I was thinking about making a change to my export format, which is currently set at the default MP3 VBR V2. I'm thinking about going either to V1 or V0 or perhaps AAC VBR q375 (~256kbps). I was wondering what everyone else might be using?
My export will be for use with iTunes and my library size is so big (almost 3TB) that I am not considering a native export. The Sooloos is my primary source for critical listening, but I'd like to be able to play around with the library on iTunes as well and still have very good audio quality. I'm figuring I'll put it on a portable 1TB drive, so that should give me enough space to go with a pretty high lossy format and still have room left over for library expansion.
I've done some testing to try and give me an idea of file sizes and I know about the diminishing returns as you push bitrates higher and higher. It looks like the default export format above generates MP3 files that are about 20% the size of the native FLAC files. From what I've read, it appears that V1 and V0 VBR MP3 get really close to 320 CBR MP3, while still saving a substantial amount of space. Also, many folks seem to feel that AAC does an overall better job than MP3 at lower bitrate, so that's an attractive options as well. I'd actually like to see a hierarchy chart showing how the format and associated bitrate options rank in terms of the output file sizes they generate, but I haven't come across that.
So like I said, I'm curious as to what other folks are using. Unless I'm wrong, changing the export setting format triggers a conversion of the entire library en masse to that new format. I'm guessing that it overwrites the existing converted lossy files to save space, and that the process will take quite a bit of time. In fact, I'm not sure how I'll know when it;s finished. Anyways, because of this, I only want to do this once so I'm looking for feedback. Thanks!