What Bitrate should I rip at

Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by kenyabob, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. kenyabob macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2003
    San Francisco
    I have been ripping my cds at 160kbps in an mp3 format, becuase I hadnt decided whether or not I would get an ipod, so I needed mp3 format so I could use it on all players. I think I will get an ipod, so is 160 kbps on mp3 good enough for cd rips, and if so, what the AAC equivalent, for example is 160 mp3 equal to 128 AAC. What format do you guys rip cds with and at what bitrate?
  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I have an iPod and rip at 192kbps AAC, however the best answer would be to try different rates and choose the lowest rate that you can't hear a significant difference by moving to a higher rate.
  3. kenyabob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2003
    San Francisco
  4. bennok macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2003
    I rip at 128kbps AAC 128 because it frees up space on my iPod, and the quality quite good. Size/Quality ratio is good for the iPod.
    Now, I *can* hear the difference between those and mp3s I rip in LAME --alt-preset standard. When I buy a CD, I rip it at both of these bitrates. The AAC goes to the iPod, and the MP3 is for playing through my computer and archiving.

    If you're ripping in 160 and the quality is good enough for you, 128 AAC should be higher quality than that.

    Hope this helps.
  5. kenyabob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2003
    San Francisco
    What would a 128 AAC be comparable to in terms of MP3? What bitrate does lame rip at?
  6. bennok macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2003
    I believe apple said that 128 AAC yielded better sound than 192 MP3s. The details of all that is unclear, but iTunes encoding of a 192 MP3 vs. iTunes encoding of 128 AAC file sound very comparable to me.

    lame --alt-preset standard is an encoding algorythm(?) that analyzes the source data and picks the best bit rate for each frame of the MP3. So it's variable bit rate, those songs that need higher quality get it, but you end up with the incredible sound at a reasonably small file size. Songs seem to range from about 180kbps to 230kbps, but it depends on what you're encoding. I'm sure you could search on google for more info.
  7. kenyabob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2003
    San Francisco
    are there no articles available detailing the distinct differences between AAC and MP3. I mean what do most people use, whatever is comfortable?
  8. kenyabob thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2003
    San Francisco
    also whay app do people use to rip using lame?
  9. Jetson macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2003
    I've settled on ripping CDs at 192kbps AAC.

    I'd love to gain the space savings of ripping at 128kbps AAC. However, I have found that some high amplitude source material will record with an unpleasant "gurgling" sound, as though there's not enough headroom and the algorithm doesn't cope with it too well. A few of the songs I purchased from the iTunes Music Store have this problem I noticed. I haven't run into that problem when recording at 192kbps AAC.

    Here is a great article showing the frequency analysis of a WAV source with copies coded in AAC, MP3, and WMA. It graphically shows that the AAC codec is superior in terms of matching the original signal resolution and frequency response (from 20Hz-20kHz).

  10. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    There are no hard and fast answers for comparisons. It's like asking what speed Pentium 4 a 1.8 Ghz G5 is equivilant to. These are different codecs and will have different results on differnt kinds of music.

    Even if you eventually decide on a given codec/bitrate, you will find some songs sound better than others once compressed. And this can vary on a song by song basis.

    I use Audion for encoding in LAME Mp3.
  11. jbembe macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2003
    Baltimore, MD
    Anyone know what the default on iTunes is? I assumed with the updated versions that my new CDs would be ripped into the AAC format automatically, but I didn't check. I normally have everything set at 192 variable...
  12. skymac macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2003
    Well when i rip a cd to my computer i usually rip at 128-192 for the computer(128 75% of the time) then 112 for the iPod, yes in some songs i hear issues when using my iPod but its not so bad, any lower than 112 however it gets a little sketchy.
  13. Thidranki macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2005
    I haven't heard anything about Apple Lossless and how that compares in size and quality to AAC and MP3.

