BladeEnc Manual

Blade's MP3 Encoder
version 0.76
Release Date: December 13, 1998

written by Tord Jansson,
based on sourcecode from ISO


This manual is written for the Windows version of BladeEnc.
Various ports may differ slightly in some aspects (but normally they don't).


BladeEnc is distributed 'as is' with no warranty of any kind. The Author is not to be held responsible for any use or missuse of this product.

Short Description

BladeEnc is a program to generate MP3 files from WAV or AIFF sound files. It may look like a DOS-program, but isn't. It is a true 32-bit Windows application and therefore only works under Windows'95 and NT4.0 or better and supports features such as long filenames etc.

You can always go to the link section of my homepage if you want some more information about MP3 in general or needs an MP3 Player.

Quick-Start Guide

If you just want to turn your WAV/AIFF-files into standard 128 kBit stereo MP3 files and none of them has a long filename, just drag and drop your files onto BladeEnc.exe

Once started, BladeEnc will encode the files one by one until finished, which is a process that can take several hours.

BladeEnc can be stopped any time during the process by pressing ESC.

The resulting MP3-files are put in the same directory as their corresponding WAV/AIFF-files.

The More Advanced Users Guide

BladeEnc is despite its primitive appearance both powerful and easy to use. It is a Windows'95 console application that takes its parameters from the commandline.

Any number of WAV/AIFF-files can be specified on the commandline and you can even use wildcards to specify more than one file at the same time. For example will the command "BladeEnc *.wav" compress all WAV-files in the current directory. Long filenames are supported when entering them on the commandline, but if they include space-characters you will have to enclose them with quotation-marks ( " ).

Switches can be entered on the commandline together with the filenames. Switches can be put anywhere on the commandline (first, last or even inbetween specified files), all switches affects all files anyway.

You can get a list of all valid arguments by running BladeEnc without any commandline arguments (for example by double-clicking on its icon).

If you feel that you need a temporary performance boost to your system you can pause the process by pressing ESC.

Commandline Switches

All commandline switches are case-insensitive, so you can enter them in either upper- or lower-case.
-[BITRATE] Defines the bitrate for the MP3-file. Higher bitrates gives better quality, but also bigger files. Most people prefer to generate 128 kBit MP3s. Please note that it's the total bitrate that is specified, so if you're generating a stereo MP3-file at 128 kBit you get 64 kBit for left channel and 64 kBit for the right channel. The default setting is 128 kBit for stereo files and 64 kBit for mono files. 

Allowed bitrates are: 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256 and 320.

-CRC Adds checksum data to each frame in the MP3 file. The checksum data is needed for error-correction when streaming the MP3 in realtime over internet (as done by internet radiostations). It lowers the quality of the sound slightly since the checksum data also needs to fit in the specified bitrate and is not needed for normal use.
-DELETE The WAV-file is automatically deleted after having been encoded. Be careful with this switch because the WAV-file is deleted even if the encoding process failed (for example due to insufficient drivespace).
-MONO Specifies that you want your MP3 files to be in mono even if the WAV-file is in stereo. If the WAV-file is in mono you don't need to enter this switch.
-PRIVATE Sets the private-flag in the MP3-file, specifying that this is a private MP3. As far as I know there is no program that treats private MP3's differently from normal ones so it is practically useless. 

Setting this flag doesn't affect the encoding time, filesize or quality in any way, so set it if it makes you happy.

-COPYRIGHT Sets the copyright-flag in the MP3-file, specifying that this is a copyrighted MP3. As far as I know there is no program that treats copyrighted MP3's differently from normal ones so it is practically useless. 

Setting this flag doesn't affect the encoding time, filesize or quality in any way, so set it if it makes you happy.

-ORIGINAL This switch used to set the original-flag in the MP3-file. Since this flag now is set by default this switch has no longer any meaning but is left intact for compatibility reasons. 

Set the -COPY switch to clear the original-flag in the MP3-file.

-COPY This switch clears the MP3 file's original-flag that is set by default from version 0.50 of BladeEnc. 

Clearing the original-flag doesn't affect the encoding time, filesize or quality in any way, so do it if it makes you happy.

-QUIT Makes BladeEnc quit automatically when all files have been encoded. Normally BladeEnc waits for someone to press RETURN before quitting.
-OUTDIR=[path] Specifies an output path for the encoded files. Normally the MP3 files ends up in the same directory as their corresonding WAV-files resides in, but using this switch you can get them to end up wherever you like.
-PRIO=[setting] Changes the task priority of BladeEnc. Valid settings are HIGHEST, HIGHER, NORMAL, LOWER, LOWEST and IDLE. BladeEnc is by default set to LOWEST priority which basically means that BladeEnc functions fine in the background without disturbing or slowing down any other program. 
This setting is not available in all ports.

Example Commandlines

Not used to commandline arguments but still want to do more than producing normal 128 kBit MP3s? Don't worry, here are some example commandlines and if you don't want to enter them all the time you can always create a BAT-file.

To generate 256 kBit MP3 files from all WAV-files in the current directory:

            BLADEENC    -256    *.WAV

To generate 160 kBit MP3 files from all WAV-files in the current directory that begins with 'TRACK':

            BLADEENC    -160    TRACK*.WAV

To generate 64 kBit mono MP3 files from all AIFF-files in the current directory:

            BLADEENC    -64     -MONO    *.AIFF

To generate 128 kBit MP3 files fromTRACK01.WAV and TRACK02.WAV:

            BLADEENC    TRACK01.WAV    TRACK02.WAV

            (bitrate doesn't need to be specified since 128 kBit is default)

Well, I think you've got the general idea...

L3Enc Emulation Mode

BladeEnc can from version 0.50 emulate the behaviour of the once so popular MP3 Encoder called L3Enc. The reason for this feature is that there are a high number of frontends (easy to handle graphical interfaces) available for L3Enc. These can (in most cases) now be used as a frontend for BladeEnc.

BladeEnc automatically enters L3Enc emulation mode if the second parameter ends with ".mp3".

Once in L3Enc-mode BladeEnc behaves a bit differently:

Encoding time and quality isn't affected by entering L3Enc mode.

The following L3Enc switches are accepted in L3Enc mode:
-br [bitrate] Sets the bitrate. All BladeEnc's bitrates are supported, even those who aren't supported by L3Enc. Please note that bitrates are entered in bits/s in L3Enc-mode and not in kBits/s as in native mode. With other words, you have to specify 256000 to get 256 kBit/s.
-dm Downmix to mono. Works exactly as the -MONO switch in native BladeEnc mode.
-crc Works exactly the same way as in native mode.
-hq High Quality output. This switch is ignored since BladeEnc always produces high quality MP3s.

All other switches generates an error.

A valid L3Enc commandline should be:

BladeEnc [input wavefile] [output mp3 file] [optional switches]

A list of recommended frontends can be found at my homepage (URL at the top of this manual).

Updates, Questions and Information

The latest version of BladeEnc is available at my homepage together with an FAQ and some other information. See the top of this document for the URL and my E-mail address.

Copyright and Distribution

BladeEnc is freeware, which means that you can use it totally free of charge and that you may give a copy to anyone you want. You may even "sell" copies for a small copy and distribution fee or put it on a magazines coverdisc.

However, you are not allowed to change the distributed program or its documentation in any way. BladeEnc.exe and BladeEnc.html should always be the only files in their folder or archive when distributed.


BladeEnc includes code from distribution 10 of ISO's reference code. The contributors to that reference code have been:

Bill Aspromonte,  Shaun Astarabadi,  R. Bittner,  Karlheinz Brandenburg,  W. Joseph Carter,  Jack Chang,  Mike Coleman,  Johnathan Devine,  Ernst Eberlein,  Dan Ellis,  Peter Farrett,  Jean-Georges Fritsch,  Vlad Fruchter,  Hendrik Fuchs,  Bernhard Grill, Amit Gulati,  Munsi Haque,  Chuck Hsiao,  Toshiyuki Ishino,  Masahiro Iwadare,  Earl Jennings,  James Johnston,  Leon v.d. Kerkhof,  Don Lee,  Mike Li,  Yu-Tang Lin,  Soren Neilsen,  Simao F. Campos Neto,  Mark Paley,  Davis Pan,  Tan Ah Peng,  Kevin Peterson,  Juan Pineda,  Ernst F. Schroeder,  Peter Siebert,  Jens Spille,  Sam Stewart,  Al Tabayoyon,  Kathy Wang,  Franz-Otto Witte,  Douglas Wong.

All modifications of the reference code in order to create the Windows version of BladeEnc have been made by Tord Jansson.

Thanks to the following people for porting BladeEnc to various formats:

Trevor Phillips                    Solaris
Zac Livingston                    Linux i386
Jon Coyle                          UnixWare 7
Alexey Marinichev             Linux DEC Alpha
Mikael Kjellström              OS/2
Steve Burns                       Windows NT DEC Alpha
Markus Ridinger                IRIX
Giao Nguyen                     FreeBSD i386
Joel Fredrikson                 Solaris, SunOS and HP-UX
Marca Registrada              FreeBSD Alpha
Rob Braun                        NeXT, Linux Sparc, Linux DEC Alpha, HP-UX 10, Linux MIPS, Solaris, BeOS