MP3 Converting Constant/Variable Bitrate questions.

By maniac_lonestar ยท 8 replies
Jul 8, 2007
  1. Hello, I want the best quality in my music so If you can answer these questions it would be helpful:

    1. What has better sound quality at 320 kbs? Variable Bit Rate or Constant Bit Rate?

    2. Will my mp3 audio be lossless of it's current data when I convert it from 320 vbr into 320 cbr?

    3. Will I have better/restored sound quality if I converted a 128 kbs into a higher
    number like 320 kbs?

    4. Is there anything else I need to know about MP3 sound quality?

    5. If I rip an album into .wav and then convert the .wav into mp3 will I lose quality compared to ripping to mp3 straight from the cd?
  2. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    1. constant bit rate is (like it sounds) a constant bit rate throughout the song. variable bit rate will go up and down depending on the amount of stuff going on in the song so it's not the same all the way through

    2. you probably won't notice much difference if you converted between vbr to cbr because vbr uses a base bit rate and fluctuates up and down from that, sometimes it can save on file size, sometimes not

    3. if you convert from a lower bit rate to a higher one you will not notice any difference. because the file has already been encoded at 128kbps, its upper limit for the song is 128 so making it 320 will just give you a bigger file size with no gain in sound quality

    4. sound quality totally depends on bit rate. in my opinion 128kbps is enough, sometimes you can get away with 112, but at the end of the day it depends on how much of a purist you are and how big your hard drive is :D

    hope i have helped answer your questions :)
  3. maniac_lonestar

    maniac_lonestar TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 117

    Thankyou! That was very helpful.

    I got a new question:
    5. If I rip an album into .wav and then convert the .wav into mp3 will I lose quality compared to ripping to mp3 straight from the cd?
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    No converting straight from the CD or from a WAV will not make a difference. A wav file is the same quality as the track on the CD.

    ps. when you convert a song to a certain bitrate, it loses in quality. You cannot regain that quality by up-converting that file into a higher bitrate, you must re-rip it from the original CD.

    & if you really want Lossless don't use MP3s, try FLAC, WMA Lossless or Apple Lossless instead.
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I don't know how it is these days, but in the past there were substantial quality differences between different encoders.
  6. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    Mictlantecuhtli is probably right. a popular encoder is Lame but for converting i use a program called Fairstars Audio Converter which works very well, it has quite a few options and it's easy to use, but it won't rip from cd's, it's just a converter. i've never had any problems with it.

    but like Didou said, if you want proper lossless quality then you probably won't want mp3's, they can go up to high bit rates but i don't think they go to lossless quality.
  7. maniac_lonestar

    maniac_lonestar TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 117

    Well I have problem in that, I'm not sure if any portable mp3 players can play flac or wav.

    But I was wondering, since I don't buy songs online or even albums, if I did buy a legal album, can I choose bitrate/format/ and .wav?
  8. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Almost any MP3 player will play a WAV file but those files are big & will:
    • fill up the space on the player
    • drain the battery with constant I/O operations to read the big file
    As for purchasing songs online, most of the time you are offered one quality but for example iTunes now offers 128 Kb/s or 256Kb/s AAC encoded songs (the former having DRM on top of it all whereas the latter doesn't).
  9. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    i don't know about portable players and flac but it depends on what player you want to use. i have a feeling either creative ones or zune players might be able to play them but i'm not sure which one, if either
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