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YouTube Audio Quality Bitrate Used For 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 2160p
Jul 8, 2015Web and InternetComments (165)
YouTube streams video and audio separately and the web player/app combines them on the fly. Due to this, the audio bitrate is not directly affected by video quality like in the past. Rather, YouTube can stream the video and audio it deems appropriate for a given device and connection. It can also adjust one during playback without affecting the other.

The audio you hear during a YouTube video will usually be 126 kbps AAC in an MP4 container or anywhere from 50-165 kbps Opus in a WebM container. Changing video resolution (360p, 720p, etc) in the video settings will probably not impact the audio stream, but it is likely that your connection performance will.

MP4 vs WebM

YouTube recommends that uploads be in the MP4 video format with AAC audio. So where does WebM and Opus come from? YouTube will automatically encode a WebM/Opus version of a video once it becomes popular, and stream that format during playback whenever a person's browser supports it. How popular a video needs to be before it gets a WebM version is difficult to say. I have some 900-view videos that have WebM versions but other 1000-view ones that don't yet.

Learn more about WebM and Opus audio here.

How to Determine Bitrate

I created a YouTube video info tool that gives readable details on the streams YouTube has available for a given video, and allows you to download the individual audio streams for analysis.

Note: This tool works for most videos, but not VEVO or other copy-protected videos (if you get a blank screen or empty download that is probably why).

The info that the tool provides comes directly from Google Video. Enter a YouTube video URL and hit enter. The Adaptive Formats section contains the individual video and audio streams YouTube picks from during playback. The Stream Maps section contains complete video files with audio that can be downloaded directly from YouTube. These Stream Maps are usually what YouTube Downloaders access when you want to download a YouTube video, but are not used by the YouTube player.

Once a video or audio stream is downloaded from the Adaptive Formats section, you can use ffprobe (part of ffmpeg) to analyse the file and obtain the real bitrate, which may differ a little from what is listed in the bitrate section on the tool.

Analyzing Network Traffic

To make sure YouTube isn't streaming some other file than what is shown above, I analyzed network traffic to see just how many bits are really being transferred. I did this for both MP4 and WebM videos separately using Chrome and Firefox's Developer Tools. For more details on the http requests involved in a YouTube stream, please see this technical post.

I created a 2160p test video with 320 kbps AAC music. Since it is new it doesn't have a WebM version yet. After uploading to YouTube and allowing it time to process, I analyzed the network traffic during playback and found that it was 126.886 kbps audio/mp4, which matches up very closely with what is reported by ffprobe on the downloaded file from Adaptive Formats in the info tool.

I analyzed a music video that had enough views to have a WebM version. I found that is was playing 156.188 kbps audio/webm, which also matches up very closely to what ffprobe reports.

Legacy Audio Quality

YouTube didn't always have separate audio streams. In 2013 and earlier, YouTube would play a specific audio bitrate depending on the video resolution selected. For example: 240p would get 64 kbps MP3, 360p would get 128 kbps AAC, and 720p would get 192 kbps AAC. For a full list of the legacy bitrates that YouTube used, see these tables:

From July 2012 to some time in 2013, YouTube used these bitrates, as long as the originally-uploaded video had a high-enough bitrate or was lossless.

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

Prior to July 2012, YouTube used these audio qualities:

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

Prior to May 2011, YouTube used these audio qualities:

