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Sound Quality

Performance Data of MPEG-1 Layer 3

Sound Quality Bandwidth Mode Bitrate Reduction Ration
Telephone sound 2.5 kHz Mono 8 kbps 96:1
Better than shortwave 4.5 kHz Mono 16 kbps 48:1
Better than AM radio 7.5 kHz Mono 32 kbps 24:1
Better than FM radio 11 kHz Stereo 56-64 kbps 26-24:1
Near-CD 15 kHz Stereo 96 kbps 16:1
CD Greater than 15 kHz Stereo 112-128 kbps 14-12:1

From Fraunhofer:

In all international listening tests, MPEG Layer-3 impressively proved its superior performance, maintaining the original sound quality at a data reduction of 1:12 (around 64 kbit/s per audio channel). If applications may tolerate a limited bandwidth of around 10 kHz, a reasonable sound quality for stereo signals can be achieved even at a reduction of 1:24.

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