Lame features some built-in presets. Those presets are designed to provide
the highest possible quality.
They have for the most part been subject to and tuned via rigorous listening tests to verify and achieve this objective. These are continually updated to coincide with the latest developments that occur and as a result should provide you with nearly the best quality currently possible from LAME.
If your goal is quality, these presets are highly recommended over any custom set of parameters you might use. To activate presets, you should use:
lame --preset preset_name
This preset should provide near transparency to most people on most music.
The resulting bitrate should be in the 150-180kbps range, according to music complexity.
This preset should generally be transparent to most people on most music and
is already quite high in quality.
The resulting bitrate should be in the 170-210kbps range, according to music complexity.
If you have extremely good hearing and similar equipment, this preset will
provide slightly higher quality than the "standard" mode.
The resulting bitrate should be in the 200-240kbps range, according to music complexity.
Any of those VBR presets can also be used in fast mode, using the new vbr algorithm.
This mode is faster, but its quality could be a little lower. To enable the
fast mode, use:
lame --preset fast preset_name
This preset will usually be overkill for most people and most situations, but if you must have the absolute highest quality with no regard to filesize, this is the way to go. This preset is the highest preset quality available.
Using this preset will usually give you good quality at a specified bitrate.
Depending on the bitrate entered, this preset will determine the optimal settings
for that particular situation.
While this approach works, it is not nearly as flexible as VBR, and usually will not reach the same quality level as VBR at higher bitrates.
If you need CBR encoding, those presets can also be used in CBR mode by using:
lame --preset cbr <kbps>