Linux NetMag #2
Titel: Encoder

Mikrofon Everyone who wants to generate his own mp3-files needs the help of an encoder.
The Frauenhofergesellschaft, of all times, wants to earn money with their mp3-encoder-code.
But there are ways out of this dilemma!

[   l3enc8hz-mp3  |  bladeenc  |  encoder  | --links --]

Homemade music
Sooner or later everyone wants to generate his own mp3-files. For example  to burn a big CD collection compressed on a single CD. Additional you just need a program, called Ripper, that gets the music from the CD and a second one that changes the music to the mp3 format. In this article we will have a look at the second program. It is called: encoder. All common encoders change the music from the wave format (source) to the mp3 format. These wave-files are compressed with  mathematical algorithms. The frequencies that are not audible to our ears are mostly filtered out.
This algorithm is quite complicated so that many programs use the original Frauenhofer-code. Now the Frauenhoferinstitut wants to earn money with their code and everyone who uses the algorithm has to pay a high fee.
That's why most encoders are illegal or the programmers stopped the development. But there are still some free encoders which do not use this special algorithm. Linux versions are seldom and this article should help to find the right encoder for you.
l3enc is the encoder created by the Frauenhofergesellschaft.  Remember there is a charge on this program but it is usable for a short time. After the testing time the program demands a special code-key to work. You get this code-key from the Frauenhofergesellschaft. This program is the standard linux encoder that is supported by all mp3-IDEs.
The l3enc generates the mp3s quite slowly but it works very well with a high compression reate and produces good mp3-files. The loss of quality is not audible. The compression ratio, compared with other programs with the same bit ratio, is many times better and the mp3-files are smaller.
The 8hz-mp3 encoder is a good example for the license politic of the Frauenhofergesellschaft. The program was started as the project of a few students but stopped because of the high license fee that the students should pay. The download link disappeared from the homepage. Nevertheless there are still some developer-versions in the internet. The development of 8hz-mp3 was stopped very early and that´s why the available versions are very unstable. Additional it just compresses wave -files that are made with stereo and  16bit.

The WINDOWS program bladeenc is available for Linux now. The encoder is specially programmed to keep the high music quality. The "user oriented MP3 encoding guide" says that this encoder has the best quality for bit ratios higher than 192kbps. With this high ratio the mp3-files become big and the processor needs more time to play but you get a much better sound output. The difference is only audible with good speakers.
The encoding speed is very high but the program has problems with lower ratios than 128kbps. The mp3-files sound distorted when played with e.g. mpg123 and the player prints error messages all the time. Nevertheless x11amp has no trouble with these files. The generated files seem to not be in the normal standard.
Another important and nice characteristic is the possibility to start bladeenc with the same options as l3enc. At first this does not look very spectacular but this offers the opportunity to use frontends with bladeenc which were originally designed for l3enc.
The program has finished its basis development for some time past and is now available in a stable version 1.x.x .  But the programmers are still improving bladeenc with the main emphasis on the WINDOWS version. The Linux version appears with a delay.
Bladeenc is recommended for high kbps and better than l3enc. For low kbps you should never use bladeenc because some players like mpg123 are not able to play these files.
Another encoder with the genius name encoder is available at pub/mpeg_layer_3/. It runs stable and offers good results even at low kbps ratios. It is developed for Linux and compiles without trouble. The speed is quite good. It is not clear if this encoder is legal because it uses an improved algorithm of the Frauenhofergesellschaft and not an own one.