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MP3 vs. WAV

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I've downloaded some tunes using "Rhapsody" (in MP3 format) and copied others from my CD's directly to my hard drive. My PC came with Nero 8. I I would like to burn a CD with WAV files but was told that converting the MP3's to WAV would degrade the sound quality? Do I need to find the songs somewhere online in WAV format or can Nero or perhaps another software product handle this?






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converting mp3 to flac does not degrade the sound quality, although it wont get better either.. if you find the songs in wav or any lossless format that would give the best result. But if you feel fine with your mp3s just burn them with nero, it'll work fine.



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Thanks for the prompt reply. Since I just downloaded it from Rhapsody, which I only signed up for a trial on yesterday, I have NO experience with the sound quality of their downloads? Any comments? Is there a better place to get songs in the "flac?" format?






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The mp3 is generally inferior in quality for serious listening on a hi-fi system. I personally like to own the best file possible. Then you can choose to convert files to lower quality depending on how you are going to use it. In the long run storage will become larger and cheaper and better files won't hurt. Ripping cds to wav is pretty good and easy for someone starting out. Hi-res downloads are great, but the selection is only now growing (still limited). When itunes goes drm free these should also be be cd quality and you should be able to play the files anywhere.






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he's asking two things:

1) Does FLAC reduce the quality of these lower quality-to-begin-with Rhapsody downloads?

2) is there anywhere to get better quality FLAC files (i.e full cd quality or better)



1) FLAC is like a zip file, it compresses whatever music it has to compress, for storage savings. If it has a quality lossless recording (say wav or AIFF) it will compress and decompress into that same quality. If you give it MP3's, it will compress that, and will decompress into the same lower quality MP3. No magic here.

2) CD-quality songs are available all over the net, but not for free (at least legitimately). Download areas like HDtracks, Music Giants, and many of the artists own websites will allow for nice FLAC downloads for a price. Also, be aware that just because something is in the FLAC format doesn't mean it's lossless (i.e highest quality). Make sure, if you are looking for cd quality, that ihe source was something that is 16/44.1k or greater.


Personally, I love Rhapsody for what it is, a nice place to sample the artist and album in full length songs, and decide whether you want to go further and buy them (somewhere else) as cd's, etc. I peruse Rhapsody all the time, but only to listen casually, not serious high quality listening.


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First off I'd like to say that soppman answered the question perfectly... Nero will burn the MP3 files to a CD without (further) degrading the quality.


Weather you'll notice the difference in quality from the MP3 files from Rhapsody vs. a CD / FLAC file. Well it depends on a few things ...


First what is the bitrate of the files from Rhapsody ... if 128k or below I would rate that as poor so you are likely to notice the difference.


Second, what system are you paying them back on - are you burning CDs to use in your car; to play on a Sony mini-system (no offense meant to Sony or mini-systems) or on a full Naim 500 series setup. Each step up in quality will mean you are more likely to notice the lack of quality in the MP3 files.


Third, how do you do you listening? If you just have music in the background, you are less likely to notice the drop in quality from the MP3 files. However if you actively listen with no distractions, then any difference in quality will be more noticeable.


Finally your own perceptions, some people are more able to notice the difference in quality and are bothered by it.


So as you see there is no hard and fast rule. The best quality (excluding high resolution downloads) come from either CD originals, or from AIFF / WAV uncompressed or FLAC / Apple Lossless compressed downloads. After that compression does throw away parts of the file - supposedly the unheard parts, but people do hear the difference in quality.


I'm going to say something controversial here - but for MOST people, with the level of "HiFi" that is generally owned; an AAC or MP3 file at 320kbps will sound as good as the CD original. Only you can decide if the MP3 files you downloaded from Rhapsody are sufficient quality FOR YOU.


Best wishes.





...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Websites for lossless music downloads and/or hires media:


















































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