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What Do All These Audio Quality Terms Mean?

Here are common definitions for audio quality terms referenced throughout the Amazon Music experience.

  • Bit depth refers to the number of bits of information in each sample of the audio file. This in turn directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample. An example of bit depth includes Compact Disc Digital Audio, which uses 16 bits per sample. Although FLAC encoding format is lossless, it still compresses the audio file. Some music compresses better than others, so you may observe some HD or Ultra HD music displaying a bitrate as below 1000kbps, even though no audio is lost.
  • Sample rate is the samples per second, measured in Hz (which stands for Hertz). As an example, 48 kHz is 48,000 samples per second. Sampling is the conversion of a sound wave (a continuous signal) to a sequence of samples (a discrete-time signal).
  • Bitrate refers to the number of bits (or amount of data), per second, that can be transmitted along a digital network or other data transmission medium. A higher bitrate implies more data, which in turn provides more detail and nuance for the sound delivered to the listener.
  • Kbps is thousands of bits per second, the bandwidth used to measure bitrate.
  • Mbps is megabits per second, used to measure the speed (or throughput) of an internet network.