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WAV vs MP3: How Do You Make A Choice Between Them?

Author by Michelle

Updated on Jul 28, 2023

When it comes to WAV vs MP3, is WAV better than MP3? What's the difference between WAV and MP3? If you have no clue about these two formats, this post is for you. Read on to learn more about WAV and MP3. In addition, you'll learn how to convert WAV to MP3 and vice versa.

Part 1. What are WAV and MP3?

Let's start with a brief introduction of WAV and MP3 formats.

MP3 vs WAV

WAV: WAV is an audio file format developed by Microsoft and IBM for storing raw and typically uncompressed audio. This means it can record every bit of the source audio and that leads to its large file size. It is mainly used on the Windows system.

MP3: MP3 is a coding format for digital audio that uses lossy data compression to encode data. The compression works by discarding the audio frequency that most humans cannot hear, hence allowing a large reduction in file sizes. It is accessible on all media devices.

Also read: FLAC vs WAV | AIFF vs WAV | OGG Vorbis VS MP3 | 320kbps vs FLAC

Part 2. MP3 vs WAV: What's the Difference Between WAV and MP3?

The difference between MP3 and WAV comes from many aspects. Read the following information to get deeper understanding of the two formats.

MP3 or WAV


WAV: 1411 kbit/s at 16 bit

MP3: 32kbit/s - 320 kbit/s at 16 bit

Note: Bit rate is the number of bits used per unit of time to represent a continuous medium. The higher the bit rate, the better the fidelity.

2.Compression Ratio

WAV: Uncompressed

MP3: Usually, an MP3 file of 128, 160, and 192 kbit/s represent compression ratios of approximately 11:1, 9:1, and 7:1 respectively.

3.Sound Quality

WAV: Equals to a CD-audio quality

MP3: The sound quality of MP3 correlates mostly with the bitrates. With the bitrates higher, the quality could get better, but even the highest 320 kbit/s cannot be on par with WAV. But unless you have sharp ears and use fancy headphones, it can be hard to tell the difference between MP3 320kbps and WAV.

4.File Size

WAV: Large. An WAV file of CD-audio quality would produce approximately 10M per minute.

MP3: Much smaller.

The size is related to bitrates, as well. A higher bitrate would generate a larger size.

Part 3. WAV vs MP3: How to Choose?

WAV or MP3

Since each format has strengths and weaknesses, they serve different purposes. As we all know, WAV has CD audio quality and generally large file size, so it is not popular as an Internet sharing file. Instead, it's great for source audio archiving and editing. As for MP3, it wins most people's favor due to its light weight, decent sound quality, and ease of distributing/streaming over the internet.

In short, if you are not a demanding audiophile, MP3 is enough to give you a good listening experience. But if you're a professional sound engineer or broadcaster, you'd better use WAV files for all testing and editing to ensure the best possible audio.

Part 4. Extra: How to Convert WAV to MP3 or Vice Versa?

If you want to convert WAV to MP3 or MP3 to WAV, you can use a simple and free program WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory to handle the conversion quickly. It is only a few clicks to complete the conversion. Follow the tutorial below to start your first conversion.

Convert WAV to MP3

Before start, please free downloadfree download the software.

Step 1. Install and launch the program. Then open “Converter”.

Step 2. In “Video Converter”, click “+Add Files” on the top left corner or “+” in the center, or directly drop the WAV or MP3 file into the interface.

Step 3. Hit the format icon on the right side, and in the appearing menu, select the target format under the "Audio" tab Then click on “Run” to start conversion.

At last...

That's all I want to share about the comparison of WAV vs MP3 and how to choose between them. I hope you find this article useful. Thanks for reading. Have a good day!

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