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

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

ResolutionAudio Bit RateCompression
1080p128 kbpsAAC
720p128 kbpsAAC
480p96 kbpsAAC
360p96 kbpsAAC
240p64 kbpsMP3
Comments (165)
Add a Comment
david   Aug 13, 2023
youtube infor tool didn't work.can you please fix it.we realy need it !
Bursa   Mar 25, 2023
Youtube info tool does not work, would you please fix it ?
Wills   Aug 29, 2021
Same, would love to see this fixed
Ben   Aug 06, 2021
I just tested a 1080p music video of a sucessful artist, and a 4K (Webm) version of the same song. (6th August 2021). The first had aac audio 128kbps and the second opus 128kbps, so basically no difference unless opus is a little better than aac (opus sounded perhaps better to me) or if original upload was opus and was then converted to aac which would cause a little loss. It could be the other way around though. The 4k file was close to 10 times the size of the 1080p, the picture quality was better, even when viewed at 1080p (more detail), so it's a shame the audio bitrate was not upgraded.
wisdom7777777   Jul 01, 2021
2021 and we still have really low quality on YT. i know its not in their interest to use more data on their servers, but i mean when 4k and 8K vids go up by the thousands every minute....anyway... Random addition, but why on earth is the audio on movies on Plane flights so horrendous?!?! I thought taking my Bose QC35ii would fix the awful listening situation that I had assumed was ONLY the cheap disposable headphones they used - obviously not!! Again, its 2021!!!!
Leroy Jenkins   Apr 20, 2021
Would love to see this fixed, or if someone finds an alternate version somewhere that does still work, or even writes a new version themselves, share it!
1984audio   Jan 22, 2021
@Agent3554 Nov 29, 2020 That is totally wrong, as of couple of years the best audio stream (160kbps webm) starting with at least 240p video, 144p video usually comes with lover audio bit rate, so don't waste video BW to get high audio quality.
Agent3554   Nov 29, 2020
Yes, it does still matters, especially some of quality sizes has different audio bitrate, going for 720p above not only gives you 128kb bit rate, but also 152kb and 192kb. In short, higher quality videos also gives you higher quality audios
IS THIS STILL RELEVANT 18october20   Oct 17, 2020
seems like much searching to do so i can really know... is 144 vs 240 vs 360 the way up to 4k has any difference?
Agent3554   Aug 22, 2020
JDownloader 2 is a good alternative for the said site which was currently not working. Not only you can download videos/audios/thumbnails/subtitles you desire, but you can also check its information through Link Crawling feature (must be enabled in settings). With a little configuration (LinkGrabber, and YouTube PlugIn), you can check its original content info and change it (for downloading) by your desire. I would recommend using JDownloader2, but beware of sites that contains installers with malware! r/Piracy (Reddit) has links to the clean version, not sure if it's already taken down. For anyone looking for portable version (which you can simply open it in windows PC), install the clean version, archive it, and you're good to go!
Agent3554   Aug 22, 2020
@Salila I tried going to that site... Auto-detected + Blocked by ESET Web blocker tool It says: "This web page contains potentially dangerous content." "Threat: HTML/ScrInject.B trojan" "Access to it has been blocked. Your computer is safe."
Salila   Jul 30, 2020
Hey everybody... There is a solution to this! I was waiting for ages for this to be fixed too but instead I found a way to get the exact same thing via a video download site... Since I don't know if links are permitted here, I will just leave the name of the site in this way... Go to: vdyoutube dot com, enter your yt link (like you once did on the tool that isn't working) and you'll get the exact same link options.. Choose the desired video quality and RIGHT click the green download button and click - Copy link location, then paste it to VLC, then do the same for the audio. It works perfectly!
3Ab3Azim   Jul 15, 2020
The tool doesn't work. It posts "An unknown error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds." I use Microsoft Edge (Chromium based).
loki   Jun 26, 2020
is this info still accurate? 6/2020
Someone   May 18, 2020
The source which was used to get the info is no longer working guys!
Wolf   May 05, 2020
Yeah- it's not working again. I even tried removing the https and the www to see if that would help, but no
Araldur Elgas   May 03, 2020
Nick, Your tools doesn't seem to be working anymore. Any chance of it getting fixed? Best wishes
