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When lame.exe is encoding a .wav file to an .mp3 file in VBR mode, it maintains a character mode histogram showing the relative usage of the various bitrate packets. Study of documentation here and here shows that the --nohist switch can turn this display off, but makes no mention of the significance of part of the histogram being drawn with % characters and the rest being drawn with *.

So what are the two values that are being displayed in this manner?

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What are the two values (%, *) that are being displayed in this manner?

The % means L/R (stereo) frame, while the * denotes a M/S (mid-side stereo) frame. These only show up when using Joint Stereo.

Source: Histogram characters in LAME?

As far as I know, the "*" are used for mid-side joint-stereo blocks, and the "%" for left-right stereo.

According to the required bitrate and the phase difference, LAME choses for each MP3 block if mid-side stereo can be used (for narrow stereo) or if left-right stereo is required (for wide stereo / surround) to achieve an optimal relation between quality and bitrate.

Source: % symbols in lame histogram [Archive] - Doom9's Forum

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