Social Question

mazingerz88's avatar

Why do original music CD's sound better than downloaded music?

Asked by mazingerz88 (18445 points ) October 1st, 2012

I was listening to songs bought online and burned in CDs. I listen to these CDs in a Bose CD player sometimes. One day when I put in a CD I bought ten years ago, I heard a much superior quality of sound. At least, imo, 60% much better!

Is there a way for me to download and/or burn songs having that excellent company CD sound quality?

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6 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

There are a couple factors at play here. The burn speed would be a factor here, but usually the bigger factor is what quality the CD was ripped at. Generally you find mp3 or AAC files. Both of these are lossy file types (you lose quality when ripping like this) If you do go with either of these file types you want a bit rate of 256kbit/s or above for MP3s and 192 kbit/s or above for AACs. Ideally though you would want a lossless format like FLAC.

sorry I couldnt answer this better, I dont know a whole lot about audio quality with ripping. I generally do get files in mp3 but always go for 320kbit/s or above and never really have any loss of quality issues.

jaytkay's avatar

For comparison to @uberbatman‘s numbers, an audio CD is 1,411 kbit/s.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jaytkay didnt know that, thanks for posting. It really shows just how much the audio files get compressed sometimes when you rip them to your computer.

amujinx's avatar

Part of the reason could be the mixing. Many older albums didn’t have all the settings bumped to the max like many current albums do, so there is a better depth of sound while maxed out setting mixes feels more flat.

mazingerz88's avatar

Thanks guys. Leaned a lot here. 1,411 kbit/s vs 192 kbit/s. That’s a massacre. Have to pay attention to my audio settings, see if I could improve it a bit. Also thinking of again, buying CDs of albums I really like a lot.

@amujinx Interesting. Maxed out settings flatten the sound. This 10 year old CD indeed has that rich deep full sound you mentioned. I love it.

Jack79's avatar

…and of course it depends on the particular album, too. For comparison, you should listen to the exact same song, the exact same version, in mp3 and in CD quality. Sometimes you can even hear the difference if the rate is slightly higher or lower. The better the speakers, the bigger the difference. I don’t have such great speakers, so usually it’s not an issue.

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