I have some music files which have somehow the wrong bitrate settings (32 instead of 320). Yes they are really 320bps, the file size and show exactly that. So this means no Apple Music availability. I tried changing the values in the iTunes XML file, but that did nothing, as kind-of expected. Other programs also show the wrong bitrate or none at all. Searching for 32 in a Hex-Editor of that file was useless as well.


Sorry but if the file has been encoded at the wrong bitrate, then they'll need to be re-encoded i.e. you'll need to rip them from a CD again. The bitrate refers to the amount of data that is used to store a second of audio. There is no way to increase this, in any meaningful way, once it's been created.

However if the file are encoded with Variable Bit Rate (VBR) encoding there does seem to be a common problem where the bitrate is misreported. If I'm reading things correctly it's because software like iTunes just looks at the bitrate of the first chunk of the file (which might just be silence or something simply resulting in a low bitrate encoding) and report that as the bitrate even though subsequent chunks might have completely different (higher) rates. There does appear to be a tool to fix this called vbrfix. However there doesn't seem to be an easy to get this tool for Macs.

If you are relatively confident with using the Terminal you could try the following:

  1. Download http://http.debian.net/debian/pool/main/v/vbrfix/vbrfix_0.24+dfsg.orig.tar.xz
  2. Decompress the file with something like The Unarchiver (macOS native Årchive Utility won't know what to make of it)
  3. Open a Terminal window and cd to the path of the unarchived files
  4. Run ./configure and then make to compile the vbrfixc binary
  5. Assuming the binary compiles successfully cd into the "vbrfixc" folder and you should find the vbrfixc binary.
  6. Run it with ./vbrfixc -log input.mp3 output.mp3.

If the file is a VBR MP3 file this will attempt to fix it by placing a blank chunk at the beginning of the file with a bitrate that is more representative of the entire file.

  • As I said, only the descriptive value is low. They are 100% NOT 32kpbs. You can do the math yourself, 8.5MB over 4:25min. I need some command line tool to change this in the mp3 header.
    – Tom K
    Jun 19 '17 at 17:23
  • @TomK Are these VBR files? Jun 19 '17 at 17:41
  • @tomk If these are VBR files there might be a solution. I've updated my answer. Give it a try and let us know how you get on. Jun 19 '17 at 18:47
  • @TomK A 4:25 320 Kbps mp3 would have a size of 10.6 MB - so it's neither 320...
    – klanomath
    Jun 19 '17 at 19:02

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