Though Apple lets you know how many iTunes Store-downloaded songs can fit on each iPod, readers often ask us how many songs from their existing library can be squeezed onto a given iPod hard drive or flash memory chipset. In this week’s Ask iLounge column, we answered that question by debuting the iPod Storage Calculator, a new tool that lets you quickly estimate how many compressed audio files of various types will fit in any current or past iPod’s storage capacity.

Most people will find that their existing collections consist of songs compressed at bitrates ranging from 96 to 192 kbps, so we’ve provided automatic calculations for each major bitrate in that range. A handful of listeners will have larger, less compressed files ranging up to 320 kbps, and we’ve included calculations for those bitrates, too. If you’re a really hard-core audiophile, you may insist on Lossless-formatted files – if so, you can use the custom calculation field to make a best guess, or the Lossless field that’s set to an average rate of 850 kbps.

We hope you find the new Storage Calculator useful. As always, your comments are appreciated.