Encoders 192 kbit/s

For preserving as much sound quality as possible @192 kbit/s SoundExpert recommends compressing music with these coders:

  • Nero AAC LC encoder (NeroRef 1002)
  • Nero AAC LC encoder (NeroRef 1530)
  • Ogg Vorbis (-aoTuV-b4.51)
  • WMA 9.1
  • High bitrate AAC+ encoder v1.2


  1. The above recommendations relate exclusively to perceived audio quality of encoders but not their popularity, compatibility with software/hardware players or any other features which can also be considered in practice (tag support for example).
  2. The above recommendations refer exclusively to the encoders which have been already tested at SoundExpert and which ratings are listed below.
AAC VBR@190.9 (NeroRef 1530)
Vorbis VBR@192.8 (aoTuV B4.51)
AAC+ CBR@192.7 (Winamp 5.24)
AAC VBR@193.3 (NeroRef 1002)
wma 9.1 CBR@193.8
mp3 VBR@200.5 (Lame 3.97b2)
mpc VBR@193.8 (1.15v)
mp3 CBR@192.3 (iTunes 7.1)
AAC VBR@195.1 (iTunes 6.0)

in alphabetical order

AAC VBR@190.9 (NeroRef 1530) - MPEG-4 AAC Low Complexity, VBR, 190.9 kbit/s FBR
CODER: Nero Digital Audio Reference MPEG-4 & 3GPP Audio Encoder (build 2009-12-29)
- usage: neroAacEnc.exe -q 0.60 -if ref.wav -of out.mp4
- AAC Profile: Low Complexity
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: Nero Digital Audio Reference MPEG-4 & 3GPP Audio Decoder
- usage: neroAacDec.exe -if out.mp4 -of out.wav

AAC VBR@193.3 (NeroRef 1002) - MPEG-4 AAC VBR Low Complexity, 193.3 kbit/s FBR
CODER: Nero Digital Audio Reference MPEG-4 & 3GPP Audio Encoder
- usage: neroAacEnc.exe -q 0.63 -if ref.wav -of out.mp4
- AAC Profile: Low Complexity
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: Nero Digital Audio Reference MPEG-4 & 3GPP Audio Decoder
- usage: neroAacDec.exe -if out.mp4 -of out.wav

AAC VBR@195.1 (iTunes 6.0) - MPEG-4 AAC VBR Low Complexity, 195.1 kbit/s FBR
CODER: AAC Encoder from iTunes
- Stereo Bit Rate: 192kbps
- Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz
- Channels: Stereo
- Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR): Yes
- Optimize for voice: No

AAC+ CBR@192.7 (Winamp 5.24) - MPEG-4 AAC High Efficiency CBR, 192.7 kbit/s FBR
CODER: MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2 from Winamp 5.24
- CD Ripping
- Bitrate: 192kbps
- Channel Mode: Stereo
- 44100 Hz
DECODER: Winamp 5.24
- Nullsoft Disk Writer plug-in v2.11

mp3 CBR@192.3 (iTunes 7.1) - MPEG-1 Layer 3 CBR, 192.3 kbit/s FBR
ENCODER: MP3 Encoder from iTunes
- Setting: Higher Quality (192 kbps)
- 44100 Hz, normal stereo
DECODER: MAD 0.15.2b

mp3 VBR@200.5 (Lame 3.97b2) - MPEG-1 Layer 3 VBR, 200.5 kbit/s FBR
CODER: Lame 3.97b2
- usage: lame -V 1 --vbr-new ref.wav out.mp3
- 44100 Hz Joint Stereo
DECODER: MAD 0.15.2b

mpc VBR@193.8 (1.15v) - Musepack, 193.8 kbit/s FBR
CODER: mppenc 1.15v
- usage: mppenc --quality 5.5 ref.wav out.mpc
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: mppdec 1.95e

Vorbis VBR@192.8 (aoTuV B4.51) - Ogg Vorbis, 192.8 kbit/s FBR
CODER: OggEnc 2.8 [aoTuV b4b]
- usage: oggenc2 -q6.4 ref.wav
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: OggDec 1.0

wma 9.1 CBR@193.8 - Windows Media Audio 9.1 (Standard) CBR, 193.8 kbit/s FBR
ENCODER: Windows Media Player
- CD Ripping
- Format: Windows Media Audio
- Audio quality: Best Quality (192 Kbps)
- 44100 Hz Stereo
DECODER: Windows Media Player
- Burning Audio CD

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.