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Optimal kbps for WMA(?) files for portable player

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by Joseph King, Apr 5, 2004.

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  1. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    I have a Rio Cali portable "mp3" player but the maker says WMA files are far better than mp3 because they take half the space for comparable quality.

    They have told me disparate information.

    The software is set as default to rip audio CDs to WMA at 190 kbps.

    However, a tech support supervisor there told me that WMA at 64 kbps is the same exact quality as 128 kbps in mp3 format, and that this is the most that will ever be needed for optimal sound quality when ripping from music CDS.

    But two days later the same supervisor told me that, "Well, going to 96 kbps in WMA is going to give a 'little' bit better sound, but not much." He said that anything above that will be in a range where the human ear can't differentiate anyway.

    I tried WMA at 64 kbps and at 96 kbps and, well, I'm no music expert and am never going to be a musician because I don't have those talents, but I sure seem to notice a just-short-of-dramatic difference in sound quality. I have to wonder what this guy is talking about and, for that matter, why the default setting of the software is 190 kbps WMA for ripping CDs, not 96 or even 128.

    I'm certainly into the idea of having more storage space due to smaller files, but I don't want to lose "significant" sound quality to achieve that, either. I play music with the unit but also play special pieces consisting of hypnosis and meditation audio designed for achieving theta and delta brain wave states, and I certainly don't want to be compromising the quality of those.

    So, what kbps is optimal here, and how much difference does it really make in sound quality? (It obviously makes a big difference in file size.)

    (I'm assuming he's right that WMA is generally preferable over mp3. Or is it?)

    THANKS!
     
  2. putasolution

    putasolution

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    In terms of quality, yes. MP3 is considerably more "lossy" than wma.

    Personally I use 128kbps, but probably because I'm a bit deaf in one ear, I don't notice the difference ;). However, I have always found this to be a happy medium between quality and disk space use
     
  3. Moby

    Moby

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    I go for 128 too. .wma files are a tad smaller than .mp3 with apparently slightly better sound. They are no where near half the size of an mp3 though.
    If you rip a song to mp3 and then to wma, at the same bit rate, then a file may be 3mb in mp3 and say 2.5mb in wma (rough figures to show it's not halved)
     
  4. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Actually, what I think the Rio tech was saying was that if you rip a CD at, say, 64 kbps in WMA format you end up with the identical amount of information -- or, well, sound quality (or perhaps "pretty close to identical") -- as mp3 ripped at 128 kbps. I have no idea if this is valid, but I'm quite sure this is what he was telling me.
     
  5. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    So, uh, it just dawned on me: Why would Rio's software be set at the default of ripping CDs to WMA at 192 kbps if it wasn't going to make a difference and if smaller sized files would sound just as good?

    Things that make you go "hmmmm."

    So, I guess the question is simply how much of a difference the next size down is likely to make (and, well, for that matter, how much a $10 pair of lightweight headphones will already compromise 192 WMA).
     
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