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Zune Pass — Is the Music CD Quality?



A common concern about the Zune pass is regarding the music quality. Is it CD quality?

Zune pass music is of very high quality—for all practical purposes it sounds CD quality. Depending on the song, it can be 192 kbps wma, 256 kbps mp3 or 320 kbps mp3.

Generally, mp3 files need to be ripped at a higher bit rate in order to provide the same quality as a lower bit rate wma file which is why the Zune marketplace uses a higher bit rate when the file is an mp3 file.

Both wma and mp3 are compressed audio file formats and as a result would never be able to deliver true CD quality sound. The Zune supports the wma lossless format which is true CD quality.

However, since these files are not compressed they are much larger. Zune marketplace music is not available in wma lossless format.

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