How 2 audio files of same bit rate sound different

Dear experts,
Sometimes I come across several audio files (recording ? ) of the same song, they have the same bitrate. However, one sounds definitely better than the other. For example, in the attachments I included, the good.mp3 seems to have more defined sound with better bass, the overal experience is “closer” to the stage. Whereas, the bad.mp3 's acoustics sounds flat and farther staged. I easily experienced this using a headphones.
They both have 128kps bitrate. Apart from the bit rate and Samplerate of 44100. I don’t really know what else to count for these differences.

I did look at the waveform of those, the better one seemed to have more discrete graphs while the other came in chunks. Not sure this is the way to evaluate.

Nonetheless, for audio quality evaluating purposes, what made up the differences in these 2 audio files, do these originally come from the same recording ?
What soft of software you may know to transform flat audio to lively closer-to-the-stage one ?

I appreciate it ,

We tell people at great length that MP3 files make terrible production elements because MP3 creates damage – always – and it’s cumulative. If you make an MP3 from another MP3, particularly in Audacity, you get a music file at the end that contains the summation of the two damages. It can give you an unusable show.

Everybody is used to the bubbling, gargling, and honking of extreme MP3 compression, but a side issue before the damage gets that bad is the ability to turn a two crappy violin and one Stradivarius trio into three crappy violins. It strips all the individuality, lushness, overtones, and quality from a musical performance without changing the notes. This isn’t an accident. Quality is expensive.

That and MP3 isn’t one thing. MP3 has multiple options such as fixed and variable bitrates and if you use the command-line version of “lame” instead of the pre-digested, canned one, the available options go for pages. “Bitrate” is one option.


Oh, and it’s permanent. We also warn people to produce their work in uncompressed, very high quality and use that for archive, not a compressed format like MP3. MP3 “throws away” quality when it works. Once you get the honking, flat sound, it’s all over.


Yes, that’s what MP3 damage sounds like. You can hear why MP3 encoding is called lossy compression.

The bad version has probably been converted from the original recording to a compressed format (WMA, MP3 AAC, …) then passed to someone else and converted to another compressed format, then passed to someone else… Each time that audio is encoded to a lossy format, a bit of the sound quality is lost as some of the data is thrown away. The loss is cumulative and unrecoverable.

Thanks for your all replies, I downloaded the above files from the internet, I didn’t really know how they came about though.
More or less, it’s still a speculation, anybody shares an idea ?

I downloaded the above files from the internet, I didn’t really know how they came about though.

There’s your answer… You don’t know where these files originally came from, or what was done to them. :open_mouth: Maybe someone used Audacity or another audio editor to alter one of the files? They may be from different CDs. Maybe one has been remastered.

If you download songs from Amazon, iTunes, or other ligitimate sources you won’t have these kinds of issues. :wink:

The biggest difference seems to be that the “good” file is louder!!! Both files have the same peak levels (both are maximized/normalized) but the “good” file has a higher average level. And, the right channel In the “bad file” is not as loud as the left channel. The louder file may have been dynamically compressed*, or the volume may just have been boosted into clipping.


  • Dynamic compression is NOT related to file compression, such as MP3. With dynamic compression, you intentionally reduce/compress the dynamic range by making loud parts quieter or quiet parts louder. It’s most-often used to boost the overall-average volume without boosting the peaks into clipping/distortion. This makes the file sound louder.