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I have been using xing encoder for years and was happy with it. I always used 192kb (and more recently 256kb) I have a hard time telling the difference. I can tell the difference at 128kb between the 2 encoders. Is there really much difference at the higher bitrate and if so what should i be listening for? I really want to use the best and get closest to CD quality.
 

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The LAME encoder uses a new "open source" psycoacustic model that a lot of people in the know seem to think is the most accurate right now. As far as I can tell from the reviews on the net, LAME's bigest advantage is significantly greater quality than the commercial encoders when encoding with a variable bit rate. That quality does come at the price of dramaticly increased encoding time. But you generally only rip a tune once, so it's not that big of an issue.
 
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