Does opting for a smaller file size result in a lower quality file when converting audio files in MeGui? There is a slider that says "faster encode/larger file size" or "slower encode/smaller file size". I've selected "same as input" for bitrate, so there shouldn't be any quality reduction there. What do y'all think about this? I'd hate to sacrifice the quality for a smaller size, but if the only drawback to the smaller file size is encoding speed, then I'm cool with it.
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It depends on the encoder/source/settings. With FLAC (lossless compression) only file size changes, quality is 100% the same. With other encoders quality can suffer, strictly speaking, even at same bitrate as source. Whether you can hear the difference is another question...
But to clarify what he meant by "other encoders" - when you use lossy encoding (e.g. mp3, aac, vorbis, opus...etc...) you always lose quality. "Same as input bitrate" means quality loss. Larger filesize also means quality loss, just less loss. Because it's decoded to uncompressed audio first (which will be very large, many times larger than original if it used lossy compression to begin with), then re-compressed. That lossy recompression means data is discarded, which is generation loss
If you don't want to lose quality, just stream copy the audio