Audio Formats and Quality

A variety of factors will affect the quality of a digital audio files — for example, the sampling bitrate (how often the audio signal is sampled, expressed as Kbps) and how it is compressed. Higher sample rates result in better sound quality but larger files. Compressed files are smaller but have slightly less quality than uncompressed files. Different compression formats can also affect the quality.

The following formats are available in RealPlayer for saving CD tracks (importing) or recording from analog sources:


File Extension

Available Quality Levels


AAC Audio
Secure AAC


96 - 320 Kbps Stereo

AAC encoded MPEG-4 audio. Compatible with iTunes and the iPod.



32 - 320 Kbps Stereo

Highest quality, native format from RealNetworks (currently RealAudio 10).

RealAudio Lossless


705 Kbps

A compressed, lossless format that uses only half the space on your hard disk that a typical WAV file needs. Good for an archive copy of a CD track.



56 -320 Kbps Stereo, 32 Kbps Mono

With a special plug-in for RealPlayer, you can import and create high bitrate MP3 (128-320 Kbps, near CD quality).

WAV Audio


1411 Kbps Stereo

Raw, uncompressed files.