What bit rates for MP3's are generally considered low, mediu

What are the standard bit rates (Kbps) for low, medium, high rates in MP3’s? I’ve heard that 128 kbps is practically medium range, and 96 kbps is low, but I’m not sure. Im sort of new to compressing lossless files like WAV’s into MP3’s; I use Audacity to compress the files into Mp3’s (I dont know if audacity uses VBR or CBR). I’m using the MP3 Libray Version LAME v3.98 to compress the files into Mp’s in Audacity

128 is normally considered the minimum level for music - eith 64 as a gerneral minimum for voice.

When I ripped my music I started off with 192 as a good compromise between sound quality and storage space - but now that I have a bigger iPod and a bigger laptop for my iTunes library I wish 'd started off at 256. When iPods and laptops get even bigger I may move to using uncompressed WAVs.

One of the regular posters on this forum, Kozikowski, uses 256 I believe. My son, who is a bit of a purist, always uses 320.


Audacity 1.3 can use VBR or CBR.
The clever people that make LAME have worked out a series of optimum “Quality” settings. A selection of these are listed in Audacity 1.3 in the “Options” (after you select “Export” and select “MP3” as the Export format).
These presets are all VBR except for “Insane” which is 320kbps CBR which is the highest possible quality for an MP3.

Note that for mono files, you can go to almost twice the compression setting as you would for a stero track and achieve the same quality, so 128kbps on a mono file will be better sound quality than 190kbps on a stereo file.

Ummmmm. I do use 256, yes. I use 256 AAC, not MP3. The more modern compression scheme is generally thought to be twice as good as MP3 giving me an effective stereo quality of 512.


Yes I neglected to say that the 192 bitrate is also AAC and not MP3 - for the same reasons as Koz.

I did start out making MP3s of my vinyl transcriptions when I first started out with Audacity. But after reading some posts on the forum on MP3 versus AAC for quality/size occupancy I switched to AAC.

I did go back and re-encode my earlier files - fortunately at the outset of my transcription project I had made the decision to store not just the production MP3s but also the WAV files - so I could go back to the WAVs for the compression to AAC.