Difference Between 128kbps and 320kbps Songs: It’s All About Details

Downloading some music this festive season? I bet you are looking for MP3 files, aren’t you? 

MP3s are not all the same! Yep, hear us out a bit before you click that download button!

MP3 files have different resolutions, indicated in kilobits per second or kbps. You have already seen the numbers, haven’t you? What is the difference between, say, 128kbps and 320kbps songs? 

Don’t worry if you don’t know, because that’s why we are here. Our team put together this post just so you could have the best experience in music for all time to come. 

So, let’s find out more!

What’s Kbps in MP3?

Bear with us if you already know this, but MP3s are audio codecs with which you get to compress or decompress music. 

Studio quality music that you get in CDs often need about 10 megabytes per minute (it’s bitrate) to play, but MP3s need only 1MB! 

So, you understand, bitrate is the amount of data that should flow in order for the file to play.

As MP3s shrink studio-quality music to smaller files, they eliminate parts that listeners often do not notice, reducing its bitrate. The first parts to be eliminated would be the high-frequency bits.

The technique that does this compression by elimination is called perceptive coding, and once the pieces are lost, they can’t be restored from the compressed file. 

Now you understand how all this plays into audio resolution, don’t you? 

By shrinking the audio file, its resolution is reduced. The lower the number, the lower the resolution, for more parts and pieces from the music has been eliminated. 

Thus the lower bitrate is equal to lower resolution as well. 

Now we come to the pros and cons of two resolutions that we often hear about–128kbps and 320kbps. 

128kbps Song

128kbps means that this audio needs 128 kilobits of data per second to play it. This is a mid-range file, with lots of bits lost, but still good enough to listen to. 

You often would not notice the difference unless you have listened to the same song in high resolution. Let’s see the pros and cons of this bitrate. 


  • Downloading as well as transferring 128kbps files are quickly done.
  • Very small file: you can store a lot of 128kbps files together. 
  • Compression doesn’t take too much out of its enjoyment.
  • Being mid-range, this is usually the default bitrate of downloading sites.


  • If you are a musician or an audiophile, you may notice the difference.
  • The compressed parts are irrevocably lost. 
  • The loss is most often on the higher frequency range, the treble notes. This can make the audio seem out of balance, especially if you have a musical background.

320kbps Song

In MP3s, it doesn’t get higher than 320kbps. This is the HD audio that music enthusiasts look for. 

Even if you won’t hear much difference between 128kbps and say, 160kbps, 320kbps is extremely detailed. But the perception of the details will depend upon your headset too.


  • Extremely high-resolution audio. 
  • You hear every detail and instrument as it was intended to be played. 
  • No part of it is lost. You get every bit of it in balance.
  • Downloading sites often offer you the choice between this resolution and lower bitrates. 


  • Larger files mean more data and time to download and transfer.
  • You need more space to store 320kbps music. 
  • The real enjoyment often comes out of audiophile headsets. 

Final Verdict

Now that you know the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps songs, we hope it is always with you when you decide on any piece of music!

The cool thing about song downloads is that you have the choice to go all out on HD audio or decide whether storage space is more important to you than having some more details in your audio. 

It is always good to experiment, and we hope that this season you are going to listen to your favorite songs in the highest resolution that you can get it on! 

Happy listening!

Vitaly Fedorov

Vitaly Fedorov is a seasoned audio technician and writer. After spending ten years in a studio team, I have decided to spread my knowledge to people in this domain. On this site, I work for headphone fixing or repair issues, that you’re thinking about fixing. Click on any article on my site and read the complete answer about that issue. I am excited to read your feedback.

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