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Is there any advantage in converting all mp3 to ogg, besides ogg being an open format? Any disadvantages? Is all metadata kept during conversion?

Edited, because of @N.N. suggestion. Here are the links to the separate questions:

What is the maximum audio bitrate humans can distinguish?

Reducing bitrate in conversion of mp3 and ogg

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While this isn't Ubuntu specific, i too want to know why ogg instead of mp3, openess? i too believe that at 92kps mp3's sound just about the same that at a higher bitrate i.e. 320kbps. So at 92kpbs you're saving a lot of space, with practically the same quality. –  Uri Herrera Aug 31 '11 at 7:49
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That is three different questions. This site works better if you ask one question at the time so I suggest that you split them up. –  N.N. Aug 31 '11 at 8:28
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The bit rate that the average person can't tell the difference between uncompressed source files and lossy encodings depends on the source music and the compression format, but 192kbps is definitely "good enough" for general listening. Less critical listeners will probably find ~128kbps VBR acceptable if not perfect. I dare say, if you find 92kbps to be very, very clear, your hearing may be failing, or your speakers are not very good. I don't mean this as an insult, so please don't be offended! –  Chris Granger Aug 31 '11 at 8:58
    
Whether your metadata is kept during conversion depends on how you convert (i.e. with what tool and what options). If you for example use soundconverter your meta data is kept. –  N.N. Aug 31 '11 at 8:58
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Compatibility with music players might be an argument for MP3. P.e. iPhone does not support ogg out of the box while android does. –  sBlatt Aug 31 '11 at 9:02
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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Ogg Vorbis is a superior format for many reasons, not only being an open, royalty-free, patent-free standard. Just to name a few technical aspects, it has native metadata support, gapless play and multichannel, unlike MP3's ID3v1/v2 tags (v2 has no standard at all), player hacks to mitigate gaps (try listening to a live album) and 2 max channels (stereo). So MP3 is inferior in every way... its only "advantage" is being there several years first, got massively widespread, so any digital player (including car players, portable players, dvd players) can read it.

But, as for converting your MP3 to OGG... do not do this!

Transcoding to a lossy format will not improve its quality in any way... in fact, it may decrease quality! Both MP3 and Vorbis encoders are lossy, meaning they achieve high compression ratios by throwing away inaudible parts of the audio waveform. However, the MP3 and Vorbis codecs are very different, so they each will throw away different parts of the audio. The degraded quality may or may not be perceivable for a single conversion, but it will add up for each transcoding.

But if you have a lossless source (either FLAC, WAV, CD-Audio), and you want to convert from that to a smaller, lossy format, and you don't mind about portability (ie, you mostly in PC or in players that support it), go ahead and use ogg. It is superior than MP3.

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Clear answer, thank you. –  Strapakowsky Sep 1 '11 at 4:57
    
Why can you not convert mp3 to lossless, and then to ogg? Edit: Ah: vorbis.com/faq/#transcode –  hnasarat Nov 29 '12 at 3:53
    
@hnasarat: you can convert back and forth from any format to any format, lossless or lossy, but each conversion to a lossy format (like mp3 or ogg), regardless if it is from a lossy or lossless format, will result in degraded quality (which may or may not be perceived for a single conversion) –  MestreLion Nov 30 '12 at 1:40
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For me Ogg Vorbis sounds a lot clearer and the file sizes are much smaller than their mp3 equivalent so instead of encoding mp3 at 128kbps I can use ogg's at 64kbps which sounds the same and are half the size. Also, mp3's are specifically 2 channel audio whereas ogg vorbis can handle up to 256 channel's. Lastly, ogg vorbis format is open-source and free to use on any device where mp3 is proprietary and programmers get paid licensing fee's for it's use.

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ogg is certainly superior to mp3, but not by that much... half bitrate for same quality is a bit too optimistic imho. (unless youre comparing 64 vbr to 128 cbr... but thats not fair). Also 64kbps is not a good example for music: it is such a low bitrate that quality will be severely degraded... for speech and mono is ok, bur for music, 64k is way too low, ogg cant perform miracles. –  MestreLion Aug 31 '11 at 12:01
    
Good point on the multi-channels though :) –  MestreLion Aug 31 '11 at 12:02
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