My brother has ripped his cd collection but doesn't know much about computers. So I set up an FTP server on his computer and have downloaded all his music (he's in a different state, or I'd have just taken my external drive over there). He has ripped to .wma format at 160 kbps. (And please, no discussions on why this bit rate here, either).
I have converted the wma files to mp3 using the dbPowerAmp lame encoder, using high quality settings at 160 kbps variable rate. My question comes here: when I view the files in my mp3 organizer software, more than quite a few are shown at 128 kbps and lower (down to 64 kbps). Has the quality really been reduced this much, or am I just imagining paranoia? I'm even more confused because some even show at 320 kbps. I'm thinking about re-downloading and converting using the constant bit rate.
Thanks for the audiophile input on this!