High Quality MP3s - an attempt

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I know I know, may of you will say it's an oxymoron however, there is a place and time for these. On one my relative's DVD player ( KOSS3123) it can play MP3s on DVD-Rs. Thus I can fit about 1,000 tunes on one DVD. I have the top 100 pop songs from each year from 1960 to 2000 on four DVDs. For non critical and fun background music, I like it. It beats the heck out of using a tuner and sounds better than ExpressVu's stations.

I have listened to the output of the player via the analog out and it is not good. However, the digital out when fed to my external DAC sounds pleasant.

I am now searching for a DVD player that will do a similar function but I have found little about how MP3s are decoded on these players. Will different players sound different via the digital out? Is the MP3 decoding process critical or is the sound quality mainly a function of the external DAC? Any particular chip I should be looking for?
I tried to put mp3's on DVD-RW (my Pioneer 655A is supposed to reed DVD-RW no problems) - and it did not work. Tried to finalise the disk - still nothing. Anyway, I tried this for fun - I don't like mp3's they sound pretty bad to me.

Once upon a time we had vinyl, then CD came along and ruined it. Now we have mp3's ATRAC's and alike compressions (must say ATRAC sounds better then any mp3 I heard so far..) which crippled the original info. CD's are recorded with a great deal of compression at very high levels to accommodate the boom-boxes...absolute crap! Where is this world leading to....

There is a time and place for the MP3s. Yes, vinyl can sound better and being the owner of a Linn LP12 system, I appreciate that. But I now have some pop music that I otherwise would not have been able to collect nor have the space and convenience had it not been for mp3s.
The sound improves dramatically with a high quality DAC.
I can't speak for portable devices.

I'm sure you already knew this, but just in case...

The bottleneck for mp3 quality is mp3 encoding (the compression stage) not the decoding.

While there can be differences in mp3 decoding and some of those even audible, these are usually much less than the artifacts that can be made with improper encoding.

Of course, if you are not doing the encoding yourself, there's very little you can do about this.

I'm not sure if anybody has compared the bit-accuracy of various hardware decoders in relation to the reference mp3 decoder, but your best bet would probably be to ask at www.hydrogenaudio.org forums.

It's also the best place to discuss mp3 encoding (namely lame using alt presets).

Do note also the importance of clipping prevention (e.g. replaygain) and dither as possible routes for improving mp3 sound (after the decode stage). More info again at HA.

best regards,
if I were encoding from my own CDs and maybe DVDs how do I go about choosing a high bit rate? What bit rate gives acceptable music reproduction?
Which encoding engine should I download (freeware)?
I've heard of Fraunhoffer, how does it compare to Lame and others?
What is EAC?
DVDs are already compressed. I have read that to recompress them (after decoding) using another MP3 engine kills the music. Comments? Then how do you MP3 encode DVD sources to avoid this problem?
Andrew -

EAC - http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/ is a an Audio CD extraction program. Make sure that you use the program in "Secure mode". This ensures that you will have no clicks etc when extracting

I recommend using Lame as the encoder. Use it with the -alt preset switches. It has been proven to be of higher quality than the Fraunhoffer codec.

-alt standard = +- 200Kbps
-alt extreme = +- 256Kbps
-alt insane = +- 320Kbps

I cannot hear a difference between standard & insane - you may be able to depending on your equipment etc.

ITO DVD - it GENERALLY is already compressed with AC3 or DTS. Some have PCM Audio Tracks - these are not compressed. Compressing audio that has already been compressed is not optimal - but depending on application - I doubt most would notice.
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