Agent3554   May 01, 2020
[May 02, 2020]: Still awaiting for update Output showing error message: "An unknown error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds."
Asino   Apr 23, 2020
any chance that the tool is going to get fixed some time in the future? It's very useful
Anon   Apr 21, 2020
It's gone !!
exploxe   Apr 18, 2020
youtube info NOT WORK.
Raoul   Feb 04, 2020
Don't know what youtube is doing but it's not been working for quite sometimes now. Nick are you there?
Sebastian   Jan 02, 2020
Unfortunately the tool is currently broken again. "An unknown error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds." Regards
Emanuel   Dec 17, 2019
Thank you for fixing it Nick, your tool is awesome! I didn't get the chance to thank you before, I only asked for a fix, so thank u. Your tool is the only way I can enjoy 1440p@60fps or 4k@30fps on my under-powered hardware. I don't understand how Youtube runs so bad compared to VLC.
Shaishav   Dec 15, 2019
it does not work now. not even in other browsers...please fix that
Emanuel   Dec 15, 2019
One of your tools doesn't work anymore. I've been trying to use Youtube Info ( for the past week but all the videos I submit return the "An unknown error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds." error. It worked fine some days ago but now it fails for every single video I have tested.
Mandra   Dec 14, 2019
Hi Nick, not sure if it's the right place but I try. About the audio of YouTube: when I upload a song with tunestotube and I compare it to another channel which has uploaded the same song the same way...mine sounds like if It was duller and lifeless... It's like if mine was a mp3 and his a wav (it's an image but if you re an audiophile, you ll hear that) Keep in mind that we have exactly uploaded the same mp3 file, free downloaded from his video's link. And as the Mp4 files is encoded online on tunestotube, both uploaded video have exactly been encoded the same way online but maybe encoded differently by youtube. What could explain that difference of audio quality? Mine : His :
Raoul   Dec 13, 2019
Ah sh!t here we go again
Lloyd Dunamis   Nov 30, 2019
Actually nevermind my earlier post; it works even with https. Just that, it working may be intermittent or something.
Lloyd Dunamis   Nov 30, 2019
The tool still works: You just have to use "http" and not "https", and also not use the "" shortlinks...or at least thta's what worked for me. Thank you so much for this tool though! I wouldn't have known what my video's audio bitrates were encoded to unless I download them myself...and even that might not be as accurate.
Raoul   Nov 26, 2019
Thanks Nick for the fix whatever happened? Might as well post a bitcoin address for the generous people who enjoy your much appreciated work?
daveclark   Nov 26, 2019
Avdshare Video Converter is just the most powerful 720P to 1080P converter.
Max   Nov 23, 2019
Nick, we're need you! Heelp us, fix this great tool :(
Mike   Nov 22, 2019
Nick, fix it please =(
Raoul   Nov 17, 2019
Broken since friday :(
Markus   Oct 31, 2019
A great tool, thank you for your work. Yesterday I found out that Youtube also outputs 6 channels Audio, my Receiver shows "Dolby Digital". And with your tool I could see 6 channels there, and I am also able to download the m4a File. Really awesome :)
Tintin   Sep 11, 2019
Hi! How can I download the audio? I canțt find any button or any alternative sollution. Thank you!
hamza   Aug 28, 2019
thank you
Avadhutji   Aug 06, 2019
Yes, it is broken again. Please do fix it Nick.
Tinh   Jul 11, 2019
It looks like the YouTube video information tool has temporarily been broken once again. The tool did work during the previous day, so either the tool is down or Google may have changed YouTube's code such that it broke the tool.
Dave   Jul 06, 2019
Thanks Nick!
Raoul   Jun 25, 2019
Thanks Nick you da man. I see you updated the font too.
Nick   Jun 20, 2019
I apologize for taking so long to get the tool up and running again. It had some very old code accessing non-secure data (http) from YouTube, which Google disabled completely a couple months ago. I updated it and it appears to be working again.
Ravel   Jun 18, 2019
Yup same issue here. Tool no longer works smh!
Garry   Jun 05, 2019
Perhaps Youtube have blocked the tool. It no longer works... also on videos that it did only a few weeks ago.
Raoul   May 29, 2019
Damn who broke it ?
Dave   May 29, 2019
Similar to Mick below, it seems the tool has stopped working. Any updates? Thanks.
Mick   May 27, 2019
