At the risk of being taken as a pontificating newbie I will puke forth the following opinion:
If storage space isn’t an issue I’d use less compression, but examine carefully how much of an issue storage space really is before you decide on a bitrate to use as your personal “standard”
A) when a hard drive in the 40-100Gb range was considered “big” there was a need to worry about storage space.
B)when mp3 playback devices of 2-4gb were considered “large” there was more of a point, but now that anyone with a harddrive smaller than 300gb is considered “quaint” and portable playback devices of 40-80gig (or larger) are common the purpose of highly compressing audio files is (IMO) rapidly approaching the pointless.
As storage devices get progressively larger (and cheaper) it’s argueable that the days of compressed audio files are numbered, because as storage devices get larger the purpose of compressing files to save space dimishes…
pretty soon, within a few years, IF NOT SOONER… people will be loading Terabit portable devices with uncompressed wav files and within a decade or so (though I wouldn’t be even slightly suprised if it happened sooner) newb’s will be asking “what is an .mp3 file?”
Just like you can find many people who have never SEEN a functioning vinyl record player.
that shiny new terabyte drive a friend of yours just got will hold
~1500 full length CD’s (Presuming they were “full” but as a note most albums don’t come close to filling the 702mb CD)
as 320kBit/sec mp3 files that’s just shy of 6000… not songs,
ALBUMS! (same caveat)
I don’t know about you, but my entire music collection (Vinyl/Casette/CD combined) is only ~800albums
the albums I listen to all the way through (probably only around 35-40albums) plus the average of three tracks per album on the albums I don’t listen to complete could EASILY fit on an 80Gig harddrive as WAV files.
if an 80Gig ipod would play uncompressed wav’s (I have no idea if it will) I’d be left wondering what to do with the other 20gig left on an that 80Gb iPod.
Ok, so let’s review…how much compression do you need?
Variable Bit Rate? Uhhh… why?
Granted I didn’t have the capability to create VBR mp3’s until quite recently (the last six weeks) and after serious reflection I simply
don’t see an advantage to it…
UNLESS your portable device or Car CD/mp3 player chokes on “high” bitrate files the point is questionable.
The choice of playback compression in my mind is related to what will your playback equipment work with.
I know some devices will not playback files with bitrates greater than 160k, if that is your situation you must compress to make your playback equipment happy.
IF you have limited storage volume choose your bitrate accordingly.
BUT if you have an shiny new (and empty) 80gig iPod and only want audio files on it, why bother with higher compression rates?
The investment of time in ripping your music either directly to
mp3’s or as I do it with EAC to wav then converting to mp3 represents a fairly large investment of time.
having to do it all over again if you decide that you want to use less compression is a Royal Pain (ITA).
Trust me I have firsthand knowledge of this, I went from 160k mp3’s
to re-ripping everything after a hardrive failure.
when I did it all over again I did them all as 224k files.
I greatly regret that because I am now doing it all over again as 320k CBR at maximum quality with CRC error detection.
There won’t be a need to do it again.
I hope to save someone the pain (literally) from sitting in your swivel chair that long… again… and again…