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Which bitrate do you use?





raman
On my computer, I have approximately 200 GB of music. I am running out of space and don't want to buy another hard drive. So the best solution is probably to re encode my music at lower bitrates. I don't want to screw it up though as that would mean ripping my audio CDs which takes a LONG time.
Of course there is no 'best' bitrate. As far as I know, I think I prefer 192k mp3 or thereabouts. However, I am not sure whether I should go for 192K CBR or 192K VBR. Can someone tell me whether 192K VBR means that the minimum bitrate is 192K or whether 192K is the average bitrate?
mOrpheuS
Always go for VBR if possible.
Although less compliant (I once had a disc player that wouldn't play VBRs) they offer much better quality.

128 kbps is bare minimum for acceptable music reproduction. Although some frequency extremes are lost.

I prefer my music library at 160 kbps VBR format, go for 192 if you can afford the storage space. The more the merrier Wink

Do not re-encode your collection to save space (you'd probably save around 15% though) it's not worth the effort or loss of quality. Also it will be a one-way process, you cannot get the 192kpbs quality back from 160.
snowboardalliance
I have all my music at 128k
hodgenpodg
Wow thats alot of music. If your gonna re-encode use VBR with a min of 128 and high of 192 thats what I use and all my music sounds great, and I can tell with my Shure E3C's which sound absolutely amazing and let me hear things in some songs I've never heard before.
althalus
I usually go with 320k, the bigger the better, right? Wink I found out it's not the best option if you're putting the files onto an mp3player, but so long as they're on my drive I don't mind. (I have just under 1Tb to spare)...
ml
lossless compression rulez (FLAC) Very Happy

average bitrate of my archive is 211 kbit/s
sendamusic
I like a bitrate between 192 Kbps and 320 Kbps
anxiety1
192 kbps

smallish files

good quality! cant goi worng
aalmighty
VBR 192kbps means 192kbps is the average bitrate, It can be as high at times as 1.2mbps and as low as 32 kbps, and is on the whole, of better quality than the same bitrate CBR.

I use 192 VBR too, Though my library is smallish (about 20 gigs).
savabg
192 baby .... although i prefer 320 its just pointless to store over 300 hours of music on 320kbps .....
Head Hunter
192kbs
k4n
between 256 and 320. i dont like bad quality Smile
Cream
I try to keep mine at least at 192 kbps, so the quality is good enough.
nakamaru
128kb/s. Fair quality and small size.
Aimewitue
lot of my mp3 files are in 128~192 kbs and ogg files in 80kbs
valo
I perfer 360, but any bitrate from 360 and down to 128 are accepted in my world.
Bomberb05
um, there is no way your going to be able to re-encode all your music.. lol

i would suggest buying an 80gig hdd on sale or something then buying a usb externale hdd creator.

something similar to this:
Code:
http://www.bixnet.com/usbenkitfor3.html
joshwong
i generally stick with 192k. its the best balance between size ans quality
GrimReaper77
To answer the question: VBR 192kbps is the safest bitrate. Even if the majority of songs sound nice at 128, you'll find the 1 or 2 that have garbled heights / distorted base.

And the better your audio equipment (not inclusive of the average mid-range 5 piece computer speakers) the more you'll hear the difference.

My suggestion to you is burn to dvd. It's not necessary to have all 200+GB on your poor hard drive at the same time (I hope!). Trust me, you won't want to have that one drive crash, and lose all that info in one fell swoop (knock on wood). And yes, it's happened to me before. The average hard drive lasts 2-3 years. You should consider yourself lucky if it goes past 2.
picsite
i usually go for a bitrate around 128-132 because i usually see no difference and i can fot more songs onto my small 512mb mp3 player...
tuncadogus
I Usually 128K
NobodiesHero
192k is ok for good quality, anything less sounds a lot worse and anything more doesn't make a big difference.

Of course, there is always the question:
More songs or better quality?
I guess it depends on how fine your ears are tuned. I know people who encode in 64k and that makes me really, really sad.

Anyways, rock on.
votd
For best quality - 192 -> 256 VBR
For best compression - 160kbps

When I rip something from the orginal Audio-CD for my own accord, I always use 320kbps. This is althrough still not perfect, but good.

For internet MP3s everyone use 192 or 256 (or 128). I think 128 is bad, compared to 192. And 96 or 64 is poor :/

MP3 Compression is very tricky thing, I suggest trying 128 -> 192 or 128->160 VBR. Sometimes it depends on type of music - if it's no dynamic and dull, you can always use 64->128 VBR - works like magic. MP3 Encoder not need to work, it's intelligent enough to make good VBR.

