- Tip #1: Download High Definition Files
- Tip #2: Rip Files at a Higher Bitrate
- Tip #3: Invest in a Better Pair of Speakers
- Tip #4: Use Headphones Instead
- Tip #5: Add an Outboard Digital-to-Analog Converter
Tip #2: Rip Files at a Higher Bitrate
If you’re ripping your own music from CDs, you definitely have a choice in terms of file format and bitrate. No matter which program you use for ripping, you can configure it to rip in a specific audio file format and at a specific bitrate. In other words, when you’re ripping your own CDs, you don’t have to settle for mediocre sound.
Let’s start with the file format you choose. The MP3 format is fairly universal, but probably the lowest fidelity of all major formats. Apple’s AAC format and Microsoft’s WMA format provide higher fidelity at similar bitrates, so you can create better sounding files without sacrificing disk space.
For the best possible sound, however, you want to rip files using lossless compression. Unfortunately, the MP3 format doesn’t offer lossless compression; all the bitrate options are lossy. You do have lossless compression options with Apple’s AAC, Microsoft’s WMA, and the open-source FLAC formats.
So if you have the extra space on your hard disk, rip your tunes using either AAC Lossless, WMA Lossless, or FLAC formats. Your ears will definitely hear the difference.