Tool had been working great! However it appears that it no longer works. I only recently used it a couple of weeks ago. Same video that worked then now also fails (fails to get info error).
Creep   May 14, 2019
Only tool i can find that actually still works ! thanks man
Rob   Apr 13, 2019
Your tool rockz! Thanks a lot man!
Reticuli   Apr 07, 2019
So they're still doing this BS where they transcode streams and change it based on video resolution? I've been streaming 48khz/192kbps MP4 and it's showing up as 44.1/144kbps audio. Yet I streamed previously 44.khz/128kbps that are archived 48khz/188ish kbps! Stupid waste of their processing to even change it, not to mention there's no benefit to upping the lower stuff and their bit depth conversion and sample rate conversion on the former, more recent experience sounds like ass!
Clothem   Jan 23, 2019
I recommend upload a Uncompressed AVI to get the best audio quality. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for this, Here is my settings 1080p, 1fps, Uncompressed AVI (v210), Audio 16-bit / 44100 You will get a huge file size, you need fiber optic like me for upload that faster
Tarno   Dec 13, 2018
What do those clen, init, index, itag mean? (the value) Specially the index. Mostly it shows 266-1 or 266-2
Jackson   Dec 06, 2018
I am using wonderfox free hd video converter factory to download youtube videos, besides, it can choose video formats and video quality, resolution and more. Just have a try.
Burt   Dec 04, 2018
Thanks, man! Highly informative and interesting to read. YouTube just changed all of a sudden the quality of my uploaded music videos from 1080p to 144p since somewhere from the middle of August 2018. Couldn't find anything from the Google help forum as usual. But, again: many thanks to you, sir!
test   Sep 07, 2018
well, i respect that you approved my previous comment despite it making you look bad. that at least gives me more faith. still would like to see the backend, after researching, im assuming its just youtube-dl you're feeding the php with.
test   Sep 07, 2018
any chance we can get a peak of that backend on the .php page? or are you just datamining everyone?
Nasko   Aug 07, 2018
Florian Chevallot, thank you so much! I downloaded Videopad and started creating files exactly how you suggested. This is what I have been looking for. I was struggling to find the best way to upload Flac to Youtube with minimum compression. Your post was a blessing!
James   Mar 17, 2018
My phone camera works fine
sandy price   Mar 08, 2018
I am using bandicam. i just downloaded the newest version, and although my videos come out fine, once uploaded to youtube, the audio doesn't play. the bandicam people said to use one of the YouTube presets, but i see that the video stream upload is 360p, which is also one of the youtube presets. And it sounds like, from what you said above, that the video stream isn't going to have anything to do with the audio. Can you venture a guess as to what audio setting I need to adjust so the visual and audio will both play? Thanks! Here's a link to the video.
Margus Meigo Waffa   Jan 12, 2018
Really well put information, So according to here: the 144p when downloaded 3gp is 24 Bitrate, kbps. Keep this table updated, on same URL, looks good and neat info! Comes up in search at first on top related to Youtube audio quality search
Susie Ferrari   Dec 12, 2017
How can I get this app
Nobir Hossain   Jul 14, 2017
Can you give me your php file ?? please reply
Clayton Macleod   Apr 19, 2017
Is this broken?
Mauricio Guevara   Apr 13, 2017
I have a question, let's say I want yo download audio from a YouTube vdeo in the best posible quality, Audio only streams is a 63 kbps AAC file, while the one contained in the mp4 file is 125kbps AAC. Since this post says that YouTube streams audio and vdeo separately and combines them informacin the fly, does that mean the 64 kbps AAC file is reencoded to 125 kbps?. There is Also the option of 128kbps OGG Vorbis.
riks Razguajevs   Nov 24, 2016
Around march 30th 2016 (if I remember the month correctly) Youtube stopped using 192AAC in HD videos? so now opus became the best quality
David Carlstrom   Oct 05, 2016
The YouTube Video Info tool is superb, but it gives a error, "An unknown error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds." on some YouTube URLs while it works fine on others. For the ones that fail the error repeats.
Florian Chevallot   Sep 23, 2016
For the best audio quality, from a lossless audio file you encode an AVI file set to PCM uncompressed sound, you also set the frame rate at 1/sec (for the sole purpose of audio listening, your video is a still image!) otherwise your file will be huge and very long to process. I use Videopad to do this. Hope this can help...
