Thanks, it's that on some music I think it sounds better to go straight from 96kHz to 44.1kHz mp3.
It's still getting SRC'd either way, and the SRC is most likely occuring prior to the actual MP3 encoding. So this suggest you prefer the sound of your MP3 encoders SRC to whatever you typically use. For me I always SRC (using iZotope 64bit SRC) to the designated sample rate prior to doing MP3 encoding (I like and use the LAME MP3 encoder). I get the best results this way as opposed to allowing my MP3 encoder to handle the SRC. Not that it does a bad job of SRC but iZotope's 64bit SRC does a better job to my ears.
Indeed, on same music I do prefer encoding directly, but I rarely do 44.1kHz mp3. I only do them if a client reports some error or doubts about 48kHz mp3, which happened only a couple of times.
Just run some tests today and its the 48kHz mp3 that does sound better than the 44.1kHz ones, not the fact that I was feeding a 96 source kHz. I've tried downsampling it to 48kHz with iZotope before encoding and it is slightly better than going direct through LAME's encoder. So I'll be doing that from now on...
In any case, I rechecked and I still think going from a 96kHz source to a 48 kHz mp3 sounds way better than doing a 44.1kHz mp3 from a 44.1kHz source, regardless of the SRC used.