Playing around with LAME and my CD's, plus looking across some Bandcamp stuff i've downloaded in a quality i've chosen, i started wondering about which level of encoding is generally what people opt for (be it downloaded or converted from disc). I know many people opt for 320CBR for everything, and others V2 but have you actually done an ABX comparison? (blind listening test) Do you actually know that you can tell the difference between 320 and V0 for example? Or 320CBR and 224CBR? Given 192kbps is supposedly transparent (debatable but i've found it can be true), and that digital radio is often put out at 128kbps are you sure you can tell the difference? I invested silly money (in my terms) in a decent set of headphones (£150 or $expensive) and i'm positive that i can spot any artefacts that crop up in encodes but quality is something that's less clear. For me anything under 192 i can definitely spot as not transparent, and at 192kbps and up it depends on the genre of music itself and how "busy" it is. But then again there's that unknown psycho-somatic element involved....which is why the blind testing is so crucial. I'd thought about sticking a poll here with the various encoding qualities, but i'd rather know what you opt for and why than just the quality on it's own. Picking 320 because it's there, or V2 because it's Scene isn't really what i'm after unless you just can't be bothered looking for a specific rate and are happy with the first encode you find. Ideally i'd like to find some way to stick up a few samples for people to rank but my connection won't allow for that at the moment..... What bit-rate? Why? Can you definitely tell the difference and how have you tested and what is the quality difference?