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How many songs do gigabytes REALLY hold?

by LaFlautista / November 30, 2007 7:47 PM PST

Depending on the sites I go to, some say that MP3s hold 250 songs per gigabyte. However when I viewed info about the Creative Zen V Plus (2GB), it says it holds up to 1000 songs. Does that really add up? :-P

I want a Creative Zen V plus, however all I want is 1000 songs. Should I just get a 4GB to be safe? Or save money and get a 2GB?

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My imprecise method.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 30, 2007 9:25 PM PST

One AudioCD is from 650 to 700 megabytes. When I toss that into CDEX I see about a 10X reduction to 65 or less megabytes. Let's say there to 20 tracks on that CD.

At 2GB songs I get the following. 2000 MB / 70 MB * 20 = 571.42...

So they are not lying here. It could get to 1000 on average if I altered my CD ripper settings.


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Re: mp3 size.
by Kees Bakker / November 30, 2007 11:53 PM PST

If you download a few mp3's to play on your PC, you'll note they are about 3 Mb. The exact size, of course, depends on the playing time (in minutes and seconds), on how good the original compresses and the compression quality. 1 Mb a minute is a good approximation, in practice.

I wouldn't trust 2 Gb to hold 1000 average downloaded songs. Just go for 4.


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actual capacity...
by ktreb / December 1, 2007 3:40 AM PST

...will probably be a little bit less. I don't know about the Creative Zen V Plus since I don't own one. I have a 4GB iPod Nano, whose actual capacity of 3.6 GB. A small part of the difference is due to how a gigabyte is defined - for simplicity's sake it is defined as 1000 MB when it is actually 1024 MB. The rest is probably due to the operating system on the player.

If you look at the bottom Creative's specifications page for the V Plus you'll see this: "Song claim based on 4 minute song encoded at 128 kbps MP3. Available capacity will be less. Reported capacity will vary." That works out to 1 MB per minute, and if the actual capacity is less than 4GB, then you won't be able to fit 1000 songs.

You might want to do a little bit of experimenting with ripping your cds to figure out what bitrate will get you the quality you desire. You could go with a lower bitrate, so you'll be able to fit more. Or you may want to go higher and you'll fit less music.

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