Poor MP3 Encoding Quality - Fix?

I’ve been working on a large multitrack project in 16/44.1, producing basic mp3 mixdowns along the way to send via email for reference.

After comparing ‘the highest quality’, 320kbps mixdown option in Cubase 6.5.4, the difference between the 16/44.1 audio in the project and the output mp3 is staggering. Also, referencing these mix downs against other 320kbps (or even 192’s and 256’s!) mp3’s from commercially released music reveals a significant loss in high-end clarity, and punch and volume, while .wav mixdowns of the same material are much clearer, punchier and louder.

Is this a known deficiency with the full license 6.5.4 mp3 export/engine? Is there a way to export with higher quality?

As for gear:


  • Mostly AKGs 214s and AT4050s, SM57s, DI
  • Audient Pre into RME babyface via ADAT

Mixing/Monitoring/Mastering at 16/44.1 through KRK Rockit 5inch’s and Sony MDR7506 Headphones (to check panning/separation).

Any help is greatly appreciated!


Yes. Don’t export as MP3.

Why even bother to reply with such a lame answer? :unamused: There’s a lot of grumpy immature people on this forum…

It’s obvious that mp3 is not as high quality as 16/44 CD, .WAV, FLAC, etc. That’s not my issue.

The issue is: Why is a commercial mp3 at 320kbps (or even 256 or 192) so much brighter, punchier and louder than a 320 mp3 export from Cubase? As noted above, exporting the same mixdown in .wav (sounds closer to commercial quality) reveals a large difference in sound quality between that and the mp3 export.

Google Lame.

Grumpy and immature … right. You asked a question. I answered. I’m sorry if it wasn’t the answer you were looking for.

It sounds to me like that is exactly the issue.

Good luck on your quest.

Too many facetious answers all over this forum.

It’s like the old joke:
Patient: “It hurts when I lift my arm”
Doctor: “So don’t lift your arm then.”

Back on topic.

The “lame” encoder is generally considered the best sound quality encoder

I use a standalone front end for it called “razorlame” so I can encode outside of cubase

Are you dithering as you export?

Dither / no dither will not change the brightness, punch, or loudness of a mixdown.