The latest technology and digital news on the web

Gadgets for humans

What’s bitrate? And why’s it important for music?

We’ve all listened to agenda music, right? And that means you’ve apparently heard of  “bitrate” or come across files that have “kbps” at the end. Thing is… what does that mean? What the is bitrate? Well, we’re here to help you out.

In the simplest terms, bitrate is an announcement of the amount of data a file produces each second.

For example, you may see article like “320kbps.” This absolutely means 320 kilobits per second, which is how much data is being produced. To make things easier, we’ve put this into a handy image for you:

what is bitrate
That, friends, is bitrate.

How does bitrate impact music?

Here things get a little bit more complicated.

You’re most likely to see bitrate absorbed to lossy files, like MP3, OGG Vorbis, or AAC. We go into depth about what lossy and lossless files are here, but the key thing is that lossy files are aeroembolism in a way where assertive advice is lost. On the other hand, Lossless files (like FLAC or WAV) retain all the audio information.

This is why lossless files are declared with both sampling rate and bit depth, while lossy ones aren’t. But we don’t need to worry about that too much.

Now, bitrate can be absorbed to  music file, but as we mentioned earlier, it’s used more often for lossy files like MP3s. Taking this format as an example, the accomplished possibly bitrate is 320 kilobits per second.

But if we take a format like the humble CD? That has a bitrate of 1,411 kilobits per second, finer 4.5 times the affection of the accomplished MP3.

spotify vs cd bitrate
Spotify absolutely uses OGG Vorbis, but the axiological truth about bitrate remains.

There is a direct accord betweeen bitrate and music affection — but it’s a little bit more circuitous than that.

We mentioned that MP3s are lossy files, acceptation they’ve been aeroembolism in a way that means assertive bits of audio have been lost. But this is done in an able way, taking advantage of psychoacoustic attempt like as temporal and simultaneous masking.

In absoluteness this means that although article like an MP3 has a far lower bitrate than a lossless file, it doesn’t For example, using the image above, a 320kbps MP3 doesn’t sound 4.5 times worse than a CD track.

This image does a good job of accretion up the impact bitrate has on recorded music:

lossless vs lossy file differences hearing

At 128kbps, you’ll hear trebly registers (like hi-hats) sound a bit tinny. But the higher the bitrate of the lossy file is, the less aberration you’ll hear from a non-compressed one.

If you’d like to read and analyze all this a bit more, head over here.

Let’s sum aggregate up before we go though. Bitrate is an announcement of how much data an audio file produces per second. And, the higher the bitrate, the higher the affection of music is — up to a point.

Happy hunting out there, people!

Did you know we have a newsletter all about customer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Published March 15, 2021 — 09:31 UTC

Hottest related news

No articles found on this category.
No articles found on this category.