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Is there some software (ideally free and for MS Windows) which can compare the quality of two (or more) files containing the same song? It should be able to take into account the quality loss due to compression as well as the quality of the original sound source. Ie the following factors and maybe more:

  • The compressions format, e.g. MP3 vs AAC vs FLAC...
  • The compression settings, i.e. bitrate and whether it's variable or constant
  • Artifacts in the original sound source, such as static in analog recordings, or scratches on CDs.
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Can you tell us why you want to do this to give a better idea as to what you are trying to achieve? – Richard Jul 15 '10 at 5:40
  1. Quality is extremely subjective (we don't have any tools to measure it).
  2. The comparisons you want to do are between a compressed version and the original. Comparing two compressed versions is "hard". simply because there is no way to tell which one is "right".
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If you want to try an open-source approach, you can try dnuos, a command-line tool that runs in Python. It will determine encoder settings for a wide range of music file formats.

Comparing them is another matter, though. It's like comparing apples and oranges. A 160 kbps Ogg Vorbis file actually sounds better than a 192 kbps MP3.

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