Need Help Choosing the Ultimate Music Codec?

Rob Williams

Staff member
From our front-page news:
In case you missed it at the top of the page or in your RSS feeds, we've just posted the first part to a three-part series of articles we are very excited about. It tackles something I'm personally semi-obsessive over... audio archiving! Matt Serrano will be tackling all there is to know about archiving your music collection, from choosing the right codec to properly ripping your music to archiving it for safety and much more.

The first article takes a look at the first thing you should consider... audio codecs. The fact of the matter is, while 320 kbit/s MP3 might be ideal for one person, someone else might not even notice the difference at anything past 192 kbit/s. It's at that point that listening tests (ABX Testing) come into play. After all, if you can't hear the finer details of audio, why waste extra disk space?

Follow-ups to this article will get into the finer details of audio archiving, such as the actual ripping process, which is one where many people are inexperienced, but it's understandable as to why. CD ripping sounds like a simple task, but it definitely shouldn't be left up to any old application, because what will result is potentially lost quality or even music that skips. Stay tuned, you won't want to miss it!

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While Microsoft previously stated that WMA had comparable quality to MP3 at half the bit-rate, most professionals agree that the statement is largely false. Though a WMA file encoded at 64 to 96 kbit/s, in its standard form, may be able to compete with the traditional Fraunhofer MP3 encoder, the real world benefits are considered negligible when paired against MP3 files at equally high bitrates.

Source: Audio Archiving Guide: Part 1 - Music Formats