Does burning MP3 files to CD sound better?

Puneet asks:

guys i am a big party freak.. was just wondering if i burn mp3 songs (320 kbps) onto an audio format cd, will it sound even better???

The short answer is NO.

Once audio has been encoded to the MP3 format, which is a lossy compressed format, you can’t get back the audio information that was thrown away.

If you don’t know what “lossy compression” means, Google it, or check out the Wikipedia page here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lossy_compression

By definition, Red Book audio CDs use 2-channel (stereo), 16 bit, uncompressed PCM audio at a sampling frequency of 44.1Khz. Even though you can convert MP3 files to Wave files in the CD Audio format, you can’t regain the information that was thrown away during the MP3 encoding process.

More on the Audio CD format here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Disc_Digital_Audio

If you want smaller file size than uncompressed Wave or AIFF files, without losing audio quality, then you need to use a lossless compression format, such as FLAC:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC

But, you can’t burn FLAC files to an audio CD without first converting them back to Wave or AIFF in the proper format.

Note that some modern CD players can play MP3 files from a CD-R, where the MP3 files are burned as data files (CD-ROM mode), and the player just reads the MP3 files and decodes them just like any other MP3 player. However, they still won’t sound any better than the MP3 files as you can’t regain any of the damage done during that encoding. Possibly your CD player may have better sounding D/A converters which might possibly make a noticeable difference compared to a cheap phone or MP3 player, but it still won’t sound as good as an audio CD that was created with the original, uncompressed audio.

Posted in Ask MusicTECH!