P.S: There is no 360Kbps MP3...:/

P.S2: If you are encoding for your PC, I suggest AAC/OGG - in OGG you use 96kbps and you get equivalent to ~150kbps MP3, in AAC you use 24kbps to get ~128kbps Stereo
pudovkin
Usually, I use CBR 192kbps.
I can't hear any difference beyond that.

The major problem about VBR is my car stereo doesn't show correctly the time left for the songs. I have a crappy Sony (and I'm thinking about throwing it in the garbage and getting a pen/Mp3 drive...).
JaeCee
I only keep anything 128 or above. If I rip them myself, I tend to rip at 160.
H3LL5P4WN
I rip at 256kbps CBR. I would use FLAC, but my iPod doesn't support it. Rolling Eyes

I used to use 160kbps, and then 192kbps... but as I listened, I was able to hear distortion more and more. And with me becoming somewhat of an elitist with my earphones, I think I hear distortion at 256kbps from time to time. Anything less than 160kbps is completely unlistenable to me.

My friend burns mp3 cds composed mostly of 128kbps and less quality mp3's, and I have to restrain myself from throwing the disc out the car window.

I have about 25gigs of music currently, and have less than half of my cd collection ripped.
ddukki
Definitely go with the VBR. It optimizes the file size and it sounds great. I have a program (Winamp; yes Winamp) that rips files and allows you to set the max and minimum limits of the bitrate. I usually rip at 128-320 kbps VBR.
kenetix
usually 192 kbps
H3LL5P4WN
I really ought to buy a license for Winamp Pro.
Josso
Rip most things at 900kbps+

But for things I don't have on CD already I don't mind 128kbps+
bjwok
i rip everything at 160kbps VBR and find the quality to file size to be decent.

when i play music ripped this way through itunes it sounds amazing (ok, so i use the sound enhancer). windows media player is a bit 'duller' in my opinion.

also, i have optical out on my firewire 410 that is hooked up to a yamaha direct sound amp and sweet as VAF speakers. i seriously cannot hear the difference between mp3's and cd's (unless i turn it up to a stupid level)

don't go anything lower than 160, and go higher if you are not concerened with space limitations
benwhite
I've never been able to tell anything different at over 128. There really isn't much point going higher to be honest. Huge bitrate is great I guess, but I've never seen the point.
yokonative
ok dude..200 gb..can be almost cut in half. from the sound of it, you store them at a high bitrae which comes out to be a big file. now, what i thinhk you should do is put your music on cd's...they way..you have a hell of a lot more space..however, if you keeop them on your HD, then i woulkd sugest Ogg Vorbis. the files of those things are so small and sound better then MP3..even at lower bit rates...althogh, somewhere down at the ..96 bit rate..is the lowest you can get, without the sound quality to have a drastic noticable change twards the ungly sounding side. ...i hope you are able to fix your problem, btu dude..re-encdoding will take a long time.
bjwok
i keep all my music on my programs drive in the my music folder. the first time that hdd crashed i learnt my lesson, and went a bought a 200gb external firewire drive which i back up onto on a monthly basis. it's really cool, i just plug it in, drag and drop 'my document' to it and then unplug it and put in the cupboard. i do this once a month, any new additions to my collection therefore get updated monthly. (i also have a 40gb ipod, which i obviously use in conjunction with 'my music' folder and itunes)

i agree with 128 being absolute minimum, and in terms of ogg vorbis, sounds great but not enough portable players support it...
GranMastah
When I rip, I use different bitrates for different albums. Criteria: how much I love aband, how good the record is, the original quality (cd, tape, vinyl) and overall value of the album for me. Minimum is 128, max is VBR 320(for the favorites) and I usually use 192 VBR.
macadamia
I usually rip @192 VBR... When it comes to downloading, only @128 and above.
And since the disc space has become an issue, I store my mp3s on CD-Rs and DVDs, and on my hard disc I keep only oggs @90 VBR, and they sound great, and above all, they are quite small and neat. Very Happy
bigbadjohn
wow 200gigs thats a lot. You say you dont want to buy another hard drive.

But have you considered buying an external hard drive and then transferring them over to your external drive. These drives come with enormous capacity these days and are quite cheap.

You would then have a portable drive of music you could take with you and then use on other computers. Also adding to it is easy just plug and save.

