When music streaming has become an important entertainment in modern life, more audiences tend to pay attention to music quality to have a better experience. Bitrate can be one of the factors affecting audio quality. But what is bitrate in audio exactly? How can it impact audio quality? How to check music quality or maintain it in the best condition? You can find out all the answers to these questions in this article. Now, let's have a look!


Bitrate Meaning: How it Impacts Audio Quality

We can mostly see bitrate adjusting options while choosing audio quality to play music in some streaming apps. Ahead of all, let's first learn about what bitrate means and how it can affect music quality.

Definition of Audio Bitrate

Bitrate also named "audio bitrate", which is used to measure digital sound quality by calculating the amount of data processed per second in an audio file. Bitrate uses kilobits per second (kbps) to represent both the audio's fidelity and file size. Normally, the higher the audio bitrate is, the better the sound quality but the larger file sizes will be. For music of lower bitrate, it means that the music file is of small size at the cost of audio fidelity.

Different Types of Audio Bitrate

There are mainly two types of audio bitrate, which include constant bitrate (CBR) and variable bitrate (VBR).

Today, many popular audio formats we use are encoded in different bitrates by default. For example, high-quality options such as the uncompressed AIFF, PCM, and WAV can reach the highest bitrate of 1411kbps at 16 bits. While for FLAC and ALAC, the bitrate will drop down to 32 bits and the 192kHz sampling rate. The last but most commonly seen formats like MP3, OGG, and AAC, have small sizes but will be equipped with a lower bitrate at only 320Kbps.

Why Bitrate Matters in Music

Bitrate can play an important role in affecting music quality and give you different music playback experience.

Higher bitrates can store more audio information, making the condition of the sound you hear much closer to the original recording. That's also why music files of higher bitrates will be large, because they contain more audio information than those of lower bitrates.

For streaming music platforms, bitrate is also an important factor for us to decide which service to select. Here are music bitrates for different streaming platforms for you to consider:

Music Platforms Bitrates
  • Free: up to 160Kbps
  • Premium: Up to 320Kbps
Apple Music
  • Standard: 256Kbps
  • Lossless: Up to 24-bit/192kHz
Amazon Music
  • Standard: 256Kbps
  • HD: Up to 850Kbps
  • Ultra HD: Up to 3730Kbps
  • Premium: 320Kbps
  • HiFi: 1411Kbps
  • Free: 128Kbps
  • Premium: Up to 3730Kbps
YouTube Music
  • Free: Up to 64Kbps
  • Plus and Premium: Up to 192Kbps

Tip: To download music from streaming platforms at original bitrates, TuneFab All-in-One Music Converter offers a one-stop solution with 6 streaming platforms provided inside the software. You can download music from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Pandora without at original bitrates without compressing music quality at all!

How to Check Music Quality via Professional Tool

You may wonder if you are getting lossless music when you download resources from the Internet. So how to check music bitrate? Here is the guide to help.

Premiere: Misconceptions of Lossless Music

Before heading down to the guide on checking music bitrate, you'd better know what exactly "lossless" means for music. Here are some misconceptions that many of you will get when defining whether the music is lossless or not:

Measure the True Bitrate in Audio Files

So how to measure the bitrate of audio files exactly? To do it, you will need help from third-party tools. Here will introduce an easy-to-use one, Spek to you.

To check the bitrate of music files, Spek offers very simple operations to let you achieve it. You only need to drag the music file to the interface of the software, it will immediately run and analyze the audio details for you. Once complete, it will show a picture with the frequency displayed. The higher the frequency is, the higher the bitrate that music has.

Here are the steps on how to check music bitrate using Spek:

Step 1. Open Spek on your computer and directly drag the audio file to the software.

Step 2. Wait for Spek to analyze the music file.

Step 3. Once the frequency is displayed on the interface, look at the top of the spectrogram to check the bitrate. For example, when the frequency ranges to 22kHz, the music file can be a 320Kbps MP3 or lossless file.

Check Audio Bitrate via Spek

More Information About Bitrate in Audio Files

For more information about audio bitrate, keep reading the following tips and better learn about it.

What Factors Affect Audio Bitrate?

There are 3 factors that can affect audio bitrate, which are Sample Rate, Bit Depth, and File Size.

Sample Rate

Sample Rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), which represents the number of audio samples captured per second during the analog-to-digital conversion process. The higher the sample rate a music file has, such as 48 kHz or 96 kHz, captures more audio information, which leads to a wider frequency range and potentially more accurate sound reproduction, so the higher bitrates will be formed.

Bit Depth

As for Bit Depth, it is mainly used for calculating the number of bits used to encode each audio sample, which will directly affect the dynamic range and potential noise floor of digital audio. Generally, when the music file has a higher Bit Depth, it also contains more data and will have a higher bitrate.

File Size

File size and audio bitrate can affect each other directly. Higher bitrates can lead to larger file sizes because they will contain more data per second of audio, preserving greater details of the sound. On the contrary, lower bitrates produce smaller files but will sacrifice the audio quality.

Can I Enhance the Audio Quality?

Some of you may want to improve the audio quality of some music files to have a better playback experience. However, although there are tools that can help, enhancing bitrate in such a way can make the music sound like the fake ones, which is greatly different from the originals.

So if you want to get original music resources from those high-quality music streaming platforms, directly downloading them with lossless bitrate settings with the help of a professional TuneFab All-in-One Music Converter can be the best MP3 downloader you should not miss. It supports 6 music services, and can keep lossless quality while processing music downloads, offering you the best offline music playback experience.

Download Music in High Quality via TuneFab

What Bitrate Should I Record Audio at?

For different types of audio, you can select different bitrates. For example, for professional music recording, the highest 1411Kbps CD quality is the best option. While for a podcast, audiobook, or to record streaming audio, you'd better choose bitrate at 192Kbps or even higher. But for some simple voice recording, 128Kbps or even lower to 160Kbps is acceptable.

Does Video Quality Affect Audio Quality?

Generally, video quality and audio quality are often separate and the video quality itself does not directly affect the audio quality. However, the overall file or stream quality can impact both. For example, normally a 4K video will accompanied by audio tracks of higher bitrate to deliver the best playback experience.


This article has introduced all the details about audio bitrate to you. As you have been much clearer about what audio bitrate is, you can better know and check whether the music you access is lossless or not by its bitrate. Also, to get uncompressed music with original bitrates, TuneFab All-in-One Music Converter can bring you the most professional but easiest help. Try it for free now!

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