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PostPoints tip: Pick the right format for your music

The two leading digital-music programs, Apple's iTunes and Microsoft's Windows Media Player, come preset to copy your CDs in digital formats that might not be right for you. ITunes will save a song as an AAC ("Advanced Audio Coding") file, while Windows Media Player uses Microsoft's WMA ("Windows Media Audio") format. Neither works on as many devices as the older MP3 format--AAC files can't be used in some non-iPod players, while WMA doesn't work on an iPod. WMP and older copies of iTunes also use a too-low "bit rate" setting of 128 kbps; higher bit rates of 160, 192 or even 256 kbps will preserve more of the finer points of your music. To check these settings in iTunes, go to its Edit menu (in Windows) or its iTunes menu (on a Mac), select Preferences, then click the "Import Settings..." button. To change those options in the latest version of Windows Media Player, pop in a CD, select the "Rip settings" menu and navigate to its "Format" and "Audio Quality" sub-menus.

(Readers with a long memory may recall a version of this running July 24, 2007. I'm recycling older tips--updated where necessary--while I'm out on parental leave through mid-August. Thanks for reading; I'll be back with new tips in about three weeks.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 2, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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