No point in using 48 kHz unless you are recording from a Record or some Analogue system. CDs only use 44.1 kHz, so using anything higher would be a waste of space. Also dont encode much higher then 128 kbps for MP3 or 96 kbps for WMA. After those you arent gaining much more quality, only the file size gets bigger.
gtgarside i take it you hearing is not that goo, or your spekear system blows !
of course you gain a lot more from 160k or even 192k!!!
128k DOES reduce quality, but you can't really hear it con cheap speakers that come with your compaq!
i can REALLY tell the diference betwen 128k, 160k and 192k
after that on 256k is really hard to tell the diference, but between 128 and 192 i would definitl use 192 for archiving purposes and to play on hi end systems, if you just want to listen on cheap compaq speakers then just use 128k or even 96k you wont hear a diference from the CD
i'm with niabi. all my ripped songs are 192... i find it's a good compromise between size and quality. but i admit that i am an audiophile and listen to my music at a robust volume. for the average listener, 128 is just fine.
I have good hearing, and an Audigy with Cambridge SoundWorks Speakers, I was only quoting the normal recommended MP3 bitrate. I am just saying that it is a waste of space to use the 320kbps, as that is insane, you cant hear the difference.
Anyway if you are so hung up on audio quality what are you doing listening to stuff from a PC anyway. Go listen to a Record.