What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps 2022 | Understanding Audio Formats, Bitrates and Sample Rates - Redesigns audio (2023)

Looking for something that sounds like it’s right out of the recording studio? Then you will need to first know what the best audio quality kbps is. Read on to find out everything about selecting the right bitrate and audio quality.

Musicians and recording artists have been recording music over the years to be able to share their music with the world with the best audio quality.

I’m a guitarist for a four-piece acoustic rock band and we’ve recently decided to record our first single. I’ve recorded myself over the past and have come to understand the importance of audio quality and how much of a big difference it makes to the listener.

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In this article, I’m going to help you understand the different formats and quality available and help you understand how to render your music in the highest quality. Even if your not a musician but love to indulge in high-quality music, this article will help you understand the best format and quality for you to download your favorite music.

So let’s get started with understanding the different audio qualities available to ultimately determine which is the best audio quality Kbps.

What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps : A Summary

Based on our findings, the best audio quality kbps available today is 320kbps. When it comes to audio quality, the more kilobits per second, the better the quality of the sound. Since 320kbps is one of the most commonly used bitrates, it’s considered to be the best. However, there are other kbps rates that are actually better than 320kbps, namely; 1,411kbps and even lossless audio files carry more detail and sound crisp and clear, allowing you to actually have the best listening experience.

What is High-Resolution Audio?

High-Resolution Audio is audio that has a sampling rate greater than that of a CD. The sampling frequency for high-resolution audio is 96 kHz/24 bit where a CD’s rate is 44.1 kHz/16 bit. A higher sample rate means that high-resolution audio will sound even better with the ability to capture more information from the original analog recording of the music, resulting in a richer and more accurate sounding song.

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What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps

Size is all that matters with audio bitrate, more kilobits per second means better audio quality. For the common man who likes listening to music when he works out and drives 320 kbps is perfect as it doesn’t take too much storage on your phone and provides decent clarity to enjoy that song.

Did you know any music you’ve streamed online on YouTube and Spotify is no more than 126 kbps quality, and here you thought that was good quality sound! If you listen to a CD quality is provides 1,411kbps which will sound so much better.

To understand the best audio bitrate you need to analyze where and for what it’s going to be used. By now you’ve understood more storage means better sampling rate which means better sound.

  • 128 kbps MP3 – Requires 1MB for storage per minute of the song.
  • 320 kbps MP3 – Requires 2.5-3MB of storage per minute of the song.
  • CD 1,411 kbps – Uncompressed 10MB per second for storage.

What are Audio Kbps and Bitrate?

What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps 2022 | Understanding Audio Formats, Bitrates and Sample Rates - Redesigns audio (1)

Kbps (Kilobits Per Second) has come to light over the years from the time recording engineers have started to digitally render sound. It defines the number of sound data present in the sound file or song per second. Bitrate is used to calculate the number of kilobits of sound data per second. For example, a 320 kbps audio file will have 320 kilobits of sound data stored in every second of the audio file. So the bitrate of the particular song is 320 kbps.

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So naturally higher the kbps or bitrate, the higher the sound quality you will hear from your headphones or speakers.

What are the Different Audio Bitrates?

What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps 2022 | Understanding Audio Formats, Bitrates and Sample Rates - Redesigns audio (2)

Now that you’ve understood what kbps and bitrate mean, let’s look at how the different bitrates available to us and the different forms it is available to us in.

Compact Disc Audio Bitrate

CD, in short, had taken the world by storm in the ’80s and was established by Sony and Philips. CD had to become the new standard replacing cassettes as they had a higher bitrate of 1,411 kbps at 16-bit becoming the standard for audio distribution.

CDs had a good run for a decade and have now become obsolete as the trend of getting new music is leaning towards internet-based distribution agencies.

Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) Audio Bitrate

WAV format was developed by IBM and Microsoft to provide listeners a great musical experience by not compressing the sound which leads to loss of musical data. All high-quality WAV audio files have a bitrate of 1,411 kbps at 16 bits the same as a CD. Which opened doors to multiple the sample rate providing bit depth and an additional number of channels.

That is why you might have noticed a CD in WAV format can hold a limited amount of songs but does not compromise on the quality because the song is uncompressed and the sample rate is multiplied providing excellent audio clarity.

A similar format is provided by Apple known as AIFF that provides the same uncompressed top quality.Since the use of CD has declined, you can download audio files in WAV form.

MP3 Audio Quality Kbps

MP3 was the answer to the WAV format principle of “less is more”. The format compressed the original WAV using a compression codec that basically removes frequencies of the song while still trying to save the original recording.

MP3 audio files can provide their highest rate of 320 kbps at 16 bit and can go down to 92 kbps this definitely reduces sound quality but is mainly done to reduce the size of the audio file.

For example: A WAV audio file of a song of three mins is around 80MB, It can be compressed to 320 kbps that reduced the storage amount to 15MB, it can be further compressed to 256kbps reducing the file size to 8MB, it can further be reduced to 128kbps that can shrink the file size to 4-5MB. 92kbps is the lowest conversion rate to MP3 that sounds horribly over-compressed.

Difference Between 16 bit and 24 bit

What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps 2022 | Understanding Audio Formats, Bitrates and Sample Rates - Redesigns audio (3)

If you’ve noticed all the above bitrates fall under the category of 16 bits as this is the most common bitrate music is put out for download. But for people who don’t compromise on sound, the 24-bit variant is available for high-res audio quality.

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To understand the difference between both the bitrates you will first need to understand how sound works and how we perceive that sound.

Bitrate is the way you can define sound quality but that’s not all, Bitrate also determines the bit depth of the audio file and sampling rate.

Sample rate defines the number of samples used in a second. Studio Engineers using Nyquist-Shannon theorem have doubled the frequency so they can capture the sample accurately. This is done because the human hearing range cuts off at 20kHz so by doubling the frequency into 24bits none of the original recording quality is lost.

This is usually an option that comes up as a choice when rendering your project file where you have the option to choose the sample rate and bit rate. The sample rate you can choose is limitless it depends on you how far you want to take it.

The second part of understanding the difference is in the bit depth. Bit depth is the number of bits available to store that sound. Every single bit is a sliver of sound that is being heard by you, more amount bits provide better options for data to be stored.

By doing this you receive amazing detailed sound, a 24-bit rendering can capture 16,777,216 possibilities and a 16-bit rendering provides 65,536. As you see the capturing difference itself explains the quality difference.

Different Types of Audio Formats

What is the Best Audio Quality Kbps 2022 | Understanding Audio Formats, Bitrates and Sample Rates - Redesigns audio (4)

There are many formats available today but they all fall under two categories that ideally define them. The two categories are Compressed and Uncompressed audio formats.

Uncompressed Audio Formats

This format is the original final recording after mastering the song. The raw audio files are converted into a digital uncompressed format without losing any of the frequencies this in return results in large file size. This is the ideal format for music distribution to DJs and Live music clubs as they have the right equipment to do justice to the Audio Forma.

  • PCM – Pulse Code Modification – PCM converts the raw analog recorded file into digital format by sampling it into data. Which is made readable by a data container that is WAV and AIFF.
  • WAV – Uncompressed format developed by Microsoft and IBM, to basically stream high-quality music on their desktop later become the industry standard of high-quality audio.
  • AIFF – The Same as WAV format but the difference is that it was developed by Apple for their computer and devices.

Compressed Audio Formats

Compressed Audio Formats fall under two categories. They both have their own benefits that stand out depending on how you use them.

  • Lossless Audio Format – A lossless audio format preserves the original recording data and tries to compress the data as a whole into a smaller size. For example FLAC, ALAC, WMA Lossless
  • Lossy Audio Formats – Lossy Audio Format aims to reduce the file size as much as possible by discarding data and consolidating the audio file. For Example MP3 or MPEG, Ogg Vorbis, ACC.

