What is the best HQ settings for saving LPs

I want to save my LPs in the best Qulity and I would like to have them in high Q on my iPhone and on DVDs that I could listen to on my Cinemasystem.

I know how to set up and record but its the options that I wounder, 36VBR 44100, 24/96 or what. As a projekt I can save it at the highest resolution but if I want to listen to it on the computer, what format can I use and what program when i listen.

And then when transfered into MP3, what bitrate sholud I use for best sound and what should I use if I whant MP4 using ffmpeg. Do I get in to trubble for my wish for a good digital sound from my LPs.

Thanks for help

For best quality use lossless formats such as WAV or FLAC.

My personal preferrence goes to FLAC since it can reduce the file size to half of a WAV (without damaging the audio).

FLAC is a free codec so any “decent” media player (VLC, mplayer, etc) should be able to play it… Unfortunately windows media player and itunes seem not to (out-of-the-box at least, though I believe you can install the codec and make it work with those players). My personal recommendation goes to VLC which is available for all major platforms (windows, mac and linux).

If you’re going to use a lossy codec such as mp3, then the highest bitrate will give you the better quality. If you use variable bitrate (VBR) then the lower numbers mean better quality.

Regarding bit depth, you can save WAV’s at 24 bits or 32 bits, but unless you have a true audiophile sensitive ear I seriously doubt you’ll notice a difference… 16 bits is the standard for audio CDs.

Edit: regarding sample rate the standard for CD’s is 44.100 Hz and for DVD’s it’s 48.000 Hz. Converting from one to the other is not recommended, so you should stick to the one you recorded at. You can also use 96.000 Hz but for “normal” ears you shouldn’t notice any difference.

For DVD, set the Audacity “Quality” default settings (in “Edit menu > Preferences”) to:
sample rate: 48000 Hz
sample format: 32-bit (float).

Export from Audacity as 16 bit WAV (this will still be at 48000 Hz sample rate, which is what DVD’s use.

For iPods - Do iPods support 48 kHz sample rate?

The highest quality MP3 format is “Preset: Insane” (320kbps CBR).

The other good alternative format to MP3 for an iPod is AAC, but I’d recommend using iTunes to do the conversion rather than FFmpeg. Export from Audacity as WAV file, then convert to highest quality AAC using iTunes.

Thank you!
I will go rekording 32bit float 48000khz and export as 16bit WAV. For the iPod I go through iTune and use the highest AAC.
What did you mean steve with “Insane” (320kbs CBR) is it too much? What should I use?

I remember facing these tricky decisions a couple of years ago when I got my first iPod. :slight_smile:

Back then I only had a 30gB iPod - after extensive listening tests on good quality equipment I settled on 192kbps as a compromise between storage space and quality - for both my CD rips and my recordings. With my ageing ears I could still just about hear the difference between 192 and 256 , but not between 256 and 320 and not between either of thos and the uncompressed WAV files.

Now that I have a 160gB iPod I wished i@d started out at 256 VBR. I Now have my rips and recordings set to go into iTunes as 256 VBR AAC - I am hesitating about going back and redoing the earlier rips and imports at 256, mainly because it will cause a lot of rework on my playlists. My son who has younger ears and is pickier insists on only using 320kbps. Using 256 should give you around a 10 or 9:1 compression ratio over the WAVs - with 320 you should get around 8:1.

I record and edit with Audacity set to 32-bit float 44.1kHz, my final production step is to downsample on export to 44.1kHz 16-bit PCM stereo (CD standard) WAV files - I use triangular dithering on the downsample (you can set this in preferences).

As Steve notes I use iTunes to do the AAC conversion - for a start the itunes AAC encoding is faster than doing in in Audacity with FFMpeg

And although I am using AAC now, I am very carefully keeping all the WAV files I produce backed-up on two separate 1TB USB disks. If iPod storage ever gets up to the 1TB level than I plan to revert to using the WAVs as my audio play files.


The AAC encoder in iTunes only supports 32 and 44.1 kHz

But the iTunes MP3 encoder supports rates up to 48 kHz

iTunes (the current version as at today’s date)


Thank you waxcylinder,
I am greatful for your answer. I will keep a WAV for security and use AAC 256 and convert through iTune.
By the way, is the nero AAC codec better than iTunes? Is it worth the bother to go that extra mile?


I actually haven’t compared the two - and I only have Nero on one of my PCs (as Nero insists on one license per PC that you own - rather than a use-0based licening strategy).

And anyway I have been working on the assumption that as AAC is Apple’s own format then they have probably written a decent CODEC for it.