I noticed recently that Google Play Music has a set of features I wasn’t aware
of before, and decided to give it a try. Through various kinds of yak
I ended up tackling a project I’d wanted to look into for a while: which
formats and settings are really the best for lossy music compression?
What I learned was both fun and surprising, and ultimately highly practical. If
you’re in a hurry, the summary is that high-quality variable-bitrate MP3
produced with the LAME encoder is the most compatible choice if you
want broad compatibility, but has low sound quality; if you want the best sound quality, AAC (Apple’s native format) or Ogg Vorbis are much better than MP3 but aren’t as universally supported.
But before I get to that, let’s sharpen some yak razors, shall we?