Fahad Fadhi   Aug 23, 2016
Thanks for sharing here is free youtube to mp3 converter you can use this site for youtube video converter with high speed downloading and fast server
Alexander Ge   Aug 12, 2016
Hey, coud you get your video info tool working for livestreams? Would be very nice.
Luke Usherwood   Aug 11, 2016
Cool tool! I found some WebM / VP9 videos that come with 4 "audio/webm" streams, which seems to suggest "audio bitrate is not affected by video quality" may not always be true (anymore)? There seem to be 2 audio streams at a similar bitrate (Different codecs? The tool doesn't seem to list them) and then 2 at lower bitrates. I would be interested in how those lower bitrates match up with the video bitrates. Also nice to see Opus in mainstream use. An awesome good-for-everything codec!
Kilo Monaghan   Jul 30, 2016
You would not want to try to play these YouTube video's over your Hi-Fi sound system because they would sound distorted due to low audio bandwith right? Problem is, due to the Loudness war the audio CD's of these artist sound just as bad as the youtube audio or worst! Would seem to be that CLEAR CD Audio sound is dead. Why pay $29.95 for distorted sound?
Petr evk   Apr 17, 2016
Daniel Hill SoundCloud uses 128 kbps mp3 lame 3.99, so I don't get the reason why you prefer it.
Matej Skullsk   Apr 02, 2016
So do you wanna say Audio quality in 1080p and 240p is same?
Dennis Laurent   Jan 14, 2016
So this means that less popular videos, where video and audio are not separated, might have a higher audio bitrate at 192kbps, while more popular videos only have a maximum audio bitrate of 170kbps? This is at least what I found. Weird youtube policy...
Craig N Carla Fletcher   Jan 03, 2016
I'm not exceptionally tech savvy, I made a basic video in Windows Movie Maker MSWMM (still pic, with lyrics superimposed on it) and audio made up of music and vocal imported as a wav file from Cakewalk Home Studio (think Sonar). I converted this to mp4 using Any Video Converter AVC and uploaded this to Youtube YT. Playback from YT loses the vocal component of the audio but not the music on mobile devices iPhone and Android, but plays it on desktops and TV. Where did my vocal go?
Willson Law   Dec 13, 2015
Christian Buntrock   Nov 23, 2015
Nick Vogt So by upscaling you just mean "writing wrong bitrate info into file metadata"? Because it doesn't seem to do a transcoding/conversion (at least it looks like to me). => Link gives error :( Thanks!
Nick Vogt   Nov 23, 2015
The bitrate shown on that tool is directly from YouTube. If a downloader is giving you a 256kbps option, it is probably just upscaling. The information comes specifically from this URL:
Christian Buntrock   Nov 23, 2015
This is really strange. It always just shows about ~128k as maximum audio bitrate. But I try several tools (e.g. jaksta) and they offer me 256k downloading with conversion?!
Christian Buntrock   Nov 23, 2015
Everyone who lands on this page is... ;)
Christian Buntrock   Nov 23, 2015
EXACTLY what I searched!!!!!!!! Will you share the source for that checker tool? Thanks!!!!
Mina William Michael   Oct 24, 2015
awesome info!!!! Just what I needed to know :D :D Audiophile eh? ;)
Dylan Marriott   Oct 15, 2015
Thanks man!
Nick Vogt   Sep 28, 2015
Gio Pietra That video shows as 132 kbps for mp4 audio or 121 kbps for Opus/WebM audio (I guess the Opus bitrate can be lower than 155). The audio bitrates are never exactly 126 kbps, but usually range by a little in either direction.
Gio Pietra   Sep 28, 2015
Nick Vogt This video seems to be at 256 kbps using your YouTube video info tool. However videos more popular are still at 128 kbps. I can't understand why...
Nick Vogt   Sep 28, 2015
Could you give me an example of some videos with 256 kbps audio? Google encodes videos into the WebM format with Opus audio after a video has gained enough popularity. The Opus audio format can provide very good sounding quality and also doesn't have the downside of being patented. As far as MP4 vs Opus at the same bitrate, I'm not sure which sounds bettet, but Opus probably costs Google less in licensing fees.
Gio Pietra   Sep 28, 2015
Hi, I don't understand why some videos (the most) are played with an audio bitrate 128 kbps but others are played at 256 kbps. What makes the difference?
Christian Stoehr   Sep 25, 2015
So going the route of the MFiT by using a very high grade Sample Rate Conversion which brings the master down to a standard 44.1kHz sample rate, but outputs it in a 32-bit floating file, and then taking that 32-bit floating file, and encode it into Apple's AAC format without any additional dithering wouldn`t make much sense, since Youtube probably applies its own dithering at all times ?
