The Volume of Interactions: Audio has been updated to reflect a test i'm conducting to compare bitrate stream quality for various compression values. I believe that the type of audio being streamed is a factor affecting the quality of the stream at a particular bitrate.
To reflect this theory, i've made two identical copies of Robin Williams' stand up routine, one with 128bitrate and the other at 64bitrate. You will notice, as i have, that there is very little difference in the quality of both. But the file size for 128 and 64 differs greatly; i suspect very much that a regular 56k modem connection will be able to stream a 64bitrate file with very little or no buffering.
To test the affect of bitrate on music (which may tend to be more complex than comedy routines which are plain speeches), i've prepared three sets of files at 64, 96 and 128bitrate. What i've discovered is that while 128 is the best (near-CD quality), 96 is acceptable, and 64 is very poor. I think most normal modem (non-broadband) connections will not be able to handle 128 streams without long buffering times or frequent breaks but this has yet to be confirmed.
[This test and review of bitrate effects on streaming media will continue for 7 days from the time of this posting. At the end of the test period, the files being the subject of the test will be removed.]