What is the benefit of listening to high-resolution audio or high kbps audio files?

Listening to High-Resolution Audio allows you to enjoy a recording studio experience right in your living room. High-Resolution Audio captures more of the original performance than traditional CD’s and delivers it with amazing accuracy. So if you’re waiting for your favorite artists newly released album, try listening to it in high resolution! You’ll hear every note as if you were sitting in the same recording booth.


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What’s the best audio quality format to record my Podcasts?

The whole point of a Podcast is to keep your listeners interested in the conversation if you get buffering errors in between. it wouldn’t exactly keep them in the loop.

My best suggestion would be to record your POD in WAV and convert it into 128 kbps MP3 format this will help remove buffer errors and still keep the quality of your voice in check.

What’s the best format to store my favorite music in my smartphone for my gym workout?

I would say it’s a combination of two that can help you make this decision, a good pair of headphones can really help cover the removed samples in the compressed MP3 format as a phone has generally decent storage.

So 128 kbps or 320, if you have the space for it with the headphones, should be perfect. Even if you stream music through Spotify or any other online source, you are listening to the same compressed 128 kbps format.

Does a higher bitrate mean better sounding audio?

Yes, a higher bitrate audio file will mean that the file sound clear and is generally better than anything with a lower bitrate.

What do you mean by CD quality audio?

CD quality audio is considered to be high resolution audio that is set at a bitrate of 160 or higher. Anything such as 180kbps, 240kbps and even 320kbps are high quality sounding audio files that are considered as CD quality audio.

Is lossless audio better than 320kbps?

Yes, lossless audio is much better than 320kbps compression and this is due to the fact that lossless audio has a higher compression rate than 320kbps therefore you’re able to hear and capture much more detail and ultimately will feel like you’re sitting in a recording booth.


Well, there you have it. The best quality sound solely depends on the type of interface used to play the audio and how the audio file was created. You can actually have really good sounding 192kbps audio as well as good 128kbps audio if you have the right track and audio device in mind.

Also Read:

  • How to Record Audio from MAC
  • Why Has All My Music Disappeared From Apple Music and How To Fix It
  • Best Audio Books for Men

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Michael Dwain

Founder at Redesigns Audio

Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.

I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.

Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.

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Best Audio Quality Kbps


What is the best Kbps for audio quality? ›

There is no best bitrate, only the right bitrate.

Audio CD bitrate is always 1,411 kilobits per second (Kbps). The MP3 format can range from around 96 to 320Kbps, and streaming services like Spotify range from around 96 to 160Kbps. High bitrates appeal to audiophiles, but they are not always better.

What audio format is best for quality? ›

What is the best audio format for sound quality? The best audio formats for sound quality are uncompressed or lossless compression files—think WAV, FLAC, and M4A. That's because these formats retain the original sound quality, though you'll have to put up with the fact these files will be large.

What bitrate and sample rate should I use? ›

Overall, recording at 44.1kHz is a safe option that will provide you with high-quality recordings, regardless of the type of audio project you're working on. 44.1kHz is the most common sample rate for music CDs. It captures the entire audible frequency spectrum accurately.

Does higher bitrate mean better audio quality? ›

Bitrate is the term used to describe the amount of data being transferred into audio. A higher bitrate generally means better audio quality.

How many Kbps is lossless audio? ›

Spec-wise, a lossless file delivers audio at a bitrate of around 1411 kbps. That's high compared to a typical MP3 file, which clocks in at just 128 kbps.

What medium has the best sound quality? ›

Well-made vinyl records offer the best sound quality because, as analog media, their grooves contain the precise replications of waves recorded in the studio.

What audio format do audiophiles use? ›

FLAC is long considered a standard by many audiophiles and is probably the most common of the lossless formats.

