Last updated: May 17, 2003

Much of this document is based on the help files/man pages of LAME. Any pertinent copyrights belong to the authors of the original documents.

About LameBrain

What is LameBrain?

LameBrain is a LAME front-end for OS X. It consists of three primary tools:

Each of these tools uses LAME to convert audio files to mp3 format. A LAME binary for OS X is included with LameBrain.

The LAME Settings window provides access to most of the commonly-used LAME settings. It also includes an "Expert" option that allows the user to enter any LAME command line settings. Any combination of settings can be saved as an encoding profile, to be loaded later or used in the Batch Encoder.

How much does LameBrain cost?

LameBrain is free. It is not open source (yet), but you can feel free to use it and distribute it as you wish, so long as it remains unaltered.

I do, however, accept donations. If you find LameBrain useful, please consider making a donation via PayPal. Any amount is appreciated!

Who made LameBrain?

I did. My name is Ed Finkler, and I'm a web developer for CERIAS at Purdue University. My personal page is


LameBrain includes a version of LAME compiled under OS X 10.2.5. Per the requirements of LAME's LGPL license, the source code is available at

LameBrain includes a version of id3ed compiled under OS X 10.2.5. Per the requirements of id3ed's GPL license, the source code is available at

Much of LameBrain is based on the work of others:

What's New in 0.6.0
Tool Descriptions

Single-File Encoder

Single File Encoder Screenshot As you would expect, this window handles single-file encoding functions. You can drag and drop a file anywhere on the window, and the input and output files will be set up for you automatically. You can also choose inpuot and output files using the [...] buttons.

Encoding settings for the Single-File Encoder are taken from the LAME Settings window.

You can listen to the input file by right-clicking/CTRL+clicking on the Input File box and selecting "Play file".

Batch Encoder

Batch Encoder Screenshot The Batch Encoder allows you to encode multiple files with LAME. Drag and drop files or folders onto the Batch Encoder window to add them to the queue.

The Batch Encoder has its own encoding profile menu, and does not use the settings from the LAME Settings window. When a file is initiall added to the queue, it is assigned the currently selected profile in the Encoding profile menu, but each queue entry can use a different profile. You can change one or more entries profile by selecting it/them in the queue and picking a different profile from the Encoding profile menu.

You can listen to a file in the queue by right-clicking/CTRL+clicking on the entry and selecting "Play file".

CD Ripper

CD Ripper Screenshot The CD Ripper is basically a modified version of the batch encoder that has specialized handling for audio CD tracks. It can do lookups to the FreeDB server specified in the Preferences window to gather artist/title/track information.

The naming scheme for files encoded with the CD Ripper can be customized in the Preferences window.

You can listen to a track by right-clicking/CTRL+clicking on the track in the track list and selecting "Play file".

LAME Settings

LAME Settings Screenshot The Encoding Settings window controls all settings related to the LAME encoding process. The Single File Encoder and CD Ripper get their encoding settings from this window, and the Batch Encoder uses the encoding profiles that are created in the Profiles tab.

Joint-stereo is the default mode for stereo files with VBR when -V is more than 4 or fixed bitrates of 160kbs or less. At higher fixed bitrates or higher VBR settings, the default is stereo.



Various program behaviors can be changed here. Changes made are only saved if the [Save] button is clicked. Preferences Screenshot

Frequently Asked Questions

What version of LAME comes with LameBrain?

LAME comes with a binary of LAME version 3.93.1 with the following compiler optimizations:

-faltivec -mcpu=7450 -mdynamic-no-pic -funroll-loops -ffast-math -fstrict-aliasing -O3
With these optimizations, LAME appears to encode files about 10% faster than a standard compile on a G4+ processor. While I do not have a G3 or original G4 (slower than 500Mhz) machine to test with, this version should still work on those processors. If you want to use the non-optimized binary, though, you can download it from

Why is LAME so slow on the Mac? How can I make it faster?

LAME currently doesn't take advantage of the Altivec extensions in G4 processors. A lot of work has been put into taking advantage of similar extensions on Intel and AMD CPUs, though, so LAME ususally runs a lot faster on these processors. If and when LAME developers put some time into optimizing for Altivec, though, the G4s (and 970s?) should be very competitive. To contact the developers, post on the mp3encoder mailing list or mail them directly.

Why can't I encode anything with LameBrain under OS X 10.1.x?

The version of LAME that comes with LameBrain appears to only work under 10.2.x. You can download a version of LAME that works with 10.1.x from Then change the LAME path in the preferences to point to the version that package installs. It should be /usr/local/bin/lame.

How do I make a bug report/feature request?

The best way is to subscribe to the LameBrain discussion list by sending a blank email to There you can talk with other LameBrain users and the developer about anything related to the program. Otherwise, email with your report/request.