I'm posting a quick explaination for the digital jargon that one constantly hears: Bit Rate Resolution & Sample Rates. This post is intended for all who want a better understanding of what these terms actually mean. I recently read up on these definitions to be more informed in the misleading marketing world and to better understand the more esoteric posts on this site. All audiophiles and techies, please tweak this post or add some more insight.
Digital Audio is measured in two ways: Bit Rate Resolution and Sample Rate.
Sample Rate is the number of samples per second taken of the audio. 1Hz = 1 sample per second. RedBook CD (RBCD) is 44.1kHz = 44,100 samples per second.
Bit Rate Resolution is the digital word length of each sample. This determines how precise each sample is. Think of it this way. You can explain last night's concert more precise using 100 words rather than using 20 words. RBCD bit rate resolution is 16bit which gives a 65,535 word length. If a certain sample takes more than 65,535 words to describe than the sample will lose some information which results in distortion. The precision difference with bit rate is noticeable when you realize that most internet audio streams are at 8bit and digital telephones are at 4bit. Background noise is associated with lower bit rates.
So......If one second of audio is analogous to the view of your backyard, the RBCD digital representation of your backyard would be akin to looking at it through a screen door with 44,100 holes in the screen and 65,535 words or colors within each screen hole.