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Tip #014: Optimize Audio Levels for MP3 Compression
MP3 compression sounds best when audio levels are not excessive.
The MP3 audio compression standard was invented back in the days of analog audio. Because of this, the compression standard was optimized for audio levels lower than 0 dB to prevent problems with high-energy transient audio peaks, which an analog system often didn’t catch.
Specifically, MP3 audio files sound the best if average peak levels are around -6 dB.
AAC (MPEG-4) audio files, however, being newer and taking advantage of digital technology, are optimized for audio levels that peak right at 0 dB.