Version 8 (modified by rogerdpack, 5 years ago) (diff)

list CBR options.

VBR Encoding

Example to encode VBR MP3 audio with ffmpeg using the libmp3lame library:

ffmpeg -i input.wav -codec:a libmp3lame -qscale:a 2 output.mp3

Control quality with -qscale:a (or the alias -q:a). Values are encoder specific, so for libmp3lame the range is 0-9 where a lower value is a higher quality. 0-3 will normally produce transparent results, 4 (default) should be close to perceptual transparency, and 6 produces an "acceptable" quality. The option -qscale:a is mapped to the -V option in the standalone lame command-line interface tool.

LAME Bitrate Overview
Option Kbit/s Bitrate range kbit/s ffmpeg equiv.
-b 320 320 320 CBR (non VBR) example -b:a 320k (NB this is 32KB/s, or its max)
-V 0 245 220...260 -q:a 0 (NB this is VBR from 22 to 26 KB/s...)
-V 1 225 190...250 -q:a 1
-V 2 190 170...210 -q:a 2
-V 3 175 150...195 -q:a 3
-V 4 165 140...185 -q:a 4
-V 5 130 120...150 -q:a 5
-V 6 115 100...130 -q:a 6
-V 7 100 80...120 -q:a 7
-V 8 85 70...105 -q:a 8
-V 9 65 45...85 -q:a 9

In our example above, we selected -qscale:a 2, meaning we used LAME's option -V 2, which gives us a VBR MP3 audio stream with an average stereo bitrate of 170-210 kBit/s.

CBR Encoding

If you need constant bitrate (CBR) MP3 audio, you need to use the -b:a option instead of -qscale:a. Here you can specify the number of bits per second, for example -b:a 256k if you want 256 Kbit/s (25.6 KB/s) audio. Available options are: 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256, or 320 (add a k after each to get that rate). So to get the highest quality setting, it would be like -b:a 320k.


Sometimes it will give you *less* bits per second than you request. If you're doing CBR, it could be because you chose a value "in between" its allowable settings (if defaults down to the next lower). If you're doing VBR, it could be because the input itself is already in a lower bitrate than the requested, in which case, it basically just re-encodes it at the bitrate the input already was.

Also see