Best audio format?

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Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:52 am

I'm posting this here to avoid the iTunes bashing..

I am planning on re-ripping all my cd's (about 100 or so).. I had originally ripped them to 128 mp3, due to space limits. Now that drive space is cheap, and my old 20gb iPod is dead.. I want to re-rip at higher bitrate.

My question is what's the best format? 320 Mp3, AAC, Apple lossless? Also, what would be the approx size diffence?

The newly ripped tunes would be played on new 80gb iPod, and also some on my Nokia 5310, which supports WMA, MP3, MP4, and AAC.

I'd appreciate any advice.. thanks!
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:02 pm

Best is dependent on your uses. Lossless is best for archival, or if you are extremely anal about your audio quality. 99.9% of the time you won't be able to tell it from decent lossy compression though, especially if you're ripping the audio mainly for iPod playback. The iPod's DACs aren't quite up to the quality of a good soundcard or receiver.

I personally usually use LAME VBR V2 when ripping MP3s. I find that in most cases it produces a transparent copy, or at least good enough.

If you're content with the compatibility of AAC, I would just stick to that. In a lot of cases 128kb/s will be good enough but it really depends on the complexity of the audio you are compressing. You're best off experimenting. I'm also a fan of VBR format, and I'm not too sure how well iTunes' VBR algorithms work.

edit: I just checked, the latest iTunes (at least on Windows) uses VBR by default for its 128 and 256kb/s AAC presets. In fact it appears to use VBR even if you have it switched off.
Last edited by crazybus on Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:23 pm

When I was faced with all this about 3 years ago, I did 192kbit/s VBR right within iTunes. It produced songs that are for the most part roughly 1.5 mbyte per minute of music, and they sound great on my wife's iPod nano (first gen). That setting ensures a minimum 192kbit/s according to the custom quality setup within iTunes.
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:26 pm

I would say 450 kbps .ogg, but I see there's no support for that, so let's stay at mp3 and variable bitrates, 192-320 or 224-320.
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:53 pm

My CD's are about 50% of my music collection, the rest of which has been downloaded in various formats and quality.. I think I'll go lossless on the cd's.. this way I won't lose any fidelity.. and I can then sell the cd's.

It will take more room, but worst case I can buy the 160gb instead of the 80gb iPod.

Thanks for all the advice :)
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:47 pm

AAC sounds considerably better than mp3 at the same bitrate, so I'd use that if you're going lossy.
Lossless, you might as well use Apple's since there isn't really a standard and you can convert it to whatever you want without trouble.
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Re: Best audio format?

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:50 pm

.flac for archieve, VBR mp3's for portable is usually enough. On good system you get some parts lacking compared to better sources.
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