Music on iPhone 5 - bit rate?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by RWil85, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. RWil85 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    First time iPhone owner..iPhone 5 32gb.

    One of the first things I noticed about the iPhone 5 (vs. android/blackberry devices I have had in the past) is the superior sound quality. Whether it be streaming or stored, through the speaker or headphones, the audio output is amazing.

    Google music on Android was pretty fantastic and haven't quite decided what to do in regards to music on my iPhone. Figuring that playing stored music would sound better and save battery vs. streaming, I decided to sync up using iTunes.

    I have a ton of music saved from forever ago and compiled over the years from downloads, CDs, friends, etc. iTunes shows the bit rate for every file - is there a minimum bit rate I should be looking for before transferring the music over to my iPhone?

    May be a stupid question - but, it struck my curiosity and figured I could learn something here. If you could offer an info, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
  2. ImpKali macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2013
    128k is much smaller and will allow you to have more music on your device, but 256k is mostly uncompressed audio and will sound much nicer. However, that comes with the cost of taking up more space.

    What you pick will depend on how you use the phone. If you have a ton of apps that will take up at least half of your space, then go with 128k, but if you're mostly using it as an MP3 player, go with 256k.
  3. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  4. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Uncompressed CD audio is 1411 kb/s. 256 is nowhere near "uncompressed"; it's just that the compression is "good enough" that most people can't tell the difference (between 256 and 1411).

    Another fact of the day coming soon! :p

    Edit: Forgot about the original question :eek: ... Apple recommends 256 kb/s AAC, although 128 is usable if you're short on space.
  5. ImpKali macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2013
    Wow, I didn't know that! The More You Know.
  6. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Knew I could count on this forum..

    Awesome info guys, thanks.

    Reason for getting the 32gb was for PDFs (mostly worksheet scans, etc) and mostly music - to have the ability to carry a bunch with me and not have to be choosy or swap out items as I go.
  7. bozzykid macrumors 68020

    Aug 11, 2009
    I am a bit confused by the original poster. If they already have the files, then there isn't going to be any new encoding. If you are planning on re-encoding already compressed music files, then I would advise against it.
  8. antman2295 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2010
    I personally prefer 320kbps, but I try not to go under 256kbps. I bought a 32GB too and I still have 7GB's free and I have tons of apps that are 1 GB a piece and a bunch of music too. My photos/videos are at 4GB's of storage atm.
  9. nickchallis92 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2012
    I'm going to be the voice of reason here and say the iPhone does not produce superior sound quality vs 'android' handsets.

    The output on the S1, S3 and S4 is fantastic
  10. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    If you like google music, I see no reason to stop using it. Download the gMusic app. It's a couple bucks, and its done by a third party developer, but r stands by the product and is frequently pushing updates. I actually like it better than native google music on android (aesthetically). Function is identical (great).
  11. tonfishs, Apr 28, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013

    tonfishs macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2013
    yeah,i think so,Apple recommends 256 kb/s AAC, although 128 is usable if you're short on space.[​IMG]
  12. Furifo macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    I think it's all related to the DAC that manufacturers are using. The audio quality on a Galaxy Nexus I once had was terrible compared to an iPhone (including as far back as the 3GS). I think that most Android manufacturers use low quality DACs in order to keep hardware costs down. Take a look at some of Android's aggresively priced offerings and google the DAC quality (e.g. 'nexus 7 DAC quality').

    The iPhones all have excellent hardware for producing good quality sound. Having said that, I believe there are Android devices out there (Galaxy S series) that also use good quality DACs to give good sound.
  13. webworks415 macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2008
    Since my Napster/Winamp days I have learned to stick with 192 or above. I noticed a difference in sound between it and 128. When I find old music that is 128 in my library I immediately replace it with higher quality files. I recommend 192 at the very least.
  14. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Music on iPhone 5 - bit rate?

    Didn't mean that at all..

    Was speaking more along the lines of what webworks415 had suggested...replacing the lower bitrate music files with higher bit rate versions.


    Completely valid.

    Never owned a Galaxy device.

    Should rephrase it to say "better than the androids/blackberries I have owned" - droid x, Razr maxx, and BB Bolds 9650/9930..


    Checked this out..

    This app has received awful reviews through the App Store - tons of them.

    I know $2 is a drop in the bucket....but, eh.


    Makes sense to me. I have a pair of Shure earbuds and was blown away by the output of a 320kbps file on my iPhone vs that same file on my old RAZR MAXX. Didn't know what it was exactly, but there was quite a noticeable difference.
  15. lordofthereef, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013

    lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA

    I took a look at the reviews myself. Looks like the latest version has been giving people issues. Previously it was a four and a half star app. I can say my wife and I use it on two different iPhone 5 units as well as an iPad mini without issues.

    If you look at the reviews, everything bad people have to say is that the newest version crashes. I am certain it will be fixed. I highly recommend you check back when another update is pushed and see what people are saying. Current version is as of April 25.

    Edit: the description also states that if people are having issues to delete and reinstall the app. I am wondering if people who are complaining have actually done this. Granted, I never did, but its always nice to try and see if the developer has any suggestions before leaving a review, especially a bad one.
  16. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I have come.....

    to the conclussion that with good sound equipment, 320 kbits are a good goal. But being space constrained in a iPhone, I would suggest a more modest approach: between 160-192 kbits.

  17. Rocko1 macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2011
    As a long time picky 'audiophile', I have debated this in my head for years. I have too much music to store at lossless or full wav size. 128kbps bugs me even for just working out. I have found 320kbs is what I can handle for general listening and nothing less than 192 for working out. YMMV.
  18. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Thanks for taking the time to post..shockingly enough, they released an update today haha.

    I'll check it out.


    Picked up a 32gb - am hoping that space won't become too much of a problem.

    I think I have about 700 songs on my device - most are about 320kbps - and it's about 4gb. Not that bad. Have to look at the rest of my catalog and move some stuff over. I'm still learning exactly how an what might be the best way to sync my iphone/music.


    I appreciate it. Makes me feel like I'm not crazy. Even on my MacBook Pro speakers, the songs in the 100s kbps-wise started to crackle at medium volume.

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