The much awaited results of the Public, MP3 Listening Test @ 128 kbps are ready - partially. So far, I only uploaded an overall plot along with a zoomed version. The details will be available in the next few days. You can also download the encryption key along with the submitted results on the results page that is located here:

The results show that all encoders are tied on first place, except l3enc which of course comes out last being the low anchor.

What is interesting to see is how the MP3 codec actually evolved since its first days (l3enc was the first MP3 software encoder back in 1994 when it was released) and how it is still competitive with newer formats like AAC or Ogg Vorbis.

Another very interesting thing, which was also one of the goals for this test, is that Fraunhofer and especially Helix, which both outperform LAME in terms of encoding speed, are still very competitive. While statistically being tied to LAME on first place, Helix actually even received a higher rating than LAME 3.98.2 - and this at 90x encoding speed! Even FhG received a slightly higher score at least against LAME 3.97 which was the recommended encoder by the Hydrogenaudio community for a long time. But again, statistically, they are all tied so there is no quality winner.

The quality at 128 kbps is very good and MP3 encoders improved a lot since the last test. This was the last test conducted by me at this bitrate. It's time to move to bitrates like 96 kbps or 80 kbps.

Here is a zoomed version of the plot showing the competitors only and leaving out the low anchor l3enc.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who participated!