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  You are at: AudioTech Center: MP3 Encoders  

For information on the best MP3 Players available, click here.

Not all MP3 encoders are the same! While most produce average quality MP3s, some produce poor quality MP3s and some produce excellent quality MP3s. Want to make the highest quality MP3s without having to research all the different MP3 encoders and their technical specifications? Then read on!

For the average user who wants speed and ease of use while still being able to make high quality MP3s:

Name: MusicMatch 8.0
Rating: 09/10
Download: Click here to download the latest version

Review: MusicMatch utilizes the excellent Fraunhofer MP3 encoder. The interface is easy to use and suitable for those who might not know much at all about mp3 encoding. It allows you to rip audio direct from your CDs and encode them into MP3, all in one program. And last but not least, it's free!
Click here to see what's new in Version 8.

Recommended Settings:

  • A "bit rate" of 128kbps is sufficient to produce sound that an average listener would consider CD Quality. For those with higher end computer sound systems and pickier ears, a bit rate of 192kbps is a better choice. Of course, the higher bit rate you choose, the larger the resulting MP3 file will be. If you don't want to sacrifice quality but disk space is a concern, consider using VBR mode. VBR stands for Variable Bit Rate, and what it does is vary the bit rate used throughout the song based on the complexity of the audio and the quality level that you choose. The end result is a higher quality file at a smaller file size.

For the more advanced user who wants the highest quality MP3s possible:

Name: Exact Audio Copy (CD audio extraction) + LAME (mp3 encoder)
Rating: 10/10
Download: Exact Audio Copy / EasyLAME

Review of Exact Audio Copy: Exact Audio Copy is the best and most accurate Audio CD extractor available, and it's free for you to download. It has a setup wizard to help you configure your CD-ROM drives to extract a digital copy of audio CD tracks onto your hard drive. There are also plenty of other features in the program you may find useful. While it has an option to let you encode audio files into MP3, most will find it easier to use the EasyLAME program (described below).

Review of the EasyLAME MP3 Encoder: LAME is considered to be the finest MP3 encoder available. The latest versions of LAME surpass the quality of the reference Fraunhofer MP3 encoder, especially in Variable Bit Rate (VBR) mode. As with Exact Audio Copy, LAME is free as well. EasyLAME includes the LAME encoder prepackaged with a Windows graphical interface and predefined settings that will produce the highest quality VBR MP3s possible. That means you don't have to worry about using the right command line switches and other hassles! Just install the program and start turning your audio files into high quality MP3s!

2 free programs that, in combination, produce the highest quality MP3s currently possible. What more could we ask for. =)