Will converting a 128kbps mp3 to 320kbps improve the quality?

by on July 7, 2009

Q: I have an audio converter that converts between mp3, wma, etc. If I have some songs at 128kbps and raise the bit rate to say 320, does doing this actually raise the quality of the song if I ripped the song to the computer at 128kbps? How can you increase quality if there is only so much given?

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9 Responses to “Will converting a 128kbps mp3 to 320kbps improve the quality?”
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    You’re correct, converting the song upwards to 320kbps won’t make any improvement in sound quality for you. The data that is gone, is gone. The only way you can improve the quality of the mp3s is to re-rip them from the original CD at a higher bit rate.

    If you have a chance I’d suggest taking the time to rip a few different songs at 320, 192, 128 and some of the other bit rates available. Take the time to listen to each of them and see what kind of a difference it makes for you. Different people have different needs, personally I’m very happy with 192 or 128, and can’t really tell the difference.


    So then what will it do? Just take up more space?


    Yes, converting an mp3 to a higher bitrate will just result in an mp3 that sounds the same, but takes up more space.


      Say i have my song at 128kbps in wma and convert it to mp3 and then back to wma. Do i lose any features or sound quality since i converted it a few times and because i converted it between those formats? Also what is known to be the best format for audio? Mp3 is most widely used and easily transferable to many devices and it takes up about the same amount of memory as wma, but i heard wma has slighlty better quality. How about acc? What is your opinion?


    Every time you convert you’re going to lose some level of quality. Converting will never improve your music quality.

    The best format is the one that works the best for you, since not every device supports every format.

    If best is defined for you by the sound quality alone, you should look at “Lossless” formats. Lossless means that that format doesn’t remove any audio from the recording. FLAC is an example: http://flac.sourceforge.net/


      So when I have a song in Windows Media Player in a wma pro format at 192kbps, and add that file to my itunes library it now says it acc at 256kbps, so it is not really at that higher bit rate correct, it is just saying it is?


    kbps stands for Kilobits per second, and it means the amount of space on your hard drive being allocated for each second of audio.

    Let’s say you have a 5 gallon bucket of water and you take that bucket and dump the whole thing into a 1 gallon bucket. 4 Gallons of water are going to go flying all over the floor, and all you’ll have left is that 1 gallon of water. Now let’s say you take that 1 gallon bucket and dump it back into the 5 gallon bucket. You have 1 gallon of water in your 5 gallon bucket. Make sense?

    The bottom line is you can’t make make something from nothing, increasing the bitrate on an mp3 will not make it sound better.


    I understand completely, why does itunes do that then?


    Because there is a setting somewhere in the itunes preferences menu where you can tell itunes what bitrate to encode music.