Also you may think it would take a while to transfer them from one medium to another, probably no more time than it would take you to compress your tracks.

I use one for saving my music and media mokey to catalog them all replete with cd covers etc.
Aimewitue
most of my old rip are in 192 kbps but i now i have my music ripping on OGG codec
The Mitchell
i cant be bothered reading this whole thread so some of this has probably been said but VBR means variable bit rate. that means when more information is needed it will increase the bit rate

*Basically the bit rate is the amount of bits of infomation taken over a second. so in other words 128kbps is 128,000 samples every second. Do not confuse this with the sample rate (the amount of samples taken per second) So for example if the sample rate is 10 (for simplicities sake) and the bit rate is 128 kbps then we can work out that there are 12,800 in every sample.
ie. 10 samples each with 12,800 bits in makes 128,000 bits per second. Variable bit rate simply sets the average to say 12,800 in this case so 5 of the samples may be taken with 12,799 bits and another 5 may be taken with 12,801 bits hence the average of 128kbps.

So variable bit rate is better than a fixed bit rate because it only uses more samples when it needs it.
Also bear in mind that the untrained human ear cannot hear the difference between 128kbps and above. Although this said the trained ear can most definitely hear the difference up to about 192kbps. The problem is if the bit rate is lower the more of the higher frequencies are cut out. At around 192kbps the frequencies that are cut out are pretty much beyond the range of human hearing but at 128kbps they become more obvious than before because the frequencies being cut out are lower and within our hearing range.

So my answer is if you notice it then keep around 192. I generally encode around 160kbps to 192kbps on variable bit rate. Its a compromise really. I can hear the difference because i listen to music a lot and im training to be a producer unfortunately hard drives cost money which sucks.
Chalchihuitlicue
As a rule, I rip everything at 256 - 320. My only reason is that it tends to sound better when I burn it off onto cds. I make tons of mix cds for my car, to suit whatever mood I'm in at a given time. It annoys me a lot if the songs are quiet or fuzzy because they were ripped at a lower bitrate. When I download things, I look for the highest bitrate I can find. However, were I going to be listening to it solely on my computer, a lower bitrate probably wouldn't bother me that much, because my computer has rather crappy speakers anyway. Laughing
hsadmin
Well, IDK what kind of computer you have, but, mine lets me choose EXACTLY what bit rate I want. Set it to around 145 and you should be good.
banoon
128 Bitrate is perfect.. and it doesn't take too much space
onemoment
i agree with what one of the guys said before, "More songs or better quality?"
personally i use 160kps but i have some crappy punk stuff on 128, and some good post rock stuff on 192.. its getting hard because i have a 100Gb hard drive and 45Gb of music on it. anything above 192kbs is ridiculous unless you've got the cash to waste on such subtle differences.

my advice, dont be too geeky
photon
I normally use 192k Constant for the music in my hard disk. But of late, i also have quite a few albums at 320 CBR. For my mp3 player, i use 128k CBR. I think that is the perfect balance between quality and size
The Mitchell
Chalchihuitlicue wrote:
As a rule, I rip everything at 256 - 320. My only reason is that it tends to sound better when I burn it off onto cds. I make tons of mix cds for my car, to suit whatever mood I'm in at a given time. It annoys me a lot if the songs are quiet or fuzzy because they were ripped at a lower bitrate. When I download things, I look for the highest bitrate I can find. However, were I going to be listening to it solely on my computer, a lower bitrate probably wouldn't bother me that much, because my computer has rather crappy speakers anyway. Laughing

in all honesty i doubt you would be able to hear any difference between 192kbps and 320kbps at all. Like i said the average human hearing range cant hear the frequencies above 16kHz and there is barely any noticable loss in quality below this frequency using 192kbps encoding. 192kbps starts losing quality at around 16kbps and i 256 begins to lose quality around 18kHz. Anyway this article is pretty interesting. http://www.lincomatic.com/mp3/mp3quality.html
saeleyjnr
I upload and download from Oink!.me.uk. They have strict rules about bit rates. 192 is minimum and flac is the maximum.

So all my files range from 192 mp3s to flac lossless & lossy rips.

