Ripping to my MP3 player - Best Format? MP3, WAV or WMA?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Ripping music to my portable music device at 320kbps. This may be overkill, but
    I want the music to be CD-quality.

    What's the best method? My choices:

    MP3, WAV or WMA

    Which has the absolute best sound quality?
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Ron,

    If you have a PC, rip with EAC and encode with LAME using the "--alt-preset standard" (or APS) setting. This will give you a VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 at 256. The MP3 should exhibit "transparency" i.e. if you burn it back onto a CD and play on a stereo, comparing to the original CD, the human ear should not be able to detect a difference 99.9% of the time.
     
  3. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    More info: WAVs are lossess but too big. WMAs are OK but the format is owned my Microsoft and there is a chance some device you use in the future will not support this format. The MP3s encoded with LAME at APS will sound better than the WMAs anyway.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Your advice is great, but was looking for
    something simpler.

    I am just burning CDs to my Creative Nomad Zen
    device via the included Creative Playstation software.

    I don't have EAC or LAME options.

    I have 3 options of format: MP3, WAV and WMA

    I have different bitrates I can select from.
    So far, I am opting to go at 320 kbps.

    I want the best format and the best bitrate so
    that my music sounds indistinguishable from the
    original CD source.
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Just go with MP3 and 320kbps if you only want to go with the Creative Playstation software.

    Using WAV will soak up too much disk space on any memory stick/card format. You can get around 8 times more music using MP3 at 320 kbps than if you use WAV (the normal format for music on CDs).

    I also use the EAC/LAME method to create my MP3s, and then tag them later with Tagscan (but there's plenty of apps out there to do the tagging).
     
  6. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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    Ok I am assuming your 'Creative Nomad Zen device' plays the 3 formats you listed.

    WAV is the best option for sound quality but the disadvantage is the space used. If you dont care about space and just want the equivalent of a cd use WAV.

    If you want to fit as much music as possible use mp3 or wma.

    Best advice is for you to try out both formats(and bitrates) and decide which one you like. The opinions on which sound better or which sound 'indistinguishable from cd' are subjective, so again, whichever one sounds best to you is the way to go [​IMG].

    Most of the time I go with WMA's but would I be able to tell the difference between an equivalent mp3? probably not [​IMG]
     
  7. Kraig Lang

    Kraig Lang Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,

    Have you tested to see for yourself if there is a difference in sound between them? From my own personal experience, I thought I needed to do everything at 256Kb, but what I found over time with a portable is that 192Kb mp3 is just fine.

    Keep in mind that battery life is affected by the bitrates on all portables.

    Also, what type of headphones are you using? If you have the Etymotics, then yes, you should think about higher bitrates, but anything $100 and down on a Zen and you will never know the difference.

    If you're willing to put yourself at serious risk of wallet leakage, you might want to head over to Head-fi.org and take a look at the boards there. They're (almost [​IMG] ) in the same league as Home Theater forum but focused on Headphones and Headphone Amps. They have a portable listening section with a lot of helpful users.

    I'll warn you again though, the catch phrase over there is "Sorry about your wallet...". That site is almost as addictive as this one.

    Kraig
     
  8. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Ron,

    If your Creative software gives you a choice between VBR and CBR (Variable or Constant bitrate) encoding, go with VBR. The files are the same size but the VBR one should sound better.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Just want to thank you guys for all your help.

    Based on your recommendations I have selected:

    MP3, 360 variable bitrate
     

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