Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/163743/does-it-make-sense-to-convert-an-audio-file-to-a-higher-bitrate/
Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.
This sounds familiar. Wasn't there an HTG article on the same topic not too long ago?
Why convert it at all? Mount the disc on a virtual drive and copy the contents to a folder, then wrap an ISO around it and the original files will play on the virtual drive. If you ever want to convert the files then you still have that option.
Like the article says, it all depends on what you're doing. If you think converting from 192kbps mp3 to 320kbps mp3 is going to give you a better quality, then the answer is no. Then again, you should NEVER go down in quality...that's just dumb. Search Google for the equivalent bitrate in the format you want to convert to and convert to that bitrate. General rule of thumb with audio is that you can never "upconvert" audio quality...once the damage is done, it's done.
Then again, we should all be using Apple Lossless & FLAC for everything and none of this would even be an issue because both are lossless and work more or less like a zip file for audio...
This reminded me of the lossy vs. lossless images article
So on your phone your listening to flac? You must have really good hearing!
Encoding to a higher serves no purpose other than to make the file size bigger. Sometimes it's necessary for editing or when working on a project that requires a common bitrate but otherwise no.
I beg to differ... and this is only from my experience and own testing... I have noticed this in 2 of my cars and cant say I thought about it in my other cars...
My car is where I listen to most of my music and mostly v Loud!!
I noticed in my first car that had a nice sound system in it (after market) and the bass was spectacular on some songs and others it 'farted' I know that other things cause 'farting' but some of these songs were not as bassy as ones that worked well... I noticed the ones I ripped from CD worked well and ones my friends ripped or I had acquired by other means were the ones that 'farted'
I have again noticed this on my current car, (standard system but blaupunk) the songs I have bought from Amazon are fine and the bass hits the notes fine, but some of my older music is 'farting' again... listening at normal volumes doesn't cause it to happen but when loud I notice it...
so far I can only put this down to bit rate as to what is different on the tracks.. (all being played from my iPod (or Mobile))
a few of my sound engineer friends tell me that notes that you cant hear (be it out of our hearing bracket) are also important as the sound we can here?!
I sincerely doubt it. People come up with crazy ideas all the time, but the fact is that the microphones themselves aren't going to reproduce ultrasonics or infrasonics anyway, and even if they did, the mixing and mastering process is specifically designed with the goal of a 48K stream in mind, anyway.
The reason pros record at higher sampling rates and bit depth is because the mixing process itself is lossy: every time you send audio through a filter, some fiedelity gets lost. So the solution for that is to record the highest possible quality in the first place. This ensures that the generation loss in the DSP chain results in a product that still exceeds the final mixdown quality of 24/48 or 16/44.1, or whatever end result is going to be.
Since most consumer gear can only support sampling rates of 44.1 or 48KHz anyway, there's no data there that's outside your ear's hearing. Digital audio requires at least 2 samples to complete a waveform, so the maximum frequency that can be reproduced by a consumer stereo is going to be 24kHz.
While there are benefits to having a speaker that can reproduce infrasonics (low frequencies), there's not going to be an audible result by trying to reproduce frequencies we can't hear. If we can't hear them, we can't hear them. That's all there is to it.
The bitrate you rip to is one factor. The other is the codec. To a lesser degree, the specific encoder also matters.
AAC, for example, sounds better than MP3 at the same bitrate. If you're ripping to AAC and your friends are ripping to MP3, that's an issue right there.
Different encoders also produce different results. Psychoacoustic compression is a dynamic process, and so it's possible to employ different mechanisms to achieve a similar result. This means that encoding one MP3 with LAME and a different MP3 with Nero are going to give you different bits, even if the source material and settings are exactly the same.