Interesting facts to know when encoding MP3 audio

MP3 audio, which is short for MPEG audio Layer 3, was originally designed by the Fraunhofer institute in Germany.

Basically, there are two kinds of MP3 encoders.

The first kind of encoders are the ones which use the original Fraunhofer codecs, which means that either they have bought the license to use them, or that they rely on an integrated software resource such as QuickTime, which use the original codecs.

Concerning the second kind of encoders, all that can be said is that for some reason, the developers didn't want to use the original codecs, preferring to implement some kind of MP3 codec clone of their own.

This means that all encoders are not equals : some encoders of the second kind sound really, really bad. If you want to be sure to get a good result for a given bitrate, always use an encoder that use the original codec, and morality doesn't have anything to do with it.

Here is a rather extreme but interesting example :
The same piece of music well encoded and badly encoded.

Fortunately, most encoders on all platforms use the official MP3 codecs, and there are also "non Fraunhofer" codecs which are very good indeed, such as the LAME codecs for instance.