of squeezing the last drop quality and speed, no matter what ISO says, as lame do.

Since when fraunhoffer and thomson did no improvement of their fastenc? 2003, with the newest absolute threshold of hearing lines? 5 years the same mediocre rubbish. No wonder people are downloading newest vesions of lame mp3 encoder. So if fraunhodder and Thompsom multimedia want to sell - they better make it good.
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Old 24th January 2008, 18:22   #17
gaekwad2
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For the umpteenth time: the license fees aren't for the encoder but for use of the mp3 format, which was developed by Fraunhofer IIS.

If you want to use commercial software and don't want to pay them, use another format.
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