What audio format is most? ›

MP3. MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III) is the most popular of the lossy formats. MP3 files work on most devices, and the files can be as small as one-tenth the size of lossless files.

What is normal audio format? ›

PCM is the most common audio format used in CDs and DVDs. There is a subtype of PCM called Linear Pulse-Code Modulation, where samples are taken at linear intervals. LPCM is the most common form of PCM, which is why the two terms are almost interchangeable at this point.

How do I find my best bitrate? ›

Your internet speed is key to determining what bitrate options you have. Head to Ookla Speed Test (speedtest.net), run a quick test and record your results. Your download speed is handy to know, but what you're really interested in is your upload speed which is measured in Mbps.

Is 16-bit or 24-bit audio better? ›

Most people believe that the audio quality of 24-bit is better than 16-bit – and this is true in computing and scientific accuracy. But, conflating quality with a higher number isn't true perceptually. While there is a greater dynamic range and less noise, the human ear cannot perceive much difference between the two.

What happens if your audio bitrate is too high? ›

Using too high or low of a bitrate can lead to poor image quality or buffering for your viewers. If your available bandwidth is limited, you should reduce both your resolution and your bitrate accordingly.

What happens if bitrate is too high? ›

What happens if my bitrate is too high? High bitrate means higher quality video, but it also means your video file will be much larger. The larger the file, the more likely it is that your viewers may experience buffering issues.

Do I want high or low bitrate? ›

As one might expect, a higher bitrate improves the quality of a video. Higher bitrate correlates with higher image quality, while lower bitrate results in a lower quality. Twitch streamers want to strive for a higher bitrate, as it means that their stream's video quality will be better.

Is 1411 Kbps better than 320kbps? ›

When comparing bitrate, or the amount of data transferred per second, High-Resolution Audio's bitrate (9,216 kbps) is nearly seven times higher than that of CDs (1,411 kbps) and almost 29 times higher than that of MP3s (320 kbps). And the higher the bitrate, the more accurately the signal is measured.

What is better 256 Kbps or 128 Kbps? ›

A higher bit rate is better, so a 256 kbps MP3 or AAC file is better than a 128 kbps file.

What is the best lossless audio? ›

WAV (hi-res and uncompressed)

WAV, which stands for Waveform Audio File Format, is an audio file format that IBM and Microsoft developed together. It's the most widely used lossless and uncompressed audio format by Microsoft Windows devices, and is also the standard encoding format for CDs.

What medium is sound fastest in? ›

Sound travels fastest through solids. This is because molecules in a solid medium are much closer together than those in a liquid or gas, allowing sound waves to travel more quickly through it. In fact, sound waves travel over 17 times faster through steel than through air.

What is the highest digital audio quality? ›

For perspective, most high-resolution audio content is in the range of 24-bit/96kHz and can even go as high as 192kHz. The higher the bit depth and sample frequency of the track, the better it is at relaying to the listener all of the information from the original recording.

What audio format do producers use? ›

Fast forward to today, professional music producers use WAV files with their audio editing software. WAV files produce high-quality audio that you can easily edit.

Which audio format is best mono or stereo? ›

Stereo is much better than mono when listening to music with headphones, car speakers, home stereo, and any other usual pair of speakers. The only time you should use mono is when you're setting a complicated system (usually at restaurants or bars) where you can't tell which speaker is left and which one is right.

What are the three major audio formats? ›

They can be broken down into three main categories:
  • Uncompressed audio formats.
  • Compressed audio formats with lossy compression.
  • Compressed audio formats with lossless compression.
Feb 28, 2019

What is the simplest audio format? ›

Wave files are the simplest sound format. They have a header (which can sometimes be complicated but usually isn't), and then the actual sound data is raw, uncompressed PCM.

