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3-55] Is it okay to record a CD from MP3?




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This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

3-55] Is it okay to record a CD from MP3?

(2001/04/19)

Yes, though the quality won't be as good as if you had recorded directly
from the original CD.

MP3 is a "lossy" compression format, meaning that it gets its exceptional
compression ratios by throwing some of the data away. (MP3 can get a
10:1 reduction with hardly any degradation in audible quality; "lossless"
compression is hard-pressed to do better than 2:1 on 16-bit samples.)
The clever part about MP3 is the way it figures out what parts of the
audio to throw away and what to keep, based on a model of human hearing.

Because it's a lossy format, every time you compress something you lose some
of the quality forever. The smaller you compress it, the more you lose.
The loss is more easily audible on some music than others, and if your
equipment (or your ears) aren't very good you may not notice it at all.

If you like to copy CDs by ripping them into MP3 format and then recording
them to MP3, be aware that your copies aren't quite as good as your
originals. At 160Kbps it's going to be hard to notice, but at 64Kbps it
should be easy to tell the difference between the original and the copy.

(Side note: if you want to do a double-blind test, play the original and
the duplicate in random order for somebody else, and ask them if they can
identify the original music. The test isn't to tell that the discs sound
*different*, but rather to figure out which disc sounds *better*.)

For more information about lossy and lossless audio compression, see:

- http://www.faqs.org/faqs/compression-faq/
- http://www.mpeg.org/

For some tutorials on converting between MP3 and other formats, see
section (3-27).


 

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