Don’t let your options overwhelm you. Find the audio file format that best suits your needs, whether you’re just listening or mixing and mastering.
The Fundamentals of Audio Quality
Music codec are software that condense information before transmission and decompress it afterward. Its speed is expressed in thousand of bits per second, also often known as “bitrate” or “kbps,” and this value varies even within the same format. In general, a lower bitrate results in a smaller file, but it also indicates that more data (sound) is lost during compression.
Sampling frequency and bitrate are other crucial considerations. The number of samples taken (of signal amplitude or “sound”) per sec is referred to as the sampling rate. The amount of bits per sample is referred to as bit depth; the larger this number, the richer (and therefore louder) the sound.
Lossy File Formats
Data is lost during transmission in lossy audio formats. They do not decompress back to their original file size, resulting in a lower file size and the loss of certain sound waves. Artists and engineers that exchange audio files prefer not to utilize lossy formats since the data deteriorate with each export.
Formats that are Lossless
These files decompress to their original size while retaining sound quality. Audio pros favor lossless because they want all of the original sound waves. These files can be multiple times the size of MP3s. Lossless bitrates are determined by the volume and density of the music rather than the audio quality.