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jbforever05
Jul 21, 2006, 04:57 PM
Hello all. I am in need of a little help. I recently bought a 4 GB iPod nano and ripped all of my music into iTunes. Later, I burned a CD from iTunes to play in the car on a trip. I noticed that the volume varied on different tracks and went to the internet to investigate. I soon discovered that this could be easily taken care of using the sound check option, but I also discovered something else that I hadn't know much about before-bitrate speed.

All of my music was put into iTunes at the default setting, 128 kbps. After some research it seems that there is a LOT of disagreement on the best speed to use. I just need a little advice on what to use to put my music into iTunes. I decided I would use 128 kbps with VBR enabled this time at the minimum, but am not sure if I want to go much higher than 128 kbps or not. I don't have any fancy sound system and most of my listening is done using headphones, iPod, computer, or car. I'm just wondering if going any higher than 128 kbps with VBR would make any noticeable difference. I've tried ripping some music using different bit rates and can't really tell a distinct difference but there's no way to tell for sure how it will work with all of my music. I also like the idea of using 128 kbps with VBR because this gives me smaller file sizes and I can fit a lot more on my iPod.

However, there is also a chance down the line that eventually I will have some better sound equipment. From what I've heard it seems that bitrate speed and AAC files have come a long way and that 128 kbps now sounds a lot better than it did several years ago. Would it then be safe to assume that in the future there would be still more improvement and 128 kbps would sound even better in a couple years? Or am I best off ripping my CDs twice, once for my iPod and once in a different kind of format (in iTunes or my other media player Windows Media Player)? There's also the issue of iTunes music store. It looks to me that there is no way to get higher bitrate speed songs from the music store and so I don't know if there's any way to improve the quality of those (not that I notice any poor quality now). Is this something I should be concerned about? I just received several iTunes giftcards to use in the music store but don't want to use them until I get this whole thing straightened out. As you can see I have a lot of questions and am a little unsure where to go from here. I'd like to get this taken care of as soon as possible so hopefully you guys can help me out a little. Thanks!



EricNau
Jul 21, 2006, 05:03 PM
According to Dolby Labs:

AAC compressed audio at 128 Kbps (stereo) has been judged by expert listeners to be “indistinguishable” from the original uncompressed audio source.
AAC compressed audio at 96 Kbps generally exceeded the quality of MP3 compressed audio at 128 Kbps. AAC at 128 Kbps provides significantly superior performance than does MP3 at 128 Kbps.
AAC was the only Internet audio codec evaluated in the range “Excellent” at 64 Kbps for all of the audio items tested in EBU listening tests.

Link (http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/aac/)


Unless you have very expensive sound equipment, and have trained yourself to hear the differences, you will not be able to hear a difference.
...But let your own ears decide. Import the same song in iTunes, once in 128 and once in 256, place those two songs in a playlist, hit shuffle and close your eyes. Can you hear a difference?