Enabling 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

I had a maddening issue in Windows Media Player on my Windows 10 machine where I could only rip CDs at a maximum bit rate of 192 kbps. Since storage is so cheap anymore, I prefer to rip at 320 kbps. Here’s how to enable 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10.

For whatever reason, on my Windows 10 machine, the default rip format was set to WMA instead of MP3. I don’t know why WMA’s maximum rate is 192 kbps.

Changing the default format and bitrate

To change the default format to MP3, hit the ALT key, then click Tools, then Options. From the options menu, click Rip Music. There you can choose MP3 as your format, and scroll the slider all the way to the right to get 320 kbps.

320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

That fixes the problem.

Other options

If you want higher quality audio than MP3, you can select FLAC or ALAC, which are lossless.  The options are there in Windows 10 at least. I’m not certain on Media Player on earlier versions.

The behavior on Windows 10 machines isn’t completely consistent. On one machine it prompted me to ask for settings. On another it defaulted to WMA and yet another defaulted to MP3. My Windows 7 machines always ripped at 320 kbps MP3 without me changing anything.

But if this happens to you, at least the solution is simple. As for me, I’ve been using the MP3 format for 20 years, so I’m not exactly looking to change. Not every device I own supports FLAC, so 320 kbps MP3 is a reasonable compromise. I can play those files on just about anything made in the last 20-25 years or so.

Further reading

If you’re interested in streaming audio and you have Android devices, here’s how to stream from Media Player to Android. I also have a guide to speeding up Windows 10.

One thought on “Enabling 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

  • August 25, 2015 at 1:56 am
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    Maybe WMA maxes out at 192 because that’s all you need in any realistic scenario?

    Many different sources on the web will tell you that even on high end speakers, in blind tests, nobody can tell the difference between lossless and a 192kbs vbr mp3. Or between lossless and 128kb/s vbr aac. Disk space isn’t free, especially if you’re using an SSD – so why waste it?

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