    If your saving your files as both AAC AND MP3, wouldn't that take up uneccessary space? (umm, not quite sure on what archiving is)
  14. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
    Moorestown, NJ
    i would have to agree with the 128ers in the forums...great size / quality. I truthfully cannot notice a difference between that and a cd on stereos let alone headphones...It is very wise to think now about how large your library may become and rip to a moderate size.. :)
  15. ham_man macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2005
    If you have a PeeCee, the universalist in me would suggest using EAC - LAME set to -preset standard to rip your tracks. If I was in this position though, I would use Apple's AAC VBR encoding set to 192 kbps to rip. And it is in iTunes...
  16. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    I am also a 192 AAC man.

    iTunes by default from memory rips at 128 (like iTMS).
    I played a bit when I first got my iPod.
    I found I couldn't notice the difference all the time when playing on my iPod via headphones... but could as soon as I plugged my iPod into different sources, or played music via AirTunes (from my PB) into my home theatre system.

    I regularly plug my iPod into stereos, cars, even sound system in lecture halls. My student love it as they arrive - they are never sure what music is going to be pumping out when they arrive!
  17. ammon macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2005
    If you have cheap head phones you can't tell the difference between 128 and 192. But if you have really nice ones (ie studio head phones) even 192 wont sound very good.
  18. TrenchMouth macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2002
    alright i just noticed that VBR is availible for ACC in iTunes. but it does seem to act a bit differently than it did with the MP3 codec. it does not allow you to change between low medium and high, and it does not show up in the information about a audio file that you rip that you did it with vbr on...so whats the dif between vbr for acc and mp3?
  19. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    I rip at 192 kbps... at that rate, you have to be a serious audiophile to be able to tell the difference between the original CD and the ripped file.
  20. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert

    All these people are talking trash about hearing the difference.. Post up some ABX logs then i'll believe it. For *most* popular music you aren't gong to be able to hear the diff from 128 aac to 192. Seriously, download an ABX program and see for yourself. Rip from cd to wav. Convert wav to 128 aac. Convert bac to wav. Export both wav files and abx them - it has to be double blind.

    There are also sweep tests to find out where your high pass cutoff is - which iirc 18 is about average. If yo uhave some canalphones lke the er6p's you are more likely to hear a difference.

    AAC is night and day to mp3 and i can't pass an abx test on most music between lame and orig or aac 128 and orig.

    That said - the tunes you rip yourself seem to sound a LOT better than the ones you buy at 128.

    ABX and GET RID OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT. And don't cheat the logs - they are there for YOU. WHy bother claiming to hear more than you can and losing file size....what's the point.

    and if you really really want to get serious about it - go to hydrogenaudio.com and read a lot. Be prepared to have TOS rules cited if you claim something sounds better without providing abx logs.

    There are also people running listening tests like this

  21. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yeah, whatever. With good headphones or speakers, the difference between 128AAC and 256AAC is like night and day.

    If you're happy with ripping at a lower bit-rate, then that's OK too. I'm not going to hold that against you... so why get all shirty about others who want the best they can have?

    Just because you can't hear any difference, don't assume that others can't either.
  23. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Well said Blue, I'm having this very discussion with my new students, tone based sweep tests don't tell the whole story anyway, the monitoring system you use is absolutely vital and hearing can be trained to detect the differences between almost any form of recording.

    Hearing is like any skill, gifted amateurs can be pretty good but professionals rely on it for a living and are an order of magnitude above them. Plus they've got the kit to make the judgment with.

    In the end, if it sounds good to you then thats the rate to rip at, if you're short on storage, and don't mind a little degradation in the audio, rip at at lower rate.

    I'm still griping about 320Kbps AAC and the amount of power lossless takes to run.
  24. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    I only hear a very miniscule difference between 128Kbps and 320Kbps AAC on $250 headphones. So from my own limited observation and experience, 128Kbps is fine for 99.98% of music out there and for general listening. I do believe a little bit is all in a person's head. You know, like people say they prefer bottled water but in a blind taste test, 80% choose the tap water. :p
  25. Lau Guest

    Is there a way to downgrade the quality? I'm quite happy at 128 AAC, but some of mine is 192 AAC and I'm short on iPod space. In the same way you can "Convert to MP3", can you reduce the quality (and therefore the file size) without re-ripping the CDs?

    Edit: Duh, the answer's here. :rolleyes: That old chestnut of google being better than the forum search....

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