MP3 Bitrate Selection and Samples
So you've gotten to the point in your streaming journey where it's time to make a decision. "What bitrate do I stream in?"
Streaming Bitrate Facts
- Bit-rate is measured in 'kbps' (kilo-bits per second).
- Higher bitrates = higher sound quality. Lower bitrates = lower sound quality.
- Higher bitrates use up more bandwidth, increasing the cost to the broadcaster.
- Dial up users cannot reliably listen to anything higher than 24kbps.
- Poor-quality broadband connections or distant listeners may have difficulty with bitrates higher than 128kbps.
- Many workplaces (with shared internet connection) ban the use of streams higher than 56kbps.
Rule of thumb for MP3 streaming bitrates
- Talk radio bitrates are generally MP3 format, 24kbps-56kbps.
- Fair to good quality music bitrates are MP3 format, 64kbps-128kbps, with 96kbps+ recommended.
For talk only content, having the highest sound quality is not very important. With music, the listener may get what is called 'listening fatigue' if the bitrate is too low. This can subconsciously cause the listener to switch to another station after only listening for a few minutes. This is why we recommend higher bitrates (96k+) for stations streaming mostly music.
MP3 Stream Bitrate Examples
In the following examples, a high quality source file was encoded into each of the bitrates shown using LAME v3.9.3. Click the 'Play' button of the various samples to hear the difference in sound quality between the different encoding modes.
16 kbps, 11 khz, Mono, MP3
24 kbps, 22 khz, Mono, MP3
32 kbps, 22 khz, Mono, MP3
48 kbps, 22 khz, Mono, MP3
56 kbps, 22 khz, Stereo, MP3
64 kbps, 22 khz, Stereo, MP3
96 kbps, 44 khz, Stereo, MP3
128 kbps, 44 khz, Stereo, MP3
160 kbps, 44 khz, Stereo, MP3
192 kbps, 44 khz, Stereo, MP3
Share the Love
Back to Streaming Media