My average is about 320 bit rate mp3.
Zruch
Usually 128 or 192 kbps.
Chelissamow
I think 192 bitrate is pretty good. But most of the songs that I download have a 320 bitrate. It's a bit much but hey, it's good quality.
Kanoga
I always go for 320kbps when I can.
I have a large hd so space isn't really a problem.
Arnie
128 or 192, depending on how much I like the album. I never hear any difference though.
Srs2388
the biggest I can get Razz
crimson_aria
I use 320 bitrate most of the time. I prefer the higher bitrate, even though it's larger in file size.
Sickness
I always try to use 192, I think thats a quite good Mp3 quality, keeping a good size...
eggg
I can definitely tell the difference between 128 and 160. I'll replace 128 files I've downloaded with 160 or 192 if I can. If the song's original recording was of a pretty good quality, I'm satisfied with 160. But if it's something like some old 1930's delta blues that hisses a bit, I'll try to find the highest quality I can, because it really makes a difference. Typically when I rip a CD I go with 192.
pijana_braca
192kbps CBR
ddukki
I usually rip with the VBR settings on Winamp. 192 to 320 kbps usually gets me filesizes of around 4 to 5 MB, depending on the quality, but that's good enough. I usually can't hear - or care - the difference anyway. The only time I'll want to rip with a better rate is when I want to burn a CD.
conspiranoia
I use 128 'cause i only have 1gb mp3 and lots of music to listen, so i have to compress the maximum ican.
SlideR.nl
I listen everything @ 320 kbps. Why? I dont have a MP3 player so i need to listen it on my pc and why make the quality of the song lower then the maximum.. Razz
The Mitchell
SlideR.nl wrote:
I listen everything @ 320 kbps. Why? I dont have a MP3 player so i need to listen it on my pc and why make the quality of the song lower then the maximum.. Razz

If your gonna say that then encode in lossless format. ya know WAV or AIFF maybe.
i give up i truly do!
Sphaerenkern
I don't use mp3, I use mp4/AAC with 128 kbit/s there. It's said that 128 kbit/s in mp4/AAC is comparable to 192 kbit/s in mp3.
AIFF or something is a bit exaggerated for me because I don't hear some classic music and I don't turn the music that loud that you can hear every artifact. AAC is quite good, anyway.
The Mitchell
its also worth noting those of you that use high bitrates on their mp3 players, that you will get more from your battery life if you use lower bit rates. Most mp3 players load a certain amount of music into the buffer so that the hard disks can be shut down to a) save damage to the disks whilst on the move and b) save battery life by not accessing the disks so often. (imagine the buffer like computer memory where it holds a certain amount of information until it has finished with it) So basically because the buffer can only hold so much info at one time then if your song files are larger then the mp3 player has to access the hard drive more often. Hence your battery will run down quicker and whilst your on the move your hard drive is far more susceptable (?) to damage when the disk is spinning.
just an interesting point
bigdan
On my old PC, to save space, I used 96kbps, because I can't tell the difference. On my new PC, I have MP3s at 160-192kbps, and mp4s at the rate Apple sets it at.
Dr Carruthers
128-192, that's the best for me in quality and size. Lately I've been using VBR encoding too.
lastlegion
Most of my songs are between 192 to 320

but I also have some stuff on 128kbps
chartcentral
I use 128 kbps for my MP3s. The quality that's "just right" for me, that doesn't take too much disk space. However, if I have MP3s with higher quality, I preserve the original and write it to a CD. I also would have it converted to 128 kbps and that's the one that stays on my hard drive.
Insanity
I use 192 for some of my more popular songs, but generally things are ripped at 128 because it's a convenient trade off between size and quality. I can't really tell the difference from 192 and upwards, but I can definately tell the difference below 128, so yeah.
lethaltriad
I usually use a minimum of 192k if its a constant bitrate but if its a song/album i really like I would use variable and set it to the highest.. V0
Flakky
Josso wrote:
Rip most things at 900kbps+

But for things I don't have on CD already I don't mind 128kbps+
900kbps+?? That's insane what file format is that?
8166UY
That's the standard raw format for ripping CD's. I like to have the highest quality since HD is no limitations. Despite that philosophy most of my songs have 320kbps.
Flakky
8166UY wrote:
That's the standard raw format for ripping CD's. I like to have the highest quality since HD is no limitations. Despite that philosophy most of my songs have 320kbps.
And how is the raw format called? My collection is 320 as well Smile
David_Pardy
I was using 128kbps for a while, until I realised just how bad it sounded.

Then I started using 160kbps VBR, until recently when I realised that my 40gb portable hard drive only has 10gb on it and 1300 songs. So now I do the MP3s at 192kbps VBR.

I'm thinking of re-ripping all my CDs at higher bit rates now. But it's time consuming and not all that necessary!

