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How to get the best music quality in your car

Three tips for getting the best sound quality from your digital music files

If youíre like most people, you love downloading music in a digital format so you can take your favourite tunes with you wherever you go, but you hate the poor sound quality you get from digital music.

There are a few ways you can improve your digital music files to sound better when you play music in your car.Itís not just your imagination that digital music doesnít sound as good as a CD. This is because music files must be compressed for easier storage and playback on mobile devices. CDs, with a file size of 1,411.2 kbps (or 1,411,200 bits of information per second), typically deliver over 10 times more fidelity than the same song in one of the most popular digital formats, like MP3, AAC and WMA, at 128 kbps. The act of compressing the audio file, in effect, strips some of the high and low frequencies that actually provide great detail and fidelity to a song, so what you hear sounds washed out and flat.

How to make your digital music sound better

But there are ways to make your digital music sound better. Here are a few tips:

1. Bitrate Size: When choosing an MP3, AAC or WMA format, look for files that deliver music at 192 kbps. Thatís a nice compromise between file size and audio quality. Online music retailers, including iTunes, have begun carrying titles at a higher bitrate already.

2. CD Ripping: The audio experience of a CD ripped at home versus a professional system is substantially different. To optimize the quality when ripping CDs on a home computer, choose either 2x or 4x speed to burn your disc. Burning at the maximum speed can cause instability in the recording, which leads to pops, clicks and gaps in your ripped music. Also, make sure the CD-ROM drivers are up to date, and use a computer with a powerful CPU, as ripping is a processor-intensive activity.

3. Audio Enhancement Adaptor: Both of the above tips will help; however, you will still experience some audio degradation from the compression process. If you use an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, another way to optimize your listening experience is with a simple and sleek add-on device that connects to the bottom of your iPad, iPhone or iPod and restores some of the audio cues that were buried during the compression process, delivering a richer surround sound experience. One example is the SRS iWOW 3D audio enhancement adaptor and it works with headphones, external speakers and even in the car. For more information, visit www.srslabs.com/store.

Posted Sept. 10, 2011. ©CarTest.ca. Text and illustration: NAPSI.




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