After months of endless discussion and preparation, the MP3 listening test is finally open.
The featured encoders are:
Fraunhofer IIS mp3surround CL encoder v1.5
Helix v5.1 2005.08.09
The anchor used in this test is:
l3enc 0.99a as low anchor
The test is scheduled to end on November 3rd, 2008. Its address is: http://www.listening-tests.info/mp3-128-1/
Warning 1: As Hydrogenaudio Forums members and I found out, there is a bug in the iTunes MP3 encoder that is present in all iTunes versions since 188.8.131.52 (including the tested version 184.108.40.206). The problem manifests itself only on multi-core CPUs (both PCs and Macs) and leads to a significantly lower bitrate of the encoded samples. Apple engineers confirmed our findings and assured me that the next iTunes release will contain a fix for this problem. Please notice that the only functioning work-around is to disable all but one core in your computer's BIOS or to start Windows with the /numproc=1 parameter. Setting the iTunes process affinity to one core does NOT help.
Warning 2: There seem to be problems with ABC/HR when JRE 1.6 is installed. If you are affected by hangs, crashes or any other difficulties, please download and install JRE 1.5 Update 15 from http://java.sun.com/products/archive/j2se/5.0_15/index.html. You do NOT have to uninstall your existing copy of JRE 1.6 since both versions can be installed at the same time. However, if you have JRE 1.5 and JRE 1.6 installed, please make sure you start ABC/HR with JRE 1.5 manually. Since the working directory has to be the location where abchr.jar is stored, the best thing you can do is to open a command prompt window, navigate to the location where you stored abchr.jar and the rest of the files and then call "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_15\bin\java.exe -jar abchr.jar". Of course, this is only an example which you have to adapt according to where java.exe is stored on your PC.