Here are the facts as I have read them:
- Most humans cannot hear the difference beyond ~192Kbps (a full, scientific study would be great)
- CD audio is encoded at 1378.125Kbps
Okay, so the latter makes it sound like there is plenty of data available, so you can rip at 256Kbps or 320Kbps without interpolating (let alone downloading a song from an e-store which has access to the original sources at even higher than CD fidelity).
However, if most people cannot detect any difference between something sampled at 192Kbps and the same thing sampled at 224Kbps, then why do I keep seeing so many people ripping things at 256Kbps and 320Kbps? (I’m not talking about “audiophiles” who say that they can hear dog-whistles and can detect the difference between 320Kbps and 321Kbps; I mean most, normal people.) Yes, 128Kbps is noticeably different than 192Kbps, but I find that beyond 192Kbps, the speakers/earphones play a much bigger role in the sound than the bitrate.
Whenever I rip one of my CDs, I usually just rip it at 192Kbps (CBR). (Personally speaking, I consider downloading on the other hand to be different. I would download the highest bitrate that the music store offers since it would be my “master” copy, the next closest thing to the CD, and then down-sample it to 192Kbps if I need to save space—or maybe even regardless.)
Is there any tangible reason to bother going higher?