Different storage formats compared

An average LP is about 40 minutes long. The table below shows the amount of disc space needed in different formats:
40 minutes of music v2

The column “Savings per step” shows the savings in space compared to the row above. The column for “Quality level” is just a simple ranking. The measurements for “Subjective quality” is for you to decide

If I today can buy 4 TB hard drive at USD 180, this will give a cost of 0,005 cent per MB. The cost of storing one 40 minute long LP on the computer will then be between 1 and 4 cent depending on the format.

The price for an iPod with 64 GB memory is today about USD 300, which gives a price of about 0,5 cent per MB. With the formats in the table we will have a cost from $ 0,27 to $ 1,14 per LP.
(FLAC is not available for iPod, but  Apple Lossless – ALAC – can be used and should give about the same result).

It will cost you less than 5 cent to store one LP on the desktop (96000 Hz / 24 bits FLAC). It is obviously affordable to record and store in the best quality your equipment can handle.

For portable music the cost is a little bit more than 1 dollar for a lossless format or less than 50 cent for MP3. Not a big deal, but your player will of course hold more music when you choose a format that is more compressed.

The size of a compressed file may reveal the quality:

The size of a compressed file is related to the “amount of information” contained in the file.
If you have a FLAC file and find that it consumes significantly less space (per minute) compared to my recordings in the table above, then you can suspect that there is an issue with the quality; A recording officially made with 24 bits may in reality only use 16 bits, a 96000 Hz recording may have been converted to 48000 Hz from the input before sent to your recording program.
Some reasons for this will be discussed in the section about Computer, Operating system and Drivers. If you will use Audacity check the Software section as there at least earlier has been issues with recording more than 16 bits (should have been corrected or will hopefully be).

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