How do you guys want to take it?


Established Member
So, I've got both Grandia OST 1 and OST 2, two discs each. I plan to rip it with Exact Audio Copy and my Lite-On burner. EAC is not exactly fast, but it does a good job. But what do I compress them to after that? MP3 (via LAME), WMA9, Ogg Vorbis, or MP4 (one of the newer AAC implementations and file container made common by iTunes and Quicktime). They are in exact order as far as compatibility vs quality goes. But I can encode them to any of those, 192+ kbit stream. I'd prefer MP3 myself, but I wanted to hear what you guys thought. Considering 4 CDs, it will probably take an hour or more just to rip the masters, using EAC with max quality settings.
I guess I can put some input here since I'm currently re-ripping every game soundtrack I own thanks to a hard drive failure. This is going to take me over a month to finish...

At any rate, I highly recommend using Exact Audio Copy with LAME 3.90.3 on the preset standard setting. My MP3s average anywhere from 170-190 Kbps averaged out, as LAME churns out variable bitrate MP3s, which are by far the best MP3 format to use. I'm a huge quality freak with game music, heh...

Speaking of MP3s, I probably should look into "donating" some songs as I finish re-ripping my collection. I imagine some of you wouldn't mind hearing some soundtracks such as Sega Rock Volumes 1 & 2, among others.
If you're not concerned about drive space, I'd go with 192+ CBR instead of VBR. I consider VBR useful only when I'm trying to save space. In reality, a variable bitrate sacrifices quality at certain points in the song, and I question whether the format merits all the hype it receives. I like consistency.

I'm not picking on you, Parn, as I have plenty of VBR mp3s, and they sound perfect to me. But my anal retentive side says go with a constant and consistent bitrate if space is not an issue.

I've always used CDex, but a lot of people swear by EAC. You'll probably be fine either way.
Actually, a CBR file can falter at more complicated parts of the song and give too many bits to easier parts, if I'm not mistaken? VBR allows bitrate variation for different levels of musical complication from different sections of the encoded track.

But anyway, I find stereo 160kbps Fraunhofer 3.3.2 MP3 to sound fair enough for casual, non-£200-headphone listening. :D
VBR tries to autodetect the needed bits for every frame. It will use when it needs more, it will use less when it needs less. The accuracy of this detection is very high, but not perfect, and every human has different ears so what might work fine for someone may sound like shit to another. Also, the encoder may detect the needed bits for a song wrong.

CBR is only useful at 320k.

CBR uses a fixed amount of bits for every frame. This doesn't allow flexibility and usually results in lower quality.

still, LAME alt-preset standard is considered better then 192k cbr in any case.