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

Author by Michelle

Updated at Aug 13, 2020

Having difficulty in choosing which format to store your audio file? You're not alone actually, there are hundreds or more out there asking the same question. The reason for their upset is out of a vague understanding of these formats. To rid you of this problem, this article is to take out a typical one - WAV vs MP3 and try to explain their differences to you clearly.

It’s not a mystery that the WAV file has a better sound quality than the MP3 file for one is “lossless” and the other is “lossy”. But why does MP3 still have a larger user foundation than WAV? Wouldn’t the quality be what we care about? Try to think about it. What makes you prefer MP3 to WAV or the other way around? Well, if you haven’t got a clear answer, this article might help you to organize your thoughts. But first, we need to see what exactly are WAC and MP3.

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

Part 1. What are WAV and MP3?

Most people only got the idea of “lossless” and “lossy” in mind when they think of WAV and MP3, but that’s not enough for us to truly know them. So here I would like to give a brief introduction to these two 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.

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

The difference between them comes from many aspects. Read the following information to get an intuitive view of the differences.

MP3 or WAV

1.Bitrates

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.

Note: Yet the truth is you really can't tell a difference between the two unless you use an upscale headset and are extremely sharp with sounds.

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

Because each format has its own characteristics as was illustrated in Part 2, consequently they have different purposes in their usages. We have known that WAV is of CD-audio quality and bears large file size in general, so it is not welcomed as a file for Internet sharing, instead, it finds its niche in source audio archiving and editing. As for MP3, out of its lightweight and OK sound quality, it can be distributed/streamed easily over the Internet hence won the hearts of the majority in almost any circumstance.

To put it in a nutshell, if you are not a high-requiring audiophile, MP3 is enough to give you thrilling listening experience. But if you are a professional sound engineer or a runner of broadcast, you’d better use the WAV file to do all the testing/editing so as to guarantee the best audio outcome.

Part 4. Extra: How to Convert WAV to MP3?

So which one did you choose? MP3 or WAV? Well, if you are still reading this part, I guess you choose MP3 over WAV and that's perfectly fine. If you want to convert WAV to MP3, you can have a go at this WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory which will solve your needs easily. And below are the tutorials.

Tips: MP3 to WAV is doable but meaningless, for the lost parts (the discarded audio frequency) in the MP3 file cannot be created from nothing. If you insist on doing this, it would only result in a file of large size and even worse quality. But WAV to MP3 is both doable and practical.

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 file into the interface.

Step 3. Hit the format icon on the right side, and in the appearing menu, select MP3 or other formats below the corresponding section. Then click on “Run” to start conversion.

At last...

In the world of music, there are constant fights between different audio formats. Each for the top best vies place like it would promise its dominance or what. But how strange it is that there is no champ yet and perhaps will never be. But the fight is still going on, like WAV vs MP3. And the results? I bet you already have an answer in your mind after the reading. Honestly, WAV or MP3, FLAC, AC3... they all made their name known for a reason. You just have to find the one that most fits you.

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