Dennis Ehlers   Aug 28, 2015
Nick Vogt ah I see the problem, I accidentaly commented on the wrong article. This was meant to be posted on your youtube-info page ._.
Dennis Ehlers   Aug 28, 2015
Nick Vogt Thats logical. I meant why the given bitrates at "youtube-info" are different compared to what they actually are. It says 19 mbit for my 1920x120050fps VP9 videos But thats wrong. That video has only ~10 mbit bitrate. Max you would get on that quality level would be 15 mbit, but 19 mbit is completely wrong. Same with the other given bitrates. It says too high bitrates. Maybe youtube-info reads just the peak bitrate and not average?
Nick Vogt   Aug 27, 2015
YouTube compresses the bitrate down so they take up less file size than what was originally uploaded. Their compression is good so that not much audio quality is lost but the file size is reduced.
Dennis Ehlers   Aug 27, 2015
This reduces your video quality though, because their VP9 encodes look much better than their h.264 ones. Also this disables you the possibility to watch HFR at 1440 / 4k if available, because they are only available as vp9.
Dennis Ehlers   Aug 27, 2015
And why are the bitrates different to the real ones? Any reason for this?
Mahasin Raihan Farras   Aug 16, 2015
Thank you very much! Great article!
Papai Pequeno Histrias e Filmes   Aug 11, 2015
Just checked here. The 218kbps file is a WebM. So it looks like 165kbps is the maximum for mp4.
Papai Pequeno Histrias e Filmes   Aug 11, 2015
Interessante essa ferramenta para testar bitrate dos uploads no youtube
Papai Pequeno Histrias e Filmes   Aug 11, 2015
Hello Marcelo, I've got 218kbps on a 3840x1920 video file. Don't know if it's cause I have a youtube partner account or the uploaded file was a huge 110mbps video.
Edward Smith   Jul 27, 2015
Great article, thank you. I use Complete YouTube Saver, a Firefox extension to download videos or only the audio track from YT in original quality. It works fine :)
Edward Smith   Jul 27, 2015
Muhammed Ali Lakhwaira This AAC 250K according to Complete YouTube Saver Firefox extension.
Matthew Tong   Jul 23, 2015
where does it display 160kbps ??? I can't seem to find it...
Marcelo Oberauer   Jul 22, 2015
So, in 2015 the max bit quality is 165kbps, even for 2160p?
Pandu E Poluan   Jul 21, 2015
Alternatively, download Foobar2000 and install the "ABX Comparator" plugin. Add the two tracks into the Playlist, select them both, then Right Click > Utilities > ABX Tracks. You'll have to download the tracks first, of course.
Diego Humanes   Jul 15, 2015
I disable webm in firefox about:config because I prefer aac for the sake of compatibility. x264/aac is a proven standard already and there are free implementations like Cisco/ffdshow, no need for webm reencoding pushed on by Google.
Mirko Rastovi   Jul 08, 2015
Nick Vogt You're very welcome. Also, thank you; I learnt a great deal from your post quite some time ago, so I thought it'd only be fair to tell you about this when I stumbled upon it.
Nick Vogt   Jul 08, 2015
Thank you. I've been doing some research into this and you're right. I did some testing with ffprobe and several different videos to learn about how YouTube uses MPEG-4 vs WebM. I am going to update the post with these new details in a little bit.
Mirko Rastovi   Jul 08, 2015
According to "Stats for nerds" info, YouTube now plays Opus audio 160 kbps (itag 251) where available in HTML5 player and if the browser used supports "MSE & WebM VP9" ( In Firefox 'media.mediasource.webm.enabled' setting needs to be set to true in order for it to work, Chrome and Opera support it by default, it seems. Try edit: I've listened a couple of songs and I'd say there really is an audible difference, especially in the high range.
Jason Julian   Jun 24, 2015
For the best sound on YouTube you set your encoder to uncompressed 16 bit PCM audio and upload. Not all video editing software give you this option. It is possible if you upload your video as a .mts file. The audio sounds subjectively cleaner because it suffers only one generation of lossy compression (at YouTube).
Marc Milton-Talbot   Jun 20, 2015
Very informative,cheers.
Bryan Jackson   May 31, 2015
I always get the 144p resolution when I watch youtube vids, but your chart shows that you don't go below 240p.
Will Cao   May 14, 2015
This was incredibly useful. Thanks!
Nick Vogt   May 14, 2015
Unfortunately I don't have the script anymore. It was very simple. Just two HTML5 audio elements. JavaScript starts them at the same time and alternates volume between them every couple seconds.
David Jones   May 12, 2015