It would be cool if my car stereo supported FLAC.
8166UY
Flakky wrote:
8166UY wrote:
That's the standard raw format for ripping CD's. I like to have the highest quality since HD is no limitations. Despite that philosophy most of my songs have 320kbps.
And how is the raw format called? My collection is 320 as well Smile


I checked it and they seem to have changed it on the new WMP11, so now it's just called wma-lossless and can be selected in the ripping options.
TheOnionRack
I once tried FLAC and loved it, but alas, my Creative Zen does not have the FLAC codec. So I just use 320kbps MP3 instead. WMA-lossless is nothing compared to Apple Lossless and FLAC if you ask me. I have a really nice set of headphones and it sounds amazing through them.

The big think about 128 vs 320 is can you hear the difference? If your ears can't pick up the differences, or if you don't have good speakers, they are almost indistinguishable... And of course there is always the issue of Normal wires vs Monster wires. (If you really believe Monster)
David_Pardy
That's a very broad statement, "Monster" wires Wink.

If you're talking about lower gauge wires (lower gauge = thicker wire), then they can be essential in higher power audio situations. And remember, higher resistance = more heat = more chance of a failure or even fire.

For example, if you've got 200w RMS per channel, you want thicker wire to allow less resistance and more current to flow. It DOES make a difference. But on the other hand, if you've got your standard PC speakers running at about 5w RMS, it's going to make no noticable difference, and they're not putting out nearly enough power to generate that much heat, regardless of the gauge of wire used.


I've done a couple of car stereos and I always run the thickest wire I can get. It costs a little extra, but you get the best possible sound, less resistance and less heat.
Flakky
David_Pardy wrote:
That's a very broad statement, "Monster" wires Wink.

If you're talking about lower gauge wires (lower gauge = thicker wire), then they can be essential in higher power audio situations. And remember, higher resistance = more heat = more chance of a failure or even fire.

For example, if you've got 200w RMS per channel, you want thicker wire to allow less resistance and more current to flow. It DOES make a difference. But on the other hand, if you've got your standard PC speakers running at about 5w RMS, it's going to make no noticable difference, and they're not putting out nearly enough power to generate that much heat, regardless of the gauge of wire used.


I've done a couple of car stereos and I always run the thickest wire I can get. It costs a little extra, but you get the best possible sound, less resistance and less heat.
So these big speakers need thick wires or will burn down because they need more electricity to support them?
David_Pardy
Not necessarily the speakers, and this is just a broad statement of caution.

What happens when you have thinner wire, but a lot of power to move through it, is that the power has to try and force its way through because it has nowhere else to go. So as you have all this electricity moving through the wire, it generates heat. When you have a LOT of power, you need thicker wire to allow this heat to be more spread out. With thinner wire, it is quite possible that the wire will be overloaded, and I have seen instances of wire insulation melting because of this. Not attached to speakers, though.

Obviously if the plastic insulation is melting, then there's enough heat being generated to start a fire.

It's just a good idea to be cautious with audio systems and use wire of an appropriate thickness.
snowboardalliance
Just an update to my old like 3 year old post, now I'm using mostly VBR at around 225 average.
MoneyMonsterMail
128 K for MP3-Player and Stereo Player and for my Home Cinema i use 320 K and better Smile
bloodrider
I generally use 192 kbs constant bitrate, more than that only in special cases. I don't have terabytes of hard drive Sad

An interest question, how many of you belongs to the 13% who can distinguish differences between a compressed audio and a uncompressed audio?
MeddlingMonk
Quote:
An interest question, how many of you belongs to the 13% who can distinguish differences between a compressed audio and a uncompressed audio?


It would depend on a few things: 1) the quality of the sound system, and 2) how severely compressed the file is.

For my sound system, I usually can't tell the difference with MP3s at 320kbps VBR and above. I myself have the majority of my PC music collection is encoded at around 256kbps VBR (depending on what it is), whereas for my MP3 player I tend to use 192kbps VBR (lower quality speakers and limited space make it pointless to use a higher bitrate). I find that below 192, I can definitely tell that it's compressed.
snowboardalliance
bloodrider wrote:
I generally use 192 kbs constant bitrate, more than that only in special cases. I don't have terabytes of hard drive Sad

An interest question, how many of you belongs to the 13% who can distinguish differences between a compressed audio and a uncompressed audio?


I wanna say I can tell the difference between my current 256 VBR and old 128 CBR but I've never directly compared the two.
Flakky
I recently compressed songs on my cellphone to 128kbps (mp3) basically because it can't play better music anyway.
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