what is the minimum suitable bitrate for AC3 audio? is 256kbps is good enough? i want to convert some bluray movie DTS audio to AC3 without losing much data.
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Minimum bitrate for AC3 5.1 is 384kbps, recommended is 448kbps or better, up to 640kbps.
DVDs have 384kbps and 448kbps for AC3 5.1 - 256kbps is only suited for Stereo.
For best quality you should convert to 640kpbs.
256 Kbit/s is way too low for 5.1 AC3 to sound acceptable.
I agree 384 KBit/s is about the minimum you may use, but better go higher if you can.
Note that for DVD 448 is the maximum allowed; 640 is not DVD compliant (although it should work fine in almost all cases anyway).
ffmpeg and simple script should be fine.
Afraid that there is no free (open source) AC-3 codec capable to provide quality (VBR) focused encoding - you may try to reduce bandwidth (low pass) in FC + surround channels - this may help in bitrate allocation for both Front channels so perhaps 256...320kbps will be quality acceptable.
thank you all, i think i will use 448.
Anything above 320kbps.
Below this = MP3 quality not AC3.