Which is better 320kbps or 128kbps? ›

Having less information, 128 kbps has fewer samples being transferred per second compared to 320 kbps. If you compare the quality of both settings, 320 kbps is the better option. The advantage of keeping the sample rate and bitrate higher is that you get great-quality sound.

Is 320kbps the best audio quality? ›

When comparing bitrate, or the amount of data transferred per second, High-Resolution Audio's bitrate (9,216 kbps) is nearly seven times higher than that of CDs (1,411 kbps) and almost 29 times higher than that of MP3s (320 kbps). And the higher the bitrate, the more accurately the signal is measured.

Is 128kbps good audio quality? ›

For MP3s, most people find that 128 Kbps is a good compromise of file size and sound quality. At that rate, MP3 files take up roughly one megabyte of space per minute of music. The 128 Kbps rate is considered high quality for the AAC format, which is why iTunes comes factory set to 128 Kbps.

Is there a big difference between 192 and 320 kbps? ›

The total amount of data transferred to sound or audio in a specific time period is known as the bitrate. Better audio quality is figured with the higher bitrate. The higher the bitrate, the better the sound quality. Hence, a 320 kbps mp3 file has better sound quality than a 192 kbps one.

Can you hear the difference between 256 Kbps and 320 Kbps? ›

If you play in high resolution system than difference is audible but in a standard audio system or portable audio device difference between 256 and 320 is very difficult to detect........

Can you tell the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps test? ›

Most of them agreed that while the average person can tell the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps, most good compressing software is able to make the difference between 320kbps and uncompressed audio pretty much undetectable to the average listener.

Is WAV better than 320kbps? ›

This creates a difference in quality between MP3 vs WAV. MP3 files can have a bitrate that ranges from 90kbps to 320kbps, a huge difference from WAV files that generally have a bitrate of 1,411 kbps at 16 bit. This difference in bitrate alone shows the loss of quality when MP3s are compressed.

What is the difference between 320 Kbps and lossless? ›

Lossless Audio: How to Tell the Difference. The main distinction between 320-kbps files and lossless audio files is that the latter only shrinks the portions of the file that don't impact sound quality. Meanwhile, 320-kbps shrinks the entire file.

Is Spotify really 320kbps? ›

Spotify Premium supports the compressed, lossy Ogg Vorbis audio format and streams at 320kbps when at the Very High setting. Other settings are Low (24kbps), Normal (96kbps), High (160kbps), and Automatic (adjusts depending on network connection).

Does 256 kbps sound good? ›

It should be considered a minimum quality bitrate for decent audio listening. It's a good compromise for mobile connections where bandwidth might be limited. To get something that sounds close to CD quality you need a bitrate of at least 256 kbps for AAC or 320 kbps for MP3 and Ogg Vorbis.

What is the best quality for MP3 songs? ›

The highest quality MP3 has a bitrate of 320kbps, whereas a 24-bit/192kHz file has a data rate of 9216kbps. Music CDs are 1411kbps.

How many kbps is Spotify? ›

Spotify Free lets you listen to music at normal (96 kilobits per second) or high quality (160 Kbps), and you can't adjust the bitrate beyond that. Spotify Premium adds Very High quality streaming at 320 Kbps, which can make for better, more detailed audio output if you use high-end headphones or speakers.

Is 256 Kbps AAC high quality? ›

Apple Music streams in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format at 256Kbps. AAC is an extremely high-quality format, and is easily better than higher bit-rate mp3 recordings.

Is 320kbps MP3 better than 256 Kbps AAC? ›

AAC is a better codec, and can also either do a better job at the same bit rate, or an equivalent job at a lower bit rate. So the OPs question, which is better, MP3 at 320 or AAC at 256, is still an open question. 320 is absolutely not ALWAYS better.

How many Kbps Should I have? ›

Basically, anything between 672 Kbps and 61.5 Mbps is ideal. That's such a large range that it doesn't really tell you anything. Whether an upload speed is “good” depends on several factors, including the platform you stream to and the quality of your stream.


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