Tom Fine wrote:
> Don:
> Absolutely. I find that encoders are even more different. They make 
> different sounding and different sized files, at the same bitrate. I 
> prefer real-deal German-licensed MP3 encoders. Have never liked the slow 
> speed or bad sound results I've gotten from LAME with various front 
> ends. I find that Sony Soundforge, since they licensed the German CODEC, 
> makes fine-sounding MP3's but they are bloated compared to what Apple or 
> MusicMatch turns out. As for decoders, the worst-sounding MP3 player is 
> by far the Real software. MusicMatch and Apple both play fine-sounding 
> MP3 but are both bloated programs that use a lot of overhead. If you 
> want a very low-resource program that sounds just fine, check out the 
> AudioActive player from Telos Systems. I just noticed there's no obvious 
> link to download it from their website anymore. Pity.
> -- Tom Fine

I analyzed encoders early on and have tried to maintain currency as they 
have appeared and been upgraded. Oversimplifying, the Fraunhofer codec 
minimizes artifacts at the expense of high-frequency response. MP3 
encoding is one topic appearing on several pages of the primer at my WWW 
site (on the CD-recording side). This one illustrates the differences in 

My own taste dictates minimizing what is inserted into the sound, so I 
choose sample rate and compression to provide the desired frequency 
response with the Fraunhofer codec. Another good choice (though it does 
push a bit on the high end with some artifacts) is LAME. Particularly at 
high bitrates where any artifacts are less likely to be recognized, it 
is a good alternative.

And unlike the incarnations of the licensed Fraunhofer codec, it is 

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