When finalizing a song, you must take into consideration the compression/decompression (codec) process that the song will go through when exported as a compressed audio file type.
Compressed audio file types use lossy or lossless codecs.
- File types such as .mp3 use lossy codecs while file types such as .zip uses lossless codecs.
- File types such as .wav and .aiff are uncompressed audio file types and experience no audio compression.
Lossless codecs restore information after decompression while lossy codecs permanently remove information from an audio file.
- uncompressed (larger file size) – multiple sample rates and bit depths – no audio loss
- lossy (10:1 compression ratio) – multiple bitrates (kbps) – information permanently removed
- lossless (2:1 compression ratio) – information temporarily removed on compression then restored on decompression
The algorithms in lossy codecs use psychoacoustic techniques to remove information that is inaudible to the human ear. Generally, the compression subtracts information that is low in amplitude or higher in frequency. The main purpose for lossy codecs is to reduce file size as uncompressed files can be extremely large in size.
Common Sample Rates and Bit Depths
16, 24, 32 bit
44.1, 48, 96 kHz
The audible difference between 16 and 24 bit is quite debatable but, essentially, with higher bit depth comes higher resolution resulting in a more accurate representation of the sound in the digital domain.
The difference in file size between 16-bit and 24-bit is far more substantial than the difference in audible quality. Therefore, bit rate is more commonly compromised to avoid large audio files yet maintain fair quality audio.
Samples run along the x-axis referencing time while bit depth (or bit rate) runs along the y-axis referencing resolution or quantity.
Encode MP3 (320 kbps)
128KPBS to 192KBPS is primarily the range of bitrates that an exported mp3 would have.
To encode a 320KBPS mp3 means the size of the file will be smaller than that of professional audio but maintain more information than a standard mp3 rendering a higher quality sounding product.