Music bitrate for ipad and iphone games

Posts: 2
Joined: 2011.08
Post: #1

Recently I have been creating music for ipad and iphone games, I have a question regarding the best bitrate to use for both the iPad and Iphone applications because the developers I have met were not 100% sure. I understand that the iPhone has a very limited memory, therefore a bitrate of 128Kbps is ok but what about the iPad, would it be fine to attach a file of 320 Kbps? Or would the file too big(about 10 megs) for an iPad Game?

I would be very happy to hear an experienced developer opinion on that

Thank you,

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Posts: 484
Joined: 2008.04
Post: #2
The speakers on the device aren't that great, and in our experience users can't tell the difference between 128 Kbps and anything higher.

In fact, you can probably go go much lower if the developer is in a crunch. In a lot of our games, we do variable bit rate stuff that averages 40 kbps for voiceovers.

For example, this voiceover sounds great:

Music can benefit from being a bit higher, but 96 kb/s is probably fine.

That being said, I'd want a composer to send me very high quality audio files- lossless if possible, or just 320 kbps mp3. The developer is probably the one who should make decisions about the end file size- and they will probably convert it into an ogg file anyway.

A lot of people get really worked up about the quality of their audio files, but the fact is most of them can't tell the difference in a blind study.

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Posts: 2
Joined: 2011.08
Post: #3
Hi Andy and thank you for the reply.

Yes you are right a lot of developers get worked up about the sound quality. Last Game I worked on, the guy was checking the sound not via the iphone tiny speakers but instead external(nice and big) speakers, the problem is that it is impossible to have the same sound quality between headphones, iphone internal speakers and iphone external add on speakers but for some reason some developers are very annoyed about it, you will of course have a loss of certain frequencies with in some speakers. If the game was being played on an xbox 360 with a dolby surround, yes I would understand the worries, but when it is about a tiny game being played on a phone..I just don't get it :-)

Anyway, customer always comes first and you have to follow what they want, I am glad you gave your advice about this matter. thanks again.

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Posts: 446
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #4
(Aug 5, 2011 07:20 AM)AndyKorth Wrote:  The speakers on the device aren't that great...
That's an understatement Wink

If you're using AAC (and you really should be on iOS) you can get away with lower rates. I use mono, 44.1KHz, 40Kbps-64Kbps AAC in my games. So double those rates for stereo, but the extra channel is mostly just a waste of resources on iOS, especially for background music in an otherwise noisy game. I've found 44.1KHz mono almost always sounds superior to 22.5KHz stereo but that's another way to cut down on resource usage if someone insists on stereo music.

If a developer complains send them a lossless file mastered for full frequency response and tell'em to go nuts. Then ask why they hired an audio guy Wink
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Posts: 776
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #5
This may come in handy (particularly the part about mp3 silent bookends):
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Posts: 15
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #6
i had 44,100 Khz with AAC-IMA4, turned out well for my chiptunes powered game.

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I experiment with game analytics. Read about it here
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