Do Higher MP3 Bit Rates Pay Off?- Maximum PC

Posted by Garth on Friday, April 20, 2007

Do Higher MP3 Bit Rates Pay Off?- Maximum PC

Interestingly, just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend about bitrates. I said that I tend to use 192kbps/variable bit rate when encoding. Apparently I'm pretty much bang on for optimizing storage vs. quality. According to the Maximum PC article's conclusions: many cases, we were unable to tell the difference between an uncompressed track and one encoded at 160Kb/s, the bit rate most of us considered the absolute minimum acceptable for even portable players.

Some follow-up testing confirmed our suspicions: variable bit rate encoding makes a tremendous difference in the audio quality results, certainly enough to justify—many times over—the slight file size increase. Capping the bit rate at 160Kb/s in MP3 files can be pretty harsh on a track, but allowing the bit rate to wander upwards during more complex passages—as variable bit rate encoding does—and throttle down during quieter sections captures an astonishing amount of complexity while keeping file sizes down to an impressive minimum.

So there you have it. I think I'm gonna stick with my 192kbps/vbr. Hell, I don't even mind doing 320/vbr since the variable part tends to keep file sizes on the low side.


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