126 kbps might sound like a low bitrate, but the compression YouTube uses is very good. I compared it to a 192 kbps version and had a hard time telling the difference (two audio streams playing in tandem audio> elements with JavaScript flipping between them seamlessly). I would love to compare the audio myself in the studio. Do you have the files and JS that we could try out? Would also be cool to compare with 320 and WAV audio
Peter Haralanov   May 04, 2015
Very useful, thank you for all the work on this article! (y)
Josh Grolemund   Apr 25, 2015
Hi, if I'm uploading a video for the sole purpose of listening to the audio, what is the best format to upload? Should I dither my 44.1 16 bit master to an mp3 or upload the final master as is? I'm looking for the best audio quality I can get on YouTube. Thanks, Josh
Keshav Kumar   Apr 25, 2015
great job brother from an other mother. salute you
Nick Vogt   Mar 26, 2015
I hadn't looked at it like that before, but I'm sure you're right.
Don Joe   Mar 25, 2015
"My findings are counter to what Google has published in this article, which has this bitrate table" That article is about the recommended parameters of the files to be _uploaded_ to YouTube, it doesn't say anything about what you'll be getting when you play back the videos after upload and processing.
Matthew Winfree   Feb 17, 2015
Nick, so I'm curious: you found that ALL audio is transcoded down to approximately 126kbps, but is there also a frequency filter added to what is transcoded? I tried to upload a video today that contained a sample of audio that played a sine wave at 16KHz. No audio was heard. Also, with the knowledge that 126kbps is the cap, should others disregard the cap and continue to render in high quality audio, allowing Google's transcoding machines to resample the audio, or rather from any original content, simply render in 128kbps?
Maneesh Chauhan   Jan 21, 2015
Nice !! Kudos for the scientific effort !!
Muhammed Ali Lakhwaira   Jan 20, 2015
Hi! I use an application called JDownloader which, amongst other things, shows each separate stream (audio/video) in various bitrates. You can choose whatever bitrate you need on each and the software (using FFMPEG an encoder for video/audio files) merges your selection into one file. I always see an option for 256kbit audio files - these are usually double the size of the 128kbit variant and I'm curious to know: is there a way I can determine the actual audio bitrate of the source file. I feel that the 256kbit option just artificially upscales and encodes the file. Here's a picture from Jdownloader to illustrate what I mean:
ukasz Zibiski   Jan 19, 2015
big thanks for the article
Scott Ramsay   Dec 30, 2014
So does this mean everything uploaded now no matter how high the quality video selected, will have the same low 126-128 bitrate? Will existing videos keep their higher bitrates? Because so far, I still hear the better quality when getting to 720 and 1080p.
Dhananjay Kulkarni   Dec 23, 2014
Fantastic post! Thanks a lot for the information!
Ciprian Ionu   Dec 19, 2014
This is awesome work! I wondered if there were any differences in audio bit rate related to video quality. Thank you!
Kavin Chinnasamy   Dec 06, 2014
Thanks man
nder Bakrta   Dec 05, 2014
You deserve a medal for this post.
Andrew Posfai   Dec 03, 2014
Great article, this saved me a lot of time and effort!
David Nicholas   Nov 16, 2014
Hello! How did you arrive at the quality of 192 kbps? I found this google support page which mentions bitrate qualities up to 384 kbps: Cheers.
Kerry Mazhindu-Page   Oct 26, 2014
I suspected something had changed, at first I thought it was just my pc.
Kev More   Aug 31, 2014
Thanks for this info. I've noticed that some youtube to mp3 converter sites are providing downloads at higher rates than 192kbps (different sites providing different rates for the same file, strangely). Are you saying that 192kbps is the maximum available from youtube files? Could it be that the converters are extracting higher quality audio from the original upload, or is something else going on?
Tom Berthold   Jun 12, 2014
Exactly provides the answers my questions. Thanks for the detailed info!
Vassilis Papadimitriou   Feb 25, 2014
Great article, best one I've found on the 'net, thanx a lot! ---QUESTION: what about the audio quality of the new resolutions? ---1440p? ---2160p? ...I also found this..: Has youtube up-dated it's sound quality..?!
Thaveesha Cruz   Oct 11, 2013
I wanna know if I download music from YouTube and convert it into 192b mp3. Will it be bad quality to play in gigs in occasions??
Jerec TheSith   May 30, 2013
This article is outdated.
Daniel Hill   Apr 24, 2013
Why did they add "Original Quality" when barely anyone has the bandwidth or monitor size to benefit, perhaps the first thing to do would be increase the bitrate, the "720p" is pretty poor quality for 720p, but I guess you need the users to upload video in a comparatively higher quality, which is the main reason why uploading a 128mp3 sounds better than half of YouTube's "HD" stuff, Transcoding is killing the quality. With that being said, It would be nice if they also had a 50/60hz options, I watch a lot of esports and the higher motion helps, but only Twitch supports 60hz.
Tal Jerome   Apr 10, 2013
Nice article, thanks.
Taylor Orr   Mar 28, 2013
hanks for posing this. Most youtubers don't understand that uploading a song to youtube lowers the sound quality.
Heinz Dieter Becker   Mar 11, 2013
what about mp3 320kbps? does it improve the video quality?
Aldrin Rimong   Mar 07, 2013
This is great cause nowadays I'm streaming 1080p instead of the normal 720p . better audio quality means better SRS surround quality
Gaspar Machado   Feb 23, 2013
Nice post! Something I don't understand tho is, that if you listen to this , there's a huge difference between 360p and 480p and in this post you say that the compression in 360p and 480p for audio is the same, which doesn't make sense at all. Any idea?
Sarawuth Mingkhwan   Feb 18, 2013
Excellent article. Thank you.
Ariel Demian   Oct 31, 2012
Thanks man! Clear and simple, just what I wanted to know.
Jakub Celniak   Oct 13, 2012
Ross Bailey   Oct 05, 2012
Thank you so much you put it so clearly appreciate it.
Schtals Kristaps   Sep 27, 2012
I made 640x360px video 30fps, 192kbps ACC 44kHz video and have only 360p vailable. Is it because of the movie dimensions?
Joo Graa   Sep 25, 2012
This is an impressive article. Just answer this one question, how can it be that there is a noticeable audio improvement from 360p to 480p? From your tables there shouldn't be. But there is, and it's a lot (not on laptop speakers, but on phones or reasonable speakers). Thanks in advance.
caballo   Sep 15, 2012
ASTRO LIMA .- Lo importante es la velocidad de un video a 240p es mas veloz en cargar que un mp4 algunos videos de asiaticos estan en 240p pero parecen de 480p osea mas nitidos sera que le ponen mas bitrate quizas pero si flash macromedia antes cuando se actualizaba los videos iban a mas velocidad quiere decir que flash trabaja en actualizaciones mas para trabajar con videos flv en vez que con otros formatos es mi parecer pero me apoyo en las comprobaciones hechas por mi que ver videos youtube a 240p en flv corre mas que en mp4 para saber que tipo de video estas viendo pongo
Anonymous   Sep 08, 2012
high resolution is better but internet
Telmo Pinho   Aug 26, 2012
Excellent article! Gongratulations.
Fareed Marco Hassan   Jul 28, 2012
is this still apply?
Rolf Dergham   Jul 28, 2012
Lukas Vokrinek   Jul 25, 2012
Great article too bad its not 256kbps, of course 320 would be awesome. but lets get somewhere first... its time for 192 already...
Cesar Nakashima Wong   May 26, 2012
really thanks a lot, mind cleared ;))
Anonymous   May 07, 2012
Awesome, thanks for the info! But what's with the lack of non-facebook comments?
Nahum Bolt   May 01, 2012
Great article, very informative :)
Vaggos Val   Apr 14, 2012
awesome info...
Andy Silcock   Mar 22, 2012
Interesting Stuff, cheers!
Redouane Sardi   Jan 25, 2012
i need how to get Full Screen with 360p
Rtour Supanack   Jan 11, 2012
helpfull article, muchos gracias to the author :)
Jordan McFadden   Dec 31, 2011
ima derp
Oliver Skrzynski   Dec 15, 2011
It's still lagging behind. It should be 320kbps for 720p and 1080p
Forrest Allison   Dec 11, 2011
What an excellent article. Thank you so much for sharing this useful information!
Elsa Rose   Dec 08, 2011
Time for my input: Download MediaInfo! (version 0.7.51, Graphical User Interface with installer, for Windows, 32 bits, 2 MB) Pazera Free Audio Extractor Release date: 12.09.2010 Language: English, Polish License: freeware System: NT/98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Win7 File size: 3.6 MB It's evident, i'm taking a smaller HP recommended file. No offense Nick, I love you just the same.
Elsa Rose   Dec 08, 2011
Thanks for "Pazera Free Audio Extractor" can't wait to try it. And wow amazing man, wiki is like a robot, but your like human, I'm glad you are a "nitty-gritty" guy. Nick is officially a crazy man. THIS IS A COMPLIMENT. I'm reading the comments and found HP is another brilliant! I'm going to try "" now.. Bless you HP for "the flv is 128 kbps" Nick is a great person. Just and subtle. You may reach me at fan.focus[at]gmail[dot]com