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Randy The Tech Professor

October 13, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Best Way To Store Your Digital Audio Files

Hello everyone,

When I first started buying digital music online I always bought from the MSN Music Store. I just loved buying those high quality WMA files, Microsoft’s own proprietary format. I was very disappointed when the MSN Music Store shut down in 2006.

When the MSN Music Store shut down I was directed to Microsoft’s Zune Store and Real Rhapsody, but I got a little confused. Should I continue to download my music in the WMA audio format or should I use the RealAudio format (the proprietary audio format developed by RealNetworks)?

Then along came iTunes which used the AAC audio format by default. AAC was not an Apple proprietary format but was DRMed (copy protected) with Apple’s FairPlay codec. Sony had it’s own proprietary format called OpenMG.

So by now I was really confused! To which company was I going to trust my precious audio files? To which hardware and software devices was I going to “wed myself” in order to play that company’s audio format? What if one day my chosen company goes out of business and their authentication servers are no longer running when I want to access my precious music?

I decided not to trust my music to any company. No non-standard audio format for me. No DRM protected music for me. I would never again see the message: “Can’t play, burn, or sync this protected file”

The Choice Was Clear! I Decided To Go With High Quality Bit Rate (256kbps) MP3 Files, And The Open Lossless Format FLAC.

MP3 files at 256kbps sound great and don’t take up that much space. MP3 files are supported by every audio device and media player. Since MP3 files aren’t protected by any DRM scheme, they will play anywhere. MP3 files do loose a little quality when compared to the original recording, but most people can’t even notice this loss at a higher bit rate (192-256kbps).

If you have great ears and Hard Drive space is of no concern then by all means choose FLAC. FLAC is a lossless format and will reproduce your music in an exact duplicate of the original. No quality loss whatsoever! The FLAC files are larger however and consequently will take up more space on your computers Hard Drive or media device.

And best of all, MP3 and FLAC are here to stay. They’re not going anywhere because they are both universally supported. You will always be able to get your audio data from these two formats because they aren’t “wrapped up” in any Digital Rights Management restrictions.

Professor Randy says: Enjoy your music forever! By trusting in the MP3 and FLAC audio formats you will do just that!

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