Per my previous thread regarding my mp3 experience, I am currently using CDex to rip and encode my current CD collection into .mp3 format. I have Windows XP coupled with Windows Media Player 9 (WMP9). I know judging from previous discussing using the "alt preset standard" method in LAME for encoding is supposed to over complete transparency from the original recording to the .mp3 format. And it probably does. Sound quality is pretty damn good even though it is in a .mp3 format. 1. It bugs me that Windows XP/Windows Explorer and WMP9 do not recognize the bit rate of mp3's encoded with a VBR (variable bit rate) I'm getting nervous because I still have quite a bit of encoding to do (I have well over 400 CD's) I have a 20GB hard drive I added in my PC to simply store all of my mp3's. And according to Windows Explorer when I click on the Properties tab of my MP3 folder it says I have 1,760 files thus far using 8.05GB of space. I don't believe this is entirely accurate because of it not being able to read the VBR encoded mp3 file. ex: I know for a fact burning any one particular track with "alt preset standard" usually encodes somewhere between 170kbps - 230kbps depending upon the quality of the original. Upon playing one of these tracks with WMP9 or even looking at in Windows Explorer, it shows that particular file having a bit of around 500kbps!! I know this is incorrect. I'm just wondering, because Windows XP cannot read the VBR encoded material, is it taking that into consideration? In other words, it says I'm using 8.05GB of space for my .mp3 files but am I really only using like 5.0GB of space or even less??? Or is that an accurate figure? Damn, I hope not. Which brings me to my second question. 2. Is it really necessary to encode at VBR using "alt preset standard"? Am I really going to be able to tell the difference than if I were to burn at a CBR of 192kbps? I've gotten several hundred from a friend using 192kbps CBR and they all sound really good to me. I'm just wondering if perhaps "alt preset standard" is... overkill? What are your thoughts and opinions on this? Thanks... Scott.