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I believe LAME is one of the better encoders around, and probably the only one you can use legally. MP3 is loaded with patents. Another codec is named Radium, which can be used for audio encoding in your .avi files (VirtualDub can encode audio), but which is actually a non-authorised modified version of an official codec.
I could suggest .ogg as an alternative (specifically the Ogg Vorbis audio codec). It achieves better quality than MP3 at the same compression rate.
For more information: http://www.vorbis.com.
I’ve been gaining interest in Ogg and might consider using it for my personal music collection. I use mp3’s a lot, as I ripped most of my CD’s to my laptop before studying abroad one semester and found it a far more convenient way to listen to music.
But my primary reason for finding what I thought would be a more efficient encoder is for distribution of my own work over the internet, which I don’t think Ogg has the userbase for just yet. Maybe I’ll do both side by side.
I have been using VirtualDub to do my translations between compression methods and thought it was the key to getting mp3 audio along with DiVX video. I’ve been having trouble with the audio encoder crashing after the first couple seconds of encoding though, so maybe if I can find Radium somewhere that would solve that problem. Maybe someone knows a better solution?
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