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Thread: Bit depth to MP3

  1. #1
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    Bit depth to MP3

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    Should my songs be 24bit or 16bit when encoding to MP3s?
    Thanks for the responses!

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    If your session is 24-bit, I wouldn't bother converting to 16-bit first before going to MP3.
    If it sounds good, it *is* good.
    http://www.rosemaryln.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alimbuyuguen View Post
    Should my songs be 24bit or 16bit when encoding to MP3s?
    Thanks for the responses!
    mp3's don't use "bit depth" in the way a wav or aif does.

    Just encode the mp3 from your session (or from your printed stereo mix)... it makes no difference whatsoever.
    I am expressing my opinion.
    Please feel free to express yours, too.
    This is a discussion forum, after all.
    Have fun.

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    dvyce, I think he's really just asking if the mp3 encoding works better with a 24bit source. It's a really good question IMO, I never checked out how mp3 encoders handle bit-rate convertion. I know that an implicit sample-rate conversion sounds horrible in all encoders, but they could benefit from a higher bit-depth, or not. I don't know.


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    Exactly what moses said

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    Frankly, I don't know how that extra 8 bits of data fits into mp3 bitrate. I wonder if it hurts more than helps.

    For example: If you do 16bits/44.1khz@320kbps then mp3 encoding removes some data from lossless audio into lossy. Fitting in 24bits/44.1khz@320kbps would need more data, but since the kbps is the same, then that extra data for the bit depth has to come from somewhere. So I wonder if you lose more frequencies to make space for the added bit depth.

    I never actually thought about it until now. I don't use mp3 enough and when I do the quality doesn't really matter.

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    If you're converting to 320kbps, you'd simply be throwing away more data with a 24-bit source file to get there. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have a higher bit-depth to start with. Whether or not you get a better quality MP3 (or how *much* better), I don't know.

    Here's a pretty good layman's explanation of the MP3 conversion process:
    h2g2 - A Guide to the MP3 File Conversion Process
    If it sounds good, it *is* good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
    Frankly, I don't know how that extra 8 bits of data fits into mp3 bitrate. I wonder if it hurts more than helps.

    For example: If you do 16bits/44.1khz@320kbps then mp3 encoding removes some data from lossless audio into lossy. Fitting in 24bits/44.1khz@320kbps would need more data, but since the kbps is the same, then that extra data for the bit depth has to come from somewhere. So I wonder if you lose more frequencies to make space for the added bit depth.

    I never actually thought about it until now. I don't use mp3 enough and when I do the quality doesn't really matter.
    An mp3 is it's own format and sample rate and bit depth do not apply to them in the same way as they do to wav/aif files.

    1. Regardless of what the original file type/rate/depth is, the mp3 encoder "listens" to it and makes the mp3.

    2. If you feed it a higher quality track, your mp3 will be higher quality. It creates an mp3 based on the source material. Better quality in equals better quality out. But the quality would be better with a 44.1/24 than a 44.1/16 because the 44.1/24 is a better quality file... Not because mp3 conversion works better with a 44.1/24 file as a source.

    3. Whatever your native session settings are is what you should make your mp3 from. This is because that is the best you can get from your session. As we all know, converting a 16bit file to 24bit will not increase your quality. You will not increase the quality of your 16bit file.
    I am expressing my opinion.
    Please feel free to express yours, too.
    This is a discussion forum, after all.
    Have fun.

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    ^ THANK YOU! That cleared up my question!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dvyce View Post
    And mp3 is it's own format and sample rate and bit depth do not apply to them in the same way as they do to wav/aif files.

    1. Regardless of what the original file type/rate/depth is, the mp3 encoder "listens" to it and makes the mp3.

    2. If you feed it a higher quality track, your mp3 will be higher quality. It creates an mp3 based on the source material. Better quality in equals better quality out. But the quality would be better with a 44.1/24 than a 44.1/16 because the 44.1/24 is a better quality file... Not because mp3 conversion works better with a 44.1/24 file as a source.

    3. Whatever your native session settings are is what you should make your mp3 from. This is because that is the best you can get from your session. As we all know, converting a 16bit file to 24bit will not increase your quality. You will not increase the quality of your 16bit file.
    I get that. It's not really a question of quality. Of course, better input quality generally = better output quality.

    Here's what I don't get. An mp3 file is 320kbps max, unless I missed something. So 320kbps is the limit regardless of what your source is. So I can render an mp3 file at 320kbps. A constant bitrate. Let's assume that the bitrate will give me a 5mb file. So regardless whether my quality is crap, or great, I will end up with a 5mb file due to that constant bitrate. Now, a 16bit/44.khz@320kbps=5mb, where does the loss occur for 24bit/44.1khz@320kbps=5mb to be possible?

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