LAME VBR Encoding - Standard or Fast Standard

  • Hi Robert

    I know that, currently, BonkEnc defaults to the LAME standard (VBR) preset. However, there seems a lot of confusion over whether the "fast" versions of the Medium, Standard and Extreme presets provide better or worse quality than their 'non-fast' equivalents.

    I've seen comments that the use of the -f parm should be avoided cos it gives a worse quality (as far as hi-fi listening is concerned). However, I've also found comments that, after blind-listening evaluations, it is now agreed that it gives a 'better' result than equivalent non-fast modes.

    I'd really value your thoughts on this question to help me decide whehter I should be ripping to MP3 via the Standard or Fast Standard options.

    Many thanks for a brilliant product. Can't wait until we get volume normalisation, as well :-)

    • Robert Kausch
      Robert Kausch


      It is recommended to use the "Standard, Fast" preset now. It is based on some new VBR algorithms that were introduced into LAME a few years ago. At first, quality was a little worse than with the old algorithms, but with extensive quality tuning done on them it is now agreed that the new VBR model provides better quality.

      Incidentially just yesterday I decided that not only "Standard, Fast" will be the default preset starting from BonkEnc 1.0.13, but that the old presets will be completely removed from BonkEnc with that release.

      The old presets should have been removed with BonkEnc 1.0.9 already when the old "VBR rh" and "VBR mtrh" options were replaced by a single VBR option (which uses the new VBR code of course). Somehow I forgot about the presets using the old VBR code back then.


    • >Somehow I forgot about the presets using the old VBR code back then.

      I guess we'll forgive you seeing as how you've written such a neat product - I think EAC will need to look to it's laurels :-)

      Thanks for the quick reply


  • Roger

    Hi enzo,

    i have an additional question to that topic:

    How are the new just 3 VBR presets "medium, fast", "standard, fast", "extreme,
    fast" to be translated to the old modes -V0, -V1, -V2 ?

    Is extreme -V0 ? Is standard -V1 ? I can't find any documentation about this.

    And is it possible to submit the well known command line paramaters to LAME
    via your program ?

    Thanks in advance

  • Robert Kausch
    Robert Kausch

    You can find lots of information on LAME settings here: http://wiki.hydrogena

    -V0 is 'Extreme, fast', -V2 is 'Standard, fast' and -V4 is 'Medium, fast'

    Using the command line parameters is not possible with the current stable
    version of BonkEnc. However, you can use lame.exe with the command line
    interface of the latest BonkEnc 1.1 development snapshot.

  • Roger

    THX for your reply !

    I tried to convert about 3.000 FLACs via Lame setting "Extreme", but I saw
    some crashes of Bonk Enc after 20-30 minutes of work. After that it complied
    about read errors in my FLACs, but there were none. I went back to 1.013, same
    issue here.

    Later I gave foobar2000 a try, and it did the job during the last night in 7
    hours without any error.

    I'll have a look on future versions of Bonk Enc, but for now I'll stick with


  • qw6135920

    You can find lots of information on LAME settings here: http://wiki.hydrogena

    -V0 is 'Extreme, fast', -V2 is 'Standard, fast' and -V4 is 'Medium, fast'

    Are you sure about the last part (-V4 = Fast Medium)?

    The LAME documentation apparently states that -V5 would be Fast Medium, see:

    But which info is correct? Hydrogenaudio (-V4 = Fast Medium)? Or the LAME Documentation (-V5 = Fast Medium)?

    Maybe the info on Hydrogenaudio simply might be old/outdated?

    And another question:

    When selecting one of the three LAME presets in fre:ac, which command is getting passed over from fre:ac to the LAME encoder?

    Does fre:ac pass over "-preset fast x"? Or does it pass over "-Vx"?

    Last edit: qw6135920 2013-01-06
  • Robert Kausch
    Robert Kausch

    Here's the code from LAME's preset.c source file:

    case MEDIUM_FAST:
        preset = V4;
        (void) lame_set_VBR(gfp, vbr_mtrh);

    So, the LAME documentation appears to be wrong and MEDIUM_FAST is actually V4.

    To answer the other question: fre:ac does not use the command line version of LAME, but uses the LAME API directly. It calls lame_set_preset(context, [MEDIUM_FAST|STANDARD_FAST|EXTREME_FAST]) to set the preset.

  • Atlanx

    The meaning of the numbers changed between v3.97 to v3.98 of LAME:

    -q n Algorithm quality selection

    LAME older as v3.98:

    For CBR, ABR and --vbr-old modes, the following table applies
    -q 0 Use slowest & best possible version of all algorithms.
    -q 3 Default value. Good speed, good quality
    -q 7 Very fast, ok quality.
    -q 9 Disables almost all algorithms including psy-model. Poor quality.

    LAME >= v3.98:

    For the default VBR mode since LAME 3.98, the following table applies
    -q 0 to -q 4 Use the best algorithm.
    -q 5 to -q 9 Use the not so good algorithm