Encoders 105 kbit/s

wma 9.1 pro VBR@108.8
mp3PRO VBR@104.9
AAC VBR@103.6 (Nero 5.5)
Vorbis VBR@103.1 (Xiph 1.0)
ra 8 CBR@109.0 with ATRAC3
ATRAC3 CBR@104.9

in alphabetical order

AAC VBR@103.6 (Nero 5.5) - MPEG-4 AAC VBR Low Complexity, 103.6 kbit/s FBR
CODER: Ahead MPEG-4 AAC Encoder Plugin for Ahead Nero Burning Rom
- Ahead audio RAW convertor (resampling plugin) - SINC, Quality 100
- Encoder quality - High
- AAC Profile - Low Complexity
- Enable PNS - No
- preset - STREAMING
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: Ahead MPEG-4 AAC Decoder Plugin for Ahead Nero Burning Rom

ATRAC3 CBR@104.9 (Sony MD), 104.9 kbit/s FBR
CODER: SonicStage
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: SonicStage
- digital capture through Total Recorder 4.1a

mp3PRO VBR@104.9 - mp3PRO VBR by Fraunhofer IIS & Coding Technologies, 104.9 kbit/s FBR
CODER: mp3PRO Encoder Plugin for Ahead Nero Burning Rom
- Encoding Quality - Highest
- Allow intensity stereo coding - yes
- Allow downmix - yes
- Padding - ISO
- preset - Highest
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: THOMSON mp3PRO Audio Player Demo 1.1.0 (Build 0)

ra 8 CBR@109.0 with ATRAC3 - RealAudio 8, 109.0 kbit/s FBR
CODER: RealJukebox 2 build
- input from Audio CD
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: RealJukebox 2 build
- output to Audio CD

Vorbis VBR@103.1 (Xiph 1.0) - OggVorbis, VBR, 103.1 kbit/s FBR
CODER: OggEnc 1.0 (libVorbis 1.0)
- usage: oggenc -q3 test.wav
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: OggDec 1.0 from OggVorbis package
- usage: oggdec test.ogg

wma 9.1 pro VBR@108.8 - Windows Media Audio 9.1 Professional VBR, 108.8 kbit/s FBR
ENCODER: MS Windows Media Encoder
- Mode: Quality VBR
- Audio format: VBR Quality 50, 44 kHz, 2 channel 24 bit VBR
DECODER: MS Windows Media Encoder

The ratings above are live. Each time a participant of SE listening test sends a grade - the corresponding rating updates immediately. You can participate as well, it's easy and looks like fun, no need for "golden ears" or special equipment. Just visit our Testing Room, download a random sample, listen it in headphones and send back your grade. Afterwards corresponding rating will get new value and become more accurate. As the testing is fully blind you'll get to know the device/technology you've tested after sending your grade only. Thanks.

Testing Room ►

You can add a codec/setting to SE listening tests for $50 donation. Please, make your request ►

How to read the ratings

Rating bar graph

The rating bar consists of the following elements:

#1 - Device or technology being tested.

#2 - Value of actual perceived audio quality (rating) which is also indicated
by the bar length #3. Anchor points could be interpreted as follows:

In most cases using this device/technology:

1.0 – you will hear heavily distorted sound
2.0 – you will hear unpleasant sound artifacts
3.0 – you will hear distinctly audible but tolerable sound artifacts
4.0 – you will hear faintly discernible sound artifacts
5.0 – you will not hear any sound artifacts
above 5.0 – all sound artifacts will be beyond threshold of human perception with corresponding perception margin

#4 and #5 - "low" and "high" of rating. As each device is tested with nine different sound samples, there are nine different local ratings for a device. In fact, the actual rating #2 is an average of those nine local ratings. The highest and the lowest ones are indicated. Big gap between them means that sound quality of device/technology is not consistent enough. It varies with type of sound material: music of different genres and complexity, voice with or without music, noisy/clear recordings etc. The lowest local rating is more important in this sense as it indicates worst case behavior of tested device.

#6 - Accuracy of rating. It is also indicated by the color of bar - more accurate ratings have darker bars and less percentage values. Accuracy depends on number of grades returned by participants. In most cases 5% or less is OK.

#7 - Ruler for convenient estimation of "highs" and "lows".

For devices with small impairments (not audible in ordinary listening tests) SoundExpert amplifies their sound artifacts to some predefined extent. Ratings of such devices are calculated analytically taking into account both the grades received and the amplification applied. They are above 5th grade on the scale showing certain quality headroom of such devices.