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WAV vs. MP3

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Slipkid
Posted 2007-12-29 1:22 PM (#68452)
Subject: WAV vs. MP3



Joined:
September 2003
Posts: 9301

Location: south east Michigan
I'm playing around with my new ZoomH2.
Under what circumstances would I want to record a WAV file or an MP3 file??

It's easy to see that a WAV file is much larger.
On a 2 gig card a WAV setting give me 4 hours of recording time. On the MP3 96k setting I get 47 hours.

Also I have choices of MP3 48k, 64k, 96k, 192k, etc. What would be a "practical" or "normal" setting?

Thanks.
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FlySig
Posted 2007-12-29 1:39 PM (#68453 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3866

Location: Utah
Wav is raw digitization, whereas MP3 is compressed. You lose a little bit of information with data compression, but it takes up much less space on your CD or memory card.

WAV is the way to go until you have it all ready to burn to disk in a final format. If you work with MP3, you will get gradual decline in quality each time you save it.

If you are just doing a one take recording, MP3 would probably be fine unless you are mastering a professional recording.

The 48k, 64K, etc refers to sampling speed. The faster you sample the original audio signal, the more accurate the digital representation. So, the higher speed means higher fidelity. But it also means a larger file size. A 96K sampled recording will be twice as big as a 48K sampled recording.

Theoretically, a 48K sample speed would allow reproduction of signals up to 24 kilohertz, which is beyond human hearing. But no system is perfect, so in reality the 48K would be somewhat lower fidelity than higher sample speeds.

A higher sample speed pushes your microprocessor harder when you edit the recording or when you add in digital effects like reverb or amp emulations. Your sound card also has to work harder to deal with the higher rate of data coming at it. If your equipment isn't up to the speed, you can get clicking sounds or dropouts as you listen real time.

IIRC, 96K is standard CD quality.

For general home recording I use 96K and record in WAV. After mixing down to a final version I save a WAV file for the archives (for when I'm world famous ...) and write an MP3 to CD or to an MP3 player.

I think I got all this correct, but if anything is wrong someone will correct it shortly. :cool:
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Fuzzyman
Posted 2007-12-29 1:39 PM (#68454 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3


Joined:
November 2007
Posts: 152

Location: Maple Shade, NJ.
Hey Brad,
We use our ZoomH2 at live shows.
First,..this is not a cheap plug for my band.

We always use the WAV. setting because it sounds so much better, I do not have a recording in MP3 mode to compare but if you want to hear how it sounds in a live situation,......
The first song is recorded through the Mic's,
the 3 songs below that are recorded using the "input 1&2" setting directly from the PA.

http://myspace.com/stemsandseedsband
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cliff
Posted 2007-12-29 2:03 PM (#68455 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 14836

Location: NJ
From Cubase, I save everything to .wav t'go on demo CD's, and then save the same file to an .mp3 t'go on the webpage or e-mail.
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Slipkid
Posted 2007-12-29 2:06 PM (#68456 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3



Joined:
September 2003
Posts: 9301

Location: south east Michigan
Great, helpful info.
Thanks
For throw away practice session stuff I can use MP3. For anything I want to keep or edit, I'll use WAV.
Is WAV 96k overkill? (concidering that this is not Abbey Road Studios.)
I have a choice of 16 bit or 24 bit. Is 24 bit overkill?
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cliff
Posted 2007-12-29 2:14 PM (#68457 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 14836

Location: NJ
no.
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Waskel
Posted 2007-12-29 2:51 PM (#68458 - in reply to #68452)
Subject: Re: WAV vs. MP3



Joined:
February 2005
Posts: 11829

Location: closely held secret
well...

CD Red Book standard is 44.1k x 16 bit depth x 2 channels, about 10 MB/minute.

If you are going to be editing or applying effects then 24 bit gives you much more 'headroom' to work with. Otherwise you might as well use 16, as that's what it will be converted to if you burn to audio CD.
Same thing with the bit rate. If you're recording with the intent of mastering, use 96k. For demo's and scratch recordings, use 44.1.

I recommend against recording to mp3, even at 160k bitrate (supposedly CD quality). You won't be as happy with the results. Go with 44.1k/16 bit wav and you'll be fine. Convert them to mp3's for your cell phone.
Transfer anything worth keeping to your computer as WAV's for safekeeping between uses.
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