Home Tip Detect THE REAL BIT RATE of mp3

Detect THE REAL BIT RATE of mp3 [NEW]


The old post about this topic made someone confused, so I write this new one according to infinitymusic’s request. Just ignore this if you have your way to detect real quality of mp3 already. Anyway, I think this is necessary if you are new to mp3’s quality.

The bigger the mp3 sounds, the higher the quality is.
But some software can help improving the sound, make it sounds bigger. Make a 128kbps sounds like a 320kbps one. So I rarely use this way, especially for the small difference between 192k and 320k.

Software you will need to use:

– foobar (Recommend v0.9.5.2 or lower); there are many soft help us in detecting the quality. But in this post, I’ll show you how to use foobar.

You can download this software through filehippo’s website.

* I know foobar’s default skin is a little bit “ugly” to you guys, but it supports many skins that you can download from the Internet. In case if you are wondering which skin I’m currently using now, follow this link

Step-by-step guide

– Open your file with foobar
– File > View > Visualisations > Spectrogram

Right click in the ‘Spectrogram” window,
+ Style > Scrolling
+ Scale > Linear

– File > View > Visualisations > Spectrum

Place these new windows like this pic (Right click > View Image to see a larger picture)

This is how the REAL 320k will look like

The spectrum nearly reaches the top in the ‘Spectrogram’ window.  The red line zone = space of the first song in playlist (my English is bad so I hope you understand what I’m saying)

Here is the 192kbps (the zone in the pic = space of the second song in playlist)

Apply the same rule for 128kbps.

I don’t pay more attention to the lower bit rate, but the spectrum will be lower when the quality is worse.

*NOTE: Depend on the encoding method, some real 320k will have the low spectrum. I’ll let you know in the post when the album/ single meets this problem.

Any question about this, you can ask here. Feel free to discuss the topic.

  • infinitymusics

    Oh, Really EX Teacher. I gonna remember all this in my memory. So excited to read this!!! THX, Bing Yang!

  • infinitymusics

    Bing Yang, i have a problem to determine coz the visualization is depend on the song bass & treble. If the bass is strong then automatically the front peak will be high.

  • infinitymusics

    Bing Yang, thx i already know how to differentiate them now! But the 256kbps & VBR ones, can tell me also?

    • kpopexplorer

      They are not very popular. Some Korean music sites I know only sell 128, 192, 320k mp3s (no 256k). 256kbps is between 192k and 320k.
      About VBR, It tells all in the name 'Variable Bit Rate'. Its bit rate always changes but you can see its overall bit rate in the file's properties. I think it's the avarage bit rate.

  • Bing Yang, i had send you an e-mail about the quality of an 192kbps mp3. It seem like it also can be 320kbps ones.

  • infinitymusics

    Sorry, i forgot to lot out. springofmusic is me la!

  • K

    Greetings and thank you for the article, very informative.

    What other software besides foobar would you recommend

    Thank you in advance,

    • kpopexplorer

      Adobe Audition is also good ^^ or Spectro