Great audio or sound quality helps enhance users’ viewing and listening experiences. Sound quality is based primarily on clarity, dynamics, envelopment, focus, and response, which is the ability of a user to understand dialogue and music in movies and lyrics and instrumentation in music.Therefore, how an audio file is formatted really matters. An audio file’s data can be stored as an uncompressed or compressed file.
The most common audio format for audio streaming or storage is MP3, which uses a lossy data compression to prevent the audio file from taking up too much space. Kilobits per second (Kbps) is the term used to rate serial data transmission devices. Most audio encoding software will allow the user to choose the bit rate when converting audio files into a specialized format.
The lower the Kbps, the more data the encoder will eliminate when compressing an audio file; the range for bit rates is from 96 to 320 Kbps. 128 Kbps quality is typically considered radio quality, and a bit rate of 160 or higher is equivalent to CD sound quality. The music on iTunes is 256 kilobits per second. The higher the Kbps of an audio file, the more space it will consume on your computer. For example, a Kbps of 128 takes up very little space, but the sound quality is also lowered.
In less technical terms, subtle background instruments and vocals might be more difficult to hear, and the highs and lows will not be as vibrant. Whether you can hear the difference in the various bitrates also depends on the type of equipment or gear you use to play your audio files. Quality equipment makes a difference in eliminating the distortion, and it picks up on the lack of quality in music that was compressed using a lower bitrate. To maximize sound quality, 320 Kbps is the best choice. If storing audio files of this quality is an issue, storage options are as vast as they are affordable.