Learn The Difference Between All Those Audio Formats

Learn The Difference Between All Those Audio Formats

While we’ve mentioned many different lossless and lossy audio formats before, we’ve never really explained what they were. If you’re confused about the differences between MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC and other formats, our friends at The How-To Geek explain it for you.

You may understand the difference between lossless and compressed audio, but be unaware of the differences between different compressed formats, or you may just be confused every time someone drops one of those terms. Over at The How-To Geek, they’ve put together a great explainer on the differences between each format, what you can do with them, and given you some tips on which ones are the best to use in any given situation (without getting into the annoying argument of “whether audiophiles can actually hear the difference”). Hit the link to check it out, and if you have a favourite format in which you rip all your audio, let us know why in the comments.

HTG Explains: What Are the Differences Between All Those Audio Formats? [The How-To Geek]


    • Absolute ignorance.

      Quality will depend on numerous factors, primarily the ripper and encoder. Using a top quality encoder such as LAME will produce a track averaged out to about 192kb (variable bit-rate). LAME is considered the highest quality MP3 encoder currently available.

      However unless you have spent a few dollars on a good set of headphones audio quality will go largely unnoticed.

    • Alex, reckon you’ll find that it’s 320Kbps ( a bit rate) rather than the usual 44KHz ( the sampling rate)… but I agree with your sentiment..

      If you’re not going for a lossless format, then 320Kbps MP3 is about the most useful and “portable” format to rip to IMO. Storage is virtually free these days cost wise.. Why not rip it big.

      Also agree with Andrew that unless you have very good hearing, and very good equipment… 90% of people cannot tell a 128Kbps from 192Kbps from 320Kbps MP3’s

      • You will find variable bit-rate will produce around 255k~ averaged out.

        My dad has poor hearing yet he can tell the difference between cd and mp3 quality only because he is more familiar with playing that same song via cd’s.

        So most people who are listening to a piece of music for the first time may not be able to tell if its mp3 or cd quality.. in saying that I think Its quite obvious any thing below 192k

        what im finding annoying at this stage is having two of every track.. one in an ipod/car/portable friendly variable mp3 format and one in a lossless flac format. it will be great once everything can store and play lossless.

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