Best quality audio format/rate for websites

Hi all,
I’ve been using .ogg files for audio demos up till now, and only now discovered that ogg imports as 16-bit. (I’ve been recording as 32-bit float, 48000 sr).

So I’ve been thinking of moving over to .flac file format instead. But there too, not all browsers support .flac, maybe even less than .ogg.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

MP3 is still the best supported audio format for web browsers.

Ok; but what about audio quality? If I had to choose one or the other, I would prefer the best quality over browser support-- while keeping the file sizes within a reasonable size.


It depends what you mean by “reasonable size”, and how long the audio is.
For short files, 16-bit 44100 Hz WAV will give CD quality, which is better than any MP3 or OGG.
If that’s going to make the file size too big, then 256 kbps MP3 will give “transparent” encoding (the MP3 sounds identical to the original).
If you are streaming the audio, then best to use CBR (constant bit rate) as some players have trouble streaming VBR (variable bit rate). If the audio is for download, then “Preset: Extreme” will give the same sound quality as 256 kbps CBR, but usually in a smaller file size.

If the audio is for download, then “Preset: Extreme” will give the same sound quality as 256 kbps CBR, but usually in a smaller file size.

Most of the compressed formats will produce unperceptible or almost unperceptible internet postings. That’s what MP3 was designed to do, It’s a perception-based design. Even in smaller files, you only hear damage if you compare it directly to the original. It’s only when you get to the Perception Limit, 64 Quality Stereo, that people start to notice something odd about the sound. Audacity Export quality default for finished work used to be 128.

The real consideration for posted material is what’s going to happen to it next. MP3 doesn’t edit well. If somebody decides to convert your work to another compressed format, or re-edit the work and make a new MP3, the quality is going to take a dive. If that’s OK with you, the producer, then yes, post a master at “Insane Quality” so it’s “Good” when the client gets done.

There was a poster a while ago who produced a broadcast radio show from downloaded music (in the woods of Maine). The station insisted on submission in MP3. It wasn’t optimal but it worked OK until the station tried to make a podcast out of his show. They couldn’t do it. The third MP3 conversion turned the show to garbage.


Hi Steve and Koz,
thanks for your help. I was under the impression that 16-bit is not top quality, and that 48000 sr would be preferable to 44100… -??

The audio files on my site ( ) are mostly one-minute demos of linux-native software synthesizers. No streaming. So I need the quality to be very good (probably lossless?).


The only thing that sample rate affects, is the available frequency bandwidth.
44100 was chosen as the standard for audio CD because it was “just enough” to capture the full audio frequency range. For the filter technology that was available at the time, 44100 Hz was arguably a little on the low side, which explains why the DVD format went a little higher with 48000 Hz. Since then, digital filter technology has improved immensely, and D/A converters can handle 20 kHz audio with ease even at 44100 Hz sample rate (not that many people can hear frequencies that high).

The video people run at 48,000. My voice shoots were almost always 48KHz, 16-bit, Stereo because my “clients” were the video production editors. I knew the productions were stereo, so I delivered the mono shoots in stereo and the tracks would drop directly into an edit with no conversion.

It’s good to know your audience.

Unless you’re a young girl, your hearing probably doesn’t go anywhere near 20,000, although there was a six foot plus tall board-op at American University that could hear reliably out to 19.2. It was said he could talk directly to bats, but that was never proven.


Hi guys, and thanks for your feedback! You have been (and are) really REALLY helpful.

I think I’ll stick to my 48000 sr setting then.

Last question: What about the bit depth? Is there an audible difference going from 16-bit to 24-bit or higher? Or does it make a computer work extra hard needlessly?


The ridiculous thing about “high definition audio formats”, is that they are perceptively indistinguishable from 16-bit 44.1 kHz.

It must be better, it’s more expensive.

16bit does OK. It overloads at 0 and has quiet noise at 96. Most home recordists have a terrible time getting their shows between 3 and as quiet as 60, the AudioBook standard. 16bit easily handles that.

You should be careful not to present in a format nobody can play. 24bit is a studio standard. I don’t think my iPod can play those.


There is one more consideration. At home I have a modest internet connection. If I need to download a serious file. I have time to go make coffee. I converted several sound samples from WAV to MP3 so I could download them.


Got it. Thanks!