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July 29, 2012  Web and Internet

YOUTUBE AUDIO QUALITY BITRATE USED FOR 240P, 360P, 480P, 720P, AND 1080P

When a video is uploaded to YouTube, several versions of the video and audio data are saved at different quality levels. The video resolutions are 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, and Original, and the video becomes sharper as you go higher. YouTube also plays higher quality audio as you increase the video resolution. This post lists which audio quality is played for each video resolution.

Since the audio bit rate and quality has improved over the years and continues to change, not all videos may follow these charts exactly. Old videos and videos not in the standard resolutions may lead to unexpected quality levels. This post last updated February 2013.


Current Audio Quality


Videos uploaded July 2012 to date should have these audio qualities, as long as the originally uploaded video had a high enough audio bit rate or was lossless:

ResolutionAudio Bit RateCompression
Original192 kbpsAAC
1080p192 kbpsAAC
720p192 kbpsAAC
480p128 kbpsAAC
360p128 kbpsAAC
240p64 kbpsMP3



Past Audio Quality


Videos uploaded May 2011 to July 2012 had these audio qualities, as long as the originally uploaded video had a high enough audio bit rate or was lossless:

ResolutionAudio Bit RateCompression
Original152 kbpsAAC
1080p152 kbpsAAC
720p152 kbpsAAC
480p128 kbpsAAC
360p128 kbpsAAC
240p64 kbpsMP3


Videos uploaded March 2011 to May 2011 had these audio qualities, as long as the originally uploaded video had a high enough audio bit rate or was lossless:

ResolutionAudio Bit RateCompression
1080p128 kbpsAAC
720p128 kbpsAAC
480p128 kbpsAAC
360p128 kbpsAAC
240p64 kbpsMP3


Before March 2011, YouTube used these audio qualities for several years:

ResolutionAudio Bit RateCompression
1080p128 kbpsAAC
720p128 kbpsAAC
480p96 kbpsAAC
360p96 kbpsAAC
240p64 kbpsMP3


Final Thoughts


If audio quality is important, I highly recommend linking to and embedding the HD (720p) version of your videos if available, to take advantage of the 152 or 192 kbps audio. See my post on linking to and embedding HD YouTube videos for details on how to do that.


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Post Author  Nick Vogt
Post Tags  web and internet, youtube

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