OT Question on audio downloads from youtube

VeniVidiVideo venividivideoed at gmail.com
Wed Sep 23 05:51:57 EDT 2020

On Sep 22, 2020, at 12:20 PM, Jim web <web at audiomisc.co.uk> wrote:
> I've never looked at uploading anything for YT. The question in my mind is
> as follows:
> Yes, it generally offers a range of download formats. But what format was
> *uploaded* in the first place? I wonder if getting the 'best' audio from YT
> simply may mean the least harm from a transcode YT has done.  Or are
> uploaders expected to provide multiple versions? I suspect not.
> If my suspicion is correct, the 'best' would be to find the version as
> uploaded, I assume.

That's incorrect.  Especially since youtube-dl targets YouTube, there are usually multiple versions available to be downloaded.  YouTube routinely maintains multiple resolutions of the video at least.  There may be multiple bitrates or formats for the audio as well, but I'm not sure about that.  The uploader doesn't have to worry about the multiple video resolutions.  YouTube takes care of the downcovert automatically.  They do that so people can stream videos with very different bandwidths, from 3G phone connections to Gigabit fiber connections.

youtube-dl even offers a -f "bestvideo+bestaudio" option that will separately download the highest quality video and the highest quality audio and combine them.  I don't use youtube-dl all that often, but when I do I typically use something like this:

youtube-dl -f "bestvideo+bestaudio/best" --merge-output-format "mkv" --prefer-ffmpeg --sub-lang 'en' --write-sub --convert-subtitles 'srt' --embed-subs -o "Output File" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxxxxxxx

Actually, I define most of those in ~/.config/youtube-dl/config, so the actual command can look like just

youtube-dl -o "Output File" http://...

But those are the options that yield the best quality all around from YouTube using youtube-dl.


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