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Optimal Audio: Best possible sound


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Wanna educate others about audio encoding, compression, bitrates, etc?



Here's the deal: iTunes typically offers downloads at 128 kbps...which is significantly different from CD quality. I'm very interested to learn more about optimizing my future music purchases as well as my existing library.

I ripped "On My Way Here" with 'Apple lossless' quality and it sounds magnificent...Winner to my ears, no contest, to the iTunes download. What I don't yet grasp is WHY it sounds so good...and what settings and preferences to use to have more of my iPod music sound that great, too.

Interestingly enough, my Amazon download of the first single was at a different bitrate/different format from iTunes. I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to download more music from non-iTunes sites.

I'm planning to re-rip my other Clay CDs at a 'better' setting, to see how different they sound to me. Unfortunately, I have a 30 GB iPod...so I may run out of space with higher quality audio.

Anybody care to post articles, questions, tips, or comments about this subject? Eager student here at your feet. :)

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I am still not a 'pod person, but I can answer your question about why the lossless version sounds better-- it is more dense-- more sound data equals bigger files. I'll try to look around and find what settings you need to use. I assume you use iTunes to rip your music rather than some other program. I use only mp3s for compressed music, and generally rip 192, 256 and 320 kbps depending on my mood and the type of music. I never rip to 128 or listen to that quality unless there is no other version available.

When shopping around iTunes, buy iTunes Plus versions of any song you want to really hear-- they are double the quality of regular iTunes (256 kbps vs. 128 kpbs). Of course, they almost always cost more, which is blatant money-mongering on Apple's part. And kinda stupid, since Apple can sell bigger and better iPods to support the larger files, lol.

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