General Question

bhec10's avatar

Is there really a difference between 128 and 320kbps?

Asked by bhec10 (6408 points ) December 21st, 2012

This is just a general question on the bit rate of songs. I’m not sure if I should “upgrade” my 128kbps songs to 320kbps.
Can you really tell the difference in quality of 128 and 320kbps songs? Which one is better?

I’ve got a few songs that were ripped off YouTube and some have 80 or 90 kbps and they sound awful, so at least those will need to be upgraded.

Besides the drawback in file size, are there any disadvantages of 320kbps?

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10 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No drawbacks, just file size.
Oh by the way, what are you play these songs back on? 320kps sounds better only if are using some thing better than the speakers on your laptop.

bhec10's avatar

I have my laptop connected to some good speakers, and I also listen to music on my iPhone with the new EarPods, and they sound really good. But I have tried to figure out the difference between these two file sizes but I can’t really tell…

jerv's avatar

For listening under normal conditions, no. While there is a difference, it is only noticeable to a trained ear in the absence of other background noise. When you factor in stuff like road noise from your car, people talking as you walk down the street with your earbuds in, etcetera, 128 kbps is perfectly fine.

bob_'s avatar

Yes: 192 kbps.

jerv's avatar

@bob_ Well, for home listening, 192 is better. However, there are two things most homes have that most portable/car audio systems don’t; a relatively quiet listening environment, and ample storage. I have yet to see a portable music player with 256GB or more of storage though, and considering how loud my car is, the added quality would be lost on my ears, drowned out by the engine and wind.

Also note that once a song is sampled at a low rate, the quality is gone forever. Most codecs are “lossy”, so it’s rare that remastering them at a higher bit rate does anything. This is why true audiophiles use lossless codecs and generally require mass storage. One song in FLAC takes up more space than an entire album sampled at 128 kbps.

bob_'s avatar

@jerv I meant, 320 – 128 = 192.

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bhec10's avatar

@bob_ Funny but not really helpful.

So, I’m guessing it’s not really worth all the hassle unless my audio system is really good and I have no exterior noises.

jerv's avatar

… and you have a high-quality original to resample in the first place. You could use a 12 mega-pixel camera to take a picture of a house made of Legos, and the house will still look blocky.

Like I said above, you can always go down in quality, but you cannot go back up.

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