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Audio formats and quality

A variety of factors will affect the quality of a digital audio files — for example, the sampling bitrate (how often the audio signal is sampled, expressed as Kbps) and how it is compressed. Higher sample rates result in better sound quality but larger files. Compressed files are smaller but have slightly less quality than uncompressed files. Different compression formats can also affect the quality.

The following formats are available in RealTimes for saving CD tracks (importing) or recording from analog sources:

Format

File Extension

Available Quality Levels

Comments

AAC Audio
Secure AAC

.m4a
.m4p

96 - 320 Kbps Stereo

encoded MPEG-4 audio. Compatible with iTunes and the iPod.

RealAudio

.ra

32 - 320 Kbps Stereo

Highest quality, native format from RealNetworks (currently RealAudio 10).

RealAudio Lossless

.ra

705 Kbps

A compressed, lossless format that uses only half the space on your hard disk that a typl file needs. Good for an archive copy of a CD track.

MP3

.mp3

56 -320 Kbps Stereo, 32 Kbps Mono

With a special plug-in, you can import and create high bitrate files (128-320 Kbps, near CD quality).

Windows Media Audio

.wma

192 - 64 Kbps Stereo

Compressed video format used by Microsoft and others.

WAV Audio

.wav

1411 Kbps Stereo

Raw, uncompressed files.

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