mp3 advice?

Joseph S. Barrera III (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:08:09 -0700

Hi guys,

So I recently had my house wired with cat-5 so now I have 100Mb/s Ethernet
running everywhere. I also just a couple days ago started playing with mp3.
I'm currently using RealJukebox Plus to convert (rip?) my CDs into mp3.

My first question is, what sampling rate do you use? I'm currently using
192Kb/s variable bit rate (RealJukebox doesn't offer a higher VBR rate). How
does 192Kb/s VBR compare to 320 Kb/s constant bit rate (the highest CBR that
RealJukebox offers)? I know, I should just listen for myself, but I don't
trust my sound card and I haven't had time to hook up to my stereo with the
good speakers.

Second question -- advice on sound cards? What are the best, highest
fidelity sound cards? I don't care about how many fancy digital features are
on the card; I do care about the D/A with high quality on the analog side.
This may mean that the best sound card for, say, games may not be the best
for a dedicated hifi mp3 player?

I should probably explain what my grand plan is. Disks and PCs are amazingly
cheap these days. You can buy a 17 GB Ultra/ATA 66 drive for $200 (see So
my plan is to buy a case and motherboard and processor ($200 to $300), four
17 GB drives ($800 total), and a sound card ($100). This gives me a box with
67 GB for mp3s (subtracting a GB for the OS & misc). At 100 MB per converted
CD, that would be enough space for about 670 CDs, which would fit most of my
CD collection (well, at least the stuff I still listen to)... for $1100.

Last question: what mp3 ripping/jukebox software should I use? Is there
something significantly better than RealJukebox Plus? (Free is a plus, but
not that important.)

Has anyone already done this? (Undoubtably yes...) If so, I'd love to
hear/read about it.

- Joe