Music file quality

Hello, new to all of this, what quality should I rip my music to put onto my sansa clip?  I understand the lower quality will allow me to put more onto the clip but does it really make any difference in sould quality on the clip?

Thanks Swampy

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I assume that you are talking about music from CDs, so you can choose which bitrate to make the files. If the files are already in a compressed format such as mp3, then leave them as is. First of all, the Clip+ gets the longest battery life playing mp3 files, so if battery life is very important to you, then choose mp3. Memory cards are cheap now, so it makes sense to get a large capacity card to put in your player if you want plenty of music available at a high sound quality. To get good sound from the Clip+, it is important to get high quality earphones or headphones. These don’t have to be very expensive, but need to be chosen carefully. Even some $20 earphones will give great sound, while some $100+ ones sound horrible.

As for which bitrate to use, I suggest use variable bitrate mp3 averaging 192 kbps. This will give you sound quality around that of 256 kbps constant bitrate, but allow you to store 1/3 more music in the same space. At 192 kbps, you  get 13.5 hours of music per GB, which is around 200 four minute songs. At 256kbps  you get around 9 hours per GB, which is 135  four minute songs, and at 128 kbps you get around 18 hours of music per GB or around 270 four minute songs. You could try doing your own experimentation though, and decide if you can hear the difference using different bitrates. Years ago I did some tests and found that for me 128 kbps constant bitrate was not acceptable, 192 kbps constant bitrate sounded good but like it was missing something, 256 kbps constant bitrate sounded great, and I could not hear the difference between 320 kbps constant bitrate and 256 kbps constant bitrate. So I chose 256 kbps constant bitrate. Years ago players had problems with variable bitrate, so I avoided it. Today most players have much fewer problems than in the past with variable bitrate, so variable bitrate is now a good option. I am too lazy to rerip all my CDs. If I was starting from scratch now though, I would choose mp3 variable bitrate averaging around 192 kbps.


Exactly my thoughts, how I experimented with bitrates, and what I do.

190k is pretty good for high end equipment, 128k sounds good if you’re just going to use portable devices or listen in noisy areas.  

Using a good encoder is more important then using a high bit rate though, so if you’re using windows media player, google for something with lame.

For spoken word files(podcasts, lectures, etc), I use 32 kbps constant bitrate mp3. I decided that variable bitrate should not be used for spoken word files as even though most current mp3 players can now adequately play variable speed files, the problem of the elapsed time and time remaining being wrong when using variable bitrate files is still quite common. This isn’t very significant for music, but for spoken word files it is very important to know where you are in the file.

I chose not to use wma for spoken word files as battery life can be around 20% less for wma than mp3 files. For lower bitrates(especially below 64 kbps) wma does sound  better than mp3 at the same bitrate, so 24  kbps wma might sound as good as 32 kbps mp3. While 24 kbps mp3 does imo sound good enough for spoken word files if the original recordings are good, I chose 32 kbps since there are still some mp3 players that don’t support files below 32kbps(just in case I might choose to get one of these. The Clip+ and Fuze will even play 16 kbps mp3 and 12 kbps wma okay enough, but 8 kbps mp3 sounds horrible!). Choosing 24 kbps mp3 rather than 16 kbps mp3 yields a great improvement in sound quality, while choosing 32 kbps mp3 rather than 24 kbps mp3 only improves sound quality slightly.

Thanks for the information, I am a 40 somthing who only just manages to ride along the technology wave.

Join the group–a great ride, huh? :wink: Scary to calculate how much time that “wave” consumes . . . .

thanks everyone, I did not know I could rip as mp3’s from my cd collection, think I have sussed it out now. Looks like I may be spending a lot of time at the laptop ripping CD’s

Great to do when you’re sitting at your desk and doing desk work (your job, taxes